How to Cope with Early Pregnancy Symptoms

The four most common symptoms in early pregnancy are tiredness, morning sickness, mood swings and frequent urination, followed by other first signs of pregnancy. Learn how to keep them under control and cope with the changes they bring in your early weeks of pregnancy.

Tiredness

A very common pregnancy symptom is feeling tired. This is more intense in the first and third trimester.

Take naps as often as possible. You need plenty of rest, especially in early pregnancy, so try to go to bed earlier and take several short naps during the day.

Include carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables in all your meals and snacks throughout the day. A healthy pregnancy diet will keep you energetic and reduce the fatigue symptom.

Keep an exercise schedule and generally try to stay active. Even if you exercise lightly, establishing a daily routine will make you feel stronger and less tired.

Morning sickness

This symptom is commonly experienced in the first trimester of pregnancy. Nausea is sometimes accompanied by vomiting, especially in the morning.

Feeling nauseous can be accentuated by the food you eat. Keep your meals small and often, and replace foods that cause you nausea with their nutritional equivalents.

Natural remedies can be efficient against morning sickness. Examples include ginger, mint tea and Roman Chamomile tea.

Stay hydrated to diminish nausea. Have water, lemon juice or your favourite herbal tea with you to sip regularly throughout the day.

Frequent urination

This symptom is especially common during the first and third trimester of pregnancy. While your body produces more urine, the pressure on your bladder will increase, resulting in the frequent need to pee.

There are no options to go around this symptom. It’s very important to stay hydrated during pregnancy, so don’t cut back on fluid intake. Coffee makes you pee faster and is not very hydrating, so giving up caffeinated drinks will help. The frequent trips to the toilet at night can be reduced if you drink less water in the two hours before bedtime.

Mood swings

If your mood changes from one minute to the next, know that it’s normal. Mood swings are caused by hormonal activity and are very common during the first trimester.

You can’t really control the hormones responsible for your pregnancy symptoms, but there are ways to cope with mood swings. Exercise, rest and talking about your mood swings with your partner and friends will make you feel a lot better. Feeling guilty over your mood swings will only lead to more stress and is unjustified, as they’re out of your control. Be kind to yourself and find moments for reflection and relaxation. Reflecting on your pregnancy and becoming conscious of your baby is an important step towards a healthy pregnancy and giving birth.

Top Questions in Early Pregnancy

When does morning sickness start?

Morning sickness symptoms are caused by the pregnancy hormones in your body and for most women it starts around the 6th week. You might experience nausea from particular smells or foods. Read more on what morning sickness is and how to cope with it. As you advance in the second trimester, your morning sickness and nausea symptoms should ease up.

When will my pregnancy bump show?

If this is your first pregnancy, a bump will only be visible at the start of the second trimester, around weeks 12-16. If it is not your first pregnancy, your bump may be visible sooner, because belly muscles may be still stretched from your last pregnancy. Body weight, age and genes are also factors that influence how soon you will start to show a bump. If your bump shows too early, you might consider booking an appointment for an ultrasound scan to calculate the due date.

When will I have my first baby scan?

The very first scan you can take is the early pregnancy scan, which confirms whether you are pregnant or not and calculates your estimated due date. Twin pregnancy can be detected with this ultrasound. Also called viability scan, the early pregnancy scan can be taken from week 7 to week 11 of pregnancy. Your doctor or midwife might recommend this scan especially if you have had miscarriages or complications during previous pregnancies.

How soon does frequent urination start?

Frequent urination is one of the first signs of pregnancy, and will be at its peak during the first and last trimester. This is caused by the shrinkage of your bladder and by the fact that your body will start to produce more urine during pregnancy. This is a symptom you’ll have to get used to, as there is not much to do to reduce it. It’s important that you continue to drink the necessary amount of fluids. Try to give up caffeinated drinks, as these make you urinate more often and do not hydrate your body very much.

Why am I so emotional during pregnancy?

