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Am I Pregnant? Early Symptoms of Pregnancy & When To Test
One of the most common signs of pregnancy is a missed period. Other early signs include nausea, tender breasts and needing to pee more often.
Am I Pregnant?
The signs of early pregnancy can vary from person to person and from pregnancy to pregnancy. You may feel your body making changes before you know you’re pregnant or you may not notice any symptoms at all. Symptoms of early pregnancy include a missed period, needing to pee more often, tender breasts, feeling tired and morning sickness.
Answers to commonly asked questions about pregnancy.
What are common symptoms of pregnancy?
Everyone experiences different symptoms of pregnancy and at different times. It’s important not to compare your pregnancy to someone else’s because pregnancy symptoms can vary so dramatically.
There are several signs of early pregnancy that you may or may not have. The most common symptoms include:A missed period: The most common and obvious sign of pregnancy is a missed period. Once conception has happened, your body produces hormones that stop ovulation and the shedding of the lining of your uterus. This means that your menstrual cycle has stopped and you won’t have a period again until after your baby is born. But missing your period isn’t always a sign of pregnancy. You can also miss your period from stress, excessive exercise, dieting, hormone imbalances and other factors that might cause irregular periods.Frequent trips to the bathroom: Before you even miss a period, you may notice that you have to pee more often. This happens because you have more blood than before. During pregnancy, your body’s blood supply increases. Your kidneys filter your blood and remove the extra waste. This waste leaves your body as pee. The more blood in your body, the more you’ll have to pee.Fatigue (feeling tired): Many people feel extremely tired in early pregnancy. This sign of pregnancy happens because of high levels of the hormone progesterone. Similar to other early pregnancy symptoms, fatigue tends to get better in the second trimester (after week 13 of pregnancy). However, it does come back in the third trimester for many people.Morning (and noon and night) sickness: Despite the name, this pregnancy symptom can happen at any time of the day or night. Nausea can happen as early as two weeks into a pregnancy. Not everyone experiences nausea and there are various levels of nausea. You can feel nausea but never vomit. About half of pregnant people vomit due to nausea. Though nausea during pregnancy is fairly normal, it can be a problem if you become dehydrated. People who can’t keep down food and fluids because of extreme nausea could have a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum. Contact your healthcare provider if you’re experiencing extreme nausea and dehydration.Sore (and swollen) breasts: Your breasts can become tender to the touch during pregnancy. The soreness may be similar to the way your breasts feel before a period, only more so. Your areolas (the area around your nipple) might also begin to darken and enlarge. This soreness is temporary and fades once your body gets used to the increased hormones. You may also notice that your breasts have gotten larger and your bra is tighter than normal.
Remember, the only way to know for sure that you’re pregnant is to take a pregnancy test or have your healthcare provider perform an ultrasound.
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What are some less common signs of early pregnancy?
There are some additional signs of early pregnancy that aren’t as common. Just like with the most common symptoms, these signs of pregnancy may or may not happen. It’s important to remember that everyone is different and experiences signs of pregnancy differently.
Less common signs of early pregnancy can include:Spotting (also called implantation bleeding): Though it may seem like a bad sign, light bleeding (spotting) can be a sign that an embryo has implanted in the lining of your uterus. Implantation takes place about 10 days after conception. Implantation bleeding looks like small drops of blood or a brownish discharge from your vagina. It can start around the time of your regular period and can last for a few days to a few weeks. Spotting can cause some people to think they have just had a light period and aren’t pregnant.Food cravings, constant hunger and food aversions: Food can be complicated during early pregnancy. Some people begin to crave certain foods or feel constantly hungry. While some foods and flavors may seem wonderful in early pregnancy, others might suddenly taste unpleasant. Food aversions can happen throughout pregnancy, making you dislike things you previously enjoyed.Metallic taste in your mouth: Many people say that they experience a metallic taste in their mouths during the early stages of pregnancy. It may taste like you have a pile of coins in your mouth. This can happen when you eat certain foods or randomly throughout the day.Headaches and dizziness: Headaches and the feelings of lightheadedness and dizziness are common during early pregnancy. This happens because of both the hormonal changes in your body and your increasing blood volume.Cramping: You can also experience mild, period-like cramps that come and go over a few days. If these cramps are felt mainly on one side of your body or are severe, it’s important to contact your healthcare provider immediately. This could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy or other complication.
Pregnancy Symptoms: 14 Early Signs You're Pregnant
14 Early Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms
Colleen de Bellefonds
Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Wu, M.D., F.A.C.O.G. on December 1, 2022
Could you be pregnant? Look out for these early pregnancy symptoms. Some of these first signs of pregnancy can show up before you even miss your period.
IN THIS ARTICLE
When do pregnancy symptoms start?
Early signs of pregnancy before a missed period
Raised basal body temperature
Smell sensitivity Breast changes Fatigue
Perhaps you've ditched birth control, started tracking your cycle and have been actively trying to conceive. You may be wondering: Are the symptoms you’re experiencing just PMS, or could I be pregnant?
Before you even take a home pregnancy test, you may get a heads-up in the form of some early pregnancy symptoms, including smell sensitivity, breast changes and fatigue. But because many of these early signs of pregnancy will be similar to symptoms you have right before you get your period, it can be hard to tell the difference.
