Getting pregnant is an incredible thing, but after the initial ‘I’m having a baby!’ glow starts to fizzle out, your ankles start to swell, the morning sickness kicks in, and it can be a bit of a bumpy road from there (if you’ll excuse the pun).

We all know pregnancy comes with side effects, but with the help of comfy sock company Gentle Grip, we’ve rounded up some of the most testing – so you know what to expect, and how best you can go about preventing them.

Contents

1. Yeast infection

The intimate female areas are more susceptible to yeast infections when pregnant, as high oestrogen levels unbalance the healthy bacteria that keeps you healthy down there, meaning it becomes easier for yeast to grow. While an icepack or a cool bath can help reduce any discomfort; wearing cotton underwear, avoiding perfumed soaps and tight clothing are all good first lines of defence.

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2. Swollen ankles

Water retention is one of the most common side-effects of pregnancy, and can result in feet feeling tender and heavy. Ordinary elasticated socks that are restrictive and cut into the lower leg and ankle then become uncomfortable, especially during all day wear. But you can get specially designed ones which mould to the contours of the leg, providing much-needed relief and comfort.

3. Body and facial hair

Pregnancy hormones send hair growth cycles into overdrive, so not only does more hair push through, but less falls out – giving a thicker appearance. This might be great news for people with usually thin hair, but the side-effect can extend to all body areas including the stomach and face, where you might be less keen to see thicker hair. Skin can be sensitive, so bleaching isn’t the best option, and shaving can encourage even faster, thicker growth, so try waxing or threading if you’re desperate to remove the excess hair.

4. Hair loss

On the other end of the scale, around half of all women will experience excessive hair shedding during pregnancy. While this will clear up after pregnancy in most cases, paying attention to nutrition can help to prevent it, as a pregnancy can drain the body of essential nutrients that encourage hair growth. Salmon, eggs, and healthy fat produce like avocados and almonds can all help.

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5. Mask of pregnancy

Some women can experience hyperpigmentation in the form of brown or dark patches on their face during pregnancy, which can be quite alarming if unexpected. Melasma, also known as “the mask of pregnancy” normally disappears after giving birth, but for those feeling self-conscious, limiting exposure to sunlight and using at SPF 30 or higher suncream can help.

6. Food cravings

From pickles dipped in chocolate spread to ice-cream with tomato ketchup, food cravings are a well-known side-effect of pregnancy, but some women may find themselves craving non-food items such as brick dust or charcoal. Mmm. This is actually known as pica, and can sometimes indicate a lack of vitamins and minerals. Ensuring diet is nutrient-rich and balanced will help any cravings subside, but if cravings are persistent or aggressive, speak to a doctor.

7. Extra Sweating

Feeling more hot and sweaty than usual can go from the first trimester right through to postpartum, as hormones confuse the area of the brain that regulates body temperature. This will calm down roughly around the time ovulation resumes after birth. To help with this, wear layers that can be added or removed, stay hydrated and avoid hot drinks and spicy foods.

8. Weak bladder

As a foetus develops, becoming larger and heavier, it can press down on the bladder meaning more frequent trips to the bathroom. It also results in stress incontinence when sneezing, laughing or exercising. Pelvic floor exercises early on can help counteract this, and some women also choose to wear sanitary pads for protection, just in case.

Important note: any unusual changes during pregnancy should always be discussed with a medical professional.

Catriona Harvey-Jenner Digital Features Editor Cat is Cosmopolitan UK’s features editor covering women’s issues, health and current affairs.

Early pregnancy symptoms: First signs you might be pregnant

But even before you miss a period, you may suspect – or hope – that you’re pregnant. For some women, early symptoms of pregnancy begin in the first few weeks after conception.

Pregnancy symptoms can also vary in their intensity, frequency and duration.

The following early signs and symptoms of pregnancy checklist are only a guideline. Many early pregnancy symptoms can appear similar to routine pre-menstrual discomforts.

Tender, swollen breasts

Your breasts may provide one of the first symptoms of pregnancy. As early as two weeks after conception, hormonal changes may make your breasts tender, tingly or sore. Or your breasts may feel fuller and heavier.

