What’s Normal and What’s Not: Early Pregnancy Symptoms Explained
October 26, 2022
This page examines some early pregnancy symptoms that indicate serious disease.
So you just found out you are pregnant – what could go wrong?? Hopefully, nothing – but let’s look at four common early pregnancy events, their causes, treatments and outcomes for the pregnancy.
Excess vomiting in early pregnancy.
It is not just morning sickness or bad morning sickness.
First, what is Morning sickness?
One of the common symptoms of early pregnancy is nausea and vomiting. However, not all women get it. It usually begins by the 4th – 7th week, and by week 16/20, will have settled.
Please remember that other conditions can cause vomiting in pregnancy and not just hormone changes.
Hyperemesis is severe vomiting – a severe condition that could lead to harm for both mum and baby.
This is what it looks like:
Ladies who are more likely to suffer from nausea and vomiting in pregnancy may fall into one of these groups:
Profuse vomiting, weakness, dizziness, unable to keep food/water down are at the top of the list.
The doctor’s assessment will check how severe this condition is, whether your electrolyte balance may be compromised and if you need hospital care.
When to see a Dr:
The most important indicator of dehydration is the presence of very high levels of ketones which reveals the possibility of severe dehydration.
If the doctor feels your condition is severe, you will be admitted to the gynae team to monitor, treat and ensure you and the baby do well.
If the symptoms are less severe, you are clinically stable or do not want admission; options are available.
Other tips for managing nausea and vomiting:
If untreated, pregnant women may progress to have the following:
What of the baby?
The next symptom is vaginal bleeding, which can happen in pregnancy from several causes:
Cervical ectropion is a change to the cervix. The soft cells we find inside the cervical canal spread to the outer surface of your cervix. (which usually has different types of ‘hard’ or epithelial cells).
This change is also known as cervical ectopy.
The cervix is the “neck” of your uterus, where your uterus connects to your vagina. Please check out this video on our video channel, where we talk about your cervix, including cervical ectropion.
This condition is sometimes referred to as cervical erosion. That term is old and slightly misleading. You can rest assured that your cervix isn’t really eroding.
Cervical erosion is common in women of childbearing age and on the combined pill.
Some women are born with it; others develop it along the way – it may be from hormone changes; some may develop it during pregnancy.
It’s not a disease – it doesn’t affect fertility or cause cancer.
But if present, it can be problematic for some ladies.
Symptoms of Cervical Ectopy
Many ladies with cervical ectopy have no symptoms
For those who do get them, symptoms include:
Mostly they are nuisance symptoms, and in some ladies, they can be severe.
But cervical ectropion can cause early pregnancy bleeding, making you worry until the diagnosis is established. And it is the most common cause of Bleeding during the last months of pregnancy.
How we detect and treat it
Treatment usually as a day case – it should heal after about 4 weeks, and all the trouble symptoms disappear.
Miscarriage is when a lady loses her pregnancy or baby before 24 weeks.
The most common cause of miscarriage is abnormalities within the baby, nothing you could have done or prevented.
Other causes include infection, severe stress or trauma, other maternal illness, some drugs, etc.
What it looks like:
When a woman is pregnant – with either a positive pregnancy test or symptoms (amenorrhoea, missed period, and breast tenderness):
When to see a doctor
Any episode of unscheduled vaginal bleeding with pain, when you are pregnant or suspect you are pregnant should be reported to the doctor.
Another essential condition to consider is an ectopic pregnancy which is why we do not ignore any instance of vaginal Bleeding in women of childbearing age.
We will check your vital signs first.
This is important to be sure you do not have internal bleeding, for example, if an ectopic pregnancy in the tube has burst.
A urine sample confirms pregnancy and checks if an infection may be responsible for the bleeding.
In addition, you will have a blood test to test your HCG hormone levels which can tell us if pregnancy is progressing or not by how high it is.
Next, you will need to have a transvaginal ultrasound scan to check on the progress of the pregnancy. If there is no sign of a heartbeat, this is the definitive confirmation of a miscarriage.
What happens next depends on the mum’s well-being and can include:
The next step after we diagnose a miscarriage depends on the treatment option:
An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that develops outside the womb.
In about 30% of cases, we cannot tell who will end up with an ectopic pregnancy.
However, other conditions that could make it likely to happen are:
What are the Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy?
Important tests when we suspect an ectopic pregnancy include:
Following diagnosis, some treatment options are available – depending on how ‘clinically stable’ you are.
An unstable condition is if there is very heavy bleeding or your pulse and blood pressure levels are abnormal.
Some ladies, however, are well (stable) at the time of diagnosis – bleeding is light, and there are no obvious complications yet.
These options are:
Editing By AskAwayHealth Team
All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising Medical Practitioners on various healthcare conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality healthcare.
The advice in our material is not meant to replace a qualified healthcare practitioner’s management of your specific condition.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner here.
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