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Early Signs & Symptoms of Pregnancy

Updated on March 24, 2015

There are many signs and symptoms of pregnancy. So many, in fact, that there is almost no way that you wouldn't know something is different.

There are several subtle symptoms that begin almost right away after conception. These are the ones to keep an eye out for if you suspect you may be pregnant. Some of these earlier symptoms include:

  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • elevated temperature
  • spotting

Headaches

Many women often experience headaches while pregnant, especially in the beginning. Often times, women who normally experience migraine headaches have noted that it is more disturbing while they are pregnant. Although, sometimes that can go the opposite way as well and relief from migraines may be obtained.

Fatigue

Feelings of extreme fatigue are perfectly normal for about the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Once the placenta is fully developed, you should begin to feel less tired.

Elevated Temperature

During early pregnancy, an increase in body temperature can be expected. This is caused by ovulation and it will probably last about 2 weeks or so. After this time period, it will subside and normal body temperature will be restored.

Spotting

In the very early stages of pregnancy, you may experience light bleeding or spotting. This usually doesn't last long; maybe a couple of days. This light bleeding is caused by implantation.

Implantation is when the fertilized egg imbeds into the uterus. If, however, you experience heavier bleeding, you should seek care from your physician immediately. This could indicate a more serious issue such as an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage, especially if accompanied by painful cramps.

Additional Signs & Symptoms

As the pregnancy moves forward, other signs and symptoms will be present. Up to this point, you may not have realized that you have a little one on the way, but you will very soon. Some additional signs and symptoms of pregnancy are:

  • missed menstrual cycle
  • nausea
  • frequent urination
  • tender breasts
  • constipation
  • areolas darken in color
  • mood swings
  • food cravings
  • dizziness
  • sensitivity to certain smells
  • bloating

Missed Menstrual Cycle

The most obvious sign of pregnancy is a missed menses. After this occurs, a pregnancy test kit should be purchased for confirmation. If it is positive, the next step is to contact your physician.

Some of the over-the-counter pregnancy test kits claim to have the ability to provide accurate results up to 5 days before a missed menses, but they may still give a false result. I, personally, tried it and I got a negative result when I was indeed pregnant with my son. So, it is probably best to wait until after you've missed your period.

Nausea

Nausea is one of the more common side effects of pregnancy. Many women experience both nausea and vomiting while pregnant. This is due to the increase in hormone levels. It usually begins in early pregnancy. For some women, it only lasts a few months, but for others, it may continue throughout the entire pregnancy.

Frequent Urination

Once the fertilized egg is implanted in the uterine wall, the uterus begins to enlarge. This will put pressure onto the bladder which will cause more frequent urination.

Tender Breasts

A few weeks into the pregnancy, you will notice that your breasts are feeling a bit more tender than usual. The milk ducts are preparing for milk production. This occurs because of the increase in hormones.

Constipation

The gastrointestinal tract slows during pregnancy. Therefore, constipation is often a problem. The longer the waste product is in the intestines, the dryer and harder it becomes. Some women opt to take a stool softener to combat this problem. If constipation is allowed to continue too long, hemorrhoids will become a problem as well.

Areolas Darken in Color

Shortly after conception, you will notice that your areolas (the area around the nipples) have gotten darken in color. This is also due to the increased hormone production.

Mood Swings

All pregnant women experience mood swings. There is no escaping it. This sudden shift of emotions is due to hormonal changes within the body.

Food Cravings

Most pregnant women experience some sort of unusual food craving at some point during their pregnancy. Some of these cravings may just be odd combinations of food and others may be foods that you've never eaten before. Either way, above all, you should make certain to eat healthy throughout your pregnancy.

Dizziness

This is often a symptom during pregnancy and occurs when the blood pressure drops rapidly. This symptom can be controlled by getting up slowly from a seated or lying position.

Sensitivity to Certain Smells

Scent sensitivity is a very common symptom of pregnancy. Most women have reported this side effect especially in the beginning of their pregnancy. Some have claimed to become nauseous from this as well.

Bloating

During pregnancy, the digestive tract slows down in order to provide more time for the food to enter the blood stream. This will enable the baby to receive the necessary nutrients it needs to aid in its development.

If you suspect you may be with child, you should definitely consult with your physician or gynecologist. The sooner the better for you as well as your baby.

At this first obstetrics appointment, the physician will obtain a blood test in order to confirm the pregnancy. Then he or she will order an ultrasound to be done when you are at about 7 to 9 weeks along. This will help the doctor to determine your due date. They will also go by the first day of your last menstrual cycle as well. Most likely your doctor will order a prenatal vitamin for you to begin taking too. You will be given a lot of information at this first appointment. The last thing to occur is to schedule a follow-up appointment that will probably be for the next month.

Have you or someone you know experienced these signs and symptoms of pregnancy?

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