For many women, the first sign of pregnancy is a missed period. Other women notice more subtle signs long before a missed period. The presence of these signs vary dependent on the woman- some never experience or notice any of them. Symptoms can mirror those of PMS (Pre-Menstrual Syndrome) and include:
- Implantation bleeding: About 6-12 days after conception, the embryo implants itself into the uterine wall. At times a small amount of spotting or vaginal bleeding occurs when this happens.
- A missed period: This is the most commonly known symptom of pregnancy. A missed period is a great indicator of pregnancy, but may be trickier for women with an irregular cycle. If you have an irregular cycle, and think you may be pregnant, we recommend taking a pregnancy test, though you may need to take more tests than a woman with a regular cycle.
- Basal body temperature: Another indicator of pregnancy is a higher than usual basal body temperature (your body temperature at rest). If your resting temperature is higher than usual for over two weeks, this may be a sign of pregnancy.
- Tender, swollen breasts: As early as two weeks after conception, hormonal changes may make your breasts tender and sore, for some women this includes a fuller and heavier feeling.
- Constipation: When newly pregnant, increasing levels of hormones will slow digestion and bowel functions so that the body can absorb as many vitamins and nutrients as possible from the food you eat. If you are experiencing constipation, consult your doctor before taking over-the-counter medications; some medications can harm your baby.
- Frequent urination: Even before missing a period, pregnant women report having to go to the bathroom more often than usual. This occurs after the embryo has implanted in the uterus and begins producing the pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which triggers frequent urination.
- Fatigue: Most women feel notably more tired than usual during their first trimester. This may be caused by an increase in the hormone progesterone. During early pregnancy, levels of the hormone progesterone increase rapidly. In high enough doses, progesterone can cause sleepiness. Most doctors recommend taking vitamin B12 to help your energy levels. Fatigue is generally a symptom during the first trimester, and will subside after this trimester.
- Nausea or vomiting: Also known as “morning sickness”. This well-known symptom will often show up between 1-8 weeks after conception. Many women feel nausea at different times of the day- feeling sick is not limited to just the morning time. Some women are fortunate to not deal with morning sickness at all, while others will feel nauseous throughout most of their pregnancy.
You may have heard from pregnant women that they “just knew” that they were pregnant. You may experience mood swings, fatigue or other symptoms in a very slight form and just know that changes within your body are occurring. Hormonal change is something that goes unnoticed by many women, while others find themselves very sensitive to even a slight change. Listen to your body, pay attention to the aforementioned symptoms, and take a pregnancy test and/or consult your doctor if you think you may be pregnant.