When you’re trying to get pregnant, excitement and anxiety levels can skyrocket, particularly at the end of each cycle, as you wait to find out if you have conceived. On the other hand, a baby might have been the furthest thing from your mind – until you found yourself facing a possible pregnancy.
Either way, if you have conceived, symptoms can start from as early as seven days, once an embryo has implanted. While the best way to determine if you’re with child is through a pregnancy test, a lack of patience will leave most mums-to-be looking for symptoms as early as possible.
It’s important to remember that not all pregnant women experience all symptoms, and many can occur in women who aren’t pregnant. But if you are experiencing some symptoms and you’re not using any contraception, then it is likely that you’re experiencing the early signs of pregnancy.
Missed Period – For most people, the most obvious indication of pregnancy is missing a period. Although not many women have a completely regular menstrual cycle, most have a general idea of when they will have their next period. When it seems as if your period will never come, then it is time to take a test.
Morning Sickness – Often, during the first trimester, you will experience feelings of nausea. Although this symptom is known as morning sickness, it can strike at any time of the day or night and can last a few minutes or even, several hours. Nausea is often worse when you’re hungry and for some women, a light snack can ease it, while for others, nothing seems to help. You might also find that certain smells bring on nausea and vomiting. Nausea is often a sign of a healthy pregnancy, because it indicates that the hormones are kicking in. It often goes away by the middle trimester.
Spotting – This may occur because your body has not yet gotten used to the idea that you are pregnant. Normally pinkish in colour, spotting may also be an indication that an embryo has implanted into your uterus lining. As spotting can also be the sign of a possible miscarriage, you should report any sighting of blood to your doctor.
Breast Changes – For some women, breast tenderness is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. Nipples may also be sensitive and deepen in colour, while veins may become more noticeable and enlarged.
Frequent urination – Between 6-8 weeks after conception, you might find yourself starting to need the bathroom a lot more than you used to. This is caused by changes in hormones which could result in you needing to urinate smaller amounts more frequently.
Constipation – This can also be an early pregnancy symptom and is caused by hormonal changes. Make sure you drink enough and ask your doctor for specific exercises. Iron tablets can make this symptom worse.
Exhaustion – A common very early pregnancy sign is extreme fatigue. You might find yourself feeling immensely tired as a result of the increase work load your body is experiencing as well as an increase in the hormone progesterone. If you’re able to sleep, do so as your body needs it.
Increased Cervical Mucus – A rise in the progesterone can cause an increase of cervical mucus production, more in some women than others.
Cramping – Minor cramps can be an early pregnancy symptom and while many mums-to-be find pain concerning, it’s quite normal and usually nothing to worry about.
Heightened Emotions – You might find yourself bursting into tears for no apparent reason and becoming emotional at the most unexpected times. This is due to extensive hormonal changes taking place in your body.
Cravings – You might find yourself craving foods you’ve never liked before or wanting particular foods constantly. There’s no concrete explanation for why pregnant women have cravings but while it’s ok to give it to them, it’s important to maintain a balanced diet as well.
The signs mentioned above are the most common early pregnancy symptoms. If you have never been pregnant before, they can be quite bewildering. For this reason, it may be a good idea to keep a pregnancy calendar handy for your own reference and reassurance.
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You can also try our Am I Pregnant quiz to help you recognise pregnancy symptoms.