This lovely affliction affects many pregnant women, but by no means all. It’s estimated that only 50% of women will experience morning sickness.
It is not very well named either. Any variation of sickness is applicable. Some women are sick only in the night, some are sick all day, other women it comes and goes with its own pattern. There is also a difference in whether it’s merely a queasy feeling or actual vomiting.
Some women will actually have a severe form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum. This can lead to dehydration and other problems.
Ouch! Don’t touch that! Breast tenderness is experienced by many women, both during pregnancy and prior to their periods. This usually goes away during the second trimester, or it may be experienced as a heighten sensitivity.
This can be a good thing for some women. Or you can do what I did: poke your breasts so often to check for tenderness that you can’t decide if you caused the tenderness or not.
Headaches are more common in pregnancy due to the changes in hormones. This may be a pregnancy symptom, but it is not necessarily a pregnancy sign. There are many things that could cause this, including stress.
Some women do begin to bloat nearly immediately. Again, this is a symptom of pregnancy, but not necessarily a sign. There are also women who will have bloating prior to a period.
Vaginal discharge, without itching or burning, may be a sign of pregnancy. The cervix is building your mucous plug to block the opening of the cervix to help protect your baby from infections, etc. You might notice a slight increase in vaginal secretions. Again, it’s shouldn’t smell, burn or itch. These would be signs of infection that would require proper medical treatment.
Sorting it all out
As I said before some women will sail through pregnancy with never a problem, while others seem to have it all. There are many things you can do to ease these symptoms of early pregnancy (and the later ones too!). Most of these will disappear by the early portion of your second trimester. The only time you should be concerned about disappearing symptoms is when they suddenly stop before the 10th week of pregnancy. This may be nothing, or it could indicate a problem with the pregnancy.
Hang in there!
Revision date: July 6, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD