How Can I Tell if My Symptoms Are Normal?

Posted by | August 27, 2019 | Because You Asked, Lifestyle | No Comments

Normal Pregnancy Symptoms and Symptoms that Might Indicate a Problem

If you’re pregnant, especially for the first time, you might be experiencing an entirely new set of symptoms that you never expected. You might even be wondering if they are normal, or if there is something you should worry about for your own health or that of your unborn child. If you’re just not sure if that is normal or cause for concern, learn more about these 8 common pregnancy symptoms.

8 Normal Symptoms of Pregnancy

1. Abnormal menstruation – While many women have a missed period as their first sign of pregnancy, some women have a lighter period than typical that first month. Either one of these is generally a normal symptom of pregnancy.

Cause for concern – Repeated bleeding or spotting during pregnancy might indicate a problem with the health of the pregnancy and you should consult your physician.

2. Abdominal cramping – As the fertilized embryo implants in the uterine wall it is common to experience light cramping approximately 10-14 days after conception.

Cause for concern – Cramping that is severe or accompanied by shoulder pain might indicate an ectopic pregnancy or detachment of the placenta and you should seek medical evaluation as soon as possible.

Cramping can be a sign of pregnancy.

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3. Changes in appetite – It is common to experience cravings during pregnancy for various reasons, and you might even notice that you develop food aversions. Your taste buds undergo changes and your sense of smell is heightened and might impact your eating habits.

Cause for concern – A dangerous eating disorder known as pica causes people to crave and eat typically not edible materials – erasers, chalk, dirt, and even plastic. If you feel you are experiencing signs of this disorder, consult your doctor immediately.

4. Abdominal bloating – Your pregnancy hormones will cause your abdomen to feel bloated even early in the pregnancy before you are “showing”, much like it might feel during the days surrounding your period.

Cause for concern – As your pregnancy progresses, measuring much further along than the gestational age might indicate too much amniotic fluid, which can further be a sign of pregnancy complication.

5. Frequent urination – In the first weeks of pregnancy your hormones might cause you to need to urinate more often, and as your pregnancy progresses the pressure from your expanding abdomen will continue this frequent urination.

Cause for concern – Frequent urination accompanied by pain or burning might be the sign of a UTI and need further evaluation.

6. Vaginal discharge – As your hormones change, you might notice a vaginal discharge. When time gets closer to delivery, this might be accompanied by streaks of pink as you begin to lose your mucus plug.

Cause for concern – Any time you notice a vaginal discharge that is accompanied by itching or burning or has a foul odor it might be the sign of an infection.

7. Mood swings – The emotions from your journey to motherhood combined with surging hormones might make mood swings a regular part of your new routine. Many women find that the first and last trimester can be the most emotional.

Cause for concern – Any feelings of prolonged sadness or hopelessness should not be ignored. Mental and emotional health are vitally important to your own health, as well as your baby’s.

8. Tender breasts – Towards the end of your pregnancy your tender breasts may become more swollen as they prepare for the job of breastfeeding. You may notice colostrum leaking from time to time as your delivery nears.

Cause for concern – Excessive pain, especially when accompanied by leaking that looks like it is tinged with blood might be caused by a blocked milk duct or other medical issues and should be addressed.

[Featured Image Courtesy of adamr /]
Dr. Gareth Forde

About Dr. Gareth Forde

An obstetrician-gynecologist, a clinical professor, a researcher, and a father of five—and he delivered them all! He speaks and publishes extensively on maternal and child health issues, where he emphasizes the role of a healthy maternal lifestyle, good nutrition, and breastfeeding on infant development. He chose the field of obstetrics because it is a celebration of life, a happy and exciting profession. “Children are a blessing and they bring joy and laughter to the world,” he says. “I cherish my work, as a doctor and a dad.” The study of genetic imprinting is a major focus of both Dr. Forde’s research and medical practice. This looks at what happens in the womb, how the genes a baby inherits are expressed (turned on and off), and how this influences the child’s health after birth. “This field holds great promise, shedding light on many unsolved mysteries in health and disease from infancy to adulthood,” he adds. Dr. Forde grew up in London, England and Orlando, Florida. He received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School and is currently pursuing a fellowship in gynecologic oncology at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to this, he practiced with Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners, a consortium of Saint Mary’s Health Care, Spectrum Health, Grand Valley State University, and Michigan State University College of Human Medicine—where he was a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive biology. He also has a master’s in molecular and cellular biology from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University; a Ph.D. in environmental science (computational chemistry) from Jackson State University; and a post-doctoral fellowship in biophysics from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, in New York.”