Symptoms during normal pregnancy: a prospective controlled study

Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 1999 Nov;39(4):401-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1479-828x.1999.tb03122.x.


Symptoms of normal pregnancy have received scant attention in the literature and what is reported is largely unsubstantiated. Yet this is an important aspect of antenatal counselling and care which deserves further investigation if symptoms are to be interpreted correctly. Accordingly, we conducted a prospective controlled study of symptoms during normal pregnancy in both primigravidas and multigravidas. A total of 38 symptoms occurred with a significantly different frequency (mainly increased) in the pregnant subjects in the third trimester compared with the controls. Of these a mean of 24.2 symptoms was experienced by each pregnant woman, double that (mean, 11.2) experienced by healthy nonpregnant controls. The 5 symptoms reported most frequently by the pregnant subjects were frequency of micturition, fatigue, pelvic pressure, insomnia and lower backache. However, a wide range of symptoms involving most body systems were reported. This study has established that symptoms of pregnancy are more numerous than mentioned in current obstetric texts and that they can be attributed to the effects of pregnancy. The third trimester is associated with the greatest number of symptoms and there is a marked decline in their number after delivery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy / physiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires