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The pregnancy Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

What are the symptoms of a pregnancy?

The pregnancy is the term used when a woman has a fetus growing inside her, most of the time in the womb.

Pregnancy in humans lasts about 40 weeks, or a little over 9 months, from the last menstrual period to the birth of the child.

Diagnosis of pregnancy

Some pregnancy tests are sold in pharmacies. The result is reliable, just a few days after a period of delay. A doctor can also perform a pregnancy test.

Pregnancy test

The pregnancy test measures the hormone chorionic gonadotropin also called HCG or beta-HCG. This hormone is secreted by the cells of the future placenta as soon as the embryo is installed in the uterine wall. It is detectable about 8 days after fertilization and throughout the pregnancy. The maximum amount is in the body between the 7 th and 12 th weeks of pregnancy and then fall.

The pregnancy test is in the form of a stick or a card. The device contains antibodies that react in the presence of the pregnancy hormone, indicating a blue line or a small cross depending on the “pregnant” or “not pregnant” state.

Signs of pregnancy: Am I pregnant?

The first  signs  of pregnancy are:

  • the absence of one or more cycles of menstruation.
  • Breasts harder, bigger or more painful to the touch. Nipples more bulging, darker. Montgomery tubers (small glands on the areola) larger or larger.
  • Nausea or vomiting (usually after a few weeks of pregnancy)

As pregnancy progresses, other symptoms may appear:

At the internal level:

  • Headaches
  • Excess saliva, especially when it comes to a first pregnancy.
  • A metallic taste in the mouth.
  • Heartburn or gastro-oesophageal reflux.
  • Sensitivity to the gums.
  • Frequent urges to urinate. The enlarged uterus presses on the bladder.
  • Brownish bleeding. By the time the egg attaches to the uterine wall (nesting), small bleeding may occur. If the bleeding is very red and accompanied by clots, contact your doctor
  • Vaginal discharge, white, painless and odorless that can be abundant.
  • Constipation Sometimes present from the beginning of pregnancy, constipation is usually more uncomfortable in the second half of pregnancy, when the uterus compresses organs.
  • Of  abdominal pain that  remind menstrual cramps.
  • Vaginitis (fungal infection).
  • Nasal congestion.
  • Numbness or pain in the hands, especially during the 3rd trimester and during the night.
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • Weight loss in early pregnancy.
  • Back pain, especially during the last months of pregnancy.

In the external appearance:

  • An acne breakout.
  • Water retention or edema (swelling), ankles, legs or face.
  • The appearance of varicose veins (damaged veins in which the blood circulates badly). Usually form around the 7th month and manifest as a feeling of heaviness or itching.
  • The appearance of the pregnancy mask (chloasma), dark spots on the face, mainly the forehead, nose, cheekbones and chin, following exposure to the sun.
  • The appearance of a brown line from the navel to the pubis, as the belly grows.

At the psychic level:

  • Fatigue, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy.
  • Cravings or an aversion to certain foods. A loss of appetite, or other days, an appetite difficult to control.
  • Sensitivity to certain odors.
  • Changing moods, irritability, and hypersensitivity.
  • Dizziness. Increased blood volume and more active heart work can cause dizziness. These can also be hypoglycemic or caused by a drop in blood pressure.
  • Sleep problems.
  • A stress, caused by the coming of the future baby.

Weight gain during pregnancy

During pregnancy, weight gain follows a rising curve, but the weight gain is not the same after the trimester of pregnancy.

In the first trimester, weight gain is low. Some women may even lose weight at the very beginning when they have nausea or vomiting.

In the second quarter, weight gain accelerates. This is the period of cravings or sudden cravings (which are sometimes disgusts). To avoid excessive weight gain, it is best to split meals (four or five small meals) and avoid the abuse of sugary foods. By the sixth month, a pregnant woman should have taken at least 6 pounds.

In the third trimester, the pregnant woman earns about 1 to 1.5 kilograms per month on average. This equates to a total weight gain in late pregnancy of 9 to 12 kilos.

Diet during pregnancy

During pregnancy, women experience major physical changes that increase their nutrient and energy requirements. By eating well, the pregnant woman, in addition to improving her health, contributes to the growth, development of the baby, as well as to the good progress of her pregnancy.

  • It is normal to eat a little more than usual, especially from the  th  quarter  (15 weeks and over).
  • Eat  regularly  (3 meals a day and snacks if necessary), in order to avoid energy losses.
  • Vary  your diet by including lots of vegetables and fruits, whole grains.
  • While  cooking  meat, poultry and fish to avoid contamination.
  • Regularly eat calcium- rich foods that are  needed for bone and tooth formation, such as dairy products, soy beverages and canned fish. Foods containing  vitamin D help to absorb calcium; these are milk, fortified soy beverages and fatty fish.
  • Regularly eat iron- rich foods that are  necessary for the growth of the baby and placenta, such as red meats, poultry, legumes and nuts.


