Reading The Signs: Early Symptoms Of Pregnancy
Every woman's body is different, so it's no surprise that every woman's body responds to being pregnant in it's own unique way. The early symptoms of pregnancy vary from woman to woman and even from pregnancy to pregnancy. Some women seem to know from the start that they are pregnant, while others have no idea they are pregnant until they miss their first period, arguably the most common and widely recognized sign of pregnancy.
Since the early symptoms of pregnancy can sometimes resemble menstruation, it is not uncommon to miss some of the symptoms. It's also important to keep in mind that the symptoms may be caused by other factors, so just because you notice them does not necessarily mean you are pregnant. Of course, the only sure-fire way to know whether you're pregnant is with a pregnancy test. However, there are some early symptoms to watch out for:
One of the earliest and most common pregnancy symptoms is a missed period. While recent excessive weight gain or loss, stress, fatigue, the use of some contraceptive pills, or certain disorders such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCO) can also cause a missed period, if your period is delayed and there is a possibility you may be pregnant, it is definitely a good idea to get a pregnancy test to be sure.
Spotting & Cramping
Another early sign of pregnancy is spotting and cramping, which can occur a few days after conception when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall. Known as implantation bleeding, it can occur anywhere from six to 12 days after the egg is fertilized. While the signs may resemble a menstrual cycle, the bleeding and cramps tend to be slighter, and may be accompanied by a white, milky discharge. This discharge is caused by the increased growth of cells lining the vaginal wall, and can continue throughout your pregnancy.
Changes In Your Breasts
Tenderness in the breasts is one of the most common early symptoms of pregnancy. Hormone changes can cause your breasts to become extra sensitive, swollen, sore, or tingly. Or they may feel heavier, fuller or tender to the touch. Some women even experience an increase in the size of the breasts soon after conception.
In addition, the area around the nipples, called the areola, may darken. This is considered one of the first pregnancy signs and remains throughout the pregnancy. Any woman who notices this darkness in her areolas should consult with her provider at Women's HealthFirst, as this is one of the tell-tale signs of pregnancy.
Feeling unusually fatigued or tired is a common pregnancy symptom and is related to a high level of progesterone in your system, although other factors such as lower levels of blood sugar, lower blood pressure, and increased blood production can all contribute. If your fatigue is related to pregnancy, it's important to make sure you get plenty of rest, and eat foods that are rich in protein and iron, which can help alleviate the effects.
Nausea (Morning Sickness)
Nausea, or morning sickness as it is commonly known, is another classic pregnancy symptom. Morning sickness is actually a misnomer, since the nauseous feeling can (and often does) occur at any time during the day. It usually starts in the first 5-6 weeks of pregnancy, but can be felt as early as two weeks after conception. While certainly unpleasant, the good news is that morning sickness tends to fade away at the end of the third trimester.
Other Early Symptoms of Pregnancy:
- Frequent urination
- Change in smell and taste, commonly described as a metallic taste
- Dizziness, fainting, mild headaches, or back pain
- Mood swings
While every woman's pregnancy experience is different, it is not uncommon to have all, none, or just one or two of these symptoms. The important thing to remember is that it is always better to be safe than sorry, so if you experience any of the above symptoms, take a pregnancy test to confirm your suspicions, and always talk to your doctor at Women's HealthFirst to determine the best course of action for you.
[image via Best Pregnancy Tips]