Can Pregnancy Symptoms Come and Go?

When Changes in Symptoms Can be a Sign of Trouble

While the range of symptoms a woman can go through during pregnancy can be challenging, it is something that most women expect and are fully prepared for. What some may not be prepared for is the way in which pregnancy symptoms can often come and go, often without rhyme or reason.

It’s understandable to feel anxious when this happens. It can’t help but bring up worries as to whether the pregnancy is progressing as it should or if there is a problem that requires immediate attention.

By knowing what is normal and what is not, you can alleviate many of these concerns and be better prepared to manage the occasional ups and downs that can accompany pregnancy.

changes in pregnancy symptoms
Illustration by Cindy Chung, Verywell

When Changes in Symptoms Are Normal

The symptoms of pregnancy can vary from woman to woman. While some women, for example, will never experience a day of morning sickness, others will feel nauseous and ill for seemingly months on end.

The same goes for the other common symptoms, particularly during the first trimester. These include breast tenderness, frequent urination, cramping, acne, food cravings, bloating, dizziness, mood swings, back pain, and constipation.

The frequency and intensity of these symptoms can be highly variable, and, quite honestly, you can’t be expected to feel all of them all of the time. There will be days when you may experience cramping and frequent urination and others when you’ll have sudden cravings for certain foods. There will even be days when you’ll be entirely symptom-free. This is all perfectly natural and usually of little cause for concern.

In some cases, the symptoms may not so much have disappeared but rather become less noticeable as you begin coping with the frequent changes in your body. Over time, you may begin to better understand your mood swings or have found ways to deal with the rigors of constipation or nausea.

By the second trimester, many of the more profound symptoms may begin to dissipate. Others will continue right up until the moment of delivery. Neither of these is considered a sign of a "less normal" or "more normal" pregnancy.

When Changes in Symptoms Are Concerning

There are times when changes in pregnancy symptoms warrant concern and investigation. Chief among these is fetal movement. While it may be some time before you actually feel any movement (somewhere between weeks 16 and 25), any significant changes in activity moving forward should be immediately reported to your doctor.

A decrease in fetal movement, or a complete cessation of movement, may be the sign of an emergency situation. While other symptoms may decrease or subside as your pregnancy advances, the movement of your baby should not. Sure, there will be days when your baby may be quieter. But if any changes in an activity seem unusual, don’t hesitate to see your doctor or visit an emergency room.

The same goes if you suddenly have no symptoms at all. We’re not so much talking about symptom-free days. We’re referring to the situation where you’ve been dealing with multiple symptoms and suddenly have none.

The sudden cessation of symptoms may be the sign of a miscarriage, especially during the first trimester when most pregnancy loss occurs.

While it doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a problem, it does warrant investigation should the change be sudden and extreme. Even if there are no other overt signs of miscarriage (such as abnormal bleeding or severe cramping), it is still important to have it checked out sooner rather than later.

A Word From Verywell

While there are markers and milestones common to all pregnancy, the experience of the pregnancy itself s a highly individual. In the end, it’s important to remember that the severity or frequency of symptoms is not a clear indicator of how your pregnancy is progressing. It can be perfectly natural to have a cycle of pregnancy symptoms that come and go. It's also normal to have no symptoms at all.

If ever in doubt, follow your instincts and speak with your doctor. All it takes is a simple ultrasound to check the status of your pregnancy. It can put your mind at ease or, if there is a problem, allow for immediate intervention.

Was this page helpful?

Article Sources

  • Gabbe, S.; Niebyl, J.; Simpson, J. et al. (2017) Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies (Seventh Edition). Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Saunders/Elsevier.