Pregnancy Signs & Symptoms
Early Pregnancy Symptoms1
Delay/Difference in Menstruation
A delayed or missed menstruation is the most common pregnancy symptom. When you become pregnant, your next period should be missed. Many women can bleed while they are pregnant, but typically the bleeding will be shorter or lighter than a normal period.
Other Explanations: Excessive weight gain/loss, fatigue, hormonal problems, tension, stress, ceasing to take the birth control pill, or breast-feeding.
- Swollen/Tender Breasts
- Nausea/Morning Sickness
- Frequent Urination
- Darkening of Areolas
- Food Cravings or Aversions
- Mood Swings
Symptoms of Possible Complications
If you think you may be pregnant and are experiencing any of the following physical problems, call your doctor or go to the emergency department right away:
- Vaginal bleeding of any amount
- Abdominal pain with a fever
- Cramping and abdominal pain more than your period
- Burning with urination
- Puffiness in your hands or face
- Excessive vomiting
Any of the above symptoms could indicate serious complications and must be addressed by a medical professional immediately.
Pregnancy begins at conception, when an egg is fertilized by the sperm. Conception usually occurs in the fallopian tube. In a healthy pregnancy the zygote implants somewhere in the uterine wall. In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg (zygote) most commonly implants in the fallopian tube. However, ectopic pregnancy can also occur in the ovary, the abdomen, and the cervical canal (the opening from the uterus to the vaginal canal). The phrases tubal pregnancy, ovarian pregnancy, cervical pregnancy, and abdominal pregnancy refer to the specific area of an ectopic pregnancy.1
In the early stages, symptoms may be the same as with any normal pregnancy, including missed period, swollen or tender breasts, increased fatigue, nausea, and increased urination. However, as the pregnancy progresses, the embryo may outgrow its surroundings causing pelvic or abdominal pain and sometimes light-headedness or fainting. It’s important to always follow up a positive home pregnancy test with your health care professional to ensure that the pregnancy is normal. An ultrasound can be performed to confirm the presence of a fetal sac in the uterus.
Ectopic pregnancies are not viable, meaning they cannot naturally continue, and if not addressed could cause serious harm or death to both the mother and child. Surgery is required to remove the fetus and repair or remove any damaged surrounding tissues. If not caught early, ectopic pregnancies can cause internal hemorrhaging and may be fatal. Fortunately, ectopic pregnancies are rare and occur in only approximately 1% of pregnancies.
1 American Pregnancy Association (2019). Pregnancy Symptoms – Early Signs of Pregnancy. Retrieved from: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/gettingpregnant/earlypregnancysymptoms.html
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