Pregnancy Symptoms: 21 Early Signs of Pregnancy
If you are wondering whether or not you could be pregnant, the surefire way of determining is to take a pregnancy test. But in most cases, it is also true that pregnancy does reveal itself even in its very early days. As your body changes, you will start to feel the symptoms. Then again, every woman is unique and so are her symptoms of pregnancy. This is also true, for subsequent pregnancies in the same woman as each pregnancy is different. In a vast majority of the cases, women may not even realize in their early days that they have conceived. That’s because the first symptoms of pregnancy often mimic the symptoms of Pre-menstrual syndrome.
First Signs of Pregnancy
Whether you are trying to conceive or not, it is only natural a missed period or a sudden bout of vomiting can make you suspicious of a possible pregnancy. In such a case, it is only natural for women to micro-analyze the symptoms around this time of her expected date of the period for any signs of possible pregnancy. Below are discussed in details all the possible symptoms that might indicate that a baby is making way into your life –
- Breast Changes
- Feeling Sick
- Food Cravings or Aversions
- High Basal Body Temperature
- Mood Swings
- Change in Cervical Mucus
- Strange Taste in the Mouth
- Dry Mouth
- Delayed or Missed Period
- Lower Abdominal Contractions
- Stomachaches and Cramps
- Light Bleeding or Spotting
- Frequent Urination
- Bloated Tummy
- Wind and Constipation
- Can Early Pregnancy Go Undetected?
- Best Time to take the Pregnancy Test
One of the first symptoms to show up when you are pregnant is the change in your breasts. And, this can happen as early as in the first 2 to 3 weeks of pregnancy. You could feel that there is some unusual tenderness in your breasts and they seem sore. Even the nipples change. They could start to get darker as you advance in your pregnancy and they start showing up like this quite early on. They too seem sore and can be prickly or tingly. Many women feel that their breasts are also feeling heavier and are itchy. You many even start noticing that the veins underneath the skin in your breasts are beginning to show more prominently.
Morning sickness is one of the most talked about symptoms of pregnancy. About 80% of women experience morning sickness in the first few months of their pregnancy and have nausea. 50% women also experience vomiting along with nausea. However, though so named, morning sickness is not limited to mornings only. It can be with you most parts of the day, throughout the day or any time of the day. If you too have been feeling queasy of late, you should take note of this symptom and observe the other indications your body may give around this time. Morning sickness may also be accompanied by niggles, twinges, and pains in the tummy.
Food Cravings or Aversions
Almost all pregnant women can experience food cravings or aversions beginning from the very early days of their pregnancy. Most expectant mothers feel repulsive to at least one food, often a food they previously might have liked. Quite alternately, they can develop a special liking or a craving for a particular food, and these cravings can show up at any hour of the day, even midnight! There is a popular theory that explains this symptom. It states that in pregnancy, the body naturally becomes resistant to foods which are not required for its unique needs and on the other hand, develops a craving for those which are essential for the body to support the pregnancy. While this theory is yet to be proved, there is no denying the fact that this important symptom is a part of gestation.
High Basal Body Temperature
Basal body temperature (BBT) is the temperature of the body in the morning before you get out of bed. A sudden rise in the basal body temperature can be a sign that you have conceived. However, it is best to monitor the basal body temperature for a few days to determine whether exactly your body temperature is high enough as much it is when you have conceived. A spike in the body temperature is a general indication of ovulation. After that, your BBT peaks and then begins dropping off again before the start of the period. If you are pregnant, your BBT will remain raised even after the due date of your period has come and long gone. If your BBT rises over a certain point and remains high in the morning, you could be pregnant.
If you experience sudden mood swings, it could be wise to take it into account as a possible indication of pregnancy. Fatigue, physical stresses, metabolic changes and fluctuations in hormones trigger changes in the mood. The significant changes caused by the levels of the hormones also affect the level of neurotransmitters in your brain. These are the chemical messengers which control mood. Everyone responds in their unique ways to such changes. While at one time you are feeling elated with joy, the next moment you could find yourself depressed or anxious. Thus, if you are also experiencing an unusual pattern of mood swings and irritability in your personality since a few days, it could be telling you something more, like a possible pregnancy.
Change in Cervical Mucus
One of the early signs of pregnancy is the change in the cervical mucus. If you feel that your cervical discharge is getting more than usual, it could be a pregnancy sign to be noted. In the very early days after conception, you could notice that your mucus has suddenly become thinner than usual. It can also appear quite slippery. The texture of the discharge changes around the expected time of monthly cycle and then again starts thickening up as the levels of progesterone start shooting up. While this discharge is usually pale in color, it is not unusual to experience a brownish discharge either.
