Significant hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy trigger a variety of symptoms. These symptoms of an early pregnancy may vary dramatically from woman to woman. Some women may experience many of the symptoms of pregnancy, while others may notice only a few or no symptoms at all. Some women feel certain they’re pregnant within the first few days of pregnancy, or others don’t notice anything until they miss a period.
The earliest symptoms of pregnancy are more than the hallmark symptom of a missed period. They may also include morning sickness, fatigue, spotting, breast changes, and frequent urination. Early symptoms of pregnancy can sometimes be confusing because these symptoms can be caused by other factors and do not necessarily mean that you are pregnant. It’s really important not to compare your pregnancy to someone else’s because pregnancy is a unique experience for each woman.
Your doctor will usually order an hCG blood test to confirm pregnancy. Book a test here with Metropolis and get results online.
Common early symptoms of pregnancy
The most common early symptoms of pregnancy might include:
Missing a period is often the first clear-cut sign of possible pregnancy. Once implantation has happened, your body produces human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone that helps the body maintain the pregnancy and stops ovulation and the shedding of the uterus lining. However, missing your period can be misleading if you typically have an irregular period. Irregular periods might also be caused by factors such as stress, excessive exercise, dieting or hormone imbalances.
Enlarged, tender and swollen breasts:
Early in pregnancy the breasts become fuller, swollen and tender due to hormonal changes. The discomfort will lessen after a few weeks when your body gets adjusted to the hormones. Hormones continue to make your breasts grow. The area around the nipple (areola) becomes darker and grows larger.
Though it is called morning sickness, it can occur at any time of the day or night. It often develops as early as 2 weeks into a pregnancy, or it can start a few months after conception and may settle as you enter the second trimester. The symptoms include loss of appetite and nausea with or without vomiting. However, it is possible that a few women may not experience nausea.
Fatigue is another most common early symptom of pregnancy. Many women feel overwhelming tiredness in early pregnancy. This is most likely caused by a rapid rise in the hormones during early pregnancy, especially sex hormone called progesterone. It helps maintain the pregnancy and makes the baby grow, but it also slows your metabolism.
Try to get enough sleep or rest when you can during early days of your pregnancy. Your energy levels will probably rise again as you enter the second trimester.
Another possible cause of tiredness during pregnancy could be anemia, which is most commonly caused by iron deficiency. So eating iron-rich foods and iron supplements is important to prevent iron deficiency anemia during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, you may notice yourself urinating more often than usual. This actually happens because the body’s blood supply increases during pregnancy, causing your kidneys to process more fluid than usual, which leads to more fluid in your bladder.
Food cravings and food aversions:
When you’re pregnant, cravings for certain foods are very common. You might become sensitive to certain odors and may also notice a sudden distaste for foods you previously enjoyed.
Spotting is also known as implantation bleeding which may be mistaken for a light period. Implantation bleeding occurs when an embryo gets implanted in the endometrium lining of the uterus at blastocyst stage. It is a less common symptom and doesn’t occur for everyone. If it does occur, it usually happens around the time of your regular period or around week 4 of your pregnancy and lasts for a few days to a few weeks.
Other less common symptoms of early pregnancy can include metallic taste in your mouth, headaches and dizziness, cramping, mood swings, bloating, constipation, nasal congestion, heartburn, faster heartbeat and high blood pressure.
The above symptoms can only give you an idea that you’re pregnant, but they are not a sure sign. Only a test will give a definite result.
When should you take a pregnancy test?
If you suspect you might be pregnant, the best time to get tested for a home pregnancy urine test is 1 week after you have missed your period. If you take a test earlier than this, you may run the risk of getting a false negative result. This means the test may come up negative, even if you are actually pregnant.
A pregnancy test measures a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) that is present in the blood and urine of pregnant women. This hormone starts building in your body rapidly in the beginning of your pregnancy, as early as 10 days after conception. Though hCG appears early in the process, you still need to wait (about 3 to 4 weeks from the first day of your last period) for enough hCG to build up in your body for a positive pregnancy test. Early test results may not be the most precise.
Unlike at-home urine tests, blood tests can often detect hCG earlier in a pregnancy but it must be done in a clinical setting. Blood tests can sometimes give a positive pregnancy test result as early as 6 to 8 days after ovulation.
At-home pregnancy tests are widely available without a prescription in drug stores. It is advised that if you get a negative result on a home pregnancy test, take another test a week later to recheck or contact your doctor if you want a blood test. If you receive a positive result, you can then get started on a prenatal program to safeguard the health of both you and your growing baby.
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