What Are the Early Signs of Pregnancy?
Are you wondering if you could be pregnant? What are some early signs of pregnancy?
While the only way to know for sure is to take a pregnancy test, there are many changes that take place throughout your body from the moment your baby is conceived.
These changes can lead to a number of early pregnancy symptoms.
Below are a dozen possible early signs and symptoms of pregnancy that you should be looking for. Please note that the exact symptoms vary, meaning that some women will experience all of these symptoms while others will experience none -- except for the tell-tale missed period.
#1: Tender or Swollen Breasts
Breast tenderness is caused by the hormonal changes initiated at conception, and usually fades as your pregnancy progresses(1).
Your breasts may feel fuller and heavier, and your areolas may get darker(2). One of the first signs of pregnancy, breast-related symptoms usually begin within 1 to 2 weeks after conception(3).
The extra progesterone produced in early pregnancy can make you feel tired and fatigued. Many women feel the need to sleep longer at night or take naps during the day(1,2,4).
#3: Mood Swings
Some women may feel more emotional than usual during early pregnancy. This is also caused by hormonal fluctuations affecting your brain. Getting plenty of rest and eating a healthy diet can help(2).
Although “morning sickness” is a popular phrase associated with early pregnancy, this symptom can occur at any time of day, and it often appears about a month after conception(1). Sometimes the nausea is accompanied by vomiting.
Some women are lucky enough not to have this symptom at all, but for those who do, nausea during pregnancy usually fades by the second trimester(4).
If you experience nausea and/or vomiting, make every effort to stay hydrated, and eat simple, small meals that are easy to digest(2).
#5: Cramping and Spotting
Many women will experience light spotting and mild cramping one to two weeks after conception.
Also known as implantation bleeding, this occurs when your baby implants in your uterine wall, where he or she will receive nutrients through the placenta until it’s time to be born(1,2,3).
You may also feel your uterus cramping as it stretches to accommodate your growing baby(4).
#6: Bloating and Constipation
Your digestive process slows during pregnancy, in response to the hormone progesterone. Because your food takes longer to move through your system, this causes some women to experience bloating and constipation(1,4).
Some women experience back pain throughout pregnancy, while others have none(3).
The ligaments in your back begin loosening to support your baby’s growth and your shifting center of gravity as your pregnancy progresses(4).
Are you getting more headaches than usual? It could be an early sign of pregnancy. Some women experience headaches during early pregnancy as a result of changing hormone levels(4).
#9: Fainting or Dizziness
Hormonal changes can also cause low blood pressure and low blood sugar, both of which can make you feel lightheaded or dizzy. Some women may experience fainting spells(2,4).
It is important that you eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated to minimize this pregnancy symptom(4).
#10: More Frequent Urination
Your kidneys must process more fluid during pregnancy and, as a result, and your growing uterus will begin to put increased pressure on your bladder(1,2,3,4).
So if you find yourself needing more trips to the restroom than usual, it could be a sign of pregnancy.
#11: Food Cravings or Aversions
Do some of your favorite foods now taste bad? Are there foods you normally don’t like that have suddenly become appealing? Believe it or not, that could be one of the early symptoms of pregnancy!
You may also notice a funny taste in your mouth. Your changing hormone levels can cause changes in your taste buds and in your sense of smell. Odors you normally don’t notice may now bother you(1,4).
#12: Missed Period
Even if you don’t get any of the other symptoms of early pregnancy described in this article, once you become pregnant, you will stop having your monthly period until a few weeks after your baby is born.
Some women will have intermittent vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, but this is not the same as a period(1,3,4).
If you’ve recently had sex and you’re experiencing any of the above possible symptoms of pregnancy -- especially if you don’t get your period -- it’s time to take a pregnancy test.
You can contact us at Mosaic Pregnancy & Health Centers to schedule a free pregnancy test which will detect the hCG pregnancy hormone. All services are completely confidential and provided in a supportive, nonjudgmental atmosphere.
1-Mayo Clinic. (2016). Symptoms of Pregnancy: What Happens First. Accessed from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/symptoms-of-pregnancy/art-20043853.
2-Stewart, Rebecca Felsenthal. (2014). 8 Early Signs of Pregnancy. WebMD. Accessed from http://www.webmd.com/baby/features/8-early-signs-of-pregnancy.
3-American Pregnancy Association. (2015). Pregnancy Symptoms -- Early Signs of Pregnancy. Accessed from http://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/early-pregnancy-symptoms/.
4-Emmons, Sasha. (2011). 16 Early Signs of Pregnancy. Parenting. Accessed from http://www.parenting.com/gallery/early-signs-of-pregnancy.