This is yet another early symptom that along with other symptoms can give you useful clues of your pregnancy. However, not all women who have conceived experience thrush. About 25% of them do, and it is due to the increasing levels of the pregnancy hormone, progesterone. One of the signs of thrush is that you could be having an increased discharge of cervical mucus in your early days. Also, thrush is signified with other signs like a thicker than usual mucus which has a creamy appearance. You could also experience some soreness and itchiness. In a few cases, women also experience a mild stinging sensation when they urinate.
Strange Taste in the Mouth
Not all women pregnant experience this, but often some women in their early days of pregnancy, report a sudden unusual taste in their mouth that lingers on. It can be described as a metallic or a sour-ish taste and the reason for this is again the rising levels of progesterone. This symptom is medically known as dysgeusia. It can also give you a slightly altered taste of certain foods and drinks.
Many would-be moms would experience drooling or excessive salivation in their early days, precisely around six weeks of gestation. This excess salivation can make things worse for a woman who is also experiencing heightened morning sickness. Ptyalism as it called in medical terms, can occur on its own but more often is related with nausea and throwing up during early pregnancy. The salivation may increase sporadically during periods of sharp hormonal changes. Some women also think that excessive salivation is also a culprit that triggers heartburn.
As you get pregnant, the body begins to absorb more water so as to facilitate the increasing volume of blood. With increasing pressure in the uterus, you also urinate more frequently. These two factors can cause dryness in the mouth and make you feel thirstier. Additionally, it can also experience other dehydration signs. In pregnancy, gestation diabetes is a common occurrence, and this can contribute to thirst and dry mouth. If you are getting this symptom, they are high chances that you have conceived.
If you are usually always charged up but have been feeling tired out of no reason since a few days, it could be that you are pregnant. As the levels of hormone shoot up rapidly, it could cause you to feel more fatigued and sleepy. To that, morning sickness and frequent urination during the night can deprive you of quality sleep and tire you significantly. Provided you also experience some more of the symptoms of pregnancy along with exhaustion, it would be a good idea to take a pregnancy test.
Delayed or Missed Period
Missing your period is probably the best clue of being pregnant. Sometimes, your period may seem to take longer to arrive than its due date and finally, it may not just show up even after all that wait. While it is still not an assurance of being pregnant as one could have some underlying health issue causing the delay or absence. However, it still by far increases the chance of one being pregnant.
Lower Abdominal Contractions
Cramps or muscle contractions are quite common as a symptom of Pre-menstrual syndrome. However, in pregnancy too this could be a signal. However, it could be misleading at the time it happens because it is easy to be confused as just a period pain.
Stomachaches and Cramps
While many women experience lower abdominal cramps since the early days of their pregnancy, there are quite a few of them who also experience unexplained stomach cramps every now and them. Some women explain their stomach pains like as if their muscles are being pinched from an insider and the pain can shift from one side to the other. Doctors say that this is caused when the ligaments begin to stretch as the uterus starts to expand in size.
Light Bleeding or Spotting
In the early days of pregnancy, you could also experience a very light bleeding. In pregnancy, this is called spotting. It is caused when the fertilized egg or the ovum implants itself in the womb lining of the uterus and sheds a bit of the lining which is seen as a light bleeding. With a delayed period and a spotting, it becomes a strong indication that you are most likely pregnant. However, not every pregnant woman experiences spotting. In fact, only 20% of pregnant women have to spot. This discharge is usually pinkish in color or could be brown resembling dark blood. This very light discharge of blood can occur from 1 to 2 days.
If your trips to the loo are getting more than normal, it could indicate possible pregnancy. Frequent urination is one of the common early signs of pregnancy. This is caused by the blood flow in your kidneys shoots up to 35 to 60 percent. The increased movement of blood causes your kidneys to create 25% more urine just after you have conceived. This continues for several more weeks in your pregnancy and peaks around 9 to 16 weeks after settling down for your relief. If you have been running back to the loo every 10 to 20 minutes night and day, it’s time to get a pregnancy test.
If you are worried from where did you get all that gas filled inside your tummy, you can blame it to the pregnancy hormone, progesterone. Funnily, progesterone can give you a baby bump even before the growing fetus in your womb does! After proper meals, you could feel that your belly is feeling all full and swollen up. Progesterone relaxes the smooth muscle tissues of the body and also, the gastrointestinal tract. This causes digestion to slow down. This allows more and more nutrients from the food you eat to be absorbed into the bloodstream to be able to reach the baby. While this is a positive thing, the slow digestion can cause bloating. This along with the expanding uterus can cause more pressure in the rectum which can cause you to belch frequently.
