What are Some Common Signs of Pregnancy?

What are Some Common Signs of Pregnancy?

The effects of pregnancy can differ from woman to woman. Some women experience classic symptoms during the early stages of pregnancy, while others feel little or no symptoms at all. For many women, their symptoms also vary and change depending on the trimester of the pregnancy.

Ideally, a woman should know they are pregnant as early as possible, so that they can start receiving proper prenatal care and make healthy lifestyle changes from early on in the pregnancy.

That said, common symptoms to look out for include:

  • Fatigue – Pregnant women tend to feel tired, which may be attributed to the hormonal and physical changes happening in their bodies.

  • Breast changes – Tenderness, soreness and enlargement of the breasts are normal during pregnancy. The nipples may also become more sensitive and even painful. These are due to hormonal changes and increased flow of blood to the breast tissues.

  • Missed period – A missed period is usually the first symptom of pregnancy that most women experience. During pregnancy, the body produces hormones that stop ovulation and the shedding of the uterine lining.

  • Nausea and vomiting – Also known as “morning sickness”, nausea and vomiting may be experienced during the first trimester; although some women may experience it for longer.

  • Smell sensitivity – During the first trimester, a pregnant woman's sense of smell is heightened, making previously mild odours intense and often unappealing. This sensitivity to smell is due to pregnancy hormones, specifically oestrogen.

  • Frequent urination – As the levels of hormones such as progesterone and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) increase during pregnancy, kidney efficiency increases, causing one to urinate more frequently. The growing size and weight of the uterus also presses down on the bladder, causing pregnant women to urinate more frequently.

  • Backache – Starting from early pregnancy, the body produces hormones that soften and loosen the ligaments and joints in the pelvis. This natural occurrence prepares pregnant women for labour, but in turn, weakens the pelvis and the lower back area in supporting their body weight.

  • Breathlessness – The hormone progesterone increases during the first week of pregnancy. This adjustment can result in pregnant women having to breathe more often, which may feel like a shortness of breath. A pregnant woman’s growing uterus can also cause other organs to become squeezed, including the lungs, causing them to not be able to expand fully.

  • Constipation – Certain hormonal changes can cause the pregnant woman’s gut to become less efficient, resulting in food moving along slower through one’s intestines.

  • Haemorrhoids (piles) – The increased pressure on the rectal veins can result in haemorrhoids in pregnant women. This pressure can come from the enlarging of the uterus, pressure from the growing baby, and increased blood volume.

  • Headaches – Many pregnant women experience headaches. This can be triggered by various factors such as changing hormone levels and blood volume. Other causes include caffeine withdrawal, lack of sleep, stress, and low blood sugar.

  • Heartburn and indigestion – Heartburn is common among pregnant women. This is a result of the changing hormone levels and the growing baby pushing up against the stomach.

  • Itchy skin – Pregnant women can experience itchiness due to stretching skin, dryness brought on by hormone changes, or cholestasis of pregnancy, which is a liver disorder that leads to the accumulation of bile acids in a woman’s blood that results in a feeling of intense itchiness.

  • Leg cramps – Leg cramps occur when the muscles tightly and involuntary contract. This usually happens at night and in the latter part of the pregnancy.

  • Mood changes – Mood swings are common for pregnant women as they undergo hormonal changes, lack of sleep, and anxiety.

  • Vaginal discharge – During pregnancy, the body produces more oestrogen, which results in excess vaginal discharge.

  • Varicose veins and leg oedema (swelling) – Varicose veins develop when pressure from the uterus is applied to the large vein that transports the blood from the legs and feet to the heart. This can be painful and uncomfortable. On the other hand, leg swelling happens due to the body retaining more water than usual during pregnancy.

When Should You Take a Pregnancy Test?

Women can have a pregnancy test on the first day of their missed period or 21 days after having unprotected sex. Otherwise, take a pregnancy test if you notice several symptoms listed above.

When to See an Obstetrician?

Should you receive a positive test for your home pregnancy test kit, visit an obstetrician promptly to officially confirm the pregnancy and start on your prenatal care.

Gynaecology and obstetrics in Singapore is a well-established medical field, staffed by specialist doctors who have received significant training in the care of women’s reproductive health. GynaeMD Women’s Clinic Clementi is a gynae and obstetrics clinic in Singapore providing a full suite of prenatal and delivery care for women.

We understand your concerns and are committed to supporting you every step of the way.
We provide dedicated care to women at all stages in life. Contact us and we will be in touch soon.