Mood swings are a common symptom during the first trimester of pregnancy. There’s not much reason to worry if you’re going from calm to irritation in seconds or if you’re feeling that your emotions are not as balanced as before. Mood swings are caused by the increase of pregnancy hormones in your body, as well as by the fact that there are many changes you need to go through during pregnancy. During the second trimester, mood swings should disappear. Read more about how to cope with mood swings and other common symptoms during early pregnancy.

11th Week of Pregnancy

As you’re heading towards the 2nd trimester of pregnancy, your headaches and nausea should start disappearing. In the 11th week already you may feel more active and symptoms of tiredness should fade. You may also notice an increase in appetite, so you will put on more weight in the following months. Your baby is developing complex features and you already have a pretty face for the ultrasound pic on the fridge.

How your baby is developing

At just over one inch and a half in length, your baby can now kick and he or she can even stretch fingers and toes. The kicks will become more frequent over the next 6 months, as your baby grows stronger. By the 11th week, your baby has distinct features, with tooth buds, nail beds, hair follicles and ear flaps already present. Her sense of smell also began to develop and will become more complex until week 30. By then, everything you eat and inhale will be smelled by your baby as well.

In-between the 11th and 13th week of pregnancy, the Nuchal Translucency baby scan can be carried out. This is an ultrasound scan that checks for certain issues, including Down syndrome, and reports initial measurements of your baby. Talk to your OB/GYN doctor about a recommended time for you to have this scan.

How your days are changing

As your morning sickness starts to wane, you may feel hungrier than usually. Stick to a healthy plan with nutritious food and pick fruits and crackers as snacks instead of junk food. Food cravings will also diminish in the next month, so it will be easier to have a balanced diet, with small and various meals. Include plenty of carbs in you plan and get as much protein as possible from nuts and dried fruits. Despite having the need to pee frequently (you have the hCG hormone to blame for that), you need to stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids. Avoid caffeine, as caffeinated drinks increase the frequency of urination. Constipation is also a common symptom due to pregnancy hormones, so it’s perfectly normal, but you can try diets that help alleviate this symptom.

You will have more energy in the following weeks, so this is the perfect time to plan a romantic trip with your partner. Most pregnant women feel at the peak of their energetic levels in the first part of the second trimester. Just make sure you’ll have everything you need for a safe travel.

The 9th Week of Pregnancy

As you’re advancing into the 3rd month of pregnancy, your baby keeps busy growing. The little one is now almost one inch long and is starting to get the baby-like look more and more each day. The eyes, nose and mouth are becoming more distinct, while tiny ear buds are appearing. Eyes will stay shut for another 5 months, but they have already developed. The essential organs have formed by now and they continue to develop and perfect their functions. Your placenta has more complex functions and has started to produce nutrients and to eliminate waste. You can’t feel anything by touching your belly just yet, but you might hear it. Around this time, your baby’s heart beat should be audible with a Doppler device, so make sure to ask for it at your next appointment.

How to take care of yourself at 9 weeks pregnant

It’s likely that your baby bump is barely visible, and yet all these highly-complex changes are going on through your body. At this stage of pregnancy, most women have symptoms of tiredness and morning sickness. Pregnancy hormones are kicking in, sometimes leading to headaches, backaches, mood swings and other symptoms.  It’s important to take really good care of yourself to diminish the negative symptoms and to make sure your body has enough activity and nutrients to keep you and your baby healthy and growing.

Set your appetite on fruits and vegetables. All day. Every day. There are no healthier and safer sources of vitamins and minerals than the natural ones – fruits and vegetables. If you are having morning sickness, your appetite could be decreased, so try to set up a meal schedule with small and regular snacks. Make it easier to adjust to your new lifestyle by seeking advice from a nutritionist or by informing yourself from the web. There are now quite a few useful apps that can help you follow a nutrition plan for the pregnancy months ahead of you.

Further preparations

Schedule an antenatal appointment with your doctor or midwife if you haven’t done so yet. This is mainly for taking routine tests, but you can also get more informed on your progress and get recommendations on eating, rest and exercise based on your medical history and condition. If you have not had a confirmation of pregnancy from your OB yet, do so by taking the first ultrasound scan, called the Early Pregnancy scan or Viability scan. Based on the early pregnancy scan, the sonographer will calculate your estimated due date and check whether you have a single pregnancy or a twin pregnancy.

