You probably know the common signs – morning sickness, fatigue, tender breasts and frequent urination. But there are other side-effects that don’t make their way as often into discourse. We spoke to two experts about symptoms such as pregnancy discharge, heartburn and constipation, and whether bleeding or spotting is ever okay.
Why do we get pregnancy symptoms?
Sydney GP Dr Ginni Mansberg tells Mamamia pregnancy is an enormous change for the body to take on.
“There are a huge number of hormonal changes, and almost every system is affected through pregnancy,” she says.
“You put out much bigger amounts of progesterone and oestrogen.”
Dr Mansberg says the thyroid – a gland in the neck that’s in charge of making hormones – plays a key role in developing a healthy baby. During pregnancy, she says it increases its output by about 40 per cent.
“Because blood volume increases so much, a lot more is demanded of so many of our hormones and they all have to increase.”
And it’s all these hormonal changes that are largely responsible for most pregnancy side-effects.
“All people are different and our responses to hormonal changes and physical changes in pregnancy can vary a huge amount,” Dr Mansberg says.
Who is more prone to pregnancy symptoms?
Dr Philippa Costley, a Melbourne OB/GYN and spokeswoman for the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, says pregnancy is like any other condition, in that how it presents itself can vary from person to person.
“Some women breeze through pregnancy while for others it can take a huge toll physically and mentally. There is huge variety,” she says.