HomePregnancyThe Symptoms & General Care of Body during Pregnancy

The Symptoms & General Care of Body during Pregnancy

The Symptoms & General Care of Body during Pregnancy

Pregnancy is the culmination of the ultimate dream of a woman. It is the beginning of her becoming creative in the ultimate sense of the term; She is now in the process of begetting another human being. It is because of this reason that mother is accorded the highest importance in our society. Mother, as the greatest poet of Modern India R. N. Tagore says, is the living God on the earth.

But there is no denying the fact that pregnancy is the most grueling test for women. It is an ordeal and the lady has to undergo, a very trying situation disturbing not only her body chemistry but the very psyche for a temporary period. Besides other troubles what is most affected is the woman’s physique; she becomes pot-bellied, weak, heavy and less energetic. However, the modern woman should not feel shy of becoming a mother for these reasons because with the proper care and attention available now in the scientifically advanced age she can always retain her pre-pregnancy form.

The normal duration of pregnancy is nine months although this gets enhanced or curtailed in special cases. With proper preparation, many of the ordinary discomforts and beauty problems of pregnancy can be avoided. We shall be discussing those presently but suffice it to stay that with proper care and attention this ordeal could be converted into a thrilling and consummating experience.



The Symptoms of Pregnancy

The symptoms of confirming pregnancy are quite apparent although in certain special cases these could be quite misleading. The checks to confirm the symptoms are listed below:


