Everyone is aware that their bodies change during pregnancy. Women experience a wide variety of symptoms ranging from fatigue, nausea, frequent urination, breast changes, mood swings, “metallic” taste in the mouth, constipation, and even acid reflux.
Of the variety of symptoms considered a normal part of your pregnancy, you may have had some or all of these symptoms at some point in your life. However, you may notice an increase in their frequency during pregnancy because when you are pregnant, your immune system is compromised, and you are more susceptible to infection and disease. Fortunately, most pregnancy symptoms resolve themselves before or after delivery and do not require medical intervention. The most common are:
Many women feel very tired early in their pregnancy and that makes sense—creating a baby takes a lot of energy. As a matter of fact, being really tired is often one of the first signs of pregnancy. Fortunately, this does not typically last the whole pregnancy and chances are you will start to feel less fatigued around week 12, once the placenta has fully formed.
Nausea is one of the most widely recognized side effects of pregnancy. It occurs due to an increase in hormone levels and about 80 percent of women experience these “morning sickness” symptoms during the first 3 months of pregnancy. For many women, this nausea is not even limited to just the morning – some feel it all day long.
Beginning about six weeks into the first trimester, frequent urination becomes one of the most common complaints. The change occurs shortly after becoming pregnant because hormonal changes cause blood to flow faster through the kidneys, thus filling the bladder more often. In fact, as the pregnancy progresses, the amount of blood in your body increases until you have almost 50 percent more than before the pregnancy begun. This means a lot of extra fluid gets processed through your kidneys and ends up in your bladder.
During pregnancy, hormonal changes cause increased blood flow and changes in the breast tissue, which may make your breasts feel tingly, sore, unusually sensitive to touch, and swollen. Some women compare the feeling as pain or an amplified version of how their breasts feel during their period.
You may experience emotional mood swings all throughout your pregnancy. It is natural to go through a wide range of emotions as your hormones are adjusting and your body is changing.
Metallic Taste in the Mouth
Although this does not occur to the majority of women, it is normal to sense an odd “metallic” taste in your mouth during pregnancy. Unfortunately, there is no scientific explanation for this symptom, and for some women, the “taste” can last throughout their entire pregnancy.
Many pregnant women suffer from constipation. Signs of constipation include having hard, dry stools; painful bowel movements; and fewer than three weekly bowel movements. This occurs because higher levels of pregnancy hormones slow down digestion and relax muscles in the bowels. Additionally, the expanding uterus can put pressure on the bowels, which can also contribute to constipation.
Pregnancy increases your risk of experiencing acid reflux or “heartburn.” During the first trimester, muscles in the esophagus push food more slowly into the stomach and the stomach itself takes longer to empty. This gives your body extra time to absorb nutrients for the baby, but can also result in very unpleasant heartburn.
Experiencing one or more of the symptoms on this list should not cause you alarm. Be aware, however, that symptoms are sometimes aggravated by factors such as stress. If not managed well, stress may not only worsen many symptoms, but also cause further problems. For symptoms that persist regardless treatment recommended by your doctor, further evaluation, possibly by a specialist is recommended.