Wind and Constipation
Many women in their early pregnancy are plagued by frequent trapped wind and constipation issues. If you too have been experiencing constipation all of a sudden, it could be an important signal suggesting pregnancy. The hormone progesterone slows down the movement of the gut, and this causes difficulty in letting open the bowels or passing out the stool from the body. And, the longer the wastes are trapped in the intestine; the water reabsorbed from the motions of the bowels presses it back into the body. This makes it harder to pass the stool. The bowl also caused more gas during this time, and the strong winds can cause sharp pains in the stomach.
Just like some women experience constipation in the early days of their pregnancy, some have attacks of diarrhea in their early days. For instance, hot peppers can sometimes make you rush to the bathroom several times when you are pregnant. This is because of the spicy compound capsaicin contained in it which causes irritation in the bowel. The pregnancy hormones like estrogen, progesterone and the human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG hormone can have affected the digestive system in various ways. While nausea, throwing up, constipation and food cravings are all a part of these changes, diarrhea though a bit uncommon but is not abnormal in early pregnancy.
At the beginning of pregnancy, you may also experience insomnia. While you are more tired than ever when pregnant, the problem is that you are not able to get a restful sleep. As various changes going on inside the body, it keeps on expressing those changes through different symptoms, most of which bring considerable discomfort in some form or the other. With so many changes taking place in your physical and emotional being, it comes as no surprise that out of every ten pregnant women 8 suffer from insomnia or experience other sleeping problems. The various anxiousness of a having a baby, the bodily aches, morning sickness, abdominal cramps and frequent urination rob you of a good sleep, and you continue feeling further drained.
A backache manifests itself as one of the early symptoms of pregnancy. Again, it can also be ambiguous as it often occurs as a common period symptom. Thus, it can confuse one whether a baby has been conceived or the period is just about to show up. In most cases, women experience pain in their lower back just after a few days of conceiving. While a backache may happen at various phases throughout pregnancy, in the very early stage the reason is still not very apparent. However, the pack pain is mainly triggered as the ligaments start to loosen up. This is in turn caused by the pregnancy hormones which relax the body of the mother to prepare it for delivering a baby easily through the pelvic girdle. While delivering a baby is the final thing that occurs in pregnancy, the backache is only an indication that it has begun its work right from the very beginning as it is intended to.
Could You be Pregnant?
Unfortunately, only with the help of symptoms, it is never possible to determine for sure whether or not you are pregnant. While the above-mentioned symptoms do give you fair clues whether you could be possibly pregnant, only a pregnancy test can say for sure if you have conceived. If you are still weary of visiting the clinic, you can begin by taking a pregnancy test at home. However, even a home pregnancy test is not always 100 percent accurate, and if the symptoms persist for longer, it is very important to see the obstetrician. To get your chances of getting a home pregnancy test right, you have to get the timing correct.
Can Early Pregnancy Go Undetected?
Sometimes, some women can get a false positive reading after taking the test. However, in reality, a reading that shows positive through a trusted pregnancy test can never show an incorrect positive reading. It would only mean the woman had been pregnant when the test was taken but had an early miscarriage. This miscarriage usually shows up as a heavy bleeding a few days after the due date of the period. While it could be perceived as a delayed period with a heavy flow, it could mean a chemical pregnancy or an early miscarriage had taken place. While many women don’t even realize they were even pregnant, a 25 to 40 percent of pregnancies can end up with an early miscarriage and go undetected.
Best Time to take the Pregnancy Test
Sometimes your anxious mind can get the better of you, and you can take a test earlier than recommended. Take a pregnancy test only after your due date of the period has come and gone and you are sure you have missed a period in that month. While there could be various reasons for a period that doesn’t show up, but it could also mean you are pregnant. If you do a test before your period due date, you will not likely get a reading. That’s because the hCG hormone will not have developed enough by then to show up in any tests.
However, having said that it is also important to mention here that some of the latest home pregnancy kits claim of picking up hCG even before a missed period. Well, there is a possibility for that as the level of hCG in urine varies in every woman’s until she misses her cycle. So, in this regard, some women may even get a positive result while others still may not. The level of hCG doubles every 2 to 3 days and so, if your test has proven negative, it’s important to check back after few days or in a week.
Word of advice
It is always better to take a pregnancy test after you have missed your period as this way you stand fairer chances of an accurate result. The later it is in your cycle the better the chances of an accurate reading. However, it is also not a good idea to prolong the test further than a month of missed period. This way you can get medical counseling at the right time and can start getting prenatal care without further delay.