A chemical substance produced in the body that controls and regulates the activity of certain cells or organs.
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Several Factors Causing Food Aversions and Cravings
Food cravings usually start to emerge at the end of the first trimester, peak and intensify during the second trimester, and then typically begin to subside. Around the same time, many pregnant women also experience at least one food aversion, or a new sense of repulsion at the very thought of a snack they previously enjoyed. Food aversions are often associated with morning sickness and nausea. And while you may experience both intense cravings and revulsions at the same time, research suggests these urges are probably unrelated to each other. What Causes Food Cravings and Aversions During Pregnancy? Several factors may be at work when it comes to those appetite turn-ons and turn-offs you're experiencing now that you're pregnant: Hormones. Pregnancy hormones may play a role, especially early in pregnancy when your body is positively flooded with them. Whacky senses. Your taste receptors and your sense of smell may be super sensitive, dull or generally out of whack (all are common during pregnancy). Crossed nutrition signals. There may also be some truth to the notion that you crave what your body needs and are repulsed by what's not good for you. This theory works with pre-pregnancy favorites like coffee and alcohol, which can suddenly turn off regular drinkers of both. But it doesn't quite explain why you might turn your nose up at healthy foods you used to love, such as salad or oatmeal. A need for comfort (food). You may crave special foods and dishes that you associate with your culture and upbringing especially while you’re waiting for your baby to arrive. You can't always fight these symptoms, so just try to respond to cravings and aversions with reason. Here are some other helpful tips: Try to avoid going crazy with pregnancy cravings that do nothing for you nutritionally — even while you indulge them. For example, go for a mini chocolate bar instead of a king-sized, or a glass of low-fat chocolate milk rather than a tray of brownies. When cravings strike, head for the hills (or another distracting place). Take a walk or go to the gym. Even reading a book or calling a friend for a chat may take your mind off that glazed donut that's calling your name. Give in to your cravings once in a while (though not for alcohol) — then eat well for the rest of the day. If food aversions during pregnancy are limiting your food intake, look for substitutes for the healthy foods you can't stomach right now. Content Source
What causes gas pain during pregnancy?
Women often have excess gas during pregnancy in addition to morning sickness and fatigue. Gas can cause uncomfortable bloating, cramps, and abdominal pain. Causes A person's body goes through many changes throughout pregnancy. These include physical and hormonal changes that can cause excess gas. Gas pain can range from mild discomfort to severe pain throughout the abdomen, back, and chest. A person may also notice bloating and stomach or intestinal cramps. # Early pregnancy During the first trimester of pregnancy, the body undergoes drastic hormonal changes. The hormones progesterone and estrogen increase significantly to thicken the uterine lining to prepare for the growing fetus. They work as follows: • Progesterone relaxes the muscles in the body, including those of the intestines. As the intestines relax, the digestive system slows down significantly. • Raised levels of estrogen can cause the body to preserve water and gas. This can cause discomfort and pain in the abdomen. # Late pregnancy During the second and third trimesters, symptoms such as morning sickness and fatigue fade, and the uterus shifts its position to accommodate the growing fetus. As the uterus expands, it puts pressure on the surrounding organs, causing digestive issues, such as constipation and excess gas. This can cause uncomfortable bloating and gas. How to relieve gas pain in pregnancy Although the changes brought on by pregnancy can cause uncomfortable symptoms, these changes are necessary for the growing fetus. Lifestyle changes can help reduce excess gas and lessen some of the more uncomfortable symptoms that accompany excess gas. Certain dietary habits can make gas worse during pregnancy. In the later stages of their pregnancies, women may want to consider eating several small meals throughout the day. Drinking water can also help improve digestion and prevent muscle cramps. Certain foods are known to cause excess gas. These can include, including: • Fried foods • Beans • Coniferous vegetables • Dairy products, such as milk and yogurt • Whole grains • Fructose and sorbitol, (an artificial sweetener) • Carbonated drinks, such as soda or sparkling water Women may relieve their gas pain and bloat by avoiding these foods and drinks. Everyone responds to foods differently, so keeping a food journal is a good way of figuring out exactly which foods cause digestive issues. Content Source Featured Image Source
Special Home Remedies For Gas During Pregnancy
Got gas while pregnant? You’re not alone. Gas is a common (and potentially embarrassing) symptom of pregnancy. You’re likely paying special attention to what you eat and the medications you ingest right now, which often means that typical gas remedies should be shelved for the time being. Fortunately, there are several home remedies that can help ease any gas troubles you’re having, and some are as easy as reaching for a tall glass of water. Why Does Pregnancy Make You Gassy? Your body goes through many changes during pregnancy, and unfortunately gas is an uncomfortable result of some very normal body processes. The hormone progesterone is one of the main causes of excess gas during pregnancy. As your body produces more progesterone to support your pregnancy, progesterone relaxes muscles in your body. This includes the muscles of your intestine. Slower moving intestine muscles mean that your digestion slows down. This allows gas to build up, which in turn leads to bloating, burping, and flatulence. Bodily Changes During Pregnancy Once you get further along in your pregnancy, the increased pressure from your growing uterus on your abdominal cavity can slow down digestion, leading to more gas. Some foods can also contribute to gas, and your prenatal vitamins (especially the iron component) can cause constipation. 