Becoming pregnant for the first time is exciting. If you have never been pregnant before, it is not always easy to tell if you actually are pregnant. In most cases, the first obvious sign of a pregnancy is a missed period. If you have not been tracking your period, this is even harder. Luckily, your body will start to give you some signs of your pregnancy. If you are paying attention, you can figure out if you are pregnant without a test. We still think that an early pregnancy test is the best option, but you can quickly compare your symptoms to this list before you rush out to the corner store.
Some of the most common symptoms of a pregnancy include lower back pain, sore breasts, fatigue, headaches and nausea. These symptoms can sometimes show up before you missed a period, but they will not start until after the egg has implanted itself in your uterus. Because of this, you probably will not see any of these symptoms until 10 to 14 days after you ovulated. Since many pregnancy symptoms like headaches or tender breasts are also caused by PMS, you should be careful to jump to any assumptions too quickly. As always, taking a pregnancy test is the easiest, most reliable way to find out if you are pregnant or not.
1. You Miss Your Period
One of the most obvious, early signs of pregnancy is missing your period. If you have irregular cycles, then you might not be able to use this method as easily. In addition, there are other reasons why you could miss your period as well. Women with eating disorders like bulimia or anorexia often suffer from missed periods. Changes in contraceptive usage, sudden weight gains, overexertion, weight loss or stress could also cause you to miss your period as well.
2. Mood Swings
Your hormones start to change once implantation has happened. Because of the fluctuations in your hormone levels, you may experience sudden mood swings for no apparent reason. You may be irritable, grumpy, weepy or overly sensitive. These hormonal changes affect the chemical messengers in your mind, which are known as neuro-transmitters. Because of these changes, you can experience heightened emotions during your pregnancy.
3. Spider Veins
Another side effect of your hormonal changes can appear in your veins. During your pregnancy, your body creates excess estrogen. This can cause spider veins to appear throughout your body. Luckily, this symptom will normally start to fade away after you have given birth. If they do not, you can always talk to your doctor about it.
Your body does not realize that it is pregnant immediately. It takes about one or two weeks before the egg implants itself on the wall of the uterus. When this happens, your body starts to prepare for pregnancy and labor. Implantation can cause spotting and cramping. If you experience a little light bleeding about 10 to 14 days after ovulation (around days 20 to 24 in a 28-day cycle), then it could be from implantation. This does not always happen in every woman, and it should just be light spotting. If it is heavy bleeding or is accompanied by pain and discomfort, it could be an early period, a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. If it is one of the last two options, then you need to go to your doctor right away.
5. Frequent Urination
When you become pregnant, hormonal changes increase water retention and blood flow. As a result, your kidneys have to process more blood and your bladder fills up quickly. Plus, the growing uterus starts to add pressure to your bladder. All of these factors can make you urinate far more frequently than normal. If you are visiting the bathroom every 20 to 30 minutes, you could be pregnant.
When you are pregnant, you may experience flatulence and bloating. The extra gas can cause stomach cramps because of the pain. This happens because your progesterone levels rise during early pregnancy. This makes the smooth muscle in the gastrointestinal tract relax and hurts digestion. As a result, you can feel full even when you do not eat a lot and your clothes may feel snug.
Nausea and vomiting are two of the most famous symptoms of early pregnant. When you are pregnant, you may experience morning sickness in just the first trimester or it could be in every trimester. A scent of perfume or could make you feel nauseous. It is believed that these symptoms are caused by your changing hormonal levels during pregnancy.
8. Sore, Full Breasts
When you are pregnant, your breasts swell as they prepare to create breast milk. They may feel tender and painful to the touch. They will also grow in size and feel heavier. The nipples and areolas turn darker, and you may even have spots around the nipple area. Some women also experience white spots around their areolas.
9. Back Pain
When implantation happens, you may experience back pain or slight cramping. Back pain is also a common symptom during pregnancy as well. Your uterus has to stretch to make room for the fetus, so back pain is a normal sign. It can also be due to changes in your posture, weight gain, stress or hormonal changes. Pregnancy-related back pain tends to focus around the sacroiliac joint.
