Symptoms and Conditions

Women experience a cascade of symptoms during pregnancy based on the numerous physiological body changes required for fetal development and labor and delivery.

Women may also be diagnosed with pregnancy-specific conditions or non-obstetric conditions that happen to occur during pregnancy.

Although many women experience complication-free pregnancies, being informed ahead of time about some of these possibilities can help women be more aware of their risk factors and feel better prepared in the event they either experience a particular symptom or are diagnosed with a specific condition.

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Symptoms Introduction
Women may experience, on average, two dozen different symptoms throughout pregnancy based on the physical changes necessary for fetal growth and development as well as labor and delivery.
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Conditions Introduction
Women can experience certain health conditions (or complications) that are a result of pregnancy, as well as conditions that are not related to pregnancy but occur during – and may be impacted by – pregnancy.
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Symptoms

Earliest Signs and Symptoms
Pregnancy (at implantation) causes a rapid release of reproductive hormones. These hormones tell the body what to do and how to change. This results in a wide range of possible early signs and symptoms.
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Abdominal Pain
Abdominal pain during pregnancy can be related to pregnancy itself, or can be triggered by non-obstetric causes that happen to occur during pregnancy. It is important for pregnant women to always bring abdominal pain to the attention of their HCP.
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Acne
Acne during pregnancy is a significant source of distress and frustration for women, especially regarding the lack of safety data for most acne medications. 
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Iron (and Anemia)
Iron-deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency during pregnancy and iron supplementation is a common practice throughout the world.
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Back and Spine (and Back Pain)
Pregnancy greatly affects the back, its muscles, and the spine; some women may even have to deal with these physical changes long after delivery.
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Bleeding (Vaginal)
Vaginal bleeding is very common in pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. However, bleeding does not always indicate a serious problem and does not always lead to pregnancy loss.
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Breasts
Significant breast changes occur within the first half of pregnancy. These changes can cause rapid enlargement, visible veins, soreness, and even stretch marks.
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Breast Lumps
Various new breast lumps may be detected by pregnant women due to the vast, normal amount of new tissue and duct growth that occurs to prepare for milk production. 
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Constipation
Constipation is very common in pregnant women and can cause significant pain and discomfort. Fortunately, women have several options for managing its resulting symptoms.
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Cravings and Aversions
Pregnant women frequently experience cravings and aversions which are likely the result of hormonal changes, nutrient deficiencies, a change in women’s sense of smell, stress, or nausea.
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Dizziness, Lightheadedness, and Fainting
Pregnancy-related changes can cause an increase in feelings of dizziness or faintness for some women. Fortunately, the potential causes for these symptoms during pregnancy are mostly harmless. 
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Dreams
It is normal for women to experience an increase in dreams throughout pregnancy, which tend to occur more often in the third trimester. An increase in nightmares is also normal. 
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Fatigue and Exhaustion
Fatigue is a real and potentially debilitating symptom of pregnancy that has true physiological causes, starting very early in the first trimester.  It is important that women understand how to manage and combat it.
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Fever
The impact of a woman’s fever on her pregnancy depends on the fever itself, when the fever occurs and for how long, the illness causing the fever, and whether the woman takes steps to adequately manage the fever and/or seeks treatment for the underlying illness. 
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Headache
Research indicates that while the majority of women with headaches prior to pregnancy will likely experience relief, some women can experience a worsening or new onset of headaches during pregnancy.
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Heartburn and Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is common during pregnancy in all trimesters and can begin very early.  Reflux is the “event” that causes the “burning” in the chest known as heartburn. 
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Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in and around the rectal/anal area caused by various pregnancy-related causes such as poor lower body circulation, constipation, and swelling.
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Hunger
Women can feel much hungrier throughout the entirety of pregnancy, with “peak hunger” occurring in the late first trimester to the second trimester. 
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Leg Cramps
Leg cramps are defined as painful, involuntary contractions of the muscles in the legs or feet and appear to increase during pregnancy.
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Migraine
Migraines are considered a distinct entity from other types of headaches; they can range in severity from mild to utterly debilitating, lasting several hours in duration to two weeks or longer. 
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"Morning Sickness" Introduction
Nausea and Vomiting of Pregnancy (NVP) or "morning sickness”, is the most common complication during pregnancy. It is recommended women learn as much as possible about NVP prior to becoming pregnant or immediately after learning they are pregnant.
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Nasal Congestion
Nasal congestion is a normal symptom of common colds, allergies, sinus infections, and pregnancy. Pregnancy itself can cause nasal congestion that lasts for weeks, even months – without illness.
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Round Ligament Pain
Round ligament pain is caused by the stretching and pulling of the two round ligaments located on either side of the uterus, which support not only the uterus, but the Fallopian tubes, ovaries, and a growing pregnancy.
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Shortness of Breath
A feeling of shortness of breath, or that a woman “cannot catch her breath”, has many possible normal and expected causes during pregnancy and can start very early.
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Sleep (Insomnia)
A lack of sleep is almost a given for most pregnant women, especially in the third trimester.  However, pregnant women can begin losing sleep as early as the first few weeks.
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Sweating (and Hot Flashes)
Sweating can be a very unwelcome and uncomfortable symptom of pregnancy, but likely plays an important role in the regulation of body temperature as well as sodium and water.
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Swelling
Pregnancy causes many changes in the body that favor the development of swelling, especially in the lower body. This occurs mostly due to hormones, blood volume expansion, decrease in blood pressure, and the growing uterus.
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Urinary Problems
Despite urinary symptoms being incredibly common during pregnancy, most women do not bring their concerns to the attention of their HCP. However, HCPs can help women prevent further progression of these symptoms.
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Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are very common and can, surprisingly, start to appear very early in pregnancy.
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Weight
Researchers have tried to determine the “most optimal” weight gain range that can lead to the most positive pregnancy outcomes, based on a woman’s weight/BMI prior to pregnancy.
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Conditions

