All of a sudden, you feel different. You’re dizzy for no apparent reason. Your breasts seem to have grown heavier. You want to go to bed and doze off more often. The month has come and gone, yet your expected period is nowhere in sight. Are these symptoms early pregnancy signs?
While each female body is different, the early pregnancy signs have things in common. They point to a new life growing inside you.
If you’re of childbearing age and exhibit these five early pregnancy signs, it’s time to take a pregnancy test and consult your physician.1
Five Early Pregnancy Signs to Look Out For
- A skipped period: This is one of the most common early pregnancy signs. Once you conceive, your body manufactures hormones that halt ovulation and the shedding of your uterus lining. This means your monthly menstrual cycle has stopped and your next period won’t come again until you give birth. But a missed period isn’t always an early pregnancy sign. A missed period can also stem from stress, extreme exercise, dieting, hormone issues and other reasons for irregular monthly cycles.
- Increased need to urinate: Before you even skip a period, you may notice that you need to make more frequent trips to the restroom. This is also one of the common early pregnancy signs. The amount of blood in your body rises during pregnancy.2 This extra supply makes your kidneys filter your blood and get rid of the excess waste. This waste exits your body in the form of urine. The more blood in your body, the more bathroom trips you have to make.
- Feeling tired or spent: Fatigue is also another of the known early pregnancy signs. This is because many women have high levels of the ‘sleepy hormone’ progesterone. This hormone makes the brain produce gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which promotes sleep.3
- Morning (and noon and night) sickness: Out of all the early pregnancy signs, morning sickness has the most deceiving of names. This is because it can make you drop whatever you are doing at any time of the day or night. Nausea can strike as early as two weeks into a pregnancy or a few months after you conceive.
According to the Pregnancy Association of America, 25 percent of women regard nausea as one of the early pregnancy signs.4 But not all pregnant women experience nausea. Those who do encounter it in different ways. Some have nausea without throwing up. Others have nausea along with vomiting. Around half of pregnant women throw up. Though nausea during pregnancy is common, it can cause problems if you get dehydrated. Women could develop hyperemesis gravidarum, which is marked by excess nausea, vomiting, and loss of weight. Several nausea and dehydration are conditions you should not ignore. Reach out to your doctor when you experience them.5
- Sore, swollen, and enlarged breasts: The Pregnancy Association of America reports that 17 percent of women observe one of the early pregnancy signs to be changes in their breasts. The breasts feel tender when touched.6 The soreness mimics how the breasts feel before a menstrual cycle, only more so.
This should not worry you. The sore feeling goes away when you body gets accustomed to having more than the usual supply of hormones. And because your breast is getting bigger, you may also observe that your bra us getting tighter.
Lesser Known Early Pregnancy Signs to Catch
- There are other less common early pregnancy signs.7 These include:
- Spotting (or implantation bleeding) many days after implantation
- Food cravings and aversions and a bigger appetite
- Metallic taste, similar to that of coins, in the mouth
- Headaches and lightheadedness due to hormonal shifts and a swelling volume of blood
- Cramps, which, when confined to one side of the body, or are severe, may mean ectopic pregnancy or other complications
- Moodiness due to hormonal changes
The only way to find out if these early pregnancy signs mean you’re nurturing a new life, is through a pregnancy test. It measures the amount of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), which starts increasing in your body the moment you conceive.8
Be prepared to give your full medical history on your first pre-natal check-up.9 Pregnancy can turn out to be a journey of discovery about yourself and your partner. Heeding early pregnancy signs is your first step in enjoying this important phase of your life.
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