What Are the Symptoms of Pregnancy? The early signs and symptoms of pregnancy can vary wildly from person to person. It is essential to be aware of the common symptoms and the possible and rare symptoms. So, what are the symptoms of pregnancy? We will dive into the specifics. Common Symptoms of Pregnancy 1. Missed Period Missing your period is most often the first sign of pregnancy. Your body recognizes the conception and stops making the hormone that sheds the lining of your womb. Your menstrual cycle is essentially paused, and you won’t have another period until after the baby is born. 2. Morning Sickness Contrary to what is shown on TV, morning sickness can also happen at noon and night. Feeling nauseous and vomiting is a normal part of early pregnancy. It is most common in the morning, and this is what coined the term. 3. Overtiredness or Fatigue You know the feeling when you sleep well but still feel tired? That is fatigue, and it is common in early pregnancy. Experts say this is due to the rise of hormone levels. This feeling tends to improve over time. 4. Frequent Urination Are you going to the bathroom every 10 minutes? This is another sign of pregnancy. Your body’s blood supply increases to support the new life, which means your kidneys must work harder. More waste plus more urine equals extra trips to the bathroom. 5. Aching Breasts Your breasts may start to feel sore and tender. You may have felt this before during your period, or it could be a completely new experience. This feeling is due to your fluctuating hormone levels and should fade with time. Some people describe this as an aching or tingling feeling. You might also experience a slight enlargement of your breasts. 6. Mild Cramps and Spotting Don’t panic if you see you have light spotting or cramping in the first few weeks. Spotting can indicate that the embryo has implanted in the lining of your womb. Implantation usually takes place a few days after you conceive and can cause blood spots or brown discharge. This symptom is crucial to know about, as it causes many people to believe they are not pregnant. If you are concerned or the bleeding persists, speak to your doctor without delay. 7. Headaches Persistent headaches can be a sign of so many things. That is why people don’t recognize them as a sign of pregnancy. If you are experiencing frequent headaches, there may be more to it than you think. Make sure you find a headache treatment option that safe for you. 8. Metallic Taste in Mouth Some people experience a metallic, coppery taste during early pregnancy. It can happen when eating or at seemingly random times throughout the day. Again, people do not consistently recognize the taste as a possibility of pregnancy. 9. Changes in Food Preferences This symptom varies from person to person, and some don’t experience it at all! You may crave certain foods; you may feel sick after certain foods; you can have a complete aversion to food altogether. Nutrition during pregnancy is important, and you should discuss this symptom with your doctor. [youmaylike] Rare Symptoms of Pregnancy Other symptoms that are rare but could affect you are: Heightened sense of smell. Heart palpitations. Increased saliva production (more drool). Nosebleeds. Swollen gums or tooth problems. More pimples or acne. Hot sweats. Are At-Home Pregnancy Tests Reliable? The sure-fire way to know if you are pregnant is to take an at-home test. These tests are reliable, and though false positives occur, it is rare. Always check the label, as different brands show different symbols to indicate pregnancy. The tests generally take a few minutes to develop, and digital tests can even display the word pregnant. When Should You Talk to a Doctor If You Think You’re Pregnant? If you suspect that you are pregnant, have a positive test result or are currently trying to get pregnant, the next step is to talk to your doctor. Your doctor will want to take a complete medical history, and if you are already pregnant, they may prescribe prenatal medication. The doctor can guide you on the steps throughout the pregnancy and lend an ear if you have any questions. It is vital to discuss everything with a medical professional. Your doctor is the gateway to an informed and happy pregnancy.
Diabetic Macular Edema Explained
Diabetic macular edema (DME) is a complication of diabetes that occurs when excess fluid starts to build up in the eye's macula. The macula is the part of the eye that allows us to focus and see fine details, and it is located in the retina, which is full of blood vessels. High blood sugar levels can damage the retina's blood vessels. The damaged blood vessels then begin to leak fluid, thereby causing swelling and other complications. This damage is called retinopathy and generally develops over time.
What Causes Diabetic Macular Edema?
