- Women's Health»
The earliest signs of pregnancy that can be detected before your missed period.
Trying to conceive can be a very stressful time indeed. Each month is filled with the anxiety and anticipation of finding out if you have finally succeeded in getting pregnant. If you don’t feel like waiting for a test, there ARE some signs that may occur before you ever get that big fat positive!
Cramping – Many women do not notice this as a sign, because they think it’s their impending period causing them the pain. It will feel a lot like menstrual cramps, indeed, but can actually be the feeling of the tiny embryo (your baby is not yet a fetus at this point) implanting into your uterus, where they will continue their development.
Fatigue – Feeling especially tired? If you aren’t running on a severe lack of sleep, maybe you’re pregnant. The increased levels of progesterone that you’re experiencing are to blame for this symptom. Some women have reported feeling this fatigue almost instantly, as soon as a week after ovulation.
Breast Tenderness – Also a sign that many women pass off as Aunt Flo coming to town, breast tenderness is common in early pregnancy and can range from mild to the feeling that you’re shooting needles out of your nipples. Trust me, I’ve been there. Heightened levels of estrogen, progesterone and increased blood flow all attribute to this early sign.
Increased Urination – Since your blood volume is increasing in preparation for sustaining another life, your kidneys are now working harder to filter all the fluids in your body. This will cause you to have to go potty more.
Feeling thirsty – Once again, due to blood volume increases, you will crave extra fluids. Try to go for the water. You should drink at least 8 glasses of it a day, anyway. Steer clear of caffeinated drinks, and of course, no alcohol for you!
Nausea – Morning sickness can be your best friend because it means that you’re finally pregnant, but trust me, it will soon turn out to be your worst enemy. I personally started this about two weeks before I even found out I was pregnant, and many women report the same. This is rare, though; in most cases it doesn’t kick in until the woman is about six weeks pregnant.
Headaches – No, for once it’s not your nagging boss that is causing your woes this time. The increase in blood volume you’re experiencing may give you a headache. Unfortunately, this may trigger one of the more painful kind of headaches – a migraine. Ouch. This is one of the more rare signs, though.
Implantation spotting – Not all women get this, but some do. It may be light brown/pink. This is caused by the embryo implanting in your uterus. Some women actually mistake this for the beginning of her period, but often come to find out that her actual period never comes.
Darker nipples – Your nipples may get larger, and most of the time will become darker. They’re no longer the pink shade they were, and you can expect this sign to pop up as early as two weeks after you conceive.
Bloating – Once again, one of those things that are also associated to menstruation. The hormones linked with pregnancy are thickening the lining of your uterus, and causing your belly to pooch out.
Problems pooping – While you’re pregnant, you’re probably going to be constipated. This can start very early on, as the hormones estrogen and progesterone tend to slow down your digestive system. (The iron in your prenatal vitamins can also contribute to this.) However, a handful of women experience the opposite and have diarrhea. Both of these can start early on, and have been recognized to persevere throughout the pregnancy.
Backache – If you DO turn out to be pregnant, go ahead and get used to this one. Thanks to your stretching uterus, hormones and weight gain, pressure is being put on your lower back and will cause discomfort from here on out.
Gut Feeling – A LOT of women, me included, will tell you that when you know, you know. Consider it your sixth sense. You may just simply ‘feel’ pregnant.
You can wait until you actually miss your period, or go ahead and take a test now. If it’s negative, don’t become discouraged. It simply may be too early to pick up the trace amount of pregnancy hormones (hGC) in your blood. Most at home tests are accurate within 8-11 days of ovulation, which just usually happens to coincide with about the time of your missed period. It is good to know that a negative doesn’t even necessarily mean you’re not pregnant. False negatives are actually fairly common, so go ahead and buy more than one test. You will also be happy to know that false positives are VERY rare. Just make sure that you read the directions and take the test properly. When used properly, most at home tests are at least 97% accurate.