Pregnancy

The stages of early pregnancy

Early pregnancyEven before you’ve missed a period, you may suspect – or hope – you are pregnant. Usually, the early signs are obvious – nausea, a bloated tummy, period pain-like cramps, fuller breasts, and loss of sexual desire. However, some women don’t even notice they’ve a baby on the way. Their symptoms of pregnancy don’t become obvious for weeks or even months after conception!

So, in the early stages you may feel very little, just a bit different, or downright terrible. But regardless of how fabulous or how rubbish you feel physically, there’s a chance your emotions could go into overdrive. New hormones racing around your body in early pregnancy combined with looming motherhood could be responsible.

Your emotions may surprise you in early pregnancy

Your reactions and emotions to finding out you are pregnant, will be impacted by a whole range of factors – including your intention to become pregnant, your hopes and your current situation. Whilst for some this will bring great excitement, for others it may lead to shock or disbelief, whilst others may feel apprehensive, particularly if you have experienced miscarriages in the past.

A few women confidently sail through pregnancy, high on the thrill of it all. Or so they breezily tell you. But many women find their feelings aren’t always on an even keel, especially during the early days. Many women report all kinds of ups and downs. So, if you do feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster right now, it’s ok – you’re certainly not the first, nor will you be the last!

You might go through feeling some of the following, just try to relax and know it’s normal to be a bit apprehensive at the start of such a big stage of your life:

  • Excitement, wonder and anticipation mixed with fear and trepidation
  • Pride in your womanliness one minute, resentment the next
  • Wanting a baby but doubting your ability to be a ‘good’ mother
  • A desire for secrecy versus overwhelming urges to tell absolutely everyone you’re pregnant
  • Loving the baby’s father one day, leaving him the next. Or at least threatening to (at the top of your lungs)
  • Grief for the loss of your ‘girlhood’, your career aspirations or the carefree party life of a childless woman
  • Admiration for your ‘baby bump’ and swelling breasts underwritten by worry about how your body is going look post-birth
  • Crying over sad stories or pictures of babies and mothers, human or otherwise

As your body gets busy with the business of growing a baby, you could also find yourself preoccupied with all kinds of new thoughts, and even having weird dreams about birth, babies and breastfeeding. It helps to know the symptoms of early pregnancy and to understand that the surge of hormones may be at least partly responsible for what you’re thinking and dreaming about.

The fact is there is no right way to feel. How you feel will vary depending on your plans, wishes, previous experiences and your circumstances. For more information about coping with the news of pregnancy and where to access support for your situation visit COPE: Centre of Perinatal Excellence

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Your pregnancy symptoms explained

Early signs can range from barely noticeable to so intense you may wonder if you’re turning into an alien. Most pregnancy symptoms are well known but there are some strange ones too, such as a brown stripe of pigmentation running down from the belly button. Some women get carpel tunnel in their wrists or suffer from constipation, either early on or later during their term. Every woman is different and everyone reacts in different ways. Read about your pregnancy symptoms to find out what causes them and what you can do to relieve them if they’re causing you problems.

What could possibly go wrong in the early stages?

The majority of pregnancies usually result in a healthy full term baby, with no health hassles for mum.

Unfortunately, sometimes fears about changes in the body are well founded and there are pregnancy complications. That’s why it’s so important to visit your doctor as soon as you think you’re pregnant or have had a positive home pregnancy test. Some problems – even serious ones such as high blood pressure – can often be successfully treated. The earlier your doctor or obstetrician is able to diagnose a problem, the better. So it’s a good idea to know what could go wrong and to be fully aware of the signs of possible complications.