Are you familiar with pregnancy’s early signs and symptoms? Be prepared for anything from nausea to fatigue.
Do you think you might be pregnant? If so, it’s important to be aware of the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy. Many women don’t realize they’re pregnant until they are quite far along, but several telltale clues can indicate that you’re expecting even before you miss your period. In this blog post, we will discuss 11 early signs and symptoms of pregnancy. Keep an eye out for these indicators, and if you think you might be pregnant, see your doctor for confirmation.
Classic Early signs and symptoms of pregnancy
Here are some of the signs and symptoms that might show up in the early stages of pregnancy:
- Missed period. If you’re in your childbearing years and a week or more has passed without the start of an expected menstrual cycle, you might be pregnant. However, this symptom can be misleading if you have an irregular menstrual cycle.Other factors may also create an irregular menstrual cycle or a missed period. These include:
- Excessive changes in weight and/or diet
- Hormonal imbalances
- Going off birth control pills
- Travel, esp. involving changes in altitude
- Headaches. The sudden rise of hormones in your body can cause headaches in early pregnancy. This answers the question ‘Are headaches a sign of pregnancy.’ But since headaches are so prevalent in women and have so many other causes, this is not usually a reliable indicator of pregnancy unless accompanied by other symptoms. Headaches may be caused by:
- Caffeine withdrawal
- Eye strain
- Cold- or flu-like symptoms
- Seasonal allergies
- Sinus infection
- Tender, swollen/Sore (and enlarging) breasts. A woman’s breasts may become tender, swollen or tender as early as one or two weeks after conception. However, this is also a sign of PMS. Therefore, if you experience sore breasts, you may want to wait until the first day of your missed period to take a home pregnancy test. You may also experience swollen or sore breasts if you have a hormone imbalance or recently started birth control pills or other hormone-based birth control.
- Nausea with or without vomiting. This well-known pregnancy symptom will often show up between two and eight weeks after conception, and typically subsides at the start of the second trimester. Some women do not experience morning sickness at all, while some feel a degree of nausea throughout pregnancy. Rule out other causes first, including food poisoning, irritable bowel syndrome, stomach disorders, and stress.
- Increased urination. Around six to eight weeks after conception, as the uterus grows and shifts, taking up more room in your abdomen and exerting force on your bladder, you may experience frequent urination. Frequent urination in the absence of other pregnancy symptoms, however, could indicate a problem such as:
- Urinary tract infection
- Bladder infection
- Fatigue (feeling tired). Extreme fatigue or even feeling more tired than usual could indicate pregnancy and may begin as early as the first week after conception. However, there are multiple other factors that could make a woman tired, so if tiredness is not accompanied by other symptoms of pregnancy, consider other factors first.
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- Are you under stress?
- Could you have a cold or the flu?
Stress, exhaustion, depression, illnesses, a change in exercise habits or even a change in diet can leave you feeling fatigued.
- Darkening Areolas (less common sign of early pregnancy). If you are pregnant, the skin around your nipples may get darker. This may also be caused by a hormone imbalance not related to pregnancy. Areolas may not return to their original color after childbirth.
- Darker nipples. Pregnancy brings about a lot of changes to the skin. One of the first changes you may notice is the darkening of the circle of skin around your nipples (areolas). This can start around the halfway point of your first trimester.The lumps around your nipples may also become more noticeable, and your nipples may get more erect. The bumps are known as ‘Montgomery glands’ or ‘Montgomery tubercules,’ and they secrete oily fluids to help your breasts prepare for breastfeeding.
- Yeast infection or Vaginal discharge. Early in pregnancy, some women may detect a thick, milky discharge from the vaginal area. The vaginal walls thicken during the first weeks of pregnancy, causing this. This discharge can happen at any time during the pregnancy. If the discharge has an unpleasant odor to it, or if it is accompanied by burning and itching, it could be an indication of a yeast or bacterial infection. If this happens to you, you should seek medical advice.
- Weird dreams that your pregnant (pregnancy dreams).An increase in hormone production is one of the causes of increase in dreams. Hormones can affect your emotions and anxiety throughout pregnancy. They will also have an effect on how your brain processes information and emotions, which could lead to more vivid and frequent nightmares while you are pregnant.
Other Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms
There are a few other early pregnancy indications that aren’t as prevalent. These indicators of pregnancy, like the most prevalent symptoms, may or may not occur. It’s critical to keep in mind that everyone is different and will have various symptoms.
- Moodiness (mood swings). It’s not just a myth. Those hormonal changes in your body can also affect your mood. Of course, mood swings can also be caused by stress or the typical PMS symptoms. Some women actually experience improved moods – or a more stable mood if they previously suffered from PMS-related mood swings – during pregnancy. Others discover that one or two specific individuals “push their buttons” but that people, as a whole, are easier to tolerate.
- Bloating. Hormonal changes during early pregnancy can cause you to feel bloated, similar to how you might feel at the start of a menstrual period. One of the most common early pregnancy indications is an increase in progesterone and estrogen, which causes many women to swell up and produce pregnant gas. Abdominal pain or tightness, bloating, belching, and passing gas are all common side effects of pregnancy, which can last up to nine months.
