Being pregnant is a life-changing event that every woman looks forward to. And, seeing those 2 lines on a home pregnancy test strip indicating I am expecting a baby, has been the most joyous and exciting time in my life too! However, it was also an event surrounded by happiness, turmoil, stress, and worry – all at the same time, basically, it was a flurry of mixed emotions. Not to forget mentioning, this time was filled with many implied and unwritten rules that everyone in the family would share with me and my spouse on the very first chance they got.
But wait…. take a deep breath before getting caught in the whirlwind surrounding the miracle that pregnancy is. Know that you don’t have to act upon all the dos and don’ts of this time by various people you come across. This experience is the new parents’ and no one else’s. Sure there are certain guidelines to follow that a prospective mom or dad will be advised about by their doctor but everything else is highly personal.
Let’s get started with knowing some of the important things in this beautiful journey of motherhood……….
Pregnancy is defined as the period from conception to birth. After the egg is fertilized by a sperm and then implanted in the lining of the uterus, it develops into the placenta and embryo, and later into a fetus. Pregnancy usually lasts 40 weeks, beginning from the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period, and is divided into three trimesters, each lasting three months. [Medical Dictionary]
How accurate are the home tests?
They are 97% accurate but only if the directions are followed precisely. These tests are designed to detect a pregnancy hormone known as human chorionic gonadotropin [hCG for short] in a woman’s urine and it works best if done first thing in the morning because as liquids are ingested throughout the day, urine dilutes and hCG levels won’t be concentrated enough to give an effective result.
What if the pregnancy line shows up faintly?
This can happen when:
- The pregnancy is too early,
- You read the results too late as the urine can evaporate leaving a misleading residue behind, if you wait for too long,
- The test is done at any random time of the day and not early morning, or
- The pregnancy had occurred which means there was implantation but then a miscarriage took place.
Uncertainty is one of the worst feelings. So, under this situation, the best thing to be done is taking the test again first thing the next morning. Or wait a few days for more conclusive hCG production before retesting. Or visit your doctor to undergo a blood test that gives a substantial result.
Early signs and symptoms you are likely to experience [week 1 to 13]
- Missed menstrual period,
- Soreness of breasts,
- Nausea [the universal pregnancy symptom! commonly known as ‘morning sickness’. May occur at any time of the day but mostly in the mornings, hence the name],
- Mild cramping and spotting [due to the implantation of the fertilized egg into the lining of the uterus. The feeling might resemble the one you have always experienced during the beginning of periods but relax, there is nothing to worry as this one is called ‘implantation bleeding’ and there are chances you might not have spotting; I did not have any!]
- White, milky discharge [indicating the thickening of the walls of the vagina, starts immediately after conception]
- Food cravings as well as aversions
- Excessive sleepiness at odd times of the day
- Mild constipation
- Mood swings
- Frequent urination
- Dizziness and fainting
These symptoms may vary from person to person as every pregnancy is different. Some may glow with good health and vitality while others might feel miserable! Well, I experienced all of the above but in milder forms and I was quite active and energetic too. I had to be, how would I manage my home and work otherwise while staying away from family?! I am grateful to God for this. So, I would love to share some very useful nutrition tips and ideas which worked for me and helped me prevent throwing up often and most importantly kept me going.
Just as there are bodily changes happening, you also need to make changes to your routine in terms of going to bed earlier or sleeping when you feel like or eating 6 small instead of 3 major meals. Thankfully, most of these discomforts will part ways from you as your pregnancy progresses, so smile!!
Before we proceed further, let’s just brush through some of the RED FLAG SYMPTOMS during this period which when experienced, you must immediately ring up your doctor and not wait for the next appointment and they are:
- Severe lower abdominal pain
- Significant bleeding
- Severe dizziness
- Very quick weight gain or too little weight gain
The next important thing to know is NUTRITION DURING PREGNANCY. So, stay tuned for the part 2 in this series where in I am going to cover one of the most sought after and essential topics, the right foods to eat and some interesting recipes which made my pregnancy better and I am sure it’ll help you equally!
Zahra is a qualified Dietitian and a Sports Nutritionist (‘Nutritionista’ to her loved ones) who practices a holistic approach to health and wellness. She helps her clients to change their relationship with food into a positive one which results in having a lasting impact on their nutritional choices as well as their lives.
She believes that a healthy, balanced life is a journey, not a destination and it’s never late to get on board!
In her own words, “Nothing tastes better than feeling great! :)”