Listeriosis is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium ( Listeria monocytogenes ) present in the environment, which can sometimes contaminate some already cooked foods, fruits and vegetables, milk, raw meat and seafood. It is often unobserved in healthy individuals and can have serious consequences in pregnant women, as it can cross the placental barrier and reach the fetus. The bacteria survive and grow well in the cold. Pregnant women are advised not to consume:

  • unheated hot dogs
  • unseasoned cured meats
  • refrigerated pies and meat spreads
  • chilled raw or smoked fish and seafood
  • milk or milk products (yogurt, cheese) made from unpasteurized milk

The  Toxoplasmosis  is a disease caused by a parasite. It is usually transmitted to humans by domestic animals, especially  cats , or by ingesting undercooked meat. It is a benign disease for humans, but it can be dangerous for the development of the fetus. Many women are already immune to this parasite for having already been in contact with the disease. A blood test is necessary to detect the presence of antibodies.

As a precautionary measure:

  • Wear gloves when handling cat litter or gardening (the disease is transmitted by animal droppings).
  • Wash fruits and vegetables well
  • Avoid raw or undercooked meat.

Vitamin and mineral supplements

Diet is by far the best source of nutrients, even during pregnancy. Vitamin and mineral supplements will never replace a nutritious and varied diet. Pregnant women should not consume   regular multivitamins. Multivitamins specifically formulated for pregnant women, especially those containing iron and folic acid, may be recommended by your doctor.


Folic acid

Folic acid (or vitamin B9) is one of the B vitamins essential for the baby’s growth, especially during the first four weeks of pregnancy. Folic acid supplements can reduce the risk of the baby having a neural tube defect (a part of the embryo that gives birth to the brain and spinal cord), such as  spina bifida  (a malformation of birth of the spine), or other congenital malformations. Supplements usually contain 0.4 to 1 mg of folic acid.

It is recommended to start taking folic acid supplements 3 months before pregnancy and continue taking it throughout the pregnancy.


Caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, drugs

Caffeine . According to Health Canada, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not consume more than 300 mg of caffeine per day. Two epidemiological studies have highlighted the increased risks of miscarriage and the birth of a baby with a low birth weight in pregnant women who consume more than  3 cups of coffee a day . On the other hand, other data indicate that, despite what was believed at one time, coffee consumption is not associated with the risk of fetal death or congenital malformation.

The idea is to consume no  alcohol  during pregnancy. The consumption of a large amount of alcohol on the same occasion and the regular consumption of alcohol are particularly harmful for the baby, including early in pregnancy. The alcohol consumed passes directly from the mother’s blood to the baby’s blood through the placenta. It is unclear what the effects of occasional consumption of a small amount of alcohol are.

Alcohol can have a number of adverse effects on pregnancy, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, and the risk of the baby’s growth and congenital anomalies.

The  fetal alcohol syndrome  is part of a “Spectrum Disorder Fetal Alcohol” (or FASD). The severity of the disorder depends on several factors, such as the amount of alcohol consumed and the alcohol concentration in the mother’s blood.

Children with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome have:

• a size and weight lower than normal

• facial malformations

• brain damage

The  smoking  affects the development of the fetus and may affect the course of pregnancy. This is also the case for exposure to second-hand smoke. Indeed, smoking:

  • increases the risk of placental abruption, premature rupture of membranes and premature delivery
  • may slow the growth of the fetus and thus decrease the weight of the baby at birth
  • increases the risk of having a stillborn baby or dying in the days following childbirth
  • increases the risk of sudden infant death (inexplicable and sudden death of an apparently healthy infant under one year of age)

Pregnancy is a great time to stop smoking. Although it is better to stop smoking before becoming pregnant, research shows that quitting smoking as late as 32 weeks of gestation may still be beneficial.

The use of   illegal drugs or second-hand smoke is never safe, especially during pregnancy. In general, taking drugs during pregnancy can have serious consequences for the development of the baby, can cause the death of the fetus or premature birth.

Dental health

Hormonal changes to pregnancy make the  gums  more sensitive, that is, they can be swollen or bleed more easily. It is therefore important to have good dental hygiene. Usually, bleeding gums decrease during pregnancy. Cavities, abscesses or other urgent problems can be treated without problems, with or without local anesthesia. If an x-ray is needed, be sure to mention that you are pregnant to protect the baby.

Pregnancy monitoring

Regular  visits  to a health professional can verify that the pregnancy is going well and detect any anomaly that may occur.

The first visit for pregnancy monitoring is usually between  8 and 12 weeks  of pregnancy. Thereafter, the frequency of visits is one visit every 4-6 weeks, then visits closer as the date of delivery approaches.