- Spotting or light spotting (also called implantation bleeding). Implantation bleeding, in women who experience it, can be a confusing symptom of pregnancy. When the embryo implants into the uterine wall, some blood may be released. However, only about 20 to 30 percent of women experience this bleeding, which is really more like a pink or very light red discharge of blood. Any bleeding that is not your period should be discussed with your doctor.
- Cramping or lower abdominal pain. Some women experience mild uterine cramping early in pregnancy.
- Constipation. Hormonal changes cause your digestive system to slow down, which can lead to constipation.
- Food cravings, constant hunger and lost of appetite. Doctors recommend that women do gain much weight in the first trimester, but you may feel hungrier than usual. To keep weight in check, maintain a healthy diet and eat lots of foods high in fiber, which are filling and will also help alleviate constipation. Drink a glass of water before every meal, too. Pregnant women shouldn’t need to increase their caloric intake to accommodate the growing fetus until the start of the second trimester. Then, they should eat approximately 300 extra calories per day. You can also maintain a high level of physical activity in the first trimester, which will help prevent excessive weight gain.
- Nasal congestion. Increasing hormone levels and blood production can cause the mucous membranes in your nose to swell, dry out and bleed easily. This might cause you to have a stuffy or runny nose.
- Frequent trips to the bathroom. You might notice that you need to urinate more frequently before you miss a period. This is due to the fact that you now have more blood than you did previously. Your blood supply rises throughout pregnancy. Your kidneys are responsible for filtering your blood and removing waste. Urine is the form in which this waste exits your body. You will have to urinate more if you have a lot of blood in your body.
- Metallic taste in your mouth (less common sign of early pregnancy). During the early stages of pregnancy, many women report experiencing a metallic taste in their mouths. It may taste like if you’re chewing on a mound of pennies. This can occur after eating particular foods or at any time during the day.
- Excess Saliva. Many women have a build-up of saliva in their mouths during the first trimester, which can make it difficult to speak. Excess saliva is commonly related with morning sickness and should stop by the second trimester, however it’s more of an annoyance than a health problem. In the meanwhile, eat sugarless gum or gargle with mouthwash to help manage both saliva and nausea.
- Achy hips, legs and arm pain. It’s not just your back that aches during early pregnancy; hormone changes can cause aches in your hips, legs, and even arms.
- Heartburn or chest pain. Heartburn or chest pain might be a harmless pregnancy symptom. The developing uterus pushes against the organs in the chest cavity, causing heartburn or discomfort. Chest pain during pregnancy, on the other hand, can signal a more serious ailment, such as a heart attack or preeclampsia. These situations necessitate rapid medical intervention.
Later Pregnancy Symptoms
Some symptoms – such as a backache or headaches – may begin in the first trimester and persist throughout pregnancy. Others appear later.
- Feeling extremely warm / Hot flashes and excessive sweating.
- Varicose veins
- Quickening (fetal movement)
- Shortness of breath
- Stretch marks
- Changes in all areas of your body, including hair, skin and nails
- Blurred vision
Essentially, “anything goes” when it comes to pregnancy symptoms. If you are concerned about any reactions you’re having or changes to your body, speak with your midwife or obstetrician.
Could I Be Pregnant?
This could be wonderful news if you’re trying to conceive! Compare your symptoms to other Early Signs of Pregnancy. If you believe you might be pregnant, today’s Home Pregnancy Tests can give you a positive answer as soon as a week before your period is due. If you’re not ready to buy a pregnancy test yet, use our Due Date Calculator to figure out when you last ovulated. That will also provide you with some insight!
When can I take a pregnancy test?
The most effective time to take a pregnancy test is after your period is late – that’s when they work best. Taking a pregnancy test as soon as possible is a good idea if you missed your period or suspect you may be pregnant.
The sooner you find out you’re pregnant, the sooner you can start considering your options and get whatever care you need.
Some pregnancy tests claim to work a few days before a missed period, but the results are usually less accurate then. To determine when to take a pregnancy test and how accurate it will be, read the label on your pregnancy test.
Sometimes, a pregnancy test can detect pregnancy hormones in your urine as early as 10 days after unprotected sex. However, these results aren’t very reliable, and you might get a false positive or false negative test result.
The best time to take a pregnancy test if your periods are irregular or you don’t get periods for any reason is 3 weeks after sexual activity.
When to call the doctor
If you haven’t had your period in a while and have taken a pregnancy test and received a positive result, the next step is to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider. Your provider may inquire if you’ve begun taking a prenatal vitamin with at least 400mcg of folic acid when you make an appointment. These vitamins are essential for the development of your baby’s neural tube throughout early pregnancy. The brain and spine will emerge from the neural tube. Folic acid should be taken at all times by any woman who may get pregnant, according to many healthcare providers.
A preconception appointment with your healthcare practitioner is a fantastic place to start if you’re planning a pregnancy. If you take medicine for a chronic illness or have other medical issues like diabetes, hypertension, or lupus, scheduling a preconception appointment is very vital.
Your provider will discuss any existing medical issues as well as your general health prior to pregnancy at this session. This appointment is designed to put you in the best possible position to start a new pregnancy.
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