Luckily, you limit some of the back pain by exercising regularly. Hot and cold compresses can relax the muscles. Yoga, stretching and swimming can also help with the pain. As always, you should talk to your doctor before you start any new exercise regimen during pregnancy.
Some women develop pigmentation spots during pregnancy known as the mask of pregnancy. Your body can over secrete melanotropin hormones that lead to this situation. Getting extra sunlight can make the situation worse, but it generally improves after you go through labor. The pigmentation patches tend to be on the bridge of your nose, your cheekbones, your forehead and/or your upper lip.
11. Food Aversions or Cravings
Famously, becoming pregnant can lead to food aversions and cravings. You may suddenly hate the scent of foods you once loved because of the increase in estrogen. You could also suddenly be craving foods that you never liked before. Indulging in your food cravings is fine as long as you have a healthy diet and do not eat to the point of getting sick.
12. Nasal Congestion
When your hormone levels rise and blood production increases, it can cause the mucous membranes in your nose to swell, bleed and dry out. As a result, you may end up with a stuffy or runny nose.
Bodily and hormonal changes during pregnancy can mess up your sleep cycle. Between more progesterone, nausea and frequent urination, you may be exhausted all the time. Normally, your energy levels will bounce back in your second trimester, but decline again during your third trimester.
14. Uterine Enlargement
Obviously, your uterus will have to grow in size to make room for the baby. You won’t be able to see this change happening, but your doctor can see it in an imaging test or a physical exam. As the pregnancy progresses, your uterus will have to grow more and more to make room for the baby.
Another unfortunate side effect of pregnancy is acne. Changes in your hormones can cause your skin to become oily or patchy. If you are lucky, your skin will just look like it is glowing. The best thing you can do is drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet. Products designed for sensitive skin can also help. If it really bothers you, you can always talk to your doctor about it.
16. Bleeding Gums
This is certainly not a common symptom of pregnancy, but it can happen. Hormonal changes can cause plaque to build up and can increase the chances of gum disease. Because of this, you may experience bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth. Try not to brush your teeth too hard and talk to your doctor if this problem continues.
Another possible side effect of pregnancy is mild itching. Your blood supply increases during pregnancy, and more blood goes to the surface of your skin. This can cause an itching sensation. Try to wear loose, comfortable clothes to help with this side effect. There are also creams that you can use to reduce the itching.
18. Palmar Erythema
This is the medical term for having red palms. This is due to an increased supply of blood from the estrogen in your body.
During the first and second trimester, many women experience headaches. This can be due to physical changes in your body, or it could be due to drowsiness. Some women also experience headaches because of the added stress that they feel during pregnancy. In general, these headaches will go away or be alleviated with rest, plenty of fluids and proper care.
20. Decreased Sexual Desire
Some women lose sex in sexual matters after pregnancy because of changes in hormones. If this is your only pregnancy-related symptom though, do not assume that you are pregnant. This symptom could also be caused by excessive workouts, fatigue, medications or stress as well.
21. Dark Line of Hair
Around the third month of pregnancy, you may develop a dark line of hair from your pubic bone to the top of your uterus.
22. High Basal Body Temperature
Your basal body temperature normally drops back down when you start your menstrual cycle. If your basal body temperature remains high for more than two weeks after ovulation, then you could be pregnant.
23. Dry Skin
While some women develop oily skin when they are pregnant, other women suffer from dry skin. This can become worse because of a lack of sleep, changing hormones and fatigue. Moisturizers and drinking plenty of water can help with your dry skin.
What Should You Do If You Think That You Are Pregnant?
If you believe that you are pregnant, go to your doctor. You can also check to see if you are right using a home pregnancy test. These home pregnancy tests work by detecting hCG in your urine. Normally, this pregnancy hormone is produced around six days after fertilization. It doubles every two to three days. A negative pregnancy test before your missed period might not remain negative for long. This pregnancy test should be accurate, however, if you take it after your missed period.
Pregnancy-like symptoms can actually occur due to other conditions. PMS, for example, is known to produce many similar symptoms. If you experience these symptoms, your best bet is to take a pregnancy test. It is hard to wait until after you missed a period, but it is the best way to find out for sure if you are expecting or not. Hopefully, congratulations will be in order before long!