What are the first symptoms of pregnancy? Am I pregnant or just an impression of myself? Are they just the classic premenstrual symptoms or is pregnancy? Is it normal what is happening to me, or do I have to go to a doctor?
All women, when they start to feel something “strange” in their bodies, start asking themselves a lot of questions. Let’s try to clarify the concept of pregnancy, first symptoms and effects on a woman’s body.
Pregnancy: first symptoms – the delay of the menstrual cycle
One of the first symptoms of pregnancy or important element to consider, is certainly the delay of the menstrual cycle. Obviously it is very easy to detect when you have a regular menstrual cycle. In case of irregularity, it is less effective to consider this element as an index of pregnancy. To check if you are pregnant or not, just take a pregnancy test from the first day of late menstruation. For example, the urine test you buy at a pharmacy can check for the presence of the beta-hCG hormone as early as 12-14 days after conception. If done too early, however, it may result in a false negative.
Pregnancy: first symptoms – Sensitivity to odours
Another element to consider is a greater sensitivity to odors. It is very likely that during pregnancy you will be able to feel smells never felt before, or that usual smells may be altered. According to some scholars, it could be an innate protection of the mother against the child. In fact, foods that can easily deteriorate, such as meat or fish, or substances that should be avoided such as alcohol, coffee and cigarettes, are perceived by the mother as extremely unpleasant.
Pregnancy: early symptoms – Nausea
Nausea is one of the first symptoms of pregnancy, indeed it is one of the main disorders that afflict pregnant women during the first trimester. The first trimester is in fact the trimester defined as the period of functional adaptations and is certainly the most delicate period: the body in fact creates the environmental conditions to accommodate the future unborn child. Therefore, symptoms related to the digestive system, including nausea, are very common in this period.
Nausea can accompany pregnancy until the fifth month of gestation, and then disappear gradually. Although not present in all women who are pregnant, nausea affects more than 50% of women who are expecting a baby. This happens because of chorionic gonadotropin, a pregnancy hormone.
Pregnancy: early symptoms – tiredness and hunger
Although sometimes even some symptoms can cause a woman to doubt whether they are simple premenstrual symptoms or pregnancy, one of the warning bells for a possible pregnancy is an important increase in hunger and fatigue.
The transformation generated by pregnancy requires the woman to eat more, therefore more nutrients and more energy. The important thing is therefore to maintain a proper diet supported by supplements, which must obviously be prescribed by the doctor.
Pregnancy: early symptoms – breast and tension
The breast is the first to change. The mammary glands in fact grow, and make it firmer and larger, while the areola and nipples darken.
It is also normal to feel a different tension in the lower abdomen than usual and a few small twists now and then or the feeling of small tears. This happens because the uterus grows up, to host first the embryo and then the fetus. The blood supply increases and new vessels appear and all this can be accompanied by a typical feeling of heaviness.
Abnormal symptoms in the first months of pregnancy
Once the presence of a pregnancy has been verified, at the time of the first analysis it is possible to understand and evaluate the precautions to be taken. In fact, thanks to the first tests you can prevent damage that can often be irreversible and help to understand if there are symptoms that may indicate something wrong.
It is very important to consult your doctor about any symptom that is considered strange or that may arouse suspicion. It is only the doctor who can decide whether to be alarmed or not.
Blood loss – is this normal?
In the first weeks of pregnancy, when the period of menstruation should have occurred, there may be a small loss of dark red blood. This usually frightens the future mother very much, even if it is often not serious. In the event of a blood loss, it is very important to get in touch with your doctor immediately, however, to avoid some more serious problems.
Vaginal losses – are they normal?
During the first months of pregnancy, it is important to be careful of any vaginal discharge due to some changes in the uterus. From the first weeks of pregnancy, in fact, vaginal secretions increase, with the aim of protecting the genital apparatus from infection.
In fact, some microorganisms that are responsible for infections may remain incorporated in the secretions and then be expelled. These microorganisms can reach the vagina from the outside, or they can multiply abnormally, becoming aggressive. However, this natural protection is not always sufficient to counteract the development of the two forms of infections proper to the vagina, such as “vaginitis” and “vaginosis”.
Infection symptoms – what to do?
In the presence of symptoms such as the appearance of intense itching, very consistent abnormal vaginal secretions, sometimes smelly, discomfort and burning urination, development of blisters in the genital area, abdominal pain, swelling of the lymph nodes located in the groin and other abnormal symptoms, you should immediately contact your specialist, to understand if you are in the presence of a possible infection, potentially dangerous for gestation.
Contractions during pregnancy – can it happen?
Contractions, if everything in the pregnancy is going well, should only appear when it is time to give birth. If they occur before the end of the pregnancy, you should go immediately to the hospital, because they may be a sign that something is not going well. If they are a sign of premature childbirth, early intervention may save the day. In fact, there are medicines that, together with rest, can allow the pregnancy to continue until the right end (38th week). From the seventh-eighth month, on the other hand, painless contractions begin, during which the uterus stiffens for a few moments and then relaxes again, in an absolutely painless manner.
Infertility and pregnancy
But what happens if, despite attempts to have a baby, the pregnancy does not come? According to the WHO (World Health Organization), infertility is a real disease that affects about 15% of couples. Infertility is defined as the absence of conception following targeted and unprotected intercourse for 12 months.
When you have a suspicion of infertility, it is necessary for the couple to go to a specialist who can perform the necessary tests in order to advise the right path to follow.
Assisted Reproduction Techniques
Assisted reproduction techniques can be a valuable aid for many couples with infertility problems.
In IVI, the largest assisted reproduction group in the world, each case is analyzed in a personalized way and if necessary, a multidisciplinary medical team is made available (Endocrinology, Genetics, Psychology, Immunology, “Unidad de Salud del Varón”, “Mama”, Surgery, Maternal-Fetal Team and Pediatrics) to allow a concrete solution to the problem of infertility.
This is also demonstrated by the data available on Medically Assisted Reproduction in Italy. In fact, it is estimated that more than 74,000 couples in 2015 used medically assisted procreation techniques, compared to 69,000 in 2010.
Data from IVI Rome also confirm this trend. In 2015, the year of opening of the IVI center in Rome, 193 treatments of patients coming from the IVI center in the capital were managed in the Spanish clinics IVI. In 2017 the number rose to 1,187.
In general, the average age of women who avail themselves of the aid of assisted fertilization is 36 years, but in reality there is a continuous and constant increase in the over 40 who in 2015 were more than a third of the total, when just ten years earlier accounted for 20%.