Are you pregnant? Do you wonder why you still observe all the symptoms of menstruation during pregnancy?
You are seeing all the signs, from breast tenderness to spotting to cramping. What do these symptoms mean? Is your baby fine? What should you do?
Read on to find out!
Pregnancy Symptoms vs Menstruation Symptoms
It is not strange for many women to say it took a while to find out that they were pregnant. This is because many symptoms of pregnancy are similar to menstruation symptoms, and it may be a little hard to tell the difference.
However, which signs should you watch out for and what’s normal?
Here are the most common period-like symptoms in pregnancy and what you should do about them;
Cramping before and during periods is something most women experience. This may either be a dull or throbbing pain in the lower abdomen and pelvic area.
Similarly, it is also normal to have some mild cramping during pregnancy, but more lower down in your stomach. It may last for weeks or even months, during the period when your baby attaches to your womb and it stretches.
However, severe cramping is a bad sign as it could indicate:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Preterm labour
If you develop severe cramps during your pregnancy, seek medical attention immediately.
Unlike a full-blown period, spotting is very light bleeding that some women experience just before their period. This also happens during pregnancy, and is at times confused for a period.
Spotting during pregnancy usually happens as the embryo (developing baby) attaches to the womb. This is called “implantation bleeding”. It is lighter than a normal period and usually occurs about 10-14days after conception.
However, many women do not experience this bleeding. If you do, consult your doctor immediately, whether or not the bleeding stops. This is because spotting during pregnancy could also be a sign of serious complications like:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Vagina infections
- Preterm labour
3. Swollen and Tender Breasts
Swollen and tender breasts are one of the most common symptoms of periods. They are also one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy. Thus, it is nothing to concern yourself too much about.
Some changes you should expect include
- blue veins
The degree of these symptoms however varies from woman to woman.
4. Mood Swings
Uncontrollable mood swings are common during pregnancy and periods. This is because of the hormonal changes happening in both instances. It is thus normal to feel irritated, anxious, or sad.
Some women even have crying spells, especially the pregnant ones.
However, a persistent low mood could indicate depression or some other mental condition. Thus, if you constantly feel sad for 2weeks or more, please consult your doctor.
5. Constipation and Bloating
This is also another common symptom of pregnancy and periods, and it can be blamed on one thing-hormones. The hormonal changes during pregnancy and periods can significantly slow down bowel movements, thus causing constipation. This may last for the first two semesters during pregnancy.
However, if your constipation lasts longer than that or gets too severe, please see your doctor. It could be an indication of some other form of bowel problem.
Some women experience fatigue before and during their periods. Most pregnant women also experience fatigue during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Some women however feel exhausted for the whole nine months. This is because frequent nighttime urination may make it difficult to get any decent sleep. Some women also have to deal with headaches and back pain which also make sleeping difficult.
Try to get as much sleep as you can. Go to bed early and use enough pillows. If you still find sleeping difficult or persistently feel tired and drained, speak to your doctor.
It is common knowledge that women crave weird things during their menstrual periods. The same goes for pregnant women too, but the cravings may be a little bit weirder and stronger. Many pregnant women crave for sweet, fatty or carbohydrate-rich foods.
Others may have a specific food that they crave for. Still, others may develop an unexplained aversion for a particular food, and get irritated by their sight or smell.
It is important to note some pregnant women develop cravings for non-food items like ice and dirt. This is an eating disorder called “Pica”. Anyone who develops this medical condition should consult a doctor as it may cause complications,
Despite many claims, it is not possible to get a period while pregnant.
You may experience some spotting, but this is way lighter than period blood. If you are pregnant, and you are bleeding enough to fill a pad or tampon, you need to see your doctor immediately. It could be a warning sign of some serious complication.
Many menstruation symptoms are similar to pregnancy symptoms.
Regardless of whether you are on your period or pregnant, these symptoms may be discomforting. However, consult your doctor if these symptoms get severe and prevent you from performing your daily tasks.
- Hinkle, S. N., Mumford, S. L., Grantz, K. L., Silver, R. M., Mitchell, E. M., Sjaarda, L. A., … Schisterman, E. F. (2016, November). Association of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy with pregnancy loss: A secondary analysis of a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Internal Medicine, 176(11), 1621–1627
- Krishnan, S., Tryon, R., Welch, L. C., Horn, W. F., & Keim, N. L. (2016, April 1). Menstrual cycle hormones, food intake, and cravings [Abstract]. The FASEB Journal, 30(1)