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  • Embracing The Changes: Your Checklist Of The Most Common Pregnancy Symptoms

    Some you'll experience fleetingly, while others persist or get worse as your pregnancy progresses.
    by Rachel Perez .
Embracing The Changes: Your Checklist Of The Most Common Pregnancy Symptoms
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  • If you’re planning to get pregnant, and are expecting to get morning sickness in the first trimester and a ballooning belly moving forward, you’re up for a few surprises. Women go through a lot of body changes and experience a variety of pregnancy symptoms

    Every pregnancy is different, as well as the symptoms each preggo experiences. Some women experience a lot of pregnancy symptoms, while others only feel a handful. Some pregnancy symptoms last only temporarily, but there are some that you’d have to deal with for the whole nine months.

    Many pregnant women breeze through managing the symptoms, while others need careful attention and management. Prepare for your lifestyle to change considerably. But don’t worry, it’s all going to be worth it. 

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    23 most common pregnancy symptoms

    You can blame almost all of the pregnancy symptoms on a woman’s fluctuating hormones, especially during the first trimester when the body transitions into pregnancy mode. Aside from gaining weight (of course), expect these common pregnancy symptoms.

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    Missed period

    This is the first sign and the most common pregnancy symptom, and you cannot miss it if you have a regular menstrual cycle. Women with irregular cycles don’t notice this outright unless they are actively trying to conceive. If your period is delayed, wait 10 to 14 days to take a pregnancy test.

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    Tender, swollen breasts

    Do you notice that your breasts feel tender and bigger or heavier than usual? Your nipples are also starting to darken, and you start seeing veins on your chest. These are signs that your breasts are preparing for milk production nine months later. Nearing your due date, your breasts may start to leak milk. 

    Nausea and/or vomiting

    Popularly known as morning sickness, nausea with or without vomiting (though you may feel like you’re always about to vomit) is common, but not all preggos get it. On the other hand, some women experience an extreme version of morning sickness, called hyperemesis gravidarum. It’s so bad they need to be hooked into an intravenous fluid to prevent dehydration. 

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    Nausea and vomiting may go away after the first trimester or persist until the second or even third trimester. Also, it doesn’t always happen in the morning, as the name suggests, and may strike any time of the day (or the whole day). 

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    Frequent urination

    Your body is working double-time, producing more blood to sustain a growing baby inside you. This means your bladder is working just as hard as well. As your baby inside you grows, your uterus will start to press on your bladder, which means going to the bathroom to pee more often.

    Increased vaginal discharge

    Your increased blood volume causes increased bodily fluids, including vaginal discharge during pregnancy (also called leukorrhea). Expect to your replace pantyliners often as your pregnancy progresses, as your vaginal discharge increases, too. Ensure that you practice proper hygiene down there because increased vaginal discharge makes preggos more prone to infection. 

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    Fatigue

    You’re going to feel more tired than usual. It's not only because your body is working hard, but also your rising levels of the hormone progesterone is making you feel more sleepy. The sleepiness may disappear, but the exhaustion will persist. 

    Shortness of breath

    You’ll find yourself short of breath even if you’re just going about your typical daily routine and chores. Your growing uterus will take up more space in your abdomen, so your lungs don't have a lot of room to take in a lot of air. Remember to take it easy, mama. 

    Mood swings 

    You might be emotional and find yourself crying over the littlest thing that wouldn’t usually affect you if you weren’t expecting. You'll find yourself easliy tearing up over the shows you watch or a tiny pimple. Mood swings can also affect your attitude towards people, like your partner. 

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    Food cravings and aversions

    Just like mood swings, you’ll crave for particular food out of the blue, maybe even something you haven't tried before. Some preggos get emotional when they don't get to fulfill their cravings. You may also develop an aversion to tastes and odors you usually wouldn’t gag at the sight or smell of, like your husband’s aftershave.

    Heightened sense of smell

    You will catch certain odors even if the source is meters away from you. You’ll have an idea what’s cooking in your kitchen or get a whiff of tobacco smoke even when its nowhere near you. Some odors may be too strong for you, too, even if they're far away. 

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    Constipation

    Again, the pregnancy hormone progesterone relaxes your muscles, including the muscles in your intestines that move things along when you pass bowel movement. Make sure to eat a high-fiber diet to help you not strain when you poop.

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    Bloatedness and gas

    This is another symptom similar to what you feel when you’re about to have your menstrual period. Get used to feeling bloated more often, and passing a lot of gas, too. 

    Nasal congestion

    The increase in bodily fluids is the culprit. Since more blood is flowing through your body, it can cause your mucus membranes to swell, dry out, and bleed easily, which can cause a stuffy or runny nose. 

    Bleeding gums

    Pregnant women are more prone to gingivitis or bleeding gums because of hormones and increased blood volume. You may notice this when you brush your teeth. It’s crucial for pregnant women to practice proper dental care.

    Heartburn

    It’s the burning sensation pregnant women feel as their hormones cause the upper stomach muscles to relax, allowing acid to go back up the esophagus. If you’re further along in the pregnancy, your uterus will push on your stomach, which causes the release of acids upward.

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    Leg cramps

    Aside from hormones, leg cramps may be due to low calcium and magnesium levels since they’re essential for the baby’s development. Eat healthily and take your doctor-prescribed supplements religiously.

    Varicose veins

    Having a higher blood volume means your veins also work hard to pump blood, which carries oxygen and nutrients to the placenta and your baby, as well as the rest of your body. A pregnant woman's elevated levels of the hormone estrogen can also make the walls of your veins softer. Varicose veins should go away after birth. 

    Swelling

    Pagmamanas is caused by increased blood and fluid production. Because your veins carry more blood throughout your system, small amounts of blood leak through tiny blood vessels into the tissues. With fluid retention, this can lead to swelling. Having ample exercise while pregnant can help prevent swelling. 

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    Headaches

    This may be due to extra blood pumping in your body, but don’t ignore pregnancy headaches. It could be a sign of preeclampsia or high blood pressure during pregnancy. Remember to take it easy, and get plenty of rest.

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    Stretch marks, dark skin spots

    A pregnant woman may either break out or have glowing skin, or experience both. Pregnancy skin changes also include darkening of the armpits, neck, and having a dark vertical line (linea negra) on your tummy. Some preggos develop skin pigmentation on the face and stretch marks on their belly, breasts, and thighs (basically any part of the body that grows bigger). These skin changes should disappear after giving birth, except for stretch marks, which will only lighten over time. 

    Backaches

    Since your bump is growing, your body’s center of gravity shifts, too. This adds pressure on your lower back and lower abdomen. Always maintain correct posture while sitting and make sure you have ample back support. (Click here for more tips to relive preggos of backaches.)

    Round ligament pain

    These are sharp or crampy “growing pains” in your mid-section as the ligaments from your groin area to your abdomen get pulled apart by your expanding uterus. You’ll notice this when you’re changing positions or when you laugh, cough, or sneeze. 

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    Braxton Hicks contractions

    Described as a tightening of the belly or parts of it, Braxton Hicks are  mild contractions that prepare your uterus for delivering your baby. They’re less intense than real labor contractions and do not make your cervix dilate. (Read more about it here.)

    These are just some pregnancy symptoms that are common in pregnant woman. There are symptoms that only a few pregnant women encounter during their journey. There is no telling what symptoms you're going to have, even if you're on your second or succeeding pregnancies. The important things is to always consult your doctor to check if it is normal or it could be a sign of possible complications, and how to manage it so you can still enjoy your pregnancy journey. 

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