At each appointment, the health care professional will check with the pregnant woman:

  • His weight
  • His blood pressure
  • The height of his uterus
  • The heartbeat of the baby (even if it starts to be heard around 10 to 12 weeks, the heart of the baby began to beat 21 or 22 days after fertilization).

Of  blood tests  and  urine tests  will be done during pregnancy to check in women:

  • the presence of anemia  ( iron deficiency)
  • the presence of an  infectious disease  that could be transmitted to the baby.
  • The  blood glucose  (sugar levels in the blood) for detecting gestational diabetes.
  • The blood group and the  Rh factor  (or Rh). (If the woman is Rh negative, some precautions should be taken.) The woman is given anti-Rh immunoglobulin (also called WinRho) at 28 weeks and sometimes after giving birth.This treatment will prevent the development of antibodies against -Rh that could harm the current pregnancy or a future pregnancy).
  • The presence of antibodies against  rubella
  • The presence of a  urinary infection , even if there are no symptoms.


Generally, during a normal pregnancy, a first ultrasound is performed between 18 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. This examination is safe for the fetus and allows:

  • to observe the baby’s development
  • to more accurately determine the age of pregnancy
  • to determine the location of the placenta
  • observe the majority of organs (heart, liver, kidneys, stomach, bladder, brain, etc.) and the baby’s limbs
  • to check how many babies there are
  • Sometimes to know the sex of the baby

Prenatal screening for trisomy 21

Trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome, is the most common chromosomal abnormality. It affects one in 800 babies and has the effect of limiting the intellectual development of those who have it. There is currently no treatment for this disease.

A  screening test  assesses whether the probability (or risk) that the baby has trisomy 21 is low or high. This test consists of a blood test, then the analysis of the  nuchal translucency  (the space between the skin of the neck and the fetal vertebral column) during an ultrasound examination between 11 and 13 weeks of pregnancy. This test is safe for the fetus.

The amniocentesis  is the technique most common prenatal diagnosis. It makes it possible to determine with certainty whether the fetus has trisomy 21 or not. This test can be done when 14 weeks of pregnancy have been completed. For amniocentesis, amniotic fluid is collected from the pregnant woman’s uterus using a thin needle that is inserted into her abdomen. Amniocentesis, however, carries some risk of complications, which can include the loss of the fetus. This is why it is offered mainly to women who are at high risk according to screening tests.

Symptoms of pregnancy: possible complications

Possible complications of symptoms of pregnancy are:

  • Miscarriage (natural interruption of pregnancy before 20 weeks of pregnancy). It occurs in 15 to 20% of pregnant women.
  • Gestational diabetes is a glucose intolerance that occurs during pregnancy, most often during the 2nd or 3rd trimester.
  • The ectopic pregnancy (ectopic pregnancy) or ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, typically in one of the fallopian tubes (tubal pregnancy), more rarely in the ovary (ovarian pregnancy ), or in the peritoneal cavity (abdominal pregnancy).
  • Iron deficiency anemia (due to iron deficiency) is common in pregnant women, especially those with multiple and close pregnancies.
  • The preeclampsia or pregnancy-induced hypertension result from elevated blood pressure and excess protein in the urine. It can develop gradually or appear suddenly after about 20 weeks of pregnancy. The only way to heal is to give birth to the child.
  • The premature labor occurs before the 37th week of pregnancy. The causes are multiple and very often unknown.

In general, consult your doctor if you have:

  • Of fluid loss or blood from the vagina.
  • Sudden or extreme swelling of your face or fingers
  • Severe or persistent headaches.
  • Nausea and vomiting that persist.
  • Of dizziness .
  • blurry vision or blurred.
  • pain or cramping in the abdomen.
  • Of fever or shivering s.
  • A change in the baby’s movements.
  • burning sensation when urinating
  • An illness or infection that persists.
  • If you are abused or abused
  • Any other worry.

Symptoms of Pregnancy – Medications During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, prescription and over-the-counter medications, herbal products, topical creams, inhalers, vitamins and supplements can cross the placenta and reach the baby’s bloodstream. It is therefore advisable to consult a doctor before taking any type of medication.

If you are already taking medication for a chronic illness (asthma, diabetes …) or any special condition, your doctor will tell you what to do during your pregnancy.

In general, it is preferable to favor alternative methods for common ailments.

In case of colds:

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) or paracetamol (Doliprane, Efferalgan) is safe. Blow your nose regularly, use a saline solution to clean the nose.

Cold medications often have vasoconstrictive effects (which decrease the diameter of the blood vessels) and are not recommended for pregnant women.

Nasal sprays, containing azelastine (antihistamine) are not recommended, those containing ephedrine or phenylephrine should be used for a short time, without exceeding dosages.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirine) should be avoided during the last four months of pregnancy.

