The most assured and accurate method for knowing whether you are pregnant or not is still pregnancy test which tests for the presence of HCG or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin hormone. But the ideal time for this test is 8 days after missing your first period which means more than a month of anxiousness and nervousness both for women who are trying to conceive as well as those with accidental pregnancy.
15 Early Signs of Pregnancy
There are some early signs of pregnancy which, if you pay attention, will let you know about your pregnancy. Even though these methods are not fool-proof, they are still pretty accurate. After all, back in the day these early signs of pregnancy were all that women had to rely on. So if you are pretty desperate to know whether it is PMS or an unexpected (or maybe expected, whichever it is in your case) pregnancy that is making you antsy these days, here are few early signs of pregnancy that you can pay attention to, if you want to know in advance:
Delayed Period-The Most Common Sign of Pregnancy
Delayed period may be the most common sign of pregnancy and the most famous as well, after Bella’s accidental vampiric pregnancy in Breaking Dawn Part-1 but it is certainly not the earliest sign. The due date for your delivery is calculated from the 1st day of your last period, even if you were not pregnant yet.
So, the 40 weeks of your pregnancy include the 4 weeks before your missed period and as such delayed period is the sign of pregnancy that shows in 4th week of your pregnancy. Even though it can be included in the early signs of pregnancy, it is not the earliest sign. Furthermore, it can be misleading too if you are prone to have irregular periods.
Implantation Bleeding- An Early Sign of Pregnancy Mistaken for Periods
An early sign of pregnancy, implantation bleeding is the spotting and cramping that occurs when the newly formed mass of fluid filled cells known as blastocyst gets implanted or attached in the endometrium or the lining of your uterus.The bleeding that occurs is usually slight and not very heavy, pink or brown in color and mostly stops before three days have passed. 28% of women have associated this bleeding with pain which may range anywhere from mild to moderate to intense.
In many cases, implantation bleeding gets mistaken for regular periods. Also, some women do not have implantation bleeding. If that is the case, there is no need to worry as early signs of pregnancy differ from woman to woman and it is not necessary for women to experience implantation bleeding. Also sometimes women do get this bleeding but it goes unnoticed.
One of the earliest signs of pregnancy, it may happen as early as 1st week after the conception.
Nausea or Morning Sickness- Second Most Common Early Sign of Pregnancy
Most expecting mothers experience nausea which is commonly known as morning sickness and is one of the early signs of pregnancy. When we say morning sickness, it does not necessarily mean in the morning even though that is the most common time when women experience nausea. You can experience it any time during the day and it may or may not result into vomiting.
This sign can occur as early as 2nd week of your pregnancy and usually lasts for the whole of the first trimester. Some women even experience it for the whole duration of their pregnancies. If you are vomiting a lot, make sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and juices. Eating saltine crackers also helps in controlling this early sign of pregnancy.
Tender Breasts- The Third Most Commonly Cited Early Sign of Pregnancy
Tender and swollen breasts are also one of the early signs of pregnancy. It may start as early as 2nd week of pregnancy but usually happens after 4th week. The breasts grow larger due to hormonal changes and they become tender and swollen. Some women may even feel pain due to friction. The areolas also grow darker and larger.
You should purchase a comfortable cotton bra. There are many maternity bras available in the markets that are very comfortable and supportive. You can also use cotton breast pads to protect your sensitive and sore nipples from friction and pain. In most cases the pain and soreness gets better after a few weeks after your body gets adjusted to the hormonal change occurring in your body.
Fatigue and Sleepiness- A Typical Early Sign of Pregnancy
Fatigue is also a common early sign of pregnancy. Women complain of feeling tired. This is because a lot of your energy is being consumed by your baby and your hormonal levels are also changing which can make you fatigued.
The progesterone levels of women also increase during the early weeks of pregnancy which can induce sleepiness in women. The most effective method to cope with this problem is to make sure that you are getting plenty of sleep. Remember, if you are pregnant your body is going haywire and you deserve your beauty sleep.
Food Cravings and Aversions- The Self-Reported Early Sign of Pregnancy
Food cravings and aversions along with higher sensitivity to smell is mostly a self-reported early sign of pregnancy. If you find yourself reaching for food that you previously disliked or if your favorite foods suddenly start grossing you out, you may be pregnant. Even though there is very little scientific evidence for this, this early sign of pregnancy may be related to nausea and vomiting. Women also report a kind of bland aftertaste after eating anything which also contributes in loss of appetite and nausea.
