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Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

Weeks Two Through Six

A missed period is often the first sign of pregnancy. Morning sickness, a feeling of nausea that creeps up at any hour of the day, is another early indictor of pregnancy. In some women, morning sickness can be severe. Keeping your stomach from becoming completely empty by eating frequent smaller meals and getting extra rest can help control morning sickness to some degree. Some women also find that eating dry crackers upon rising in the morning and avoiding fried, spicy and acidic foods can help, too. Be attentive to smells, noises and other things that trigger your nausea. Fortunately, morning sickness often disappears by the end of the first trimester. Although many women worry about the effect of nausea on their pregnancy, such fears are largely unnecessary. Even if nausea is so severe that you lose weight during early pregnancy, your baby is well protected in your uterus. If, however, you can keep nothing down and start to feel dizzy or lightheaded, or notice that your urine has decreased in volume and turned very dark, you should call your doctor. He or she may want to see you and may recommend intravenous fluid or medicines to help control the nausea.

In addition to morning sickness, some women experience a sudden change in taste in the first two or three weeks after conception. This can range from an exaggerated desire for certain foods to being turned off by some of your favorite foods.

You may notice other changes as well. Your breasts may be fuller and possibly more tender. The areolae, or brown circles around your nipples, may enlarge and darken. The bumps on the areolae may protrude more as your body begins to prepare for milk production, and the blue veins under the surface of your breasts may also become more visible during the first trimester. You may notice vaginal discharge - mucus - at this or any point during your pregnancy.

You may also feel tired during your first three months of pregnancy. If you feel tired, try to pamper yourself with extra rest.

Some women worry when they don't feel any changes during early pregnancy. They become concerned that because they don't feel nauseated, something must be wrong with the pregnancy. If you feel well, be glad: All these symptoms correlate very poorly with the pregnancy's health and outcome. Not feeling sick or tired or swollen is not an indication of a problem.

Occasionally, women experience bleeding or spotting in early pregnancy. Although the cause of the bleeding is often unclear, it may occur because of loosening of the placental attachment to the uterine wall. Bleeding does not necessarily mean a problem — many such pregnancies proceed without further problems. Bleeding may, however, be an indication of a condition that requires medical attention. Bleeding can be an early sign of miscarriage or, rarely, a pregnancy developing in the fallopian tube. The latter condition, although unusual, can cause serious complications. You should call your obstetrical care provider if you experience bleeding or spotting after conception. This is particularly important if you experience cramps or other abdominal pains in addition to bleeding or spotting or if the bleeding is heavy enough to soak a pad. Your obstetrical care provider may wish to see you, to be sure that there is nothing serious to worry about.

Last updated July 1, 2009




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