10 Early Signs Of Pregnancy
A wise friend of mine once said, ‘If you’re having unprotected heterosexual sex, you’re going to get pregnant.’ While this is not always the case, it is a good rule of thumb to go by.
However, along with this ‘clue’, there are several specific physical signs of early pregnancy. Every woman is different and you may not experience all these shifts in your body, or they could be symptoms of something other than pregnancy. If you are feeling any or all of them, you should buy a home pregnancy test or visit your GP to determine whether or not you are pregnant.
1. Missed period
While the days of your monthly cycle can fluctuate
slightly, a missed period is a clear sign that you could be pregnant. This is because, when your egg is fertilised, the endometrium – or the lining that develops around the edge of your uterus – stays, instead of coming out in the form of your period. Depending on where you are in your cycle, this can be a fairly immediate sign, or you may have to wait for a week or two. A missed period is often the first clear indication that you are pregnant. However, missed periods can also be caused by stress, illness and some medications. If you are unsure, always consult your GP.
The powerful hormonal changes that occur within your body when you become pregnant can bring on nausea and sometimes vomiting, usually in the morning (hence the term ‘morning sickness’). This can begin around Week 2 but usually doesn’t surface until about Week 5 (and usually ends shortly after Week 12 or 13).
Elevated hormonal levels can cause headaches. If you have cut back on caffeine in preparation for pregnancy, this could cause headaches as well. Pregnancy also brings on all kinds of new needs in terms of sleep, nutrition and water and, if you are not yet meeting all these needs, headaches can result.
4. Heightened sense of smell
During pregnancy, you develop a heightened sense of smell. You can tell who has been smoking, who hasn’t had a shower and who is wearing what perfume. You can, of course, also smell food – and, depending on what type of food it is – this can lead back to nausea! Many women find the smell of seafood to be particularly abhorrent.
5. Sore breasts
Your breasts can become tender or swollen as a result of the change in hormones, as your body prepares to grow and then feed your baby.
Feeling absolutely wiped out, even though you’re sleeping a full eight hours? Rising levels of the hormone progesterone, which help maintain the lining of your womb, can make you feel exhausted.
7. Mood swings
As they do when you are having your period, hormonal changes during early pregnancy can also cause you to feel more emotional or weepy than you usually do.
A small amount of vaginal bleeding or spotting can indicate that you are pregnant. This is referred to as ‘implantation bleeding’ because it occurs when your fertilised egg attaches itself to the lining of your uterus. Because this happens about 10 to 14 days after conception, the spotting can come around the same time that you would be starting your period. It is, however, much lighter than your actual period.
9. Frequent urination
Beginning around Week 6 or 7, you feel the need to urinate more frequently, as your growing uterus begins to put pressure on your bladder. If you are making an effort to drink more water, which you should do during pregnancy, this will, of course, also cause you head to the toilet more often.
10. Changes in taste
Pregnant women can experience food aversions, finding something that they once loved to be abhorrent (this can also be related to nausea and the heightened sense of smell). Pregnant women can also crave certain healthy foods that contain much-needed nutrients, but rarely experience the weird cravings portrayed in films and television programmes.
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