4 Annoying Symptoms That Are Actually Signs of a Healthy Pregnancy

Uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms can put a damper on your nine-month journey, but some may benefit you and your growing baby.

pregnant woman holding stomach
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Heartburn. Constipation. Backaches. No one ever said being pregnant was a walk in the park. But the good news is that some tough side effects actually signal that your pregnancy is thriving, says Yvonne Bohn, M.D., co-author of The Mommy Docs' Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy and Birth.

You may wonder how to tell if your baby is healthy in the womb without using ultrasound. Thankfully, your body will give you lots of signs to let you know your pregnancy is healthy and thriving. Here are four annoying pregnancy symptoms that can be signs of a healthy pregnancy:

  • Sore and enlarged breasts
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Morning sickness
  • Exhaustion

Read on to learn what these symptoms mean for you and your baby.

Sore and Enlarged Breasts

Sore and tender breasts happen early in pregnancy thanks to rising levels of estrogen and progesterone. Sure, the surge of hormones may make your chest feel heavy and sore, but it's also an indication that your body is adapting well to pregnancy, Dr. Bohn says.

Increased Vaginal Discharge

Increased vaginal discharge happens throughout pregnancy and is due to the rise in estrogen. Noticing more wetness down there these days? You're not alone. Lots of people see an uptick in watery, clear, odorless discharges during pregnancy. The culprit is an increase in estrogen. Besides being a sign of a healthy pregnancy, the extra discharge is thought to help cleanse the vagina and even prevent infections from entering the womb.

Morning Sickness

Morning sickness usually occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy and is often an early sign of pregnancy. Though fighting off waves of nausea can be downright debilitating, morning sickness is considered part of a healthy pregnancy. No one knows the exact reason behind the queasiness, but experts believe a rapid rise in the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (hCG) could be to blame.

Aside from being normal, those frequent trips to the bathroom could be beneficial for you and your baby. New research suggests that parents who experience morning sickness are less likely to miscarry or deliver prematurely; plus, their babies have fewer birth defects and may even perform better on IQ tests.

It's also been suggested that nausea and vomiting help prevent pregnant people from eating foods that could harm their baby in the first trimester when organ development takes place. "The idea is that meats and many vegetables may have toxins or parasites that could hurt the fetus," Dr. Bohn explains. "Forcing one to eat bland food prevents the potential exposure of toxins."

That said, don't worry if you're not experiencing morning sickness. Many people don't and go on to deliver perfectly healthy babies.

Exhaustion

Exhaustion is a classic sign of pregnancy that can last for the full 40 weeks. While it can be exhausting to experience (yup, you guessed it) exhaustion, this sluggish sensation is—in most cases—a sign of healthy pregnancy. Metabolically, your body is changing, says Dr. Bohn. Your hormones are adjusting, and you are carrying a human being. In short, your body is being taxed. Taking short breaks or even midday naps can help combat tiredness and fatigue.

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