Pregnancy is unique journey that varies greatly from person to person and pregnancy to pregnancy.
In the first trimester some moms may find that they even forget they’re pregnant because the concept is so new, and they have very few pregnancy symptoms to remind them that they have a little baby baking in their over.
Some people revel in this sweet portion of pregnancy, often because this is a time period where the big news can be a fun secret between the expectant couple. Other moms go into panic mode, bringing out good ol’ Dr. Google for every sniffle, twinge, or unusual occurrence throughout their entire 40 week long adventure.
Whether mom is a newbie to the whole parenting game or is germinating baby number five, what keeps us all on our toes is the different reactions our body has to baby making, dependent on a slew of factors including our age, the baby, pre-existing medical conditions, and rolling the dice of chance.
While many physical symptoms are common and nothing to worry about, like morning sickness, bloating, and constipation, there are other symptoms that could be the result of something more serious, and should not be ignored.
Here are 14 first trimester pregnancy symptoms that should not be ignored.
14 It Shouldn't Feel Like The Time Of The Month
Spotting can be quite common throughout a pregnancy, but it’s important to monitor spotting as it can be a symptom of something more serious.
If a pregnant woman is bleeding heavily and has intense abdominal pain with cramps that feel like menstrual pain, this could be one of the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy.
Ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, and it can be fatal. While bleeding can be common in early pregnancy, some doctors insist that bleeding of any kind requires immediate medical attention, as it can also be a sign of a miscarriage in the first or early part of the second trimester.
Spotting can also be a sign of implantation, and in some cases indicate that there is more than one baby.
13 Severe Swelling Can Signal Preeclampsia
In pregnancy everything gets bigger, and there are going to be days when mom feels puffy but be warned.
Swelling, particularly in the hands, face, ankles and feet could be symptomatic of preeclampsia. Often defined by high blood pressure, and can lead to serious to fatal complications for both mom and baby.
While usually preeclampsia doesn’t begin until after 20 weeks into a pregnancy there have been cases in the first trimester, and this must be monitored immediately since the only cure is delivering the baby.
Other symptoms of preeclampsia include: rapid weight gain, abdominal pain (particularly in the upper right side), headaches, and change in reflexes, reduced frequency of urination, dizziness, vision changes, intense nausea, and vomiting. Pregnant women with blood pressure that is greater than 140/90 should seek medical care immediately.
12 Itchy Hands And Feet
We all get itches sometimes, but extreme and intense itching on your hands and your feet could be a sign of cholestasis (also known as ICP), a very rare but serious liver condition that causes a buildup of bile in the liver.
This bile discharges into the bloodstream which causes the itching. Usually this condition occurs in late pregnancies, however 10 percent of cases of ICP have been documented in the first trimester, with some cases being noted as early as eight weeks into a pregnancy.
This rare, but serious, condition impacts only one or two out of every 1,000 pregnancies, is best managed with early diagnosis and active health care monitoring to ensure a safe pregnancy and delivery. If left untreated cholestasis can lead to low birth weight, lung immaturity, and early delivery.
11 Joint Soreness Can Mean Fifths Disease
Anyone who has ever had a child probably knows what Fifths Disease is.
Parvovirus B19 got its name because it was, at one time, ranked number five on a list of the six known childhood rash forming afflictions. Since this is such a common childhood illness, most adults have already developed an immunity to it, however those who haven’t should be particularly careful, especially expectant mothers with their compromised immunity systems.
Common symptoms of Fifths Disease in adults are joint pain and soreness lasting for up to a couple of weeks. Less than five percent of all pregnant women become infected with fifth disease, although any pregnant woman with joint pain and soreness for several days should contact their health care practitioner right away, since the virus can cause miscarriage or anemia in the baby.
10 Pain After Eating
If you’re prone to gall stones, you’ll want to be careful if you’re pregnant since slowed digestion in pregnancy also lags the emptying of the gallbladder, resulting in stones.
Pain in the upper right of your abdomen after eating is a symptom of gallstones, that shouldn’t be ignored. If the gallstones aren’t too severe they can be managed by avoiding fatty and fried foods.
There are some instances where surgery is required, but most doctors prefer to wait until after delivery. If cholecystitis occurs (inflaming of the gallbladder), you might experience a fever and increased pain, and surgery will be necessary.
Complications of untreated gallstones will follow a mother throughout her pregnancy and can lead to stillbirth, premature birth, and the passing of meconium (stool) before birthing the baby which can impact a child’s breathing.
9 Sudden Thirst
If you can’t get enough to drink and your urine is a dark yellow color, this means you’re dehydrated. It could be as simple as needing to drink more water, but it could also be a sign that you’re suffering from gestational diabetes.
Other symptoms can include extreme hunger, frequent urination, and abnormal fatigue. Although gestational diabetes usually begins in the second trimester of pregnancy, it can also rear its ugly head in the first trimester. Gestational diabetes is caused by the expectant mother’s inability to produce enough insulin, and can be treated using diet or insulin.
Babies of mothers suffering from gestational diabetes are often delivered early because of their excessive birth weight, and this can cause respiratory distress syndrome where babies need help breathing until their lungs strengthen.
8 A Sudden Drop In Weight
While slight fluctuation in weight during pregnancy is normal, sudden weight loss could be an early symptom of a miscarriage.