Fatigue

Fatigue and tiredness also ranks high among early symptoms of pregnancy. During early pregnancy, levels of the hormone progesterone soar. In high enough doses, progesterone can put you to sleep. At the same time, lower blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and increased blood production may team up to sap your energy during your pregnancy.

Slight bleeding or cramping

Sometimes a small amount of spotting or vaginal bleeding is one of the first symptoms of pregnancy. Known as implantation bleeding, it happens when the fertilised egg attaches to the lining of the uterus – about 10 to 14 days after fertilisation. This type of bleeding is usually a bit earlier, spottier and lighter in colour than a normal period and doesn’t last as long. Some women also experience abdominal cramping early in pregnancy. These cramps are similar to menstrual cramps.

RELATED: The weirdest symptoms of early pregnancy

Nausea with or without vomiting

Morning sickness, which can strike at any time of the day or night, is one of the classic symptoms of pregnancy. For some women, the queasiness begins as early as two weeks after conception. Nausea seems to stem at least in part from rapidly rising levels of estrogen, which causes the stomach to empty more slowly. Pregnant women also have a heightened sense of smell, so various odors – such as foods cooking, perfume or cigarette smoke – may cause waves of nausea in early pregnancy. There are some hints and tips to help combat the effects of morning sickness.

Food aversions or cravings

When you’re pregnant, you might find yourself turning up your nose at certain foods, such as coffee or fried foods. Food cravings are common too. Like most other symptoms of pregnancy, these food preferences can be chalked up to hormonal changes – especially in the first trimester, when hormonal changes are the most dramatic.

RELATED: What to eat in your first trimester, according to a nutritionist

Headaches

Early in pregnancy, increased blood circulation caused by hormonal changes may trigger frequent, mild headaches.

Constipation

Constipation is another common early symptom of pregnancy. An increase in progesterone causes food to pass more slowly through the intestines, which can lead to constipation.

Mood swings

The flood of hormones in your body in early pregnancy can make you unusually emotional and weepy. Mood swings also are common, especially in the first trimester.

Faintness and dizziness

As your blood vessels dilate and your blood pressure drops, you may feel lightheaded or dizzy. Early in pregnancy, faintness also may be triggered by low blood sugar.

RELATED: How to track your cycle

Raised basal body temperature

Your basal body temperature is your oral temperature when you first wake up in the morning. This temperature increases slightly soon after ovulation and remains at that level until your next period. If you’ve been charting your basal body temperature to determine when you ovulate, its continued elevation for more than two weeks may mean that you’re pregnant.

Missed Period

Perhaps the most obvious early symptom of pregnancy is when you’ve missed your period. This possible sign of pregnancy is often what causes women to search for more details about the other pregnancy symptoms.

Some women might only experience a much lighter period compared to their usual. You might not experience any of the pregnancy signs listed below until around the time you notice you’ve missed your monthly cycle.

Just “Feeling” Pregnant

This early pregnancy symptom may be the reason why you are checking this list right now. Many women believe they have an intuition about pregnancy signs. Their intuition is often proven correct.

Maybe you just feel different; tired, moody, queasy, lightheaded. You may also have heartburn, constipation, or find yourself making more frequent trips to the toilet. Perhaps you feel a dull ache or stiffness in your lower back, you have sore breasts or they seem overly sensitive, or you are simply not feeling like your usual self.

How can you really tell if you are pregnant?

Unfortunately, these symptoms aren’t unique to pregnancy. Some can indicate that you’re getting sick or that your period is about to start. Likewise, you can be pregnant without experiencing any of these symptoms.

Still, if you miss a period or notice any of the tip-offs on this list, you might want to take a home pregnancy test – especially if you’re not keeping track of your menstrual cycle or if it varies widely from one month to the next. If your home pregnancy test is positive, make an appointment with your health care provider. The sooner your pregnancy is confirmed, the sooner you can begin prenatal care.

