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Early Sign And Symptoms Of Pregnancy

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Varshali Mali 90% (47 ratings)
MBBS, DNB (Obstetrics and Gynecology)
Gynaecologist, Pune  •  14 years experience
Early Sign And Symptoms Of Pregnancy

There are so many reasons for you to think that you might be pregnant. Your period is missing or it’s late. You forgot to take pills. You are feeling some changes in your body. Missed or delayed period is the most common first sign of pregnancy. There are many other symptoms of early pregnancy like morning sickness, fatigue, light bleeding, breast changes and many others. 

The first symptoms of pregnancy differ from a woman to another. Some women notice early pregnancy symptoms one day after the first missed menstruation. Others experience them within the first two or three weeks of pregnancy while many do not experience them at all. We will discuss these most common early signs of pregnancy in this article.

Early signs of pregnancy

Whether you were trying to have a baby or just wondering if you were pregnant. Here are 10 early signs of pregnancy.

Missed or delayed period

Does missing your menstruation mean you are pregnant? A delayed period is considered as the earliest and most obvious symptom of pregnancy. After conception, the body starts producing and releasing the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) pregnancy hormone to maintain pregnancy. This hormone sends a message to your ovaries telling them to stop releasing eggs every month and that's how your period won't be arriving on the regular time.

You should know that not every delayed period means you are pregnant. There are plenty of explanations for your missed menstruation other than pregnancy. You might have been sexually inactive, still taking pills or stopped taking them recently. Stress, fatigue, fast weight gain or loss and hormonal problems are other possibilities for a missed period. 

If your period is not regular, or you weren’t trucking your menstruation monthly, the following signs can appear before you notice your delayed period.

Morning nausea

A couple of weeks after conception, some women experience morning nausea or sickness. Morning nausea is an early sign of pregnancy that can occur even before noticing that the period is missing. The rising estrogen in the body causes this ill feeling. Most women are relieved by the 14th week of pregnancy, while for others, it persists throughout all the pregnancy.

Light bleeding or spotting

For any woman who is planning to get pregnant, seeing any bleeding can be disappointing. It could be mistaken for a period bleeding. If the spotting is lighter than usual, it could be an implantation bleeding. It happens when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining.

Breast changes

The rising level of hormones related to pregnancy, causes breast sensitivity and soreness. It is the first physical sign of early pregnancy. It is felt as heaviness or tenderness of the breast. This symptom appears usually in the first trimester of the pregnancy and decreases typically after several weeks. You may also notice the area around your nipple (areola) getting darker, it is also due to hormonal changes.

Fatigue

Feeling tired all the time? even exhausted, all of a sudden, doing minimal efforts? It can be a symptom of pregnancy. As the body passes through multiple changes in preparation for carrying a baby, fatigue sets in. It's a nonspecific sign of early pregnancy. The rapidly increasing level of the progesterone hormone also causes unusual sleepiness.

Food cravings

Food cravings are sudden desires to eat a certain kind of food. They can affect any woman during pregnancy and the craving can be for very uncommon types of food. Many women describe it as a sudden urge to eat unusual food combinations including those that they normally don't like at all. Unlike cravings, food aversion is feeling nausea or sickness for some kind of food.

Mood swings

One of the common signs of early pregnancy is mood swings. Experiencing intense emotions or suddenly falling in tears for no reason are other consequences of hormonal changes of pregnancy. Don’t worry, it is totally normal and can be related to stress or other factors.

Increased urination

If you start going to the bathroom more often than usual, that might be a sign of pregnancy. Increased urination is an early sign of pregnancy that appears shortly after conception. The growing uterus and the hormonal changes cause your bladder to fill more quickly leading to frequent urination. Make sure you stay hydrated.

Vaginal discharge

In the first weeks of pregnancy, some women notice a milky thick vaginal discharge. In the early stage of pregnancy, the vaginal walls thicken, and the vaginal secretions increase to protect the baby from infections. Non-associated with itching or burning (signs of infection), this vaginal discharge might be a sign of pregnancy.  If you feel itching or burning, you must consult a doctor, it can be a sign of infection that needs treatment.

Constipation

Another reason to blame hormones is constipation. The increased levels of the progesterone slow down the digestion and, in turn, causes constipation.

There are plenty of other early signs of pregnancy like headaches, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, sensitivity to certain smells. Many of them can persist during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy like mood changes, increased urination, fatigue, food cravings, and aversions.

These symptoms may differ in quality or severity. The same woman may have a different experience with different signs in every pregnancy. You can still not experience none of these signs of early pregnancy and be pregnant. Some women don’t figure out they are pregnant from the first weeks, it can take them months to know.

What is next if I had early signs of pregnancy?

If after reading all the explanations of the early signs of pregnancy, you’ re still not sure of your pregnancy, there is one only way to be confirmed, the pregnancy test. Except for ultrasonography test, all the other pregnancy tests measure the level of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) which is the pregnancy hormone.

Read the pregnancy test guide article, which gives more detailed information about all the possible tests you can take to confirm your pregnancy. If you have any doubts, it is important to you to consult the pregnancy doctor, you can ask questions and get all the answers you want and make sure everything is alright. The doctor will provide you with all the information you need for your pregnancy and helps you plan for it. You can also have advice about your self-care. Book an appointment to consult with doctor.

Could these signs be premenstrual syndrome?

Many of early signs of pregnancy can be mistaken for premenstrual syndrome (PMS). In the last half of a woman’s menstrual cycle, the premenstrual syndrome can occur. It’s a combination of psychological and physical disturbances that end with the period flow.

These symptoms are fatigue, mood swings, stress, breast tenderness and soreness. You may notice that these signs can be very similar to those experienced in early pregnancy. They are not specific and the only way to distinguish between them is to take a pregnancy test. The arrival of a period is a confirmation of premenstrual syndrome.

The premenstrual syndrome can be different from cycle to cycle and, like the early signs of pregnancy, each symptom can vary in duration and severity from a woman to another.

Whether you are having early signs of pregnancy or just experiencing the premenstrual syndrome, it is important to manage your stress, dietary changes, and medication.

Tips and advice

Some early signs of pregnancy can cause discomfort. There are some good self-care tips and remedies to help you relieve some unpleasant symptoms.

  • Eat small frequent meals to combat nausea. And make sure you are well hydrated
  • Wear a comfortable bra that could support your sore breasts
  • Avoid constipation by eating fibers. Have a good quantity of fruits and vegetables in your meals
  • Keep your weight controlled by following a suitable diet. You can consult the doctor to see what is good for your pregnancy
  • Once pregnant, don’t take any medications without consulting with your doctor. Many antibiotics and medications are safe during pregnancy, but you must see the doctor to confirm it
  • Stay away from alcohol, cigarette, and drugs. They are not good for you and for your growing baby
  • Both PMS and early signs of pregnancy need emotional support.
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