After you have had confirmation of pregnancy from your doctor, you now have the certainty needed to make the official announcement to your friends, relatives, co-workers and your boss. You can show the first baby scan photos to your close ones and enjoy the wonderful experience ahead.

The 7th Week of Pregnancy

You’ve reached the halfway mark of your first trimester. Congrats! This is an important mark for most women, as it’s the first time when they can actually see their baby on a scan. It’s also an extremely busy week for your body. Your baby develops extremely fast at this time, with an astonishing rate of 100 brain cells per minute and the heart evolving into a complex organ with dedicated functions. Each baby develops differently, but usually around this week tooth buds and tongue begin to form and arm buds sprout, along with further development of ears, nostrils and eyes. Your baby’s blood type also develops around this time.

For most women, breasts grow at a peak rate and pregnancy aches become overwhelming during the 7th week of pregnancy. This can partly be caused by pregnancy hormones, but discomfort and loss of energy are also due to the fast paced developmental changes in your body. Your taste in food has probably changed. If you’ve already developed aversions towards certain foods, replace them with healthy alternatives to replenish the necessary vitamins and minerals. Due to hormones, urination is much more frequent in the 7th week. Despite that, you and you baby need more fluids intake than ever. Avoid caffeine, it’s associated with some pregnancy risks and it’s a diuretic, which means you’ll pee more. If you’re feeling tired, that’s normal, too. Your system is working swiftly on producing the placenta and developing your baby. Eat as many as 7 small meals a day and exercise lightly to keep your energy levels up.

The good news is that, starting with the 7th week, you’re becoming more aware of your baby and you can already see what’s going on in your tummy with an early pregnancy scan. Seeing their baby for the first time is a wonderful experience for both parents. Your sonographer can check if everything is developing as planned and even calculate your EED (estimated due date). It is usually also possible to detect twin pregnancy during the 7th week.

This is a time of awakening for many women, preparing them psychologically for the journey. Seeing your baby for the first time on the screen and feeling your body change drastically makes you feel closer to your baby and motivates you to eat healthier and get the proper care. You are now much, much closer to becoming a mom.

Boy or girl?

Having a child is a miracle of nature, and the news that you are expecting has probably made you feel the luckiest woman on earth. At this stage, you are basically bursting with joy, but later on you will be definitely overwhelmed with myriads of thoughts and questions focusing on your pregnancy and your future baby. One of these very first questions keeps coming back to you: Will I have a boy or a girl?
Until the first use of ultrasound in obstetrics, in the early 1960s, pregnant women called on different myths, beliefs and hypotheses to find out the gender of their future babies.

1.Cardiac Rhythm
One such belief involved the baby’s heart rhythm: so, if the baby’s heart beats faster than 140 beats per minute, it’s a girl and if the baby’s heartbeat is less than 140 beats per minute, it’s a boy.
Although there have been made several attempts to make a connection between the hearth rhythm and the gender of the future baby, only one scientific study managed to support this theory. This study has been conducted in 1993 at the University of Kentucky and has led to the following conclusions: the baby’s heart rhythm can accurately predict the gender for 91% of the male fetuses and 74% of the female fetuses.
At the same time, two other scientific studies invalidate this connection: one study has been conducted in the ‘80s by a sonographer who measured over 10.000 heartbeats; the other study has been completed recently, being published in 2006 in the first journal designed to focus on the baby as a patient “Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy”.

2.Morning Sickness
What pregnant woman hasn’t heard the line: “if you have morning sickness all day, it’s definitely a girl”. This myth has been actually studied by the Swedish scientists and the conclusions have not been however relevant. It has been found that 56% of women with a severe form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum gave birth to girls. Therefore, if you’re experiencing severe morning sickness, you may think that there are at least 50% chances to have a girl.