  1. In a normal state of health, if a woman who has been previously having regular periods fails to menstruate for three days or more after her due date, it can be presumed that she has become pregnant. If another month passes without menstruation, the inference of pregnancy could be certain. Normally, after conception, menstrual bleeding stops. It may, however, persist in exceptional cases. However, at the same time, it must be borne in mind that in some unusual conditions, menstruation can fail even when there has been no conception. There are certain conditions that are symbolized by the hormonal changes, including menopause, environmental changes, and some specific illnesses. Hence, a missed period is not necessarily indicative of pregnancy.On the other hand, ingestion of excessive amounts of some drugs like phenothiazine produces false signs of pregnancy, such as enlargement of the lower abdomen and changes in the coloration of the skin, including even the feeling of movement in the uterus, though there is no conception. Such drug affected symptoms even confuse the most seasoned gynecologists and deceive their eye of the reality.In normal conditions, a missed period is considered to be the first and important indication of pregnancy. If a woman who has been regular in her period doesn’t menstruate for a period of two months, it can be taken for granted that she is pregnant.
  2. With the onset of pregnancy, the breasts of the woman undergo considerable changes in shape and size. They become big and heavy.
  3. In the later stages, the blood vessels of the uterus dilate to increase the supply of nutrients to the fetus. This leads to decrease in the blood supply to the woman’s brain to some extent. At times this may cause dizziness or even fainting.
  4. From second or the third week of pregnancy may occur nausea and vomiting and may continue for some six or twelve weeks. These are normal symptoms caused by the hormonal changes that the body undergoes.
  5. The development of the uterus starts exerting pressure on the urinary bladder, during the first three months which enhances the frequency of urination. Later on this trouble may subside spontaneously though it may again recur when the baby descends to the lower parts of the abdomen (pelvis). This may happen in the final stages of pregnancy.
  6. With the progress of pregnancy, the load on great may also increase. The load on the heart has a direct relationship with the weight of the body. If the weight of the pregnant woman increases unduly, the load on the heart will be correspondingly greater. It has been recorded that during pregnancy, the heart beats with a force three times greater than normal. Some women experience a burning sensation in the chest. This is caused by the decrease in the lower oesophageal sphincter tone, hyperacidity and gas in the stomach. This gas tends to exert pressure on the intestines, the diaphragm and the chest.
  7. The color of the skin undergoes certain changes due to the shift in the hormonal balance. These changes are more conspicuous in women having the darker complexion. The skin of the area from the breasts to the lower abdomen, the thighs, the areas surrounding the nipples (areolas) and the genitals do acquire a darker tint which often doesn’t revert to normal even after delivery. We shall be presently discussing some of the treatments to get rid of this problem.
  8. The feeling of Fatigue and tenderness is also the common symptom in the women during the first three months of pregnancy, although in the subsequent months this feeling tends to decrease. Hence it is eminently advisable to the pregnant women that they should not overexert themselves. They should immediately take rest whenever they feel tired or exhausted.
  9. The movements of the baby begin to be felt sometime between 16th and 18th week. These become more and more frequent as the time passes and the date of delivery comes closer.
  10. Development of certain peculiar testes by the women soon after conception is also a normal symptom of pregnancy. Although they are not like in all women yet it can be stated in general that strong preferences for certain foods are developed, especially with unusual tastes. Preference for tasting very sour food material is very common. The women may have strong linking for starchy foods, clay, crushed ice and even for the inedible substance like the whitewash of the walls etc. Since the body’s demand for calcium grows tremendously, these tastes develop. In order to curb the woman’s desire for some inedible substances like white-wash, dry covering or clay, a special calcium dose must be given as a due precaution. Otherwise, this tendency and preference for unusual food might precipitate some other crises in the body.Salivation tends to increase owing to the increased intake of starchy foods during this stage of pregnancy. Even otherwise, the pregnant woman is troubled by heat to a greater extent and generally perspires more freely. This is a normal symptom and shouldn’t cause any worry.
  11. Experience of mental tension and depression becomes more pronounced during this period. The woman’s anger may be aroused easily and many tend to burst into tears at even minor inconveniences. The best way to counter these tendencies for her is to associate with people who can lighter her moods; friends who can entertain her with light-hearted laughter and pleasantries. In addition, it would be advisable to keep in touch with experienced persons who can give proper guidance about minor problems arising during such periods.Constipation is also a recurring trouble with the pregnant woman. It is partly because she tends to take rather excessive amounts of medicines containing iron. The changing proportions of hormones also make the intestines rather lax, and the developing fetus also presses upon intestines. Often indigestion accompanied by gas in the stomach is also one of the common complaints during pregnancy. Hence the pregnant women should avoid taking those kinds of food-items which produce more gas.
  12. Although generally neglected, a pregnant woman must take particular care to ensure that no harmful deposits form on the teeth, and the gums don’t bleed. Cleaning teeth at least twice a day must be regularly done; for, a lapse in maintaining this regular motive might result in bacteria causing the tooth decay.
  13. At times swelling of the joints of arms and legs also trouble the pregnant women. During this stage, the blood increases in volume by as much as 50 percent, and accordingly becomes thinner. The additional fluids collect in the joints, causing swelling. The hormone progesterone, as well as the enlargement of the uterus, are responsible for swelling of the veins in the legs. In such cases, the intake of salt should be restricted and the diuretic (urine including) medicines should be taken regularly. Drinking a lot of water is also found helpful. In case of the swelling placing bricks under the bed’s legs or the bedstead on the side of feet is found to be helpful in reducing the swelling.
  14. The trouble of piles also surfaces during pregnancy in certain cases. Considerable pain is caused by the formation of blood clots in the veins of the rectum. The condition is particularly pronounced in the advanced stages of pregnancy. These hemorrhoids generally develop due to chronic constipation which in turn is caused by progesterone.
  15. A backache, especially in the lower parts of backbone, is also a frequent trouble during pregnancy. The pain increases in severity in the final stages of pregnancy. The abdomen sags forward as the weight of the fetus increases, and as a result, there is a concavity formed in the back at the waist level. This condition, in medical parlance, is known as ‘Lordosis’.
  16. The additional afflictions accompanied by some other symptoms are a headache, pain in the abdomen, legs, ribs joints etc. At times the pregnant woman may also feel numbness in certain limbs, bleeding from the nose and changes in the visual activity. These are temporary disturbances but they must also be given the due attention.
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However, there are some infectious diseases and disorders that also attract the pregnant lady owing to body’s becoming somewhat weak. They are tough temporary troubles, yet if not paid due attention they might become chronic.