Food cravings usually come later on in the pregnancy and in early stages women mostly experience food aversions. Though the reason for this sign is unknown, it may happen because of higher sensitivity to smell that women reportedly have in early stages of pregnancy.
If you are experiencing this early sign of pregnancy, it is okay to give in to your body’s demands so long as you are fulfilling all the nutritional demands of your body. You can also take some supplements such as folic acid and Vitamin supplements.
Mood Swings- Early Sign of Pregnancy Caused By Hormonal Change
Experiencing mood swings or the sudden shifts in the feeling without any visible cause just like PMS or may be a bit more extreme can also be an early sign of pregnancy. The reason for this early sign is said to be an increased level of estrogen and progesterone hormones in the body of women during pregnancy. These hormones affect the neurotransmitters of the brain causing these shifts in moods.
Women may feel a wide spectrum of emotions from a feeling of giddiness and joy to deep anxiety and a feeling of sadness, all in a few minutes. It is okay to feel these emotions as they are quite natural and should subside after 12 to 14 weeks that is, in the second trimester of your pregnancy. But if they persist for longer or if they are very extreme, you should consult your doctor.
Frequent Urination- An Early Sign of Pregnancy caused By Increased Blood Supply
Another early sign of pregnancy is increased urination. Pregnancy increases the amount of blood that is pumped in the body which in turn increases the amount of blood that is being filtered in the kidneys. This makes kidneys generate more urine than usual, increasing your bathroom visits. Hormones also play a role in generating more urine.
This eases after sometime as the body adjusts to carrying a child. However, it may start again in the third trimester as the size of your baby increases putting pressure on your uterus. The thing to remember regarding this early sign of pregnancy is to not cut down your water and fluid intake due to more frequent peeing as your body needs to stay hydrated.
Pregnancy Glow- An Early Sign of Pregnancy Women Look Forward To
You may also experience an early sign of pregnancy known as “pregnancy glow”. This happens due to increased blood supply causing your skin to get flushed. It also promotes the secretion of more oil by the sebaceous or oil glands. This gives your skin a shiny appearance. The flip side of this is that you can also break out in acne and pimples.
Increased Body Temperature
Increased body temperature is also an early sign of pregnancy but this sign can be misinterpreted easily as the body temperature can also get high due to hot weather, infection or exercising.
Dizziness and Fainting Spells
Dropping of blood pressure during the early stages of pregnancy can cause dizziness and even fainting especially if you stand suddenly after sitting for long. This is also an early sign of pregnancy and happens because your blood vessels are dilated.
Weight Gain and Bloating
If you experience a sudden gaining of weight, it may be an early sign of pregnancy. Women usually gain 1 to 4 pounds of weight during the early stages of pregnancy. You may also feel bloated and get constipated as the digestive processes slow down during pregnancy.
Hormones released during the early stages of pregnancy can cause the valve between your stomach and esophagus to relax. This results in the stomach acids used for digesting food to travel upwards causing heartburn, an early sign of pregnancy. You can use some antacids which are safe to use during pregnancy after consulting your doctor. One other trick to manage heartburn is to eat several small meals a day instead of just three large meals.
Increased Heart Rate
Increased heart rate is also an early sign of pregnancy. This increase in heart rate is due to increased blood supply as well as hormones. This usually happens in the first to second month of your pregnancy. If you have a heart problem, you can consult your doctor for low dosages of certain medications to control the problem as palpitations and arrhythmia can occur during early stages of pregnancy and are actually quite common.
Women also experience headaches during the early stages of pregnancy. This early sign of pregnancy happens due to an increased supply of blood in pregnant women which may get increased as much as 50%. It can also be caused by increased levels of certain hormones in pregnant women.
It is quite challenging to determine whether you are pregnant or not just by observing symptoms alone but they can sure help you in assessing your problem and making you aware to the fact that you may be pregnant. Since you can only determine pregnancy accurately by pregnancy tests which are taken after missing a period, these early pregnancy signs can help you in protecting yourself against anything that can cause harm to your pregnancy.
But if you experience any of these symptoms, it is better to consult a doctor as many of these symptoms can be explained by other problems as well such as stress, anxiety, delayed period, hormonal imbalance, lack of sleep and improper nutrition etc.
- American Pregnancy Association. (2021). Implantation Bleeding or Period? https://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/implantation-bleeding/
- American Pregnancy Association. (2021). Dizziness and Fainting During Pregnancy. https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/dizziness-fainting-during-pregnancy-986
- American Pregnancy Association. (2021). Pregnancy Weight Gain: What’s Normal, What’s Not. https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/pregnancy-weight-gain-830/
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