As earlier stated, DME usually occurs due to high blood sugar levels. Other factors such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels can also contribute to blood vessel damage. In other instances of diabetes, pregnancy may also increase the risk of developing DME.
Since DME results from high blood sugar levels, it is common for people with diabetes, especially uncontrolled diabetes, to be at risk for DME. Additional risk factors that can lead to DME include:
- Poor blood sugar management
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Kidney disease (nephropathy)
- Sleep apnea
Associated Symptoms of Diabetic Macular Edema
In its early stages, there may be no symptoms. However, if you have diabetes, it is important to see an eye care doctor every year so they can examine your eyes for any changes. If you also notice any sign of retinopathy or DME, early treatment can prevent or restore vision loss. Let’s take a look at some of the common signs and symptoms of diabetic macular edema:
- Blurry or blocked central vision
- Distorted or "wavy" central vision (called metamorphopsia)
- Seeing floaters or strings of floaters in your vision
- Blind or dark areas or spots in your field of vision
- Difficulty reading at any distance
- Colors appear more washed out than usual
When to Call the Doctor
Call your eye doctor right away if you notice any of the above symptoms. Be sure to tell your eye doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Blurry vision
- Seeing colors that look washed out
- Seeing more floaters in your vision
- Double vision
Diagnosis and Different Treatment Options
Diabetic macular edema can be diagnosed through a comprehensive eye examination. There are effective treatments available for DME. Be sure to talk to your doctor to find the right option that will work for you. If you have received a DME diagnosis, ensure that you start treatment quickly to help prevent long-term eye damage and vision loss. Your doctor can recommend any of the following treatments:
Laser therapy involves the use of tiny lasers to target damaged areas in the retina. This process seals leaking blood vessels and prevents abnormal blood vessel growth. Laser therapy is effective in maintaining your current vision level and helps prevent further loss of vision. You’ll likely need several laser treatments overtime to repair eye damage and may require additional treatments if more eye damage occurs.
When you have DME, your body tends to produce a protein called VEGF in excess. When this happens, your blood vessels begin to grow too quickly; so, they are weak and leak blood and fluid into your retina and macula.
There are three types of anti-VEGF medicines usually used for DME; they include aflibercept (Eylea), bevacizumab (Avastin), and ranibizumab (Lucentis). These Anti-VEGF shots help to inhibit the effects of the VEGF protein. However, anti-VEGF shots may not be helpful for everyone and should not be used during pregnancy.
Focal-Grid Macular Laser Surgery
This treatment type works by sealing blood vessels in your retina to slow leaking and bring down swelling. If you have DME in both eyes, your doctor will treat one eye at a time, usually within a few weeks. In some cases, a laser may be used along with anti-VEGF shots if the shots alone are not helping.
These drugs are often called steroids and are used to target inflammation. They are usually prescribed to help lessen swelling in your retina. Steroids are usually not as effective as anti-VEGF shots, and they can cause other eye problems, like cataracts and glaucoma. They are not traditionally given as first treatment.
NSAID Eye Drops
Doctors sometimes use eye drops as a preventive measure for DME before or after you have eye surgery. These drugs are called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) because they help fight inflammation like steroids but do not have the same side effects. Doctors usually prescribe NSAIDs to prevent or ease swelling.
Can Diabetic Macular Edema Be Prevented?
You may not be able to prevent macular edema if you have diabetes, a pre-existing eye condition, or have suffered an eye injury in the past. However, you can follow the nutrition and lifestyle recommendations from your health care provider to avoid developing diabetes in the first place. You will likely be advised to do the following:
- Keep your blood sugar level under control. Check your blood sugar level several times a day (ask your doctor exactly how often). The American Diabetes Association recommends people with diabetes keep their A1C levels under 7%.
- Stop smoking or do not start. Ask your doctor for help quitting. Smoking increases your risk of diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and blocked retinal blood vessels. All those toxins damage the eyes’ tiny vessels.
- Exercise often. Try not to go more than two days between exercising. If you do, the glucose-metabolizing effects of physical exercise will wear off.
- Eat healthy. Follow your doctor's nutritional guidelines but, in general, avoid junk food and fast food, and try to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, especially dark, leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and collard greens.