Pregnancy comes with a lot of unknowns. How one woman’s body reacts is an entirely unique experience. Some pregnant women face a whole host of symptoms, while some go unscathed. No matter how your pregnancy journey goes, knowing what is normal during pregnancy and what is not can keep you feeling confident about the adventure to come.
Conditions Of Normal And Abnormal Pregnancy
Raleigh OB/GYN believes pregnancy is one of your life’s most beautiful and exciting times. A basic understanding of what’s normal during pregnancy and knowing what may indicate a problem can help you keep your baby safe throughout the nine months.
Normal Pregnancy Symptoms
Pregnancy can bring on several physical and emotional changes but vary from woman to woman. It is essential to understand some of the changes you might experience throughout your pregnancy.
Swelling, Aches, And Pains
When you’re pregnant, your body tends to hold more water than usual. This water retention can lead to swelling. Often, the extra water congregates in the lower parts of your body, such as your feet, ankles, and fingers. Additionally, the weight of your growing baby can also affect blood flow to your legs, leading to swelling. Many women also experience aches and pains while pregnant, another symptom that is common during pregnancy.
Gastrointestinal issues are common during pregnancy. Your growing baby creates less room for GI functions, and your hormones are all out of whack. Common GI issues during pregnancy include nausea, vomiting, constipation, heartburn, and diarrhea. If any of your symptoms become severe or unmanageable, talk to your doctor.
At first glance, skin discoloration during your pregnancy may be alarming. However, developing dark, irregular patches, also known as chloasma, is normal during pregnancy. Women may experience this pigmentation disorder due to darker skin complexion, hormonal changes, or the use of oral contraceptives.
Abnormal Pregnancy Symptoms
During pregnancy, it is not uncommon to have some uncomfortable and unpleasant symptoms. However, some symptoms may indicate a serious problem. Education on certain symptoms that can lead to an abnormal pregnancy is of the utmost importance.
In the early stages of your pregnancy, experiencing light bleeding, called “spotting,” is harmless. The NHS suggests this happens when the developing embryo plants itself in the wall of the womb. However, heavy bleeding in later trimesters is not normal during pregnancy. Causes of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy include growth on the cervix, problems with the placenta, or may indicate preterm labor. If you experience bleeding later in your pregnancy, contact your OB/GYN immediately.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure during pregnancy is called gestational hypertension or, in serious cases, preeclampsia. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggest severe and uncontrolled high blood pressure during pregnancy can cause serious complications for you and your fetus. Because high blood pressure during pregnancy does not often cause any symptoms, your OB/GYN should check your blood pressure during every prenatal appointment.
Preterm Labor Symptoms
Preterm labor is when a pregnant woman experiences regular contractions that result in the opening of the cervix after 20 weeks of pregnancy and before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Signs and symptoms of preterm labor include
- Sensations of abdominal tightening (contractions)
- Dull pain in the lower back
- Pelvic or lower abdomen pressure
- Vaginal spotting or bleeding
- Preterm rupture of membranes
- A change in vaginal discharge
Preterm labor can result in premature birth, which often leads to your baby needing special attention in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). If you are experiencing any symptoms of preterm labor, it is important to contact your doctor or OB/GYN immediately.
Pregnancy can be a wonderful time; however, you need to know what is normal during pregnancy and what are serious symptoms. Possessing this knowledge can help you have a happy, healthy, and full-term pregnancy. At Raleigh OB/GYN Centre, we offer a full range of obstetrical care from preconception to delivery. For more information about what is normal during pregnancy and what is not, schedule an appointment with our team of dedicated providers.