The symptoms of pregnancy differ from pregnancy to pregnancy and even woman to woman. For most women, the early signs of pregnancy begin within the first couple of weeks of conception.
Though the most common symptom of pregnancy is a missed period of a delayed one, there are other symptoms that may indicate pregnancy.
According to a pregnancy poll taken on women all over the world, the following were reported:
• 17% women reported that their first pregnancy symptom was a change in their breasts
• 25% women experienced nausea as the first sign of pregnancy
• 29% women experienced a missed period as the first sign of pregnancy.
This study reveals that a missed or a delayed menstrual period is not always an indicator of pregnancy. The intensity, duration and frequency of the symptoms may also vary.
The following early symptoms and signs of pregnancy are only a guideline. Taking a test or consulting a doctor is still required to completely confirm the pregnancy. We bring to you the 10 signs and symptoms of pregnancy that may seem similar to the usual premenstrual discomfort but is actually an indication of pregnancy:
10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy
1. Delayed or Missed Period
One of the most common signs of pregnancy is a missed period. However pregnancy is not always the reason for a delayed or missed period. At the doctor’s you are asked for the date of your last cycle, to help determine when you will deliver if you are actually pregnant.
Though a lot of women experience bleeding caused due to implantation, around the time of their usual period date, it is not menstrual blood. This is spotting and is usually shorter in duration and lighter than a normal period.
Although extremely rare, a small percentage of women may continue to have their period even during their pregnancy.
It may be harder to notice a delayed or missed period if one normally experiences irregular periods. In this case, taking a pelvic exam post a pregnancy test is needed. If pregnancy is ruled out as the cause for one’s irregular cycle, necessary steps to rule out other causes is taken.
2. Increased BBT (Basal Body Temperature)
BBT refers to the temperature of one’s body as soon as one wakes up and is mainly influenced by hormones. An elevated Basal Body Temperature can be one of the first indicators of pregnancy- before the pregnancy test shows you the results.
Women, who are looking to get pregnancy, track their BBT. If the BBT does not go below the cover line temperatures on the chart, it is a sign that she is pregnant.
3. Morning Sickness
50% of pregnant women experience morning sickness. However the experience varies from woman to woman: some feel nauseous only at night, others feel nauseous all day long and for other women the intensity of nausea varies throughout the day. Throwing up may or may not be present.
The sick feeling is a result of the rapid increase of estrogen; produced by the placenta and fetus. As a woman’s sense of smell becomes stronger during pregnancy, food odors, smoke and certain fragrances can trigger morning sickness.
Morning sickness is mostly experienced between 4-8 weeks of pregnancy but it can also occur as early as 2 weeks into conception. If you have a severe form of this (hyperemesis gravidarum), the resulting dehydration can lead to serious problems. Hence it is always best to keep visiting a gynecologist, during the pregnancy. There are various home remedies available for the same.
4. Breast Soreness
One of the first signs of pregnancy is sore breasts and this usually goes away during the 2nd trimester. Breast soreness is caused by hormones: the body is preparing for breastfeeding and hence progesterone and estrogen rise causing the soreness and at times breast pain during pregnancy.
5. Frequent Urination
If you notice yourself taking more trips to the bathroom than usual, there is a possibility that you are pregnant. Frequent urination is common sign of early pregnancy during the first trimester and also during the third trimester when the uterus is growing. Make sure to know where the nearest bathrooms are and stay hydrated.
Feeling extremely tired and needing a nap every couple of hours is a pregnancy symptom as well. As our body is undergoing various changes to prepare for carrying the fetus, the fatigue sets in. The extra progesterone produced contributes to the tiredness as it is a CNS depressant.
Try taking a power nap in between of the day to make sure you don’t crash at work.
7. Feeling Dizzy
The expanding blood vessels and blood volume may result in vertigo during pregnancy. Feeling dizzy occasionally occurs during the first trimester. If it continues after this stage, it’s best to consult a doctor to avoid accidents during the pregnancy.
An impending period can also cause cramping but it can also be a sign of pregnancy. Cramping during early pregnancy is caused due to the stretching of the uterus. If the severity increases or it is accompanied by bleeding, make sure to consult a doctor immediately.
Glowing clear skin is usually associated with pregnancy but the changes in hormones during pregnancy result in skin changes and acne. Make sure to consult your doctor before using any medication to treat acne as some may contain ingredients that can cause birth defects. It’s best to consult a doctor about acne during your pregnancy. Also making sure to consume lots of water, fresh fruits and vegetables will help reduce acne.
10. Vaginal Discharge
Without the burning or itching sensation, vaginal discharge can be sign of pregnancy. Vaginal discharge occurs as the cervix is producing a mucous plug to obstruct the cervix opening to help protect the fetus from infections.
During this period, one might notice a slight increase in vaginal discharge. Any itching, odd smell or itching discharge is an indicator of an infection.
In addition to these 10 symptoms, the following signs may also indicate pregnancy when they occur along with the above mentioned ones:
The hormonal changes result in headaches during pregnancy. Though stress is one of the main reasons of a headache, this sign is seen along with other early pregnancy symptoms.
Headaches mostly occur during the 1st trimester. Make sure to consult your doctor to make sure that the medication you use for headaches is safe for your baby.
Cravings and pregnancy are almost always spoken about together. A huge percentage of women report being aversive to the food that they enjoyed before pregnancy and some develop really strange cravings. Usually unhealthy food is what is craved for by pregnant women.
13. Bloating and an Enlarging Belly
Bloating is an early symptom of pregnancy and most women confuse it for ‘showing’. Weight that is gained during the 1st trimester is not more than a couple of pounds. A lot of women lose weight due to morning sickness, food aversions and also a healthier diet that the doctor puts you on during the pregnancy.
14. Mood Swings
Hormones are again responsible for the mood swings one experiences during pregnancy. Suddenly crying, or getting extremely emotional even when there is no stimulus to warrant that reaction is all just a normal side effect of being pregnant.
Digestion of food is another aspect that is impacted due to the increasing levels of progesterone. This results in slower digestion and ultimately constipation.
If you experience constipation after confirming your pregnancy, increase the intake of fiber and water in your diet and start exercising more. The iron content in the pre natal vitamins will also help reduce constipation
Pregnancy vs PMS
Many women get confused between the symptoms of PMS (Premenstrual syndrome) and pregnancy. Most of the symptoms of pregnancy: feeling bloated, cravings, fatigue, cramping and even nausea are associated with PMS
The only way to confirm the pregnancy is to visit a doctor or take pregnancy test.
Always keep your doctor informed
If you have confirmed your pregnancy, knowing that these symptoms are a normal part of pregnancy is important. But do consult a doctor if the severity of the symptoms begins affecting your daily life or your health in general.
It is not unusual to be completely clueless, especially if this is your first pregnancy. To make the journey to childbirth easy, make sure to update your doctor with all the changes and keep asking questions.
There is a small percentage of women who do not experience any of these symptoms or even experience them in a low intensity- this is normal too.
A pregnancy test is best taken at least 2-3 days after a missed cycle. Even if the test shows a negative result, take it within the next few days to make sure. Using morning urine is the best way to get the most accurate pregnancy test reading.
Also taking a blood test is one of the most accurate ways of checking if you are pregnant or not. It can also help in predicting how healthy your pregnancy will be and helps in ruling out any future complications.
Once confirmed about pregnancy, do check out the Diet Plan for Pregnant Women.