  • Diabetes: Due to the condition of the body a pregnant lady normally remains confined and doesn’t move about much. In case the lady has the hereditary tendency of her body chemistry is conducive to the growth of diabetes or the malfunctioning of the pancreas, this trouble might set in. In case a diabetic woman becomes pregnant, there is nothing to worry about us this is easily controllable with the proper administration of insulin. The proportion of sugar in urine and blood should be properly checked during pregnancy. Generally, the child of a diabetic woman is likely to be of more-than-average weight, and it is often necessary to deliver the baby by the cesarean operation. However, there is also a strong possibility of the child of a diabetic woman not surviving till delivery.
  • Leucorrhoea: This trouble is identified by excessive discharge from the vagina. Normally after about six months of pregnancy, the genitals acquire a bluish tint, and there is an increase in the vaginal discharge. This is perfectly normal. If the fluids discharged don’t have the offensive odor, there is nothing to worry about. If the fluids are malodorous, the doctor ought to be consulted to ascertain whether there is an infection. If that be the case proper treatment should be given.Normally leucorrhoea arises out of the increase in the volume of blood circulating in the body and changes in the proportion of various hormones. This chronic trouble might result in ‘cervical ulcer’ at the mouth of the uterus.
    This discharge cause weakness in the body as the fluid secreted comes from the minor regions of the uterus.
    Accompanied with this trouble is also a condition known ‘Candida albicans’. It is an infection caused by parasites known as ‘trichomonas vaginalis’. It results in the secretion of a yellowish bubbly fluid. It is a type of yeast which causes itching (pruritus) of the vulva. At times the fluid is curdy white which also causes a burning sensation in the affected parts.
  • Toxaemia: Characterised by hypertension, swelling or edema it is often caused by excessive proteins in urine. Those ladies who are of the structure and built obese do have a tendency to high blood pressure, become especially prone to this disease. Such women should make it a point to take plenty of rest whether at home or in a hospital. If left unattended……….the disease often takes a serious turn resulting in ‘eclampsia’-a condition characterized by convulsive fits.
  • Miscarriage: In some cases, pregnancy terminates into the miscarriage. Although in most of such cases the trouble lies with the congenitally wrong position of the uterus, indulgence in intercourse soon after the bleeding may also cause it. Also, lifting heavy objects and repeatedly bending the torso may also cause it. Needless to stress the extreme care in the cases of such ladies. Such repeated cases of miscarriage may prove dangerous to the woman concerned.
  • Heart Disease: The women suffering from mild heart diseases can also safely deliver the child after completing the full term of pregnancy. On the other hand, there is every possibility that the condition of the heart may improve after the delivery. A pregnant woman who has heart disease should sleep at least for ten hours in a day, preferably eight hours during the night and two hours in the afternoon. Like any other heart patient, she should take extra precaution about her weight. An increase in weight is very dangerous is such cases. She should also guard against other infections and see to it that she doesn’t become anemic.
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A Tabulated Chart to Confirm Pregnancy by Symptoms

I. Normal Symptoms

Time of Appearance
1. Missed Period
2. Increased frequency of Urination
3. Pain or tenderness in the breasts
4. Nausea and vomiting
5. Changes in the genital organs
6. Movement of the baby (quickening) felt

3 to 10 days
2 to 3 weeks
2 to 3 weeks
2 to 3 weeks
2 to 3 weeks
16 to 20 weeks


II. Other Probable Symptoms

Time of Appearance
1. Rise in temperature
2. Chemical Changes (Characteristic of pregnancy)
3. Softening of the Cervix
4. Changes in the Uterus
5. Softening of the isthmus of the uterus
6. Enlargement of the abdomen
7. Feeling of the limb of the baby on palpitation
8. Movement of the baby (displacement like a ball)

3 to 5 days
1 to 2 weeks
4 to 6 weeks
4 plus weeks
6 plus weeks
12 plus weeks
20 plus weeks
20 to 25 weeks


The sure  Symptoms Confirming Pregnancy

III. Sure Symptoms

Time of Appearance
1. Audibility of the heart beats of the baby
2. The feeling of movements of the limbs of the baby by the mother
3. The appearance of the body of the baby in x-ray photographs
20 to 24 weeks
14 to 17 weeks
18 to 20 weeks


Some Sure Symptoms of Trouble during Pregnancy

  1. Constant or recurring pain in the lower abdomen means some abnormality or malfunction in the uterus, which can result in miscarriage.
  2. Before the expected end of the term, a discharge of clear fluid mixed with a little blood may be taken as a precursor of a miscarriage or premature delivery.
  3. Painful and frequent urination (micturition) may be a sure sign of urinary or renal (Kidney) infections.
  4. Swelling of the feet, or the joints of the fingers, knees etc. with puffiness of the face-a condition called ‘Oedema’-is also a bad sign. Reduction in the intake of salt and taking diuretics (the medication that induces frequent urination), if necessary, are generally sufficient to relieve the condition.
  5. If during the first eight weeks of pregnancy there is bleeding accompanied by recurring or continuous pain, as if caused by a sharp pointed object, there is a possibility that a miscarriage may occur. A pinkish discharge from the vagina in the twenty-eighth week indicates some abnormality or malfunction in the uterus.
  6. A rise in the temperature of the body of a pregnant woman should always be treated with utmost concern. Any fever in this stage may disturb the process and may create unnecessary complication. The pregnant woman should be always wary of this fact.
  7. Frequent vomiting accompanied by no or very little water or liquids must warrant an immediate medical attention. If the woman is unable to retain food in the stomach it sends the danger signal to its retaining the fetus also.
  8. During 24 hours preceding the delivery, generally, no movements of the baby felt, because it is in a state of rest. In case no movements are felt for more than 48 hours, consulting a doctor is a must, that too immediately.