7 Ways to Ease Your Gas This uncomfortable, and sometimes painful, gas is generally due to constipation, and it can get worse as your pregnancy progresses. Thankfully, there are various things you can do to combat the gas. The more consistent you are with these lifestyle changes, the better results you are likely to see. 1. Drink Plenty of Fluids Water is your best bet. Aim for 8-10 ounce glasses every day, but other fluids count too. If your gas is causing pain or extreme bloating, you may be suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), in which case make sure any juice you drink is low in certain types of gas and bloating-promoting sugars called FODMAPs. Cranberry, grape, pineapple, and orange juice are all considered low-FODMAP juices. 2. Get Moving Physical activity and exercise should be a part of your daily routine. If you can’t make it to a gym, add a daily walk to your routine. Aim to walk or exercise for at least 30 minutes. Not only can exercise help keep you physically and emotionally fit, but it can also help prevent constipation and speed up digestion. Be sure to consult your obstetrician first before starting any exercise regimen during pregnancy. 3. Test Out Your Diet Try removing potential food triggers from your diet one at a time, until your gas symptoms improve. That way, you’re only eliminating foods that are contributing to the problem. Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, wheat, and potatoes are common gas culprits. Some women experience IBS during pregnancy but talk to your doctor and dietitian before starting a low-FODMAP diet. This diet can be very restrictive and put you and your baby at risk for not getting adequate nutrition. 4. Fill Up on Fiber Many foods that make gas worse in the short term can actually help control constipation. Why? “Fibre brings water into the intestines, softening the stool and allowing it [to pass more easily. Try fitting 25 to 30 grams of high-fiber foods into your diet to help ease gas concerns. Many fruits, such as prunes, figs, and bananas, and vegetables, as well as whole grains like oats and flax meal, are all good fiber boosters to consider. 5. Ask About Fiber Supplements If you’re not a fan of high-fiber foods, or you’re looking for a quick and easy alternative, ask your doctor about whether a fiber supplement, such as psyllium (Metamucil), methylcellulose (Citrucel), or polyethylene glycol 3350 (MiraLAX), might benefit you. 6. …And Stool Softeners Docusate (Colace), a gentle stool softener, moistens the stool, allowing easier and regular passage. Just avoid any stimulant laxatives, such as sennosides (Ex-Lax, Senokot), as these can cause complications during pregnancy. 7. When in Doubt, Just Breathe Anxiety and stress can increase the amount of air you swallow, which may increase upper abdominal gas, bloating, and belching. Eliminate as much stress from your life as possible. Pass off chores to someone else, or just accept that they aren’t going to get done. Find some quiet time during the day to take some deep breaths and relax, or look into a prenatal spa day. Do whatever you need to do to stay calm. Content Source Featured Image Source
A working woman's guide to pregnancy hormonal changes
The hormonal and physiological changes that come with pregnancy are unique. Pregnant women experience sudden and dramatic increases in estrogen and progesterone. They also experience changes in the amount and function of a number of other hormones. These changes don’t just affect mood. They can also: create the “glow” of pregnancy significantly aid in the development of the fetus alter the physical impact of exercise and physical activity on the body Estrogen and progesterone changes Estrogen and progesterone are the chief pregnancy hormones. A woman will produce more estrogen during one pregnancy than throughout her entire life when not pregnant. Pregnancy hormones and exercise injuries While these hormones are absolutely critical for a successful pregnancy, they also can make exercise more difficult. Because the ligaments are looser, pregnant women may be at greater risk for sprains and strains of the ankle or knee. Weight gain, fluid retention, and physical activity Weight gain in pregnant women increases the workload on the body from any physical activity. This additional weight and gravity slow down the circulation of blood and bodily fluids, particularly in the lower limbs. Sensory changes Pregnancy can dramatically alter how a woman experiences the world through sight, taste, and smell. Breast and cervical changes Hormonal changes, which begin in the first trimester, will lead to many physiological changes throughout the body. These changes help prepare the mother’s body for pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. Hair and nail changes Many women experience changes in hair and nail growth during pregnancy. Hormone changes can sometimes cause excessive hair shedding or hair loss. This is especially true in women with a family history of female alopecia. Stretch marks Stretch marks (striae gravidarum) are perhaps the most well-known skin change of pregnancy. They’re caused by a combination of physical stretching of the skin and the effects of hormone changes on the skin’s elasticity. Blood pressure and exercise There are two types of circulatory changes that may have an impact on exercise during pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones can suddenly affect the tone in blood vessels. A sudden loss of tone may result in the feeling of dizziness and perhaps even a brief loss of consciousness. This is because the loss of pressure sends less blood to the brain and central nervous system. Dizziness and fainting Another form of dizziness can result from lying flat on the back. This dizziness is more common after 24 weeks. However, it can happen earlier during multi-fetal pregnancies or with conditions that increase amniotic fluid Respiratory and metabolic changes Pregnant women experience increases in the amount of oxygen they transport in their blood. This is because of increased demand for blood and the dilation of blood vessels. This growth forces increases in metabolic rates during pregnancy, requiring women to up energy intake and use caution during periods of physical exertion. Body temperature changes An increase in basal body temperature is one of the first hints of pregnancy. A slightly higher core temperature will be maintained through the duration of pregnancy. Women also have a greater need of water during pregnancy. They can be at higher risk of hyperthermia and dehydration without caution to exercise safely and remain hydrated. Dehydration Most women who exercise for 20 to 30 minutes or who exercise during hot and humid weather will sweat. In pregnant women, loss of bodily fluids from sweat can decrease the blood flow to the uterus, the muscles, and some organs. The developing fetus needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients carried through the blood, so injury may result from a lack of fluid.
