Are wondering if you are pregnant or not? Though pregnancy tests and ultrasounds are the most accurate and only ways to determine if you are pregnant or not, there are other signs and symptoms you can look out for before taking a test or doing an ultrasound. A very common misconception is that the only sign of pregnancy is a missed period, this is just the earliest sign of pregnancy. Other signs you should watch out for are listed in this article.
The symptoms of pregnancy usually start in the first week of pregnancy based on the date of your last menstrual period. Your last menstrual period is considered week 1 of pregnancy, even if you were not actually pregnant yet because the expected delivery date is calculated using the first day of your last period.
1. Cramping and spotting during early pregnancy
From week 1 to week 4, everything is still happening on a cellular level. The fertilized egg creates a blastocyst (a fluid-filled group of cells) that will develop into the baby’s organs and body parts. About 10 to 14 days (week 4) after conception, the blastocyst will implant in the endometrium (the lining of the uterus). This can cause implantation bleeding, which may be mistaken for a light period.
2. A missed period during early pregnancy
Once implantation is complete, your body will begin producing human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone helps the body maintain pregnancy. It also tells the ovaries to stop releasing mature eggs each month. You will likely miss your next period four weeks after conception. If you have an irregular period, you’ll want to take a pregnancy test to confirm. Most home tests can detect hCG as soon as eight days after a missed period. A pregnancy test will be able to detect hCG levels in your urine and show if you are pregnant.
3. Raised body temperature during early pregnancy
A higher basal body temperature may also be a sign of pregnancy. Your body’s core temperature may also increase more easily during exercise or in hot weather. During this time, you’ll need to make sure to drink more water and exercise cautiously.
4. Fatigue during early pregnancy
Fatigue can develop at any time during pregnancy. This symptom is common in early pregnancy. Your progesterone levels will soar, which can make you feel sleepy.
5. Increased heart rate during early pregnancy
Around weeks 8 to 10, your heart may begin pumping faster and harder. Palpitations and arrhythmias are common in pregnancy. This is normally due to hormones. Increased blood flow due to the fetus happens later in pregnancy. Ideally, management starts before conception. But if you have an underlying heart problem, your doctor can help supervise low dosages of drugs.
6. Early changes to breasts
Breast changes can occur between weeks 4 and 6. You’re likely to develop tender and swollen breasts due to hormone changes. This is likely to go away after a few weeks when your body has adjusted to the hormones. Nipple and breast changes can also occur around week 11. Hormones continue to cause your breasts to grow. The areola the area around the nipple may change to a darker colour and grow larger.
7. Changes in mood during early pregnancy
Your estrogen and progesterone levels will be high during pregnancy. This increase can affect your mood and make you more emotional or reactive than usual. Mood swings are common during pregnancy and may cause feelings of depression, irritability, anxiety, and euphoria.
8. Frequent urination and incontinence during early pregnancy
During pregnancy, your body increases the amount of blood it pumps. This causes the kidney to process more fluid than usual, which leads to more fluid in your bladder. Hormones also play a large role in bladder health. You may find yourself running to the bathroom more frequently or accidentally leaking.
9. Bloating and constipation during early pregnancy
Similar to symptoms of a menstrual period, bloating may occur during early pregnancy. This may be due to hormone changes, which can also slow your digestive system down. You may feel constipated and blocked as a result. Constipation can also increase feelings of abdominal bloating.
10. Morning sickness, nausea, and vomiting during early pregnancy
Nausea and morning sickness usually develops around weeks 4 to 6. Although it’s called morning sickness, it can occur at any time during the day or night. It’s unclear exactly what causes nausea and morning sickness, but hormones may play a role. During the first trimester of pregnancy, many women experience mild to severe morning sickness. It may become more intense toward the end of the first trimester but often becomes less severe as you enter the second trimester.
11. High blood pressure and dizziness during early pregnancy
In most cases, high or normal blood pressure will drop in the early stages of pregnancy. This may also cause feelings of dizziness since your blood vessels are dilated. High blood pressure as a result of pregnancy is more difficult to determine. Almost all cases of hypertension within the first 20 weeks indicate underlying problems. It may develop during early pregnancy, but it may also be present beforehand. Your doctor will take your blood pressure during your first visit to help establish a baseline for a normal blood pressure reading.
12. Smell sensitivity and food aversions during early pregnancy
Smell sensitivity is a symptom of early pregnancy that is mostly self-reported. There’s little scientific evidence about smell sensitivity during the first trimester. But it may be important, as smell sensitivity may trigger nausea and vomiting. It may also cause a strong distaste for certain foods.
13. Weight gain during early pregnancy
Weight gain becomes more common toward the end of your first trimester. You may find yourself gaining about 1 to 4 pounds in the first few months. The calorie requirements for early pregnancy won’t change much from your usual diet, but they will increase as pregnancy progresses.
14. Heartburn during early pregnancy
Hormones can cause the valve between your stomach and oesophagus to relax. This allows stomach acid to leak, causing heartburn.
15. Pregnancy glow and acne during early pregnancy
Many people may begin by saying you have the “pregnancy glow.” The combination of increased blood volume and higher hormone levels pushes more blood through your vessels. This causes the body’s oil glands to work overtime. This increased activity of your body’s oil glands gives your skin a flushed, glossy appearance. On the other hand, you may also develop acne.