General Care of the Body during Pregnancy

During pregnancy, as explained earlier, the abdomen becomes larger, and the skin stretches, fibers of connective tissues immediately underlying the skin separate and give rise to white stretch marks. To avoid these, it is always wise to massage the abdomen and breasts regularly with oil (especially the oil containing Vitamin E) from the first month of pregnancy right to the last and even after delivery for a few months at least. On no account scratch the abdomen and the breasts, because this will leave scratch marks forever afterward or the skin. If you feel itchy, rub the skin gently with your hands.

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In case you are planning on breastfeeding your baby, start preparing your nipples from the sixth month onwards. Once every day, draw out nipples by gently pressing your thumb and index finger down on either side of the nipple and gently rolling the nipple out. After your nipples stand out, massage it with little olive oil. Nursing will not cause your breasts to become flabby if you wear well-fitting brasseries. Buy yourself a few maternity dresses which to-day come in many attractive designs and shapes. Don’t forget that a large percentage of attractiveness is accounted for by good grooming and good posture.

The clothes should be comfortable and well-fitting with allowance for future expansion. Also, discard high-heeled shoes and wear comfortable low-heeled flat shoes.

Towards the later months, many pregnant women develop varicose veins in which the veins become very much enlarged and protrude out of the skin. These veins develop in such conditions mostly in legs. The women who develop this condition are the ones whose job requirement is to keep standing for long hours.

It is always advisable during pregnancy that the lady should do as much of her work as possible in a position with her feet properly popped up. When they have to be on their feet it is better to move around than to stand still. If you develop this condition, wear plastic stockings before you get up from your bed. Report your condition quickly to your doctor. Besides, you should lie down at least once every day at least one hour in a body-slant position.

Sometimes swelling of legs, ankles, feet, fingers, face, toe, may appear during the last months. The cause of welling is the retention of water in the tissue spaces of the body; a high intake of the salt favors the retention of water, which is why the intake of the salt should be reduced to the minimum. The liquid intake should also be reduced to as little as possible. But this might create constipation problem. Hence you should find the optimum intake of liquids and salts by your own experience. However, the pressure of the body on the large blood vessels in the later month may give rise occasionally to bouts of light-heartedness and fainting. If this occurs, you will feel better if you lie down for a few minutes. Also, increase your intake or iron.

Many a time the sleep may be interrupted by hard muscular cramps in the calves of your legs. Massage the cramped areas vigorously and apply hot water bottle or heating pad to the area.

Other common complaints are heartburn and flatulence during the period of pregnancy. Heartburn is a kind of burning sensation which is noted at the lower end of the breastbone. Hence the name heartburn. To prevent this eat lighter meals at regular intervals rather than bigger meals after long intervals. Flatulence is the formation of gas in the body in large quantity. To avoid this have more nourishing than rich food.

Proper care of the skin and hair is especially important during pregnancy. A daily bath with a mild fragrant soap is a must. Clean your skin both morning and night with milk cream to which a little of lime juice and turmeric powder has been added. Every morning before you go in for your bath, take a spoonful of curd and mix a few drops each of almond oil and the essence of rose. Rub well into the skin and remove with cotton-wool. This will smoothen and feed the skin.

In the night rub your skin with a skin solution prepared in the following way: add one teaspoonful each of almond oil, cucumber juice, honey, rose water and lime juice. Mix well and put in a small jar and store either in the fridge or a cool, dry place. Apply it every night before going to bed. Remove in the morning with a piece of cotton-wool, then splash on cold water. This will remove the blood from your cheeks and make your complexion sparkling.

Some ladies, to hide the blemishes on the face, wear very heavy make-up. This is wrong. They should wear a minimum possible makeup. In case the lady has a tendency to develop rashes, it would be accentuated during this period. Sometimes pigmentation of the skin takes place or a formation in the small area in which the minute skin veins become prominent. There is nothing to worry about them as they would automatically disappear after the delivery. During pregnancy follow the motto: early to bed and early to rise.

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