I've been writing about pregnancy for a couple of years now, and I get a lot of questions about pregnancy and what is and is not normal. This is the first of a series of articles that will address the questions that I get about pregnancy, using real questions I've gotten as the basis for the questions and answers that I'll be providing here.
I'd like to encourage you to send your questions to the Pregnancy Now Tumblog so that I can help other women in a way that allows me to easily tag the answers. The questions sent there will then serve as the basis for more answers on this article (and the other articles in this series).
Whatever questions you have, I welcome them! Send them in and I will answer them to the best of my ability.
Please note that my answers are based on research and experience. I am not a replacement for your doctor or midwife. Call a nurse, midwife, or doctor accordingly!
This article will cover questions relating to what is and is not normal during pregnancy. Other articles will depend on questions I receive, but I will definitely be writing a Q&A about how to tell if you're pregnant.
Your Questions about Bleeding During Pregnancy, Answered
I read on the internet that you can have a period while you're pregnant. Is this true?
It is, however, possible to bleed while you're pregnant. This bleeding may look like a period and may even feel like a period (due to certain types of cramping during pregnancy, but it is not the same thing as when you have a menstrual period. In most cases, the bleeding comes from old blood in the cervix, but may also be caused by a uterine hemorrhage or other factors. I personally bled during my last pregnancy. I bled very heavily due to a hemorrhage, and the pregnancy was successful.
If you're bleeding, does that mean a miscarriage?
It could. If you're bleeding in the first trimester, call your doctor right away. If you're cramping and bleeding at the same time, a trip to the emergency room might be a good idea, as this can be an indication of miscarriage.
This article on bleeding during pregnancy may be helpful. To give you a quicker answer, however, this is the essence of what that article says on the subject.
If the blood is "brown" in color, you're probably safe as this is generally "old blood" on your cervix, sometimes from a previous period.
If you've done the baby dance recently, you may have disturbed your cervix, which can result in some bleeding.
If the blood is very bright red or light pink, you may have cut yourself, resulting in the blood.
If the blood is very dark red, call your doctor. This is not a good sign!
I'm in my third trimester, and I'm bleeding. What does that mean?
You may have lost your mucous plug.
The mucous plug is (essentially), a "gob" of mucous that keeps the cervix plugged and the baby inside and safe until it's time for him or her to come out. Up to two weeks before labor begins, many women "lose their mucous plug." When this happens, you may notice what appears to be snot mixed with blood when you wipe after using the toilet. This is your mucous plug.
There should be very little blood with the mucous plug. If you are bleeding more than a little bit, call your doctor.
Your Questions About Cramping During Pregnancy, Answered
I feel like I'm about to get my period, but I think I'm pregnant! What is this?
If you haven't yet confirmed a pregnancy, this is probably what's known as "implantation cramping." When the embryo implants on the uterine wall, you may experience some mild cramping, similar to what you experience during your period.
I'm having some cramps like right before my period, and I'm 3 months pregnant. Am I going to miscarry?
At some point during the end of your first trimester or the beginning of your second trimester, the ligaments that support your abdomen will begin to loosen and stretch. This results in some pains that feel very similar to when you're about to get your period. It probably doesn't mean that you're about to miscarry, but it can't hurt to call your doctor!
My lower back feels heavy and crampy, like before my period. What does this mean?
You're probably constipated. Drink more water to offset the effect of the iron that you're taking in your prenatal vitamins and make sure that you're drinking plenty of water!
My abdomen hurts more than usual. Is there something wrong?
If not one of the reasons above, you may have a urinary tract infection (UTI), which are very common during pregnancy. See your doctor right away to have this treated, as these can become very problematic if they go on for too long! Your doctor will treat a UTI with antibiotics.
I'm cramping and bleeding. I'm really scared! Am I going to miscarry?
If you're both cramping and bleeding, then you are probably having a miscarriage. Call your doctor and head to the emergency room to be sure.
Your Questions About Pain During Pregnancy, Answered
Why do my hips hurt so much in my second or third trimester?
You've probably noticed that all of your joints are hurting more, now that you're pregnant. This is in part due to the fact that your ligaments are loosening due to hormonal changes in your body.
Your pelvis, in addition, is beginning to expand to accommodate your baby and to prepare for childbirth. This can be a painful process. I give some tips on how to deal with this pain in my article about handling pregnancy pain.
