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Common First Signs of Pregnancy

In their poll on pregnancy symptoms, the American Pregnancy Association identified these as the top five early signs of pregnancy:

  • Missed period
  • Morning sickness or nausea—with or without vomiting
  • Swollen or tender breasts
  • Spotting or light bleeding
  • Tiredness or fatigue

For additional symptoms and explanations of signs of early pregnancy, visit American Pregnancy Association

Ultrasound is your best tool to gain medical information about your pregnancy.  Should a nurse or sonographer on an Image Clear Ultrasound mobile medical unit suspect anything out of the ordinary, you will be encouraged to seek additional medical attention as soon as possible.

Ultrasound is your best tool to gain medical information about your pregnancy.

Incidence of Miscarriage (also referred to as Early Pregnancy Loss)

About 10 to 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. But the actual number is likely higher because many miscarriages occur so early in pregnancy that a woman doesn’t realize she’s pregnant.(1)

For women whose pregnancy has been confirmed, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has identified the frequency of miscarriage at between 9 and 17% for women aged 20-30 years old. For those 35 years old, they have found the incidence to be 20%.(2) Approximately 80% of miscarriages occur in the first trimester(3) (the first 13 weeks of pregnancy).

Two common symptoms of early pregnancy loss (miscarriage) are uterine cramping and vaginal bleeding. These symptoms may also be common in a normal pregnancy, an ectopic pregnancy, and molar pregnancy.(4)

You can find additional information regarding miscarriage on the websites below:

Ectopic Pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy is one where the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. The first signs of an ectopic pregnancy are

  • pelvic pain, cramping, and
  • light vaginal bleeding

If blood leaks from the fallopian tube, you may feel shoulder pain or an urge to have a bowel movement.  Your specific symptoms depend on where the blood collects and which nerves are irritated.

If the fertilized egg continues to grow in the fallopian tube, it can cause the tube to rupture. Heavy bleeding inside the abdomen is likely. Symptoms of this life-threatening event include extreme light-headedness, fainting and shock.

See a doctor if you have

  • Severe abdominal or pelvic pain accompanied by vaginal bleeding
  • Extreme light-headedness or fainting
  • Shoulder pain

Without treatment, your fallopian tube could burst leading to life-threatening bleeding.(3)

Ectopic pregnancy can be life threatening. If you experience severe abdominal pain accompanied by vaginal bleeding, contact your health care provider immediately.

Molar Pregnancy

A molar pregnancy is the result of an anomaly during the fertilization process that leads to a growth of abnormal tissue within the uterus.  According to the March of Dimes, about 1 in 1,000 pregnancies in the United States is a molar pregnancy.(4)

A molar pregnancy may seem like a normal pregnancy at first, but most molar pregnancies cause specific signs and symptoms, including:

  • Dark brown to bright red vaginal bleeding during the first trimester
  • Severe nausea (feeling sick to your stomach) and vomiting
  • Sometimes vaginal passage of grapelike cysts
  • Pelvic pressure or pain

Though rare, if you experience any signs or symptoms of a molar pregnancy, consult your doctor or pregnancy care provider. He or she may detect other signs of a molar pregnancy, such as:

  • Rapid uterine growth — the uterus is too large for the stage of pregnancy
  • High blood pressure
  • Preeclampsia — a condition that causes high blood pressure and protein in the urine after 20 weeks of pregnancy
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Anemia
  • Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)(5)

Severe Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy

According to the American College of Gynecologists, you should contact your medical care provider if nausea and vomiting of pregnancy affects your life and causes you concern.  The most severe nausea and vomiting is called hyperemesis gravidarum and occurs in up to 3 percent of pregnancies.

This condition may be diagnosed when a woman has lost 5 percent of her pre-pregnancy weight and has other problems related to dehydration, or loss of body fluids. Women with hyperemesis gravidarum need treatment, sometimes in a hospital, to stop the vomiting and restore body fluids.(6)

If you are experiencing severe nausea and vomiting, contact your health care provider as soon as possible.

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