Early Signs of Pregnancy
There are many signs and symptoms of pregnancy. However, early signs can have other causes besides pregnancy. If you think you might be pregnant and are experiencing any of the early signs of pregnancy, call to schedule an appointment for pregnancy confirmation and to determine how far along you are.1
Missed or Late Period
This is one of the most common early signs of pregnancy that may lead you to take a pregnancy test. When a pregnancy occurs, your period usually stops for the length of the pregnancy. Some women may bleed while they are pregnant, but the bleeding is usually shorter and/or lighter than a normal period.
Other explanations: stress; illness; a change in schedule (e.g. shift work), or a change in medication (birth control or otherwise); hormone imbalances; being seriously overweight or underweight; excessive exercise; [peri-]menopause1
Nausea and/or Vomiting
Also known as “morning sickness.” This is a well-known pregnancy symptom that occurs mostly during the first trimester. A few women never experience morning sickness, while a few may have it for their entire pregnancy. 2
Other explanations: food poisoning; an intestinal “bug;” stress
This is one of the early signs of pregnancy that can start as early as 1-2 weeks after conception. Breasts may feel tender, swollen, sensitive, or sore. Other changes may be described as heavy or full feeling. Also, the areola (the area around the nipple) may appear darker, and veins on the breasts may be more obvious.
Other explanations: hormonal changes due to the menstrual cycle or birth control; a normal symptom of PMS; breast cyst(s) or fibroids.
The feeling of being tired ranks high as one of the most common early signs of pregnancy. These feelings of fatigue are thought to be due to higher levels of progesterone (a hormone your body produces during pregnancy) in the body. Fatigue is usually the worst during the first trimester then usually lessens during the second trimester. 3
Other explanations: a common illness, such as a cold or flu; stress; change in routine or schedule.
Spotting and/or Cramping
Spotting may be noticed 1-2 weeks after conception.This is known as implantation bleeding 4 when the embryo attaches to the wall of the uterus. Cramping may be caused by the stretching of the uterine muscles.
Other explanations: premenstrual cramps; hormonal changes related to birth control; infection; an abrasion from intercourse.
This symptom usually begins around 6-8 weeks after conception. During pregnancy the body produces extra fluids, which results in the need to empty the bladder more often. Also, as pregnancy progresses, the weight of the uterus puts pressure on the bladder.
Other explanations: urinary tract infection; diabetes; increase in fluid intake; use of diuretics.
Other Early Signs of Pregnancy
There are many other early signs of pregnancy to look out for, including:
- Dizziness and/or fainting
- Mood swings
- Food cravings or aversions to certain foods
Some less common early signs of pregnancy may also include:
- Shortness of breath
- Higher body temperature
- Increased sense of smell
1. American Pregnancy Association. (n.d.). Pregnancy Symptoms – Early Signs of Pregnancy. Retrieved June 23, 15, from http://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/early-pregnancy-symptoms/ ↩
2. Emmons, S. (n.d.). 16 Early Signs of Pregnancy | Parenting. Retrieved from http://www.parenting.com/gallery/early-signs-of-pregnancy ↩
3. Mayo Clinic. (2013, July 12). Symptoms of pregnancy: What happens right away – Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/symptoms-of-pregnancy/art-20043853 ↩
4.Scott, M. (n.d.). Implantation Bleeding or Period? 5 Leading Signs of Implantation Spotting – All About Implantation Bleeding. Retrieved from http://implantationspotting.net/implantation-bleeding-or-period-5-leading-signs-of-implantation-spotting/ ↩
5.Ovulation symptoms: Basal body temperature and cervical mucus | BabyCenter. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.babycenter.com/chart-basal-body-temperature-and-cervical-mucus ↩