Pregnancy - First Trimester

Although pregnancy is a normal, healthy state, changes that occur in an expectant mother’s body can produce a range of relatively minor but troublesome ailments.

Many symptoms are a result of high levels of placental hormones in the mother’s circulation (mainly oestrogen and progesterone), but as pregnancy progresses the increasing size of the fetus produces physical stresses on the body that can also give rise to uncomfortable symptoms.

Losing weight this early is not uncommon, and in a few weeks things will begin to shift in the other direction. You may also be experiencing other early pregnancy symptoms.

The value of the signs and symptoms of pregnancy and of the pregnancy diagnostic test as predictors of pregnancy was estimated for 1,592 women seen in general practice. The presence of a sign or symptom alone is a poor pointer to a diagnosis of pregnancy. The combination of pairs of features improves the value, the best being breast signs combined with either the presence of signs of pregnancy on vaginal examination or a palpable fundus, both giving predictive values of 0·89. The pregnancy diagnostic test alone, however, had a predictive value of 0·91, a value of 1·00 indicating 100 per cent reliability.

During pregnancy, your body will experience gradual changes. It is not likely that the people around you can even tell that you are pregnant at this point. You may have gained a couple of pounds, but you also may have lost weight if you are experiencing morning sickness.

Nausea in pregnancy is common; about 80 per cent of pregnant women suffer with it and around half of these also vomit. 

The condition frequently starts from about week five of gestation and in most women subsides after week 13, but it can sometimes return in the last three months. Symptoms are often more severe in women pregnant for the first time, those expecting more than one baby and those who have experienced nausea with oral contraceptives.

The term “morning sickness” is a wrong term used because the nausea and vomiting can occur at any time of day, although it is commonly experienced on rising in the morning. The condition can be aggravated by certain foods or even the smell of cooking. The causes of morning sickness are unknown, but two main theories have been advanced:
  • High levels of human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) stimulate the ovaries to produce oestrogen and progesterone in early pregnancy, but levels decrease once the placenta is sufficiently developed to produce these hormones itself
  • Low blood sugar on rising in the morning.
There are no OTC (Over The Counter) medicines licensed for the treatment of morning sickness. Doctors are able to prescribe these drugs but generally do so only as a last resort.

Until next time, have a joyful Pregnancy.


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