Pregnancy Symptoms

Causes of the common pregnancy symptoms

Morning sickness or just plain nausea is the most common and most widely experienced early pregnancy symptom. It is believed to be hormonal.

There are many hormones produced by the fetus and the placenta. 

The onset of morning sickness is usually within three to four weeks of conception and will normally subside and disappear around ten to twelve weeks of gestation. Sometimes it persists for up to 14 to 16 weeks and, in exceptional cases, it may continue throughout the pregnancy. 

Another less common scenario is where the symptoms disappear as expected at about twelve weeks, only to come back towards the end of pregnancy.

Smoking exacerbates morning sickness. The severe form of pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting is regarded as path­ological and is discussed in a later. It is called hyperemesis gravidarum.

Dizziness and bloatedness in pregnancy

Normally, diziness starts later on in pregnancy. 

The cause is partially hormonal: Progesterone hormone, which is abundant during pregnancy, causes blood pressure to fall, especially when one is rising from a recumbent (lying) position.

The other cause of dizziness, if the mother has been lying on her back, is the pressure of the pregnant womb on the big blood vessels in her abdominal cavity. This interferes with the blood-flow back to the heart and, on sitting or standing up, she may feel faint. In fact, this flat-on-your-back position is discouraged during pregnancy, because it also reduces the blood supply to the womb and therefore the fetus.

Bloatedness or the feeling of uncomfortable fullness is also a result of the high levels of progesterone. Progesterone has the effect of causing fluid retention. 

Breasts changes in early pregnancy

Several hormones also act to promote increased breast size, which is a physiological preparation for feeding the baby. The breasts will therefore feel heavy, slightly engorged and may even feel a little tender.

Bowel habit changes in pregnancy

Constipation is quite common in pregnancy and again the culprit is the hormone progesterone.

Some women experience heartburn; again this is caused by progesterone. Both problems clear up after the birth and treatment of the symptoms in pregnancy is usually unsatisfactory.

Sugar in the urine during pregnancy (Glycosuria)

Don’t panic if sugar is detected in your urine during pregnancy. This is not necessarily abnormal. Changes in blood-flow through the kidneys mean that loss of sugar through the urine may occur in pregnancy, with the woman being perfectly healthy. 

Urine sugar cannot and should never be used to monitor diabetes management in pregnancy. 

In the presence of other suspicious features – such as undue thirst, large fetal size and excessive amniotic fluid volume, sugar in the urine may prompt investigation for diabetes in pregnancy. 

When sugar in urine is found in isolation, it is of little or no significance.