If you are worried about possible early symptoms of pregnancy, you can put your mind at ease with a pregnancy test. More than just a pregnancy symptom, this is scientific proof positive of whether you are expecting a baby or not.

Pregnancy tests work best if you wait to take them until at least a day or two after you miss your period. Even if the pregnancy test result is negative you should try it again a few days later to be sure.

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11 facts about pregnancy in Australia

  • 30 Nov 2016

Pregnancy Complications

Complications of pregnancy are health problems that occur during pregnancy. They can involve the mother’s health, the baby’s health, or both. Some women have health problems that arise during pregnancy, and other women have health problems before they become pregnant that could lead to complications. It is very important for women to receive health care before and during pregnancy to decrease the risk of pregnancy complications.

Before Pregnancy

Make sure to talk to your doctor about health problems you have now or have had in the past. If you are receiving treatment for a health problem, your health care provider might want to change the way your health problem is managed. For example, some medicines used to treat health problems could be harmful if taken during pregnancy. At the same time, stopping medicines that you need could be more harmful than the risks posed should you become pregnant. In addition, be sure to discuss any problems you had in any previous pregnancy. If health problems are under control and you get good prenatal care, you are likely to have a normal, healthy baby.

During Pregnancy

Pregnancy symptoms and complications can range from mild and annoying discomforts to severe, sometimes life-threatening, illnesses. Sometimes it can be difficult for a woman to determine which symptoms are normal and which are not. Problems during pregnancy may include physical and mental conditions that affect the health of the mother or the baby. These problems can be caused by or can be made worse by being pregnant. Many problems are mild and do not progress; however, when they do, they may harm the mother or her baby. Keep in mind that there are ways to manage problems that come up during pregnancy. Always contact your prenatal care provider if you have any concerns during your pregnancy.

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The following are some common maternal health conditions or problems a woman may experience during pregnancy—

AnemiaExternal
Anemia is having lower than the normal number of healthy red blood cells. Treating the underlying cause of the anemia will help restore the number of healthy red blood cells. Women with pregnancy related anemia may feel tired and weak. This can be helped by taking iron and folic acid supplements. Your health care provider will check your iron levels throughout pregnancy.

Urinary Tract InfectionsExternal (UTI)
A UTI is a bacterial infection in the urinary tract. You may have a UTI if you have—

  • Pain or burning when you use the bathroom.
  • Fever, tiredness, or shakiness.
  • An urge to use the bathroom often.
  • Pressure in your lower belly.
  • Urine that smells bad or looks cloudy or reddish.
  • Nausea or back pain.

If you think you have a UTI, it is important to see your health care provider. He/she can tell if you have a UTI by testing a sample of your urine. Treatment with antibiotics to kill the infection will make it better, often in one or two days. Some women carry bacteria in their bladder without having symptoms. Your health care provider will likely test your urine in early pregnancy to see if this is the case and treat you with antibiotics if necessary.

Mental Health Conditions
Some women experience depression during or after pregnancy. Symptoms of depression are:

  • A low or sad mood.
  • Loss of interest in fun activities.
  • Changes in appetite, sleep, and energy.
  • Problems thinking, concentrating, and making decisions.
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, or guilt.
  • Thoughts that life is not worth living.

When many of these symptoms occur together and last for more than a week or two at a time, this is probably depression. Depression that persists during pregnancy can make it hard for a woman to care for herself and her unborn baby. Having depression before pregnancy also is a risk factor for postpartum depression. Getting treatment is important for both mother and baby. If you have a history of depression, it is important to discuss this with your health care provider early in pregnancy so that a plan for management can be made.

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Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
Chronic poorly-controlled high blood pressure before and during pregnancy puts a pregnant woman and her baby at risk for problems. It is associated with an increased risk for maternal complications such as preeclampsiaExternal, placental abruption (when the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus), and gestational diabetes. These women also face a higher risk for poor birth outcomes such as preterm delivery, having an infant small for his/her gestational age, and infant death. The most important thing to do is to discuss blood pressure problems with your provider before you become pregnant so that appropriate treatment and control of your blood pressure occurs before pregnancy. Getting treatment for high blood pressure is important before, during, and after pregnancy.