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While the only way to know for sure that you've got a baby on board is by peeing on a stick (then getting those results confirmed by a doctor), these early symptoms — some of which can occur before a missed period — may provide clues that you’re expecting.
When do pregnancy symptoms start?
First, it's important to note that pregnancy symptoms can crop up at different times in different people. And while some women experience every pregnancy symptom possible, others experience very few (if any) of these signs until many weeks into their pregnancies, if at all.
So with that said, here's average pregnancy symptoms timeline, based on a typical 28-day menstrual cycle:
About 14 days after your last period: Conception
17 or more days after your last period: Sensitivity to smell, tender breasts, fatigue, raised basal body temperature may begin
20 to 26 days after your last period: Implantation bleeding, thicker cervical mucus may occur
28 to 35 days after your last period: Frequent urination and mood swings may begin; missed period
35 or more days after your last period: Other pregnancy symptoms may begin at any point during the first trimester.
Early signs of pregnancy
(Before a missed period: Pregnancy weeks 2-4)
1. Raised basal body temperature
If you've been using a special basal body thermometer to track your first morning temperature, you might notice that it rises around 1 degree when you conceive and stays elevated throughout your pregnancy.
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Though not a foolproof early pregnancy symptom (there are other reasons your temp can rise), it could give you advance notice of the big news.
2. Smell sensitivity
A heightened sense of smell is an early pregnancy symptom that makes previously mild odors strong and unappealing. Since it's one of the first symptoms of pregnancy many women report, babies might be in the air if your sniffer's suddenly more sensitive and easily offended.
9 Early Signs of Pregnancy (Before Your Missed Period)
Missing your period is not always the first sign. If you’re trying to conceive, look for these early signs of pregnancy before your expected period:
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9 Early Signs of Pregnancy (Before Your Missed Period)
Missing your period is not always the first sign that you’re pregnant. Several symptoms can indicate pregnancy before you are due for your period. If you’re trying to conceive, look for these early signs of pregnancy a week or two before you expect your period.
1. Morning Sickness
Morning sickness is notoriously incorrectly named. As most pregnant women can tell you, it can happen at any time. It is also a common early sign of pregnancy before you miss your period. A few weeks after conception, your body produces more estrogen and progesterone, causing nausea or vomiting. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), morning sickness subsides after the first trimester for some women, while others have it throughout the entire pregnancy.
Sometimes we all feel a little tired and rundown if we’re not taking care of ourselves properly. However, one of the most common early signs of pregnancy is extreme fatigue or exhaustion. Activities that never phased you before may tire you out, and you might want to sleep a lot even if you have gotten 7-9 hours already. The body is producing more blood to support the developing baby, which can cause fatigue and increase your need for nutrients. These symptoms usually last through the first trimester and can be alleviated by resting, eating a nutrient-rich diet, and drinking plenty of fluids.
3. Breast Changes
In the first few weeks of pregnancy, your breasts may become heavy, tender, swollen, or tender. Some women experience this symptom before their period, so it can be confused with PMS. However, one thing that happens during the early weeks of pregnancy that does not occur during a regular menstrual cycle might tip you off. If your areolas – the circles of pigmented skin surrounding the nipples – may darken or even become enlarged.
Some women experience spotting as an early sign of pregnancy. Small amounts of light pink or brownish blood may appear a week or so before your period is due. This type of spotting is called implantation bleeding. As the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining, it can cause irritation and light bleeding. Sometimes this is mistaken as a period, but spotting is usually much lighter than a regular period.
Another sign of early pregnancy that can be confused with PMS or a regular period is cramping. During pregnancy, blood flow increases all over the body. Increased blood flow in the uterus can cause cramping. These cramps are usually mild, but if they become severe enough to affect your daily routine, you should see your doctor. Many women experience similar cramping right before their regular menstrual period, but it’s a common early symptom of pregnancy. So, if you have cramps (or the spotting mentioned above), don’t give up hope that you’re pregnant just yet.
6. Changes in Food Preference
Strange food cravings are a staple cliche in TV and films about pregnant women. However, that stereotype is rooted in reality. Many pregnant women develop cravings or aversions to food a few weeks after conception. You might find yourself wanting to eat things you don’t usually eat. Your favorite foods might suddenly make you nauseous. Or you may lose your appetite altogether.
7. Sensitivity to Smells
For some women, pregnancy makes their sense of smell go into overdrive. Exaggerated reactions to certain smells can tie into morning sickness and food preference. Scents that are not very strong to other people can be pungent and unpleasant to a pregnant woman.
8. Frequent Urination
A baby pressing on the bladder in the third trimester is not the only thing that causes frequent urination during pregnancy. After conception, your kidneys start working harder to filter the increased blood flow, resulting in the urge to urinate more frequently. This symptom can start right before your missed period.
9. Light Headedness
During the first weeks of pregnancy, you might feel dizzy or light-headed at times. After you get pregnant, your blood vessels dilate to prepare for the increased blood flow, which lowers blood pressure and creates that feeling of lightheadedness.
At City of Oaks Midwifery, we believe in caring for the whole woman in all stages of her life. If you are experiencing early signs of pregnancy or have other concerns about your health, call (919) 351-8253 to make an appointment at our Raleigh, NC midwifery practice.
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