So, you’re discovering what your mother had warned you about pregnancy when you were younger is true ― that the journey might be a difficult one for some women. And if you have a younger sibling, you might even remember mum braving pregnancy’s side effects and undergoing a painful labour.
Now that you’re expecting, you know that backache, heartburn, fatigue are just several of the “grievances” you’ll have to deal with during your nine months! Weight gain aside, no wonder some women fear getting pregnant. Dr Chua Yang, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist specialist at Mount Alvernia Hospital, says that most mothers will start to feel an unusual wave of exhaustion soon after missing their period. Common early symptoms also include breast tenderness and engorgement, as well as feeling like a heavy menses is about to start, she notes.
If you are lucky, you might experience none or only mild symptoms. However, most women will have deal with them. Although pregnancy symptoms may be irritating, some are actually signs that your little one is developing healthily in your womb!
As your sense of smell becomes more sensitive, just a whiff of your favourite perfume might cause you to gag.
Some of these signs only last a few months, so chin up! Learn what annoying, but beneficial pregnancy symptoms you might experience:
1. You’re nauseous and might even puke
Most mums-to-be hate morning sickness, a common pregnancy symptom. It’s no fun being turned off your usual favourite foods and feeling nauseous the entire day. “Nausea, indigestion, bloatedness, retching and vomiting are common. They do not necessarily occur only in the morning either,” explains Dr Lisa Chin, an obstetrician and gynaecologist from Gleneagles Hospital. As your sense of smell becomes more sensitive, just a whiff of your favourite perfume might cause you to gag. Morning sickness is caused by the sudden increase in hormones, such as the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is needed for healthy baby development.
When does it happen? It usually starts around the sixth week of pregnancy, and eases up around the 14th week.
2. Your breasts are sore and tender
Your boobs are preparing to nurse your little bundle when you finally pop! You might find yourself going one cup size up during your pregnancy, as your milk ducts increase and start revving up to produce milk. It will also feel sore to the touch, and showering or wearing your bra might just feel like hell. But at least that means you will be able to feed your baby when he arrives! It is usually caused by rising progesterone and oestrogen levels.
When does it happen? Dr Chin states that breast engorgement, soreness and enlargement starts to occur from the sixth week.
3. You gain weight
This is no secret ― pregnancy will make you gain weight and not just because of you are “growing” a baby. You will notice yourself craving random food at different points throughout the day. “The average weight gain during pregnancy is 10 to 13kg. Some women will lose weight because of morning sickness in the first trimester, too,” mentions Kiki Porter Wolff, an expatriate paediatric nurse, midwife and doula from WC Cheng and Associates. Don’t worry though, breastfeeding your little one will help you burn calories faster than you can imagine. Plus, the extra weight should reassure you that bubba is developing well!
When does it happen? From the first trimester till you give birth.
Although it might be annoying, do take note to drink more water to make up for the frequent urination as water is very important for a developing foetus.
4. You have more vaginal discharge
Most pregnant women will notice that they produce more vaginal discharge when they are pregnant. Don’t worry, this is all natural! “Leucorrhoea is an odourless, milky discharge seen during the normal menstrual cycle. It increases during pregnancy as the levels of oestrogen rises in the body. More blood supply to the vagina also causes more discharge,” explains Wolff. This excess discharge helps to flush out and prevent any germs from entering the womb through your vagina and causing an infection, which helps to keep your baby safe!
When does it happen? Throughout pregnancy, it might get heavier as you near labour.
5. You pee a lot
Having to waddle to the toilet after every cup of water is not fun, especially when you’re out. At the beginning of pregnancy, your urge to pee may be due to the increase in blood flow to the kidneys. Later, because your baby is growing, it needs a bigger uterus to accommodate it! Dr Chin points out that the increased need to pee is common during pregnancy because the growing uterus exerts pressure on the bladder. Although it can be annoying, do drink more water to make up for your frequent need to pee as water is very important for a developing foetus.
When does it happen? Usually occurs during the first trimester and late into pregnancy.
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