Woman celebrating pregnancy

Pregnancy brings about many changes to a woman’s body. In one study which observed 221 women attempting to conceive, 60 percent of them experienced common pregnancy symptoms five to six weeks after the first day of their last menstrual period; by the eighth week, this figure had risen to 90 percent1. The following are 10 early pregnancy symptoms that you may experience. Keep in mind, however, that these symptoms are not always conclusive as indicators of pregnancy.

  1. Implantation bleeding. Sometimes referred to as spotting, implantation bleeding is light bleeding that typically occurs at the time that the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterus. This process is known as implantation. Implantation takes place around 6-12 days after conception1. Thus, bleeding may occur within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy1.

  2. Missed period. This is one of the pregnancy symptoms most immediately associated with pregnancy. However, it can be difficult to evaluate as a pregnancy symptom. Some women have irregular menstrual cycles, and therefore experience prolonged spans of time without menstruating that are unrelated to pregnancy2

  3. Breast changes. Due to hormonal changes, your breasts may feel tingly, tender, or even sore2, 3. You may even notice an increase in the size of your breasts. While the discomfort tends to decrease after the first trimester, breast growth may continue throughout the pregnancy2.

  4. Nausea and vomiting. Often referred to as “the morning sickness,” this may actually occur at any time of the day3, usually from the 8th through to the 12th weeks of pregnancy. Some women may experience nausea without vomiting. Others might never experience these pregnancy symptoms throughout the duration of the pregnancy.

  5. Fatigue. Along with the changes in your breasts, the increased levels of progesterone in your body may make you feel tired and sleepy2. This symptom may begin to occur as early as one week after conception.

  6. Mood swings. If you tend to have premenstrual syndrome, you are likely to also experience sharp mood swings during pregnancy. This is combined with your emotions fluctuating rapidly and intensely between happiness, irritability, or even depression3. If you have trouble sleeping, suffer from mood swings, or experience changes in eating habits for extended periods (more than 2 weeks), please consult your healthcare provider. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

  7. Headaches. Another one of the more common pregnancy symptoms you may experience is headaches. These tend to occur in the first trimester4.

  8. Food cravings and/or aversions. Increased hormone levels may also make you more sensitive to certain odors2. This might make you crave certain foods or develop a distaste for others. These cravings and aversions may change throughout the course of the pregnancy or last its entire duration.

  9. Frequent urination. In pregnancy, a woman’s body produces more blood. This means that the kidneys will have more fluids to process and more waste to flush out of the body. Thus, resulting in more frequent urination5.

  10. Skin changes. Another one of the more common pregnancy symptoms is changes to your skin. What is usually called the “pregnancy glow” is caused by your skin stretching and increased blood-flow. This will make your skin appear flushed. Hormonal changes also cause the body to produce more melanin or skin pigmentation6. However, some women may also develop chloasma, or uneven yellowish or brownish patches on their faces3. Most of these changes should go away after delivery3.

Other common symptoms of pregnancy include constipation, lower back pain, and mild pelvic pain. However, as previously mentioned, these symptoms aren’t always surefire signs of pregnancy. If you think you might be pregnant, you may want to take a home pregnancy test or check with your doctor for confirmation and further tests.

 

REFERENCES:

1. A prospective study of the onset of symptoms of pregnancy. Sayle AE, Wilcox AJ, Weinberg CR, Baird DD. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. 2002;55(7):676. Accessed 19 August 2020 from:
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12160915/

2.“Symptoms of pregnancy: What happens first.” Mayo Clinic. Accessed 09 August 2020 from:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/symptoms-of-pregnancy/art-20043853

3. Ben-Joseph, Elana Pearl. “10 Things That Might Surprise You About Being Pregnant.” Nemours KidsHealth. Accessed 09 August 2020 from:
https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/pregnancy.html?WT.ac=ctg#catpregnancy

4.“What are some common signs of pregnancy?” Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Accessed 09 August 2020 from:
https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pregnancy/conditioninfo/signs

5.“Stages of pregnancy.” Office on Women’s Health. Accessed 09 August 2020 from:
https://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/youre-pregnant-now-what/stages-pregnancy

6.“Early Signs of Pregnancy.” Pregnancy to Parenting Australia. Accessed 10 August 2020 from:
https://www.pregnancyparenting.org.au/pregnancy/early-signs-pregnancy

7. "hCG test.” Healthdirect Australia. Accessed 10 August 2020 from:
https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/hcg-test