Is it normal to have this much heartburn during pregnancy?
Heartburn during pregnancy is caused by hormones causing the valve between the stomach and the esophagus to allow acid to rise from the stomach up into the esophagus. This is incredibly uncomfortable and can lead to gastro-esphogeal reflux disease (GERD). You have several options for avoiding or getting rid of heartburn once you have it.
Why does my lower back hurt in the first trimester?
You're probably constipated.
When you're pregnant, your doctor prescribes you a series of vitamins that are intended to help you to nourish your baby and your own body. One of the minerals included in these vitamins is iron, which can cause constipation. If you aren't drinking enough water or eating enough fiber, you may find that you become constipated.
Make sure to drink plenty of water and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Talk to your doctor before taking a laxative.
What about back pain later in pregnancy?
Well, it could still be constipation, to begin with. But more than likely, you're having trouble adjusting your posture to account for being front-heavy. Make sure that when you're standing, your hips are beneath your shoulders and your back is straight. Sit straight when you're sitting down or use lumbar support in order to help adjust your position and posture for best results.
Some back pain is unavoidable, but I refer you back to my article on pregnancy pains for information about obtaining some relief.
Your Questions About Morning Sickness, Answered
If I don't get morning sickness, does that mean that I'm going to miscarry?
Oh heavens no. Some women have no symptoms at all during their entire pregnancies. Not having symptoms in no way means that you're going to miscarry. Count yourself lucky that you're able to avoid morning sickness and rest easy -- you'll need all that rest when the baby is born!
Why do they call it morning sickness?
It's called "morning sickness" because you're more likely to get sick when you haven't eaten for an extended period of time. Generally this is before breakfast, which is in the morning (hence the name "morning sickness").
Morning sickness can occur at any time of the day.
What causes morning sickness?
Morning sickness is believed to be caused by the hormone progesterone, one of the hormones that increase during pregnancy. Some people believe that you're more likely to experience morning sickness if you're pregnant with a girl. This was true for me!
How can I prevent morning sickness?
I've outlined some methods for beating morning sickness on my article about natural remedies for morning sickness.
Have More Questions?
Ask any questions that you have about pregnancy aches, pains, and possible problems here, and I will do my best to answer them as part of the hub. I prefer to have these questions asked on my Tumblr so that I can add them here as well as answering them there, but if you're more comfortable asking here on Hubpages (you're already here, after all!) then be my guest. I'll add my answer into the article and then let you know that it's been updated.
Watch out for future question and answer hubs in different categories, and feel free to contact me for help with whatever your pregnancy-related questions are!
Alyssa on July 13, 2018:
I have placenta previa and did have some bleeding about a week ago with no cramps and today I'm 13 weeks and have period like cramps. I'm concerned
Becki Rizzuti (author) from Central Indiana on September 20, 2014:
@tamika: Either try a more sensitive test (see here: https://hubpages.com/hub/what-causes-a-false-negat... or see your doctor for confirmation through blood work. If you're having symptoms and have missed your period, your doctor is the one who can confirm that you're pregnant and help you take the next steps. If tests are negative, but you are pregnant, it can be an indication of a problem that you'll want to get checked over by your doctor.
tamika on September 20, 2014:
I think im preganant having all the signs of preganancy but the tests are saying no I took 3 preganacy test now what
Becki Rizzuti (author) from Central Indiana on August 27, 2014:
I'm in the process of editing everything to make this a bit more clear for those who are still confused. Hopefully the question will be answered thoroughly by the time I'm done.
Susannah Birch from Toowoomba, Australia on August 27, 2014:
It's not a menstrual period, you're right. I looked into it, seems to be called 'decidual bleeding' . :)
Becki Rizzuti (author) from Central Indiana on August 27, 2014:
@WryLilt: You mean that it's possible to have a normal "faux" menstrual period during a pregnancy. Hormones shut down the cycle during pregnancy. You won't ovulate and you won't menstruate. Much of what I've written on this subject is the result of claims that it's possible to do everything from ovulate to menstruate while you're pregnant. Some women bleed, even regularly, but that doesn't mean that it's a menstrual cycle.
Susannah Birch from Toowoomba, Australia on August 26, 2014:
It's possible to have a normal 'faux' menstrual cycle all through pregnancy. Rare, but it does happen. I'm sure there's a proper name for it but it's not something I've thoroughly researched. However I personally know several people it has happened to.