Pregnancy Symptoms

During pregnancy, a woman experiences major hormonal changes, leading to a varied range of signs and symptoms. Although every woman is different and so are the pregnancy symptoms they display, a missed period, or two or more of them, is generally believed as the primary sign that you are pregnant. However, pregnancy is not the only cause of a missed period. There can be other reasons as well, such as the effect of taking a birth control pill, PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), diabetes, etc. If you’ve missed your period and suspect pregnancy, then take a home pregnancy test, or consult your gynecologist. If your pregnancy test result comes out to be positive, a missed period is not the only symptom you might experience. So, let us look at some early signs of pregnancy.

Early Symptoms Of Pregnancy

Pregnancy is associated with varying symptoms, and these vary from woman to woman. Some might experience just a few symptoms, while others might have a wide range of them. Here are some signs and symptoms you might experience during the early stage of your pregnancy, according to Dr. Nithya Ramamurthy, Senior Consultant, Gynaecology, Fortis Malar Hospital:

Missed Period

  • This is generally seen as the primary sign of pregnancy.
  • However, some women experience slight bleeding.
  • As per a study, about 25% of women experience slight bleeding or spotting, with colour lighter than menstrual blood.

Sore Breasts

  • When pregnant, breasts get fuller, sore, and tender.
  • This is similar to what happens 1-2 days before the start of periods.
  • During pregnancy, the skin around your nipple may get darker.
  • The veins appear more visible.

Nausea And Vomiting

  • Over 50% of women suffer from ‘morning sickness’ during pregnancy.
  • It is characterised by nausea and vomiting.
  • It usually starts 4-6 weeks after conception, and settle by the 12th week. The symptoms might come back by the 32nd week.
  • Although known as ‘morning sickness’, a woman might experience it throughout the day.


  • Fatigue is quite common during pregnancy. Some women even experience exhaustingly tired.
  • This is because the body releases more of the hormone progesterone.
  • Progesterone is the sex hormone, required to maintain pregnancy, help the baby grow, and to encourage the growth of milk-producing glands.
  • But it also causes slowed metabolism.
  • This generally subsides by the 4th week, when the placenta gets well established. This is when you get your energy back.
  • But during the first four weeks, try to get as much rest as you can.

Frequent Urination

  • During pregnancy, a woman might have to empty her bladder more often.
  • This is because the body produces a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin. This hormone increases the blood flow in the pelvis region, 
  • Kidney efficiency also increases during pregnancy.
  • Also, the swelled-up uterus presses against the bladder, prompting you to pee more often.
  • This symptom generally sets in during the first few weeks of pregnancy.

Craving For Food Or Aversion To It

  • Craving food is common during pregnancy.
  • Not only that, but you might also develop an aversion to foods you earlier enjoyed.
  • These might last throughout pregnancy, or through a certain period of time.

What Are Some Other Symptoms For Pregnancy?

Now that we have gone through the common symptoms of pregnancy, here are some other symptoms a woman might experience when pregnant:


  • Many women experience back pain during pregnancy.
  • This is generally because of the change in posture and loosening of the ligaments.
  • So as to not aggravate the pain, wear comfortable shoes, sit on chairs and sofas that have good back support, and avoid lifting heavy objects.
  • You can do some gentle exercises to ease the pain. Physiotherapy is also a great option.

Leg Cramps

  • This is yet another issue that more than half of pregnant women experience.
  • Leg cramps are caused by acid build-up in the legs that led to muscle contraction.
  • When experiencing this, it is better to move around.
  • You can stretch and massage the affected area.
  • Heat therapy is another good option.
  • If the pain doesn’t improve and gets worse, it is better to consult the doctor.

Mood Changes

  • During pregnancy, many women also experience mood changes.
  • While some might experience irritability, others feel elation.
  • It is believed that pregnancy hormones change chemicals in the brain, causing feelings of irritability and elation.
  • Also, 1 in 10 women also suffers from depression. If you experience the same, get help as soon as possible.


  • You should consult a doctor if your headache doesn’t go away with a painkiller.
  • It could be due to preeclampsia, which is a pregnancy complication, in which the blood pressure shoots up, and can affect kidneys and liver. This can be detrimental to both the mother and the baby.

Vaginal Discharge

  • This is quite common during pregnancy.
  • However, if it happens along with pain, bad smell, itchiness, and pain during peeing, you must consult a doctor, as that might be an infection.

Varicose Veins Of Legs

  • This is again something many women experience during pregnancy.
  • This results from the increased amount of blood circulation, as well as the pressure of the uterus on the veins.
  • To ease it, avoid standing for too long, do light exercises, and massage the affected area.


  • During pregnancy, the enlarged uterus puts pressure on the abdominal muscles, causing indigestion.
  • To avoid it, have smaller and frequent meals, avoid eating right before bedtime, and avoid foods that aggravate the symptoms.
  • Do not take any drug without first consulting your doctor. 


  • Many women experience constipation during pregnancy.
  • This might be because the pregnancy hormones slow down the gastrointestinal movement.
  • To ease it, drink plenty of water, incorporate a large amount of fibre in your diet, and exercise.
  • If constipated, do not take over-the-counter laxatives. Do consult your doctor before taking any medication.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

  • Over 50% of pregnant women experience carpal tunnel syndrome, in which there is a tingling sensation, and even numbness in the hands.
  • The increase in tissue fluids leads to compression in the median nerve, causing the syndrome.
  • The severity of symptoms can vary from mild to severe, and there can even be partial paralysis in the thumb.
  • These generally ease with birth.
  • However, if you experience severe symptoms, you must see a doctor. 


  • Many pregnant women suffer from piles, also known as hemorrhoids.
  • This might be because of strain due to constipation, or the pressure exerted by the baby’s head.
  • This usually goes away after birth.
  • However, if it causes you discomfort, it is better to consult a doctor. 

When To Seek Help?

Pregnancy displays a range of symptoms, most of which are not detrimental to health. However, as tricky as it is, it can lead to certain complications that need urgent medical care. If you have any of the following symptoms, do consult your doctor immediately:

  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting
  • Unusual fluid discharge, or if your water breaks
  • Contractions in the abdomen that won’t go away
  • Your baby moves less than usual
  • Sudden swelling in your face and/or fingers
  • Headache that won’t go away with painkiller
  • Fever
  • Excessive vomiting
  • Widespread itchiness and rashes
  • Blurred vision
If you have any of the above symptoms, call your doctor immediately. Even if you don’t have any of these things but symptoms that concern you, it is better to seek medical attention. Pregnancy is a tricky time for any woman when she needs enough support, care, and attention. Not just her, those around her should also make an attempt to help her with the symptoms, and provide her with the care and support that she needs.