In case of cough:

In case of need (disabling cough, tiring …) and with the agreement of a doctor, cough suppressants with mild opiates (containing codeine or dextromethorphan) can be taken without exceeding the prescribed doses. However, be careful not to take a few days before delivery because of a risk of sedative effect for the child.

In case of constipation:

Favor a high fiber diet, drink a lot, and move regularly.

Pharmaceuticals based on bran or mucilage (vegetable substance that swells while hydrating), such as Metamucil or Prodiem, as well as paraffin-based lubricant laxatives can be used for a few days.

Avoid mannitol (Manicol) and pentaerythritol (Auxytrans, Hydrafuca). Beware of laxative herbal teas, some may favor uterine contractions.

In case of nausea and vomiting:

Diclectin (doxylamine succinate-pyridoxine hydrochloride) is a prescription medication that is safe for use in pregnancy because it has been shown to cause no harm to babies. It contains a certain amount of vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). Several studies have also confirmed the effectiveness of vitamin B6 to reduce nausea and vomiting of pregnant women in early pregnancy.

Symptoms of Pregnancy – Natural Products and Medicinal Herbs

Just like prescription drugs, herbal products contain chemical compounds that can affect the health of the woman or baby. The dosage and duration of taking these products should be respected, especially in pregnant women.

Safe natural products

Raspberry leaf tea is known to prevent complications during pregnancy and facilitate childbirth. In addition, the herb contains several vitamins and minerals. So far, studies have not been able to show any real benefit, but it would be safe to consume during pregnancy.

The oxérutines are plant substances of the family of bioflavonoids. Two clinical trials in 150 pregnant women indicate that oxerutins can relieve the symptoms of pregnancy-associated hemorrhoids. In Europe, there are several pharmaceutical preparations containing oxerutines (troxerutin in particular) for the treatment of hemorrhoids (tablets, capsules or oral solutions). These products are not generally sold in North America.

To be used in limited quantities

Ginger. According to the authors of a meta-analysis published in 2010 , covering more than 1000 subjects, ginger can be helpful in relieving pregnancy nausea in pregnant women. Several organizations, such as theAssociation of American Family Physicians , the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the E Commission and the WHO consider that ginger is an effective non-drug treatment for pregnancy nausea  . It is generally recommended to stick to the equivalent of 2 g of dried ginger or 10 g of fresh ginger a day in divided doses.

Mint . Like tea, herbal tea with mint decrease the absorption of iron in the body. As pregnant or breastfeeding women have higher iron requirements, the mint tea should preferably be consumed at least one hour before or after a meal and in moderation. Mint should not be consumed in the first trimester of pregnancy unless medically indicated .

Although peppermint is often recommended to pregnant women to counter the nausea of pregnancy, the safety of mint essential oil has not been established in this regard.

The green tea consumed in large amounts, may reduce the absorption of folate ( folic acid ) in the body. Pregnant women are advised to consume it in moderation to minimize the risk of fetal malformation.

To avoid, since their safety has not been established

Chamomile . Chamomile is traditionally known for its effectiveness in triggering menstruation, we advise pregnant women to avoid it.

Echinacea . Studies show that echinacea consumption is not linked to complications of pregnancy and birth4. On the other hand, some authors recommend avoiding echinacea in the event of pregnancy, because of the absence of complete toxicological data. Some trials in pregnant mice indicate a risk to the fetus during the first trimester.

Many other medicinal herbs, such as evening primrose oil, ginkgo and St. John’s wort, have not been studied sufficiently to allow them to be recommended during pregnancy.

To avoid, may be harmful to the health of pregnant women

Aloe. Although Aloe Latex is recognized as effective and safe to treat occasional constipation, it is a stimulant laxative, therefore not recommended for pregnant women.

The eucalyptus essential oil (E. radiata) is not recommended during the first three months of pregnancy.

Liquorice . An excess of glycyrrhizin (the active compound responsible for the benefits of licorice) during pregnancy may result in premature delivery.

The use of St. Christopher’s grass (caulophyllus pseudo-pigamon or blue cohosh) to stimulate work can be dangerous.

According to the Canadian Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, many other medicinal herbs should not be consumed during pregnancy because they present a certain level of risk to the health of the fetus or the woman. For example, burdock, ginseng, chasteberry, valerian and many others are to be avoided. Consult the labels before consuming an over-the-counter natural product and make sure that the product has a DIN (Drug Identification Number or Drug Identification Number). If necessary, consult the pharmacist.

The vast majority of pregnancies are happy events, are going very well and are mostly free of complications.

However, I would like to emphasize some alarm symptoms that have been mentioned in our fact sheet. If you experience blood loss from the vagina, severe or persistent headache, sudden or very large swelling of your face or hands, severe abdominal pain, blurred vision or fever and chills Do not hesitate to consult your doctor very quickly because these symptoms can be a sign of a serious complication.

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