Diabetes During Pregnancy

Learn about types of diabetes during pregnancy, the percentage of women affected, and what CDC is doing to address this important health topic. Managing diabetes can help women have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.

Obesity and Weight Gain
Recent studies suggest that the heavier a woman is before she becomes pregnant, the greater her risk of pregnancy complications, including preeclampsia, GDM, stillbirth and cesarean delivery. Also, CDC research has shown that obesity during pregnancy is associated with increased use of health care and physician services, and longer hospital stays for delivery. Overweight and obese women who lose weight before pregnancy are likely to have healthier pregnancies. Learn more about ways to reach and maintain a healthy weight before you get pregnant.

InfectionsExternal
During pregnancy, your baby is protected from many illnesses, like the common cold or a passing stomach bug. But some infections can be harmful to you, your baby, or both. Easy steps, such as hand washing, and avoiding certain foods, can help protect you from some infections. You won’t always know if you have an infection—sometimes you won’t even feel sick. If you think you might have an infection or think you are at risk, see your health care provider.

Infections with HIV, viral hepatitis, STDs, and TB can complicate pregnancy and may have serious consequences for a woman, her pregnancy outcomes, and her baby. Screening and treatment for these infections, and vaccinations against viruses, such as hepatitis B and human papillomavirus, can prevent many bad outcomes.

Hyperemesis GravidarumExternal
Many women have some nausea or vomiting, or “morning sickness,” particularly during the first 3 months of pregnancy. The cause of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is believed to be rapidly rising blood levels of a hormone called HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), which is released by the placenta. However, hyperemesis gravidarum occurs when there is severe, persistent nausea and vomiting during pregnancy—more extreme than “morning sickness.” This can lead to weight loss and dehydration and may require intensive treatment.

Learn more about pregnancy complications from womenshealth.gov.External

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Research

CDC’s Division of Reproductive Health conducts research to better understand pregnancy-related problems, with the aims of making pregnancy healthier, preventing or managing complications, and reducing poor pregnancy outcomes, including death—the most extreme adverse outcome. There are approximately 6 million pregnancies each year in the United States. Small advances in preventing pregnancy-related complications can improve the quality of life for thousands of pregnant women. We can further the development of evidence-based public health prevention with improved sources of maternal health data, and methods for measuring and studying the data. Highlights of some of our research follow

Obesity

In the United States, obesity during pregnancy is common and it increases obstetrical risks. In collaboration with Kaiser Permanente Northwest, CDC conducted a study to assess associations between indicators of use of health care services and body-mass index before pregnancy or in early pregnancy and found that obesity during pregnancy is associated with increased use of health care services. A higher-than-normal BMI was associated with significantly more prenatal fetal tests, obstetrical ultrasonographic examinations, medications dispensed from the outpatient pharmacy, telephone calls to the department of obstetrics and gynecology, and prenatal visits with physicians. It was also associated with significantly fewer prenatal visits with nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Most of the increase in length of stay associated with higher BMI was related to increased rates of cesarean delivery and obesity-related high-risk conditions. (Association between obesity during pregnancy and increased use of health careExternal. N Engl J Med 2008;358:1444–53.)

CDC has supported university investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital to develop Balance after Baby, a lifestyle intervention program tailored specifically to meet the needs of postpartum women. The primary aim of this study was to assist women with a new baby to return to a normal weight through an Internet-based program of healthy eating and physical activity, which they could participate in at their convenience.

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Severe maternal morbidity in the United States

Maternal morbidity includes physical and psychologic conditions that result from or are aggravated by pregnancy and have an adverse effect on a woman’s health. The most severe complications of pregnancy, generally referred to as severe maternal morbidity (SMM), affect more than 50,000 women in the United States every year. Based on recent trends, this burden has been steadily increasing.

