Dr Meenal Dhabalia, M.D (Gynaecologist & Obstetrician) having a vast experience of 25 years answers the most frequently asked questions about early pregnancy symptoms, signs before missed periods, myths, care to be taken in the early stages of experiencing pregnancy symptoms and much more in this write-up.
Frequently asked questions on pregnancy symptoms:
Q.1) What are the early symptoms of pregnancy?
First and foremost symptoms of pregnancy is Amenorrhea which means the absence of menses. Especially in those who have a regular menstrual cycle. This symptom may mislead if you have an irregular menstrual cycle.
Nausea is the feeling of vomiting sensation (generally called morning sickness) which is quite a common symptom of pregnancy. Some may experience nausea in the morning while some in the evening. Few lucky ones do not have this symptom and in some pregnancies, not nausea would be accompanied by vomiting which can be very tiring.
Early pregnancy can give symptoms of frequent urination. The body pumps up more blood in pregnancy, causing more fluids being processed by the kidney, leading to frequent urination.
This is one of the very early symptoms of pregnancy. Breasts may feel painful, tender, fuller for some. The areola, the area around the nipples, may also darken.
5) Spotting and cramping
When the fertilized egg attaches to the wall of the uterus, spotting or cramps may occur. This is due to implantation bleeding. This may occur within 6 to 12 days of fertilization of the egg.
6) Sensitivity to smell
Strong smell especially tempering to a dish or garlic in food may cause nausea for some and may make them feel uncomfortable.
7) Unusual cravings
Not all women experience this symptom. Some report food aversions while some women like to eat certain foods like sweets, tangy, spicy teats etc. Many women experience this feeling in the latter part of pregnancy and not in the early stage.
8) Change of taste
Many women talk about a strange metallic taste that is persistent even after eating a meal or having a snack.
Q.2) Are there any emotional symptoms of pregnancy?
Initially, there may not be any emotional symptoms in most of the patients but later on, as pregnancy advances, women can have symptoms due to out surge of pregnancy hormones. They can feel sleepy, weak or a bit depressed. Few may feel elated in early pregnancy.
Q.3) What are the week to week symptoms of pregnancy?
Timeline of pregnancy symptoms (may differ on a case to case basis)
1 to 4 week :
The first to fourth week of pregnancy will not have any symptoms except missed menses in most of the cases.
Few patients may have mild cramps in abdomen n slight spotting which may be due to implantation of the fertilized embryo in the uterus.
4 to 6 week :
Some women may have nausea, tiredness n tender breasts.
6 to 8 week :
Frequent urination, nausea and bloating feeling, mood swings n temperature changes.
Q.4) How early can I know about my pregnancy?
Pregnancy can be diagnosed as early as 5 to 7 days of missed periods in those who have regular menses.
In those with delayed or irregular menses, it may depend on how irregular the cycle is. It may vary from 15 days to one-month post menses date. In a few patients, only a visit to the Gynaec can diagnose the pregnancy.
Q.5) Can I experience pregnancy symptoms before missed periods?
Most of the pregnant women will not have any symptoms until they miss their menses. Few can experience breast pain n light discharge from the breast.
Q.6) What are the ways to check if pregnancy has occurred?
Those who are trying for pregnancy with regular menses, if they miss their menses, chances of pregnancy are high.
One can do urinary BHCG test which is available as a strip with chemist though it does not have high predictive value.
Your doctor can advice blood test for detection of BHCG (hormone of pregnancy) which is more accurate.
Q.7) After getting pregnancy symptoms, when should I consult the doctor?
Do not wait for the pregnancy symptoms and signs to appear to visit your Gynaec. After you miss your menses date by 5 to 7 days, please visit your doctor.
Q.8) Do all women experience pregnancy symptoms?
Not all pregnant women experience symptoms. Few may not know about the pregnancy until they visit their Gynaecologist.
Q.9) What care should be taken before you experience pregnancy symptoms?
Once you know that you can be pregnant, irrespective of the symptoms, you should take care of your diet, take prenatal vitamins as prescribed by the doctor, sleep and try to be happy and active.
Q.10) What you should ask your doctor when you come to know you are pregnant?
When you visit your Gynaec and he or she confirms your pregnancy, a few important points to ask your doctor
- Is this a single or twin pregnancy?
- Is pregnancy at the right place in the uterus?
- Is this not an ectopic pregnancy?
- Is pregnancy looking healthy?
- Is there any risk factors related to pregnancy?
- What precautions you have to take until your next visit?
- What diet you should take in the early phase of pregnancy?
- What is absolute No-No in pregnancy?
Q.11 ) What are the common myths in pregnancy?
Myths you should be away from :
1) Don’t visit the doctor until you have symptoms of pregnancy.
You should visit your Gynarc as early as possible once you miss your menses. It not only confirms your pregnancy, but a doctor can diagnose if there are twins or if its an ectopic pregnancy. Each one of these requires different treatment.
2) Internal or per vaginal examination can cause bleeding or abortions.
Internal/ per vaginal examination is a must some times. Bleeding and abortions are never due to this.
3)Pregnant women should not eat papaya, eggs or a few other foods.
Most of the food whether papaya or eggs in moderation is good in pregnancy. It can never cause abortions. Ask you, doctor, specifically if in doubt.
4) Drinking milk with saffron or drinking coconut water will give fair babies.
The colour of your baby depends on the parents colour. Be aware ladies that your baby is your genetic replica. Why on earth would you want your baby to look different from you or your partner?
Q.12 Final tips (conclusion)
It is better to be aware of the facts related to pregnancy symptoms to seek timely help and care.
Did you experience any other symptoms of pregnancy? Share with us in the comments below. We love to get your feedback on our posts so feel free to comment.
About the Author
Dr. Meenal Dhabalia, M.D (Gynaecologist & Obstetrician)
She has a robust experience of 25 years as an Infertility Consultant, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Laparoscopic surgeon. Her expertise in Infertility treatment, High-risk pregnancy and Gynaec endoscopy is well known. She is the Medical Director of Aditi IVF and Medical Centre, Dattani Park, Kandivali East, Mumbai. She is also the Chief Consultant in Aditi Superspeciality Hospital, Asha Nagar, Kandivali East Mumbai.