If you notice weight loss along with other typical miscarriage symptoms including: back pain, spotting, bleeding, the passing of thick tissue, and cramps similar or more severe than typical menstrual ones.
This may also come with the sudden loss of typical pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, tender breasts and exhaustion. A miscarriage is the loss of a fetus before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The March of Dimes believe up to 50 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, however most of these are missed because most of these happen before the woman realizes she’s pregnant, 15 to 25 percent of pregnancies that are recognized (mom is aware she is expecting) will end in a miscarriage.
7 Problems Sleeping
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where someone will stop breathing for a short period of time and then begin breathing again.
One to 10 percent of women who are of childbearing age have sleep apnea, often without knowing it. Sleep apnea has been associated with women with high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, or preeclampsia, so may be an early symptom of these issues.
It should also be noted that one study found that expecting mothers with sleep apnea were three times more likely to require birth by caesarean, and their newborns were more likely to be in the intensive care unit, usually for breathing issues. If your partner mentions noticing sleep apnea symptoms, like coughing, choking or sputtering after a breathless pause talk to your doctor right away.
6 Leg Or Head Pain
We’ve all been up in the middle of the night with a leg cramp, sore legs, or have had a headache impact our day, but pregnant women need to keep a close eye on these symptoms as they could mean that she is developing a blood clot or is suffering from other pregnancy related afflictions.
A blood clot in the calf may lead to pain and/or swelling, where one in the brain might give a warning sign through an intense headache. These clots can be fatal. Other symptoms like light-headedness, blurry vision, or headaches could point to preeclampsia or gestational diabetes.
For moms with a history of blood clots, or those who have a really bad headache, don’t take a chance, connect with your health care practitioner. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
5 Pay Attentions To UTI's
UTIs are common any time, and even more so during pregnancy with up to 10 percent of pregnant women developing a urinary tract infection during pregnancy.
Most UTIs are bladder infections and aren’t serious when treated promptly with antibiotics and plenty of liquids. A UTI refers to any infection caused by E.coli bacteria traveling to the bladder and the kidneys.
Symptoms of a UTI include: burning feeling during urination, lower abdominal pain, frequent need or urge to pee, back pain, fever, chills, pelvic pain, and cloudy or bloody urine.
Take any of these symptoms seriously, particularly during pregnancy as they can lead to miscarriage in early pregnancy, and sepsis or pre-term labour later in pregnancy. Expectant moms should also be aware of unusual discharge that may indicate a sexually transmitted disease and potentially harm baby.
4 Abdominal Pain Can Mean Appendicitis
You may not know anyone that has experienced this, but as many as one in a thousand pregnant mothers will suffer from Appendicitis during their pregnancy.
Most cases occur in the first and second trimester with common symptoms associated including: abdominal pain starting near your belly button and shifting towards the right, extreme nausea and vomiting, fever, and loss of appetite.
Appendicitis starts out as a dull pain and then intensifies, also the pain will come before the nausea and vomiting, which varies from regular morning sickness. Moms who lose their pregnant glow, and appear pale alongside other symptoms may be experiencing appendicitis.
Avoid taking any pain medication before seeing a doctor, as it may mask symptoms and impair a proper diagnosis. The good news is that ultrasounds can successfully detect most cases of appendicitis.
3 Underlying Conditions Worsen
Anyone who becomes pregnant and has preexisting medical conditions needs to keep a particularly close eye on any changes in these conditions throughout their pregnancy.
Conditions including thyroid disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, or lupus, for example, should self-monitor and any differences should be reported to their medical practitioner.
When these conditions flare up, it can cause serious issues for mom and her baby. In the first trimester, moms who have a thyroid hormone level that is too low or high, are at an increased risk for miscarriage.
Diabetic moms need to vigilantly control their blood sugar levels or risk fetal abnormalities or miscarriage. Moms suffering from untreated asthma can experience a decline in oxygen levels to their fetus, abnormally slow growth for the baby, and infant death immediately before or after their birth.
2 Fluctuating Temperatures
Anyone who has ever been pregnant in the summer or who has taken off layer after layer in the winter has a good understanding of how influential pregnancy can be on our body’s temperature gauge.
That being said, keep an eye on your temperature. A fever above 101 degrees during pregnancy could indicate an infection that might impact baby – so contact your doctor.
When a fever in pregnancy is paired up with a rash and/or joint pain it could indicate a number of infections including: cytomegalovirus CMV), toxoplasma, and parvovirus. CMV remains the most frequent cause of congenital deafness and is more common than most believe.
Don’t panic, a fever is more likely to happen when you’re pregnant because expectant moms are more vulnerable to germs.
1 Too Nauseous To Get Out Of Bed
Don’t panic, it is completely normal to have nausea and vomiting during the first trimester of pregnancy. The issue comes when it becomes so severe that it’s going to impact both your and baby’s health.
Be sure to contact your doctor if you are unable to keep down any water or other fluids for more than 12 hours, as this might not be morning sickness, it could be food poisoning or the flu.
A gastrointestinal virus, listeria, or food poisoning could also be the culprit, and again contact your doctor if you can’t keep liquid down, notice blood in your vomit or have a fever over 101 degrees. What food should you eat if you’re ill?
Try the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) to keep your testy tummy under control.
Sources: Self, What To Expect, WebMD, The Bump, Parents, Parenting