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Difference Between Implantation Bleeding and Menstrual Cycle
1. Colour • Implantation Bleeding: The blood seen is usually pink or brown in colour. The brown colour that is sometimes observed is only on account of older blood. • Menstrual Cycle: The colour of the blood that is seen during periods can vary and is considered a biological health monitor for a woman. While a bright red colour can indicate new blood, a greyish hue may indicate an infection or miscarriage. 2. Duration • Implantation Bleeding: It does not last for long and has a maximum duration of 1-2 days. • Menstrual Cycle: It can last anywhere between 2-7 days. It is highly variable and depends on factors such as lifestyle and body type. 3. Discharge • Implantation Bleeding: The discharge is always highly viscous. • Menstrual Cycle: The discharge changes according to the ovulation cycle and is often considered an accurate indicator of a woman’s fertility. The mucus is an egg white colour and relatively watery when a woman is most fertile. On the other hand, the discharge becomes sticky and has a creamy texture when a woman is in her non-fertile stage. 4. Cramping • Implantation Bleeding: The cramps experienced are mild compared to what you go through during a period. They are caused due to hormonal activity after the implantation. • Menstrual Cycle: The cramps can range from mild to severe with each period. A hormone called prostaglandin causes muscle contractions within the uterine wall which is responsible for the cramps. 5. Volume • Implantation Bleeding: The amount of bleeding is minimal and in many cases, does not even require the changing of a pad. The volume of bleeding is also independent of any other condition. • Menstrual Cycle: The amount of bleeding is, on average, about 10-30 ml per period, though sometimes it can even cross 500ml! The flow is variable and depends on conditions such as the size of the individual, exercise, and hormonal levels. Content Source Featured Image Source
Signs And Symptoms Of Pregnancy Implantation
Below are some of the symptoms associated with pregnancy implantation. However, not all women experience these symptoms, and a pregnancy test is the only sure-shot way of finding out whether you are pregnant. Additionally, many of these symptoms must continue for at least a week after the ovulation cycle is over. 1. Bleeding/Spotting Implantation spotting is the most reliable indicator that implantation has taken place. Light, short bleeding without regular period cramps are a sign of implantation. However, spotting may also be a result of sexual intercourse due to increased sensitivity of the cervix. 2. Cramping The process that takes place within your body leads to implantation cramping. However, this pain can be differentiated from menstrual cramping as its intensity is lesser. One aspect to be noted is that cramping isn’t the result of the physical embedding as it is too tiny to make such an impact. The mild cramping is a result of the hormonal changes that take place within the body after implantation. 3. Soreness of the Breasts After implantation, hormones begin to send chemical messages to the body to prepare itself for pregnancy. In response, the breasts start becoming tender and swollen. You may experience some soreness because of this. 4. Increased Basal Body Temperature Basal Body Temperature (BBT) is the temperature of your body during a state of inactivity. Many women who are actively trying to get pregnant have a BBT chart to track their ovulation. The best time to take this measurement is right after waking up. When you are ovulating, the BBT increases due to the increased progesterone levels. During implantation, there is a dip in the BBT to below 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit, after which there is a dramatic rise in temperature. 5. Frequent Urination The implantation leads to a flurry of activities taking place within the body, one of which is an increase of blood flow to the pelvis. This puts stress on the bladder making you feel the need to urinate often. However, this is associated with menstrual cycles as well and is not a guarantee for implantation. 6. Food Craving or Aversion The surge in hormones could make you crave a specific food item that you don’t usually eat. Alternatively, you might feel an intense aversion to food items that you eat on a regular basis. 7. Hot Flashes This can happen due to the dynamic change in hormones that takes place during implantation. 8. Cervical Mucus There will be a marked increase in your mucus flow due to an increase in hormones that will stimulate the cervix. 9. Mood Swings You will experience rapidly changing emotions that can range from crying one minute to being elated the next minute. This is on account of the changes in your hormones. However, these are also pre-menstrual symptoms and do not guarantee implantation. Content Source Featured Image Source
Early Pregnancy Symptoms
