Most women know that a missed menstrual period is a sign that they may be pregnant but you may also experience other symptoms that are mostly caused by the hormonal changes that occur during the early weeks of pregnancy.
Implantation Spotting sometimes occurs when the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterine lining 8 – 14 days after conception. Women sometimes notice a small amount of blood or a pinkish discharge at this time. Because this often occurs around the time women were expecting a menstrual period, some women think that they are having a “small” or “short” period and that they are not pregnant.
Mild Cramping sensations are sometimes experienced as the fertilized egg burrows into the uterine lining and the uterus begins to expand to make room for the growing fetus.
Other common early pregnancy symptoms caused by hormonal changes include:-
Breast swelling and tenderness, darkening of nipple/areola colour, fatigue and tiredness, abdominal bloating, frequent urination, mood swings, mild headaches, pimples and acne.
Nausea and vomiting
By the 6th week of pregnancy, 75% of women will experience some degree of pregnancy related nausea and even vomiting. This is sometimes called “morning sickness” because many pregnant women experience nausea on waking because their blood sugar levels are low after hours of not eating.
Some women vomit frequently, some find that their increased sensitivity to smells and tastes makes them feel nauseas and sometimes headachy, others have a constant metallic taste in their mouths that puts them off eating.
Eat small meals and snacks every two hours throughout the day – an empty stomach and low blood sugar levels will make the nausea worse. Avoid the foods and the cooking smells that trigger nausea/vomiting. Some women need to make themselves eat – at this time in your life it can be better to watch the clock and eat something nutritious (usually bland) every two hours instead of waiting till you feel hungry.
* Tip – If you feel nauseas on waking, slowly raise your blood sugar levels by eating wholegrain carbohydrates e.g. wholegrain crackers (low salt ), wholegrain biscuits (low sugar) or wholegrain toast, nuts or nut butter (low salt). Chew slowly. (Some women need to eat something like this before they even stand-up.) Following this with fresh fruit and yoghurt (low sugar) or porridge or muesli, can help stabilize your blood sugar levels and get you through the first few hours of the day.
Try to eat nutritious foods. Fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts,lean meat, low fat dairy products and whole grains etc will help to stabilize your blood sugar levels for longer periods and provide the nutrients your baby needs to grow.
Avoid fatty foods. Your stomach-lining is much more sensitive when you are pregnant. Fatty foods take a lot longer to digest than other foods so while fatty food sit in your stomach you are likely to feel nauseas.
Avoid sweet/sugary snacks. These deplete your body of the essential nutrients that your baby needs to grow and while you might feel better immediately after you’ve eaten them you will very quickly begin to feel nauseas again because your blood sugar levels will rapidly fall.
Drink regularly. Try to have a drink every 2 hours – but not at the same time as you are eating. Try to cut down or stop drinking tea, coffee or soft drinks as these drinks flush vitamins and minerals that are essential to your health and your baby’s growth, out of your body.
Get plenty of fresh air. Open windows; go for regular walks; stay cool.
Get plenty of sleep. Many women experience extreme tiredness during the first 8 – 14 weeks of pregnancy and most women report that when they’re tired they feel more nauseas. You may need to have very early nights during the early weeks of your pregnancy while your body adjusts to the pregnancy hormones and the increased amount of work it has to do to support the growth of another little human being. (It is often a good idea to eat a high protein snack immediately before going to bed to help keep your blood sugar levels up overnight.)