Rises in SMM are likely driven by a combination of factors, including increases in maternal age, pre-pregnancy obesity, pre-existing chronic medical conditions, and cesarean delivery. The consequences of the increasing SMM prevalence are wide-ranging and include higher health service use, higher direct medical costs, extended hospitalization stays, and long-term rehabilitation. The review of SMM cases provides an opportunity to identify points of intervention for quality improvements in maternal care. Tracking SMM will help monitor the effectiveness of such interventions.

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What happens in the first month of pregnancy?

Pregnancy is divided into 3 trimesters. Each trimester is a little longer than 13 weeks. The first month marks the beginning of the first trimester.

What’s gestational age?

Pregnancy timing is measured using “gestational age.” Gestational age starts on the first day of your last menstrual period (LMP).

Gestational age can be confusing. Most people think of pregnancy as lasting 9 months. And it’s true that you’re pregnant for about 9 months. But because pregnancy is measured from the first day of your last menstrual period — about 3-4 weeks before you’re actually pregnant — a full-term pregnancy usually totals about 40 weeks from LMP — roughly 10 months.

Many people don’t remember exactly when they started their last menstrual period — that’s OK. The surest way to find out gestational age early in pregnancy is with an ultrasound.

What happens during week 1 – 2?

These are the first 2 weeks of your menstrual cycle. You have your period. About 2 weeks later, the egg that’s most mature is released from your ovary — this is called ovulation. Ovulation may happen earlier or later, depending on the length of your menstrual cycle. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days.

After it’s released, your egg travels down your fallopian tube toward your uterus. If the egg meets up with a sperm, they combine. This is called fertilization. Fertilization is most likely to occur when you have unprotected vaginal sex during the 6 days leading up to — and including the day of — ovulation.

What happens during week 3 – 4?

The fertilized egg moves down your fallopian tube and divides into more and more cells. It reaches your uterus about 3–4 days after fertilization. The dividing cells then form a ball that floats around in the uterus for about 2–3 days.

Pregnancy begins when the ball of cells attaches to the lining of your uterus. This is called implantation. It usually starts about 6 days after fertilization and takes about 3–4 days to be complete.

Pregnancy doesn’t always happen, even if an egg is fertilized by a sperm. Up to half of all fertilized eggs pass out of your body when you get your period, before implantation is complete.

What are the signs of pregnancy?

For a lot of people, the first sign of pregnancy is a missed period. Most pregnancy tests will be positive by the time you’ve missed your period. Other early pregnancy symptoms include feeling tired, feeling bloated, peeing more than usual, mood swings, nausea, and tender or swollen breasts. Not everyone has all of these symptoms, but it’s common to have at least 1 of them.

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Discharge. It’s normal to see a thin, milky white discharge (called leukorrhea) early in your pregnancy. You can wear a panty liner if it makes you feel more comfortable, but don’t use a tampon because it can introduce germs into the vagina. If the discharge is foul-smelling, green, or yellow, or if there’s a lot of clear discharge, call your doctor.

Fatigue . Your body is working hard to support a growing fetus, which can wear you out more easily than usual. Take naps or rest when you need to throughout the day. Also make sure you’re getting enough iron (too little can lead to anemia, which can cause excess fatigue).

Food cravings and aversions. Although you may not want a bowl of mint chip ice cream topped with dill pickles, as the old stereotype goes, your tastes can change while you’re pregnant. More than 60% of pregnant women experience food cravings, and more than half have food aversions, according to research. Giving in to cravings from time to time is OK, provided you are generally eating healthy, low-calorie foods. The exception is pica — a craving for non-foods like clay, dirt, and laundry starch, which can be dangerous for you and your baby. If you experience this kind of craving, report it to your doctor right away.

Frequent urination . Your baby is still pretty small, but your uterus is growing and it’s putting pressure on your bladder. As a result, you may feel like you constantly have to go to the bathroom. Don’t stop drinking fluids — your body needs them — but do cut down on caffeine (which stimulates the bladder), especially before bedtime. When nature calls, answer it as soon as you can. Don’t hold it in.

