From morning sickness to backache, pregnancy comes with a long list of challenges, but having a bit of knowledge about when to expect certain symptoms can make them easier to deal with when they arise. The different stages of pregnancy each have their own set of symptoms, and although the journey will vary for all women, there are a few things you are likely to expect week by week.
Pregnancy is a long 40-week journey and not everyone experiences all symptoms the same, however, its always better to be prepared.
During the first few weeks of pregnancy, a lot of mothers won’t even know they are pregnant! Unless you have taken a pregnancy test because you’ve missed a period, its likely that these first few weeks won’t be too different. At worst it’s likely that you may have mild fatigue, bloating and some cramps, however, enjoy this stage while it lasts because after the fourth-week passes things start to change.
During the 4-8 week period, most mothers will usually start to experience some form of nausea, with it commonly arriving during the 6-week mark. Morning sickness is common during this time and it usually comes hand in hand with strange or unusual food cravings. This is due to hormones changing within the body, which may also result in mood swings and acne.
The next few weeks usually see fatigue and nausea peak, as well as dizziness or lightheadedness, so it’s important for mothers to get plenty of rest during this stage. In this period is also you’re also may experience skin darkening, specifically the Linea Nigra which runs down the centre of the belly and is a result of hormones.
As you enter your second trimester, hormones will begin to stabilise. Weeks 12-16 can often result in an increase in energy for a lot of mothers. This can manifest in an increase in libido and a decrease in nausea symptoms. However, heartburn and indigestion are likely to begin to become problems during this period, it’s important to talk to a obstetrician to find a medication that is safe for you and your baby.
By this stage, your baby will be putting on a lot of weight and by week 18 your baby is roughly the size of a mango. All of this extra weight puts pressure on the back and hips which can start to ache as you reach mid-pregnancy.
The next few weeks are exciting for many mothers as they will begin to feel their baby beginning to kick. As the baby develops and puts on more and more weight most mothers will experience sore or swollen ankles and feet. The 20-minute mark usually sees the start of ‘practise’ or ‘false’ contractions, also known as Braxton and Hicks contractions.
27 weeks marks the start of the third trimester, which is marked by continuing leg cramps and backaches, as well as constipation and haemorrhoids. A strange symptom that many pregnant women experience is that their skin, hair and nails grow faster or more brittle.
As the third trimester continues, most symptoms will begin to intensify. Braxton Hicks contractions become more frequent and many mothers-to-be will experience shortness of breath, frequent urination as well as leaky breasts, which is your body preparing itself for the prenatal period.
In the ensuing weeks, most mothers will experience a period of fatigue. This can be combined with blurry vision, which is a result of hormones, fluid buildup and a lack of sleep. During this period your baby will be positioning itself lower in your abdomen, so there will more pressure on the belly.
In the later stages of pregnancy, Braxton and Hicks contractions start to peak. Other sharp sensations in the crotch and pelvis can occur as a result of the baby touching sensitive nerves as it pushes outwards. Pregnant women will also experience a ‘mucous plug’ discharge, which may have tinges of blood and many believe that this is a good sign that the baby isn’t far off!
If you have any questions regarding your pregnancy or would like to book an appointment, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.