Bed Rest
Bed rest is a traditional method used by HCPs all over the world to avoid pregnancy-related complications that could be affected by a woman’s level of physical activity. However, current research greatly questions this practice.
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COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
As of April 2021, data regarding COVID-19 and pregnancy indicates pregnant women may be at an increased risk for severe infection, to include hospitalization and the need for mechanical ventilation.
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E. coli
There are two factors to consider regarding E. coli during pregnancy: E. coli infection due to foodborne illness, and infection passed to the newborn due to E. coli present in the genital tract near delivery. 
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Ectopic Pregnancy
Ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg implants in a uterine structure other than the uterine lining (decidua), such as the cervix or Fallopian tube.
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Fear of Needles
Women with a moderate to severe level of needle fear need to find a health care provider who understands, appreciates, and empathizes with their concerns.
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Fear of Pregnancy and Childbirth
Women who are experiencing an intense fear of pregnancy or childbirth need to find a health care provider they are comfortable with so they can express their questions, fears, and concerns in a safe and nonjudgmental place.
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Gestational Diabetes
Gestational Diabetes Mellitus is a condition in which a pregnant woman’s pancreas does not produce enough insulin in her body to regulate blood glucose levels.
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Glucose Screening
The most optimal method to identify and diagnose women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is still unclear almost six decades after GDM screening tests were first recommended.
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Group B Strep
Group B streptococcus is a bacterium present in the genital tract of some women; this bacterium can be passed to the newborn during vaginal delivery.
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Hyperemesis Gravidarum
Hyperemesis Gravidarum is considered the most severe form of NVP, affecting almost every aspect of a woman’s life (and her family’s) for weeks – usually months.  In women with HG, nausea and vomiting is unrelenting, constant, and debilitating.
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Influenza
Influenza ("flu") is a common seasonal respiratory infection that can be more severe in vulnerable populations. It is often indicated that pregnant women are more susceptible to influenza infection, or may experience more severe illness.
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Insufficient Cervix
An insufficient cervix (formerly incompetent cervix) indicates a mechanical or tissue failure of the cervix to maintain the structural integrity/physical support necessary to sustain a pregnancy.
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Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy
Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) is a relatively rare condition that occurs when bile salts build up in a woman’s circulation causing extreme itching (no rash).
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Listeriosis (Listeria)
Listeriosis is a very rare infection in the general population, with a much higher incidence in pregnant women. Although rare, the consequences of invasive infection in a pregnant woman can result in neonatal complications.
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Molar Pregnancy
Molar pregnancies, when abnormal trophoblastic tissue grows into the uterus, are part of a category of conditions known as Gestational Trophoblast Disease (GTD) and are considered very rare.
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Obesity
While obesity during pregnancy is increasing world-wide and includes greater risks of complications for both the woman and her baby, women considered "obese" can still experience perfectly healthy pregnancies.
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Oral and Genital Herpes
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is an incurable, lifelong, recurrent sexually transmitted infection that causes open sores on various parts of the body depending on infection location, but usually includes the mouth and genitals.  
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Polymorphic Eruption of Pregnancy
Also known as Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy, Polymorphic Eruption of Pregnancy (PEP) is the most common skin disorder in pregnancy characterized by a rash and significant itching on the abdomen.
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Preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is a vascular condition during pregnancy that manifests primarily as high blood pressure. When preeclampsia is diagnosed early, its management can prevent serious complications during pregnancy and in the postpartum period.
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Respiratory Infections (Overview)
Most of the time, respiratory infections during pregnancy (such as the common cold) resemble infections in non-pregnant women. However, influenza and COVID-19 appear to present increased risks to pregnant women.
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Restless Legs Syndrome
Restless Legs Syndrome is a condition categorized by an irresistible urge to move the legs, especially when trying to fall asleep; it could be accompanied by other symptoms such as aching or tingling. 
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Salmonella
Salmonella infection is a foodborne illness most often contracted through contaminated food such as raw eggs or contact with raw or live poultry (including backyard chickens).
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Syphilis
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection that is easily screened for and cured with antibiotics.  However, the presentation of the infection causes some women to completely miss the initial signs. This is critical, congenital syphilis cases in the United States have skyrocketed.
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Urinary Tract Infection
Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) are considered common during pregnancy but require treatment. HCPs may routinely screen for UTIs through simple urine tests during prenatal appointments. 
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Venous Thromboembolism
Venous thromboembolism events, which include deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, are rare during pregnancy.  However, because swelling and shortness of breath are both common during pregnancy, VTE is therefore commonly suspected and considered in pregnant women.
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