3.Your baby’s activity
Another theory states that an intense activity of your baby could indicate that it may be a boy. However, this is not a valid theory because if the mother is more active, her baby might be active too.

4.The Chinese Gender Chart
In the 13th century, a scientist released a theory according to which the gender of the child may be predicted by making a connection between the mother’s Chinese lunar age at the time of getting pregnant and the Chinese lunar month in which the woman has conceived. Although the Chinese Gender Chart has a good reputation in China, as a reliable gender predictor, the tests conducted on other continents showed no relevant and accurate results.

Although there are plenty of theories, myths and beliefs on finding the baby’s gender, we will stop here.
As a matter of fact, we cannot state for sure whether any of the aforementioned methods is accurate or not, but we definitely know that ultrasonography is absolutely trustworthy. Therefore, we are waiting for you to come to our clinic in central London to put an end to this mystery and to be able to buy the appropriate clothes for your baby!

Nature vs. morning sickness

Although pregnancy may be the best time of your life, it sometimes brings forth some inconveniences, such as the morning sickness (nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, also known as the NVP symptom). Most cases of morning sickness occur during the first trimester of pregnancy (reaching its peak during the 9th and 10th weeks) and last until the 14th to 16th week when the NVP usually clears up. Over 60% of new moms to be do experience this discomfort, which is accounted for by the buildup of the HCG (human chorionic gonadotopin) hormone in your system, also known as the pregnancy hormone.

Although morning sickness usually occurs during morning, NVP can affect you at any time of the day or night, and some women feel sick all day long. Frequently, the morning sickness is accompanied by bouts of nausea and vomiting, to varying degrees, affecting thus the nutrition which is highly important during pregnancy.

However, morning sickness isn’t all bad since recent studies have suggested that mothers who experience morning sickness have fewer miscarriages so there IS a bright spot in the midst of your morning, or in some cases, all day miseries.

What can I do to cure my morning sickness?

We live in a world full of quick and highly-reliable solutions for almost everything. If, for example, a headache is about to ruin my day, all I have to do is to take a pill and wait for a few minutes. However, when it comes to morning sickness, both the doctors and the new moms to be are reticent in using medicines since these may be harmful to your pregnancy, especially during the first trimester. Therefore, the natural remedies are one of the safest methods to tackle the pregnancy ailments, without bringing about any unpleasant side effects.

And….we come back to Mother Nature who offers plenty of natural remedies, such as:

Ginger

Ginger is a safe and effective natural treatment for women suffering from morning sickness, during pregnancy. Health care professionals recommend the use of fresh ginger roots: a teaspoon of grated ginger root is steeped in a cup of hot water. You can drink this tasty juice either cold or hot.

We recommend the consumption of ginger during cold autumn or winter days, when you feel the need to enjoy hot drinks; this fact is also acknowledged by the Chinese tradition which considers it as a hot remedy.

If you’re not fond of the fresh ginger savor, you may purchase either ginger capsules, from specialized stores or special ginger candies.

Due to its potential side effects, characterizing all such similar products, ginger should not be consumed for more than 3 successive weeks.

Mint

While ginger is considered to be a hot remedy, mint is a cold remedy. Mint can be consumed as a cold tea, being expressly recommended for pregnant women claiming hot flashes and similar discomforts. Mint flavor can be also found in chewing gum and different sugarless delicious confections. However, in some cases, the strong mint flavor may aggravate the queasiness and nausea.

Roman Chamomile

The Roman Chamomile tea is recommended for digestion problems and for its easeful and healing effects.

Lemon

The lemon is well known for its positive effects against pregnancy nauseas. Sometimes, all you need to do is to smell the lemon rind.  Also, the lemon, mint or mandarin essential oils are very useful in allaying morning sickness.

 

Besides these natural remedies, here are some useful and practical tips:

–          Never skip your breakfast;

–          Eat less and more often;

–          Don’t forget to take your vitamin B6;

–          Don’t eat chocolate or spicy food;

–          Avoid coffee and all beverages that contain caffeine;

–          Exercise as much as you can;

–          Drink water between meals;

–          Carefully choose your sleeping position.