Heartburn . During pregnancy, your body produces more of the progesterone hormone which relaxes smooth muscles — including the ring of muscle in your lower esophagus that normally keeps food and acids down in your stomach. This muscle relaxation can lead to acid reflux, otherwise known as heartburn. To avoid the burn, eat frequent, smaller meals throughout the day; don’t lie down right after eating; and avoid greasy, spicy, and acidic foods (like citrus fruits). You can also try raising your pillows when you sleep.

What are some common signs of pregnancy?

The primary sign of pregnancy is missing a menstrual period or two or more consecutive periods, but many women experience other symptoms of pregnancy before they miss a period.

Missing a period does not always mean a woman is pregnant. Menstrual irregularities are common and can have a variety of causes, including taking birth control pills, conditions such as diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome, eating disorders, and certain medications. Women who miss a period should see their health care provider to find out whether they are pregnant or whether they have another health problem.

Pregnancy symptoms vary from woman to woman. A woman may experience every common symptom, just a few, or none at all. Some signs of early pregnancy include:1

  • Slight bleeding. One study shows as many as 25% of pregnant women experience slight bleeding or spotting that is lighter in color than normal menstrual blood.2 This typically occurs at the time of implantation of the fertilized egg (about 6 to 12 days after conception) but is common in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.3
  • Tender, swollen breasts or nipples. Women may notice this symptom as early as 1 to 2 weeks after conception. Hormonal changes can make the breasts sore or even tingly. The breasts feel fuller or heavier as well.1
  • Fatigue. Many women feel more tired early in pregnancy because their bodies are producing more of a hormone called progesterone, which helps maintain the pregnancy and encourages the growth of milk-producing glands in the breasts. In addition, during pregnancy the body pumps more blood to carry nutrients to the fetus. Pregnant women may notice fatigue as early as 1 week after conception.4
  • Headaches. The sudden rise of hormones may trigger headaches early in pregnancy.5
  • Nausea and/or vomiting. This symptom can start anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks after conception and can continue throughout pregnancy. Commonly referred to as “morning sickness,” it can actually occur at any time during the day.1
  • Food cravings or aversions. Sudden cravings or developing a dislike of favorite foods are both common throughout pregnancy. A food craving or aversion can last the entire pregnancy or vary throughout this period.1
  • Mood swings. Hormonal changes during pregnancy often cause sharp mood swings. These can occur as early as a few weeks after conception.6
  • Frequent urination. The need to empty the bladder more often is common throughout pregnancy. In the first few weeks of pregnancy, the body produces a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, which increases blood flow to the pelvic region, causing women to have to urinate more often.7

Many of these symptoms can also be signs of other conditions, the result of changing birth control pills, or effects of stress, so they do not always mean that a woman is pregnant. Women should see their health care provider if they suspect they are pregnant.

Citations

Open Citations

Should I expect more side effects when I am pregnant?

Approximately 8 out of 10 pregnant women taking ART will experience some sort of side effects. This is similar to the proportion of people taking ART who are not pregnant.

Most side effects are minor and include nausea, headache, feeling tired and diarrhoea. Sometimes, but more rarely, they can be very serious.

The i-Base guide HIV and Your Quality of Life includes information on how to manage side effects.

One big advantage of being pregnant is your regular monitoring at clinic visits. This is very thorough. It will make it easier to discuss any side effects with your doctor.

Some side effects of ART, such as morning sickness, are very similar
to the changes in your body during pregnancy. This can make it harder to tell whether ART or pregnancy is the cause.

HIV drugs can sometimes cause nausea and vomiting. This is more common when you first begin taking them. If you are pregnant, though, such side effects can present extra problems with morning sickness and adherence. Tips to reduce nausea, and help with adherence are included at the end of this guide.

If your morning sickness is bad your doctor might prescribe anti nausea drugs (antiemetics), which are safe to use in pregnancy.

You might feel more tired than usual. This is also to be expected, especially if you are starting ART and pregnant at the same time. Anaemia (low red blood cells) can cause tiredness. It is a very common side effect of both HIV and pregnancy. It is also common with AZT, which is why this drug is now rarely used. A simple blood test checks for this. If you have anaemia you might need to take iron supplements.

