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Am I Pregnant? 10 Early Symptoms and Common Signs of Pregnancy

Updated on May 11, 2012

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If you're trying to conceive or if you have an inclination that you may be pregnant, every little niggle may lead you to believe you're pregnant. When the smallest amount of doubt surfaces, your world turns upside down. Am I or aren't I? What will I do if I am? Will I be disappointed if I'm not?

Every woman is different and may experience different symptoms related to pregnancy. Here are the top 10 early pregnancy symptoms for you to review:

1. No Period or Light Spotting

The first symptom, or indication of pregnancy, you may experience is no menstrual period or light spotting. Most women will not have a period during pregnancy, but a missed or late period could be the result of many other factors. You may miss you period if you are under a great amount of stress, with a change of medication, if you are experiencing early menopause, or if you are experiencing another type of illness.

2. Period-Like Cramping

One of the first signs many women experience when pregnant is period-like cramps or pains in the lower abdominal region. This is due to implantation, when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterus, and when your uterus starts to expand. This symptom can sometimes be confused with period cramps as it is a very similar sensation.

3. Swollen or Tender Breasts

Early in the first trimester of pregnancy, breasts begin to change, becoming larger in size. As a result, many women experience swelling or tenderness.

4. Dark Areolas

In addition to breast tenderness, women will usually develop dark areola's around their nipples. Many spots on the body become darker during pregnancy, like freckles or sun spots, due to the increase in hormones. After giving birth, these areas will usually lighten or return to their original color.

5. Fatigue

In the first trimester, many women experience fatigue as their bodies begin to change. It's hard work making a baby, and the organs and other parts of the body are desperately trying to keep up. If a women is also iron-deficient and has pre-existing anemia, fatigue may worsen during pregnancy.

6. Nausea or Vomitting

Morning sickness effects over three quarters of pregnant women in the first trimester, and can even last throughout pregnancy. The increase of Human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone produced during pregnancy, is believed to cause nausea. Also, an enhanced sense of taste and smell could be contributing factors of morning sickness.

7. Frequent Urination

As the uterus expands during pregnancy, it begins to put pressure on the bladder, causing women to urinate more often. However, in early pregnancy frequent urination is due to the increase of blood and fluid to your kidneys, making you "pee" more often.

8. Mood Swings

Because of the increase of hormones in pregnancy, neurotransmitters to the brain will effect the moods of pregnant women. Sometimes you may feel happy, sad, or even anxious in early pregnancy. Mood swings usually lessen in the second and third trimester as your body adjusts to pregnancy.

9. Vivid Dreams

Because of the increase in hormones, many pregnant women experience vivid dreams. They can also be caused by increased emotions associated to pregnancy. Vivid dreams can last throughout pregnancy.

10. Feeling Pregnant

Sometimes women just "feel pregnant" and in most cases, they're right. Both intuition and understanding the changes of their body help women to come to the realization that they're pregnant.

What's Next?

First Trimester (Weeks 1-13)

After you've established that you are indeed pregnant, the next step will be an ultrasound scan which takes place between between 10 and 13 weeks of pregnancy. This scan is particularly important as it will determine when your are due to give birth. The doctor will also look for other signs that the baby is developing normally.

Second Trimester (Weeks 14-27)

During your second trimester, the doctor will book another ultrasound scan usually around the 20th week of your pregnancy. At this point, you will be able to get a better idea of what the baby looks like and the most important detail - the sex of your baby. Most doctors will even provide you with an image of the ultrasound for you to keep.

Third Trimester (Weeks 28-42)

In the third and final trimester, you will have your final ultrasound scan to assess the growth of your baby. This will usually take place between weeks 28 and 40. The doctor may even ask you to come in for additional scans if they detect any abnormalities. If all is well, the next time you see the doctor is on the big day!

Tell us about your pregnancy!

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