The most definitive first sign of pregnancy is usually a missed period, and by then you are technically around 4 weeks pregnant. That’s because the doctors deem that your pregnancy starts from the first day of your last period. However, there are some symptoms that can come before you miss your period and give you a heads-up. When you’re 2 weeks pregnant This is when your body is preparing for ovulation so right about now there is no way you can experience any symptoms as you won’t technically be pregnant. When you’re 3 weeks pregnant Around this time the fertilized egg travels up the fallopian tube and gets implanted on the uterus. Although there may be no symptoms at this time, some women experience “implantation bleeding” which may seem like a light period but is actually a sign of the egg being implanted on the uterus. In some cases, there could be early symptoms like fatigue, nausea, tender breasts, and more frequent urination. When you’re 4 weeks pregnant By this time, since your period should be due by now, a missed period will be the most definitive symptom of your pregnancy. This would be the perfect time to get a pregnancy test done to confirm that you are in fact pregnant. More women will find other symptoms like sore breasts, fatigue, frequent urination, and nausea creep in at this juncture. Yet many others will continue to feel nothing at all. That’s why a missed period is the most definitive symptom of pregnancy. Common early symptoms Here’s a list of most common early symptoms of pregnancy; which can appear just before or together with a missed period. While they are not enough to indicate pregnancy by themselves when they appear together or in conjunction with a missed period, it’s probably time to take a pregnancy test. Sore breasts- These happen due to an increase in progesterone and estrogen and can seem similar to the soreness that some women feel just before their period. Nausea and food aversions- This typically happens first thing in the morning though it can also last through the day. While it takes up to 6-8 weeks to appear for most women, in some cases it can appear as early as Week 3. Frequent urination- Increased pressure on the bladder and the frequent urge to pee, especially at night, is one of the earliest pregnancy symptoms. Food cravings- Your body can start craving all kinds of rich and greasy foods, or even sour foods like tamarind and pickle, even before you miss your period. Cramps and backache- This may be confused for PMS by most women but it actually occurs when the egg is getting implanted on the uterus. Headaches- Many women get mild tension headaches during the first few weeks of pregnancy so if you have this symptom in conjunction with others, you might want to get a test. Nipple darkening- Pregnancy hormones actually affect the colour of the nipples and this may be one of the earliest indications that you’re pregnant. The easiest way to know either way is to take an at home pregnancy test. These home pregnancy tests use your urine to determine whether you’re pregnant in a matter of minutes. Although blood tests provide more accurate pregnancy results, they are generally avoided unless recommended by a doctor. However, the timing of taking a pregnancy test can be tricky to navigate. If taken too soon, there is a chance of getting a false negative. A positive result early on could also prove to be false as it may be a chemical pregnancy. Here’s what you should know about taking a pregnancy test in order to get the most accurate results. How can you avoid a false negative? Here are the common reasons why women test negative when they are actually pregnant. You test too early and your body has not started releasing HCG yet You test early and your levels of HCG are too low for your pregnancy test to detect. Pregnancy tests range in sensitivity from 10mIU/ml to 40 mlU/ml. If you are testing early make sure you use a more sensitive test. Drinking too much water or other fluids right before taking the test may dilute the HCG in the urine and result in a false negative. If you let the urine lie too long(more than 30 minutes) without taking the test, the results will not be accurate. How do you avoid a false positive? You may also get a positive result when you are not actually pregnant in some rare cases. Women who are getting fertility treatment may get a false positive result if they do a test within ten days of their last injection. Women who are perimenopausal, that is women who will soon reach menopause, can also get a false positive result as they have higher levels of circulating HCG. HCG may get released from your pituitary during your LH peak. This may result in a false positive. Sometimes, a miscarriage happens even before the date of the period. This is because pregnancy is not actually viable. Such a pregnancy is known as a chemical pregnancy. In such circumstances, taking an early test may show a positive result whereas the pregnancy was actually unviable. The fact is that most early pregnancy symptoms are often similar to PMS symptoms. Of course, you do know your body best and if you experience some of these symptoms in conjunction with a missed period then it’s best to get a pregnancy test as soon as you can. Featured Image Source