THERE may be no visible signs of pregnancy, but according to obstetrician-gynaecologist at ICON Medical Centre Dr Keisha Buchanan, for many expecting mothers, even before their first missed period, their bodies undergo a physical and sometimes emotional and mental transformation.
“Many women begin to feel pregnancy symptoms from as soon as three and a half weeks after the first day of their last period. They start to feel symptoms that mimic pre-menstrual symptoms,” Dr Buchanan shared.
She pointed out that most women suspect that they are pregnant upon missing their periods, and around that time they may notice common symptoms like nausea. But there are also a number of other changes that a woman may experience in the first few weeks of pregnancy before the missed period, and these include:
1. Urinary frequency
Urinary frequency is a common symptom of early pregnancy. If you're going to the bathroom more often, this is one to watch.
2. Pelvic cramps
Pelvic cramps are usually seen in a normal pregnancy and intense cramps may be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy located outside of the uterus in the tubes). In early pregnancy, a woman may feel similar cramping to what she feels when her menstruation is approaching.
Spotting may have occurred a few days prior to the expected onset of the period. This is usually implantation bleeding.
4. A heightened sense of smell
There is a heightened sense of smell and often increased nausea. This usually starts by the first five to six weeks but can start later as the pregnancy hormones surge. Foods that are greasy or spicy may trigger nausea and vomiting. Meats such as beef may be too hard to digest and may trigger nausea and vomiting. A heightened sense of smell of scents such as perfumes and cleaning agents may cause irritation and vomiting.
Lethargy, weakness, tiredness and nausea are common normal symptoms that may persist during pregnancy. These are common symptoms and may make it harder to perform at work or do housework or engage in social activities as the mother-to-be may “feel out of it”.
Early surges in the pregnancy hormones can cause bloating of the intestines and early abdominal distension. Bloating is often accompanied by constipation.
7. Breast tenderness
Breast tenderness is a common presentation as the breasts undergo early changes to prepare for breast milk production.
Dizziness and fainting, according to Dr Buchanan, are also among the common early signs of pregnancy. These are due to dilation of blood vessels or low blood sugar. These symptoms should always be assessed by a doctor to ensure that fainting is not due to anything sinister such as heart disease.