All pregnant women are at risk of developing a high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) and diabetes during pregnancy.

Women taking PIs in pregnancy might have a higher risk of this common complication. So, you should be sure to have your glucose levels closely monitored and be screened for diabetes during pregnancy. This is routine for all pregnant women.

Outside of pregnancy, PIs have been associated with increased levels
of bilirubin.

While this is usually a measure of the health of your liver this is not always the case as with the PI atazanavir. Here bilirubin levels can be very high but without causing any problems.

Last updated: 1 April 2019.

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  • Possible Physical Side Effects After Abortion

    The physical side effects after an abortion can vary from woman to woman and there are potential side effects and risks that you should be aware of.

    It is important to talk to a health professional as well as the doctor who will perform your abortion about possible side effects.

    Your period should return about 4-6 weeks after the abortion, and you can get pregnant again soon after the abortion.

    If your doctor has prescribed antibiotics, it is important to take them as directed in order to help prevent infection.

    For information about abortion, you may call the APA toll-free helpline at 1-800-672-2296.

    Anticipated physical side effects following an abortion

    The following is a list of side effects that are frequently experienced after an abortion. It is possible to experience these side effects for as long as 2 to 4 weeks following the procedure.

    • Abdominal pain and cramping
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Spotting and bleeding

    Potential and more serious complications following an abortion

    Although serious complications occur in fewer than 1 out of 100 first-trimester abortions and approximately 1 out of every 50 late-term abortions, it is important to be aware of the following risks:

    • Heavy or persistent bleeding
    • Infection or sepsis
    • Damage to the cervix
    • Scarring of the uterine lining
    • Perforation of the uterus
    • Damage to other organs
    • Death

    It is important to understand that these risks are rare and that some of these risks are associated with childbirth. What matters is that you are aware that these risks exist as you strive to make an informed decision about your pregnancy.

    Severe abortion physical side effects

    If you have had an abortion, call your doctor and seek medical attention if your side effects become severe or if you experience any of the following:

    • Severe abdominal and back pain that prohibits you from standing up
    • Bleeding that is heavier than a normal menstrual period
    • Foul-smelling discharge
    • Fever above 100.4 F
    • Continuing symptoms of pregnancy

    More Helpful Articles:

    • Abortion Emotional Side Effects
    • Abortion Follow Up Care
    • My Three Pregnancy Choices

    Compiled using information from the following sources:

    2.Current Obstetric & Gynecologic Diagnosis & Treatment-Ninth Ed. DeCherney, Alan H., et al, Ch. 33.

    Side-Effects of Pregnancy

    Side-Effects of Pregnancy

    Momma Said There’d Be Days Like This

    During my first pregnancy certain odors were triggers for potential barfing. For example, I love to cook with sesame oil but could not be in the room with it while I was pregnant with my oldest daughter. Instead, I pretty much lived on bland soda crackers—they’re all I could keep down.

    Mom-isms

    Morning sickness refers to periodic episodes of nausea common during the early months of pregnancy. It can happen at any time of day (or night), but generally ends around the third or fourth month.

    Pregnancy is not without very real—and sometimes very annoying—symptoms. Particularly during a first pregnancy, your hormones will very likely treat you to such wonderful experiences as the legendary morning sickness. Your body is preparing itself for the process of gestation. Each person has a different threshold for tolerating nausea but for some it can be quite debilitating. It usually settles down after a few weeks but sometimes can plague you throughout the entire pregnancy.

    And by the way, although it’s commonly called morning sickness, you can experience nausea at any time of day or night. A good way to ward off the queasies is to stick to bland foods like soda crackers or dry toast. Fluids also help. If you are actually vomiting, make sure you replace your fluids and electrolytes with drinks designed for that purpose. Gatorade or other sports drinks can help.

    Restricting your diet to accommodate your morning sickness can be tough—especially if old favorites of your prepregnancy days are now triggering the nausea response. Just keep in mind that this, too, shall pass. And promise yourself a great post-pregnancy reward of all the foods you’re denying yourself now.

