Early Signs of Pregnancy

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Pregnancy Symptoms Should Trigger Pregnancy Tests

Although there are some common pregnancy signs, pregnancy symptoms vary for each woman. While some women experience significant pregnancy symptoms, other women may never even realize they are pregnant until they have missed one or more monthly periods. Pregnancy is different for each woman and each pregnancy can even be different for a woman.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of pregnancy is important to receiving early prenatal care. An over-the-counter (OTC) pregnancy test can validate whether or not symptoms are the result of pregnancy. The most common symptom is a missed period for sexually active women. But not all women recognize this pregnancy sign since they may bleed even when pregnant.

How to Know You May be Pregnant

Some of the other early signs of pregnancy include:

  1. weight gain with no other causes
  2. nausea or vomiting (particularly in the morning)
  3. slight bleeding or cramping, but less than a “normal period”
  4. fatigue
  5. loss of appetite or food aversions
  6. hormonal imbalances leading to mood swings
  7. swollen or tender breasts
  8. backache
  9. headache
  10. increased frequency to urinate
  11. constipation
  12. dizziness

Although some women experience these early signs of pregnancy in the first week or two after conception, other women may never experience any of them. Especially for women who aren’t actively trying to become pregnant, early pregnancy symptoms can go unnoticed at first.

Even with the absence of these symptoms, some women explain that they simply “feel pregnant.” This is often recognized as women’s intuition and it is often the first indicator of pregnancy for a woman.

Pregnancy Test and Early Prenatal Care

A pregnancy test is important if there is any suspicion of pregnancy. Accessing early prenatal care is important to the child and mother. For example, most pregnant women need an increased consumption of folic acid as early as possible to help prevent birth defects. Prenatal vitamins early in pregnancy are also important to the growth and development of the unborn baby. Some doctors may prescribe fish oil during pregnancy to stimulate and promote healthy nerve and brain function.

Whenever there is a suspicion of pregnancy, it’s important to obtain a pregnancy test as soon as possible. The next step is to talk to a qualified doctor or healthcare professional. The advice and recommendations of a qualified healthcare professional are essential in the early stages of pregnancy to help the baby grow and develop as healthy as possible.

And just like any medical condition, only a doctor should diagnose, prescribe, and provide medical advice to women who are, or who may be, pregnant. Early prenatal care is essential for the healthiest pregnancy possible.

How to Recognize a Possible Pregnancy In Its Earliest Stages

Prenatal care is the very first important gift a mother gives to her baby. Thus it follows that the earlier pregnancy is identified, the better. It’s important to be able to recognize the early signs of pregnancy–other than a missed period–when they occur. While some women begin to have symptoms within a week of conception, some may not develop symptoms until several weeks into the pregnancy, if at all. Early signs of pregnancy differ from woman to woman, but there are some common signs of which to be aware.

Early Signs of Pregnancy Often Mimic Symptoms of Menstruation

Certain symptoms typically manifested during a woman’s monthly cycle may be signaling that a baby is on board.

  • Implantation Bleeding. One of the very earliest signs of pregnancy, implantation bleeding is caused by the embryo attaching itself to the lining of the uterus. The bleeding is typically spotty and lighter in color than a normal period and may be accompanied by cramps that are quite similar to menstrual cramps. Implantation bleeding generally occurs six to 14 days following conception.
  • Sore, Swollen Breasts. Stimulated by hormonal changes, breasts may become tender, swollen and “tingly” within the first week or two of conception.
  • Headaches/Backaches. Brought on by hormonal shifts and increased blood flow, frequent, mild headaches are a common symptom in the early stages of pregnancy. Typically, a short nap goes a long way in soothing pregnancy headaches. And although back pain is frequently present throughout pregnancy, lower back pain can be an early indicator that conception has taken place.
  • Fatigue. Sudden, unexplained tiredness can occur often within the first week of pregnancy. This fatigue is caused, in effect, by a “perfect storm” of activity in the human body–progesterone spikes, lowered blood pressure, dips in blood sugar and increased blood circulation all combine to make one very sleepy pregnant lady.

Common Signs That Can Occur During the First Weeks and Months of Pregnancy

The following symptoms may occur alone or in clusters during the first trimester (first three months) of pregnancy.

  • Nausea. Commonly known as morning sickness–although it can actually occur at any time of day–pregnancy-induced nausea may or may not be accompanied by vomiting. According to the Mayo Clinic, the nausea is generally thought to be caused by rapidly escalating levels of estrogen. Further, a pregnant woman’s sense of smell is believed to become somewhat heightened, making her vulnerable to becoming easily nauseated by common odors that would not otherwise affect them.
  • Dizziness. Feeling lightheaded or even actual fainting are common signs in the first weeks and months of pregnancy. These sensations are generally caused by either blood vessel dilation, which causes blood pressure to drop, or low blood sugar.
  • Constipation. The human digestive system is affected by all the hormonal surges and changes brought on by pregnancy. More specifically, elevated levels of progesterone actually cause food to move more slowly through the digestive tract, leading to constipation.
  • Increased Urination. Frequent urges to urinate are extremely common throughout pregnancy, generally beginning six to eight weeks following conception.
  • Mood Swings. Ah, the famous mood swings. Jokes aside, the surge of hormonal activity initiated by conception makes mood swings all too real. It’s not uncommon for women to feel extraordinarily emotional and even tearful, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy.
  • Food Cravings/Aversions. Once again, the culprit is hormones. Hormonal changes, which are most powerful in the first trimester, can cause pregnant women to crave particular foods, even foods which they may not have enjoyed prior to becoming pregnant. Conversely, a pregnant woman may also develop aversions to some foods, even foods that were once considered favorites.

See a Doctor To Confirm Pregnancy

If one or more of these signs have manifested themselves, it’s a good idea to at least perform a home pregnancy test, but an examination performed by a qualified health care practitioner is always best. As stated before, the earlier prenatal care begins, the better it is for baby.

It is also important to be mindful that although these signs can be indicative of pregnancy, they could also be signaling that something else is amiss. For example, frequent urination may be a sign of a urinary tract infection, and fatigue may indicate the presence of a flu virus. Always consult a physician when experiencing persistent, bothersome or unexplained symptoms.

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