    Sleepy-Time Gal

    So many physical changes happen when you are pregnant that it sometimes feels as though you’re only renting your body and are at the mercy of an absentee landlord. During your first trimester you will very likely feel greater fatigue than you have ever felt before.

    Listen to what your body is telling you. When you are tired do your best to catch a nap. If you’re working during your pregnancy, even a few minutes with your head down on your desk can make a big difference—you might want to put a co-worker on “snore alert,” just in case. Don’t try to overcome the drowsiness with caffeine; it is not good for you or your baby.

    A nine-month pregnancy is usually divided into three 3-month-long periods, called trimesters. Certain changes or symptoms—like morning sickness—are commonly experienced in particular trimesters but not in others.

    Food Fancies

    Even if you’re one of the many lucky ones who don’t have to deal with morning sickness, you’ll probably still find your food preferences changing. For some reason, foods you might not have been crazy about before can start to taste incredibly delicious. (For me it was Japanese food, but you should skip the sushi—it’s not recommended during pregnancy.)

    You may even experience that old stereotype of pregnancy: food cravings. Don’t feel guilty! Although there’s no hard-and-fast scientific proof, many doctors believe that some cravings are actually your body’s way of telling you what you need. For example, a craving for very salty foods may indicate that your body is in a stage of doubling the volume of blood in your uterus to accommodate the needs of the baby—a process that depletes your system of its normal complement of salt.

    Pregnancy: Am I Pregnant?

    How can a woman know if she is pregnant?

    If a woman is tuned in to her body, she might begin to suspect that she is pregnant within the first few days of pregnancy. Most women, however, don’t suspect they are pregnant until they miss a period. A few don’t suspect or believe they are pregnant for months after conception.

    A woman should take a pregnancy test if she misses a period. Early prenatal (before the birth) care is important to the health of the mother as well as the baby. A woman should see a doctor right away if she is pregnant.

    What are five common signs of pregnancy?

    The following are five very common signs of early pregnancy. Women might experience all, some, or none of these symptoms. Pregnancy symptoms vary from woman to woman.

    • A missed period: Missing a period is the most clear-cut sign of pregnancy. However, it is not always a sign of pregnancy. Stress, excessive exercise, dieting, hormone imbalance and other factors might cause irregular periods.
    • Frequent trips to the bathroom: Even before missing a period, many pregnant women report having to urinate more often. A woman might even have to get up during the night to go to the bathroom. A frequent need to urinate occurs after the embryo has implanted in the uterus and begins producing the pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone triggers frequent urination.
    • Fatigue: Feeling extremely tired is a very early sign of pregnancy. Fatigue is a result of high levels of the hormone progesterone.
    • Morning (and noon and night) sickness: Feeling queasy isn’t limited to mornings. Most pregnant women who experience morning sickness feel slightly nauseated at other times during the day. Nausea can begin two weeks to two months after conception. About half of pregnant women have vomiting. However, very few have severe enough morning sickness to develop dehydration and malnutrition.
    • Sore (and enlarging) breasts: In pregnancy, a woman’s breasts will probably become increasingly tender to the touch. The soreness may be similar to the way breasts feel before a period, only more so. The nipples might also begin to darken and enlarge. Once a woman’s body gets used to the increase in hormones, the pain will subside.

    What are some other signs that a woman is pregnant?

    Other signs of pregnancy can include:

    • Spotting (also called implantation bleeding): Some women experience a light spotting or a brownish discharge from the vagina. This spotting can occur about the time the regular period would occur and can last for a few days to a few weeks.
    • Food cravings and constant hunger: Some women begin to crave certain foods, constantly feel that they are hungry, or might avoid foods that they previously liked.
    • Metallic taste in the mouth: Many women complain of a metallic taste in their mouths during the early stages of pregnancy.
    • Headaches and dizziness: Headaches and the feelings of lightheadedness and dizziness are common during early pregnancy and are the result of hormonal changes and changes in blood volume.
    • Cramping: Some women experience period-like cramps. If cramps are felt mainly on one side or are severe, it’s important to contact a doctor immediately.

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