Symptoms arise during pregnancy because of the hormonal changes that happen in the body. Some women endured more symptoms while others may only go through a few. If you are experiencing these symptoms, then you may be pregnant.
Missing a menstrual period, especially if your menstrual cycles are usually regular, is often the first sign of a possible pregnancy. Nevertheless, some women may experience light bleeding (or spotting) around the time of their expected period even when they are pregnant. We also call this implantation bleeding (when your embryo attaches itself to the uterus wall). It is usually very light in color and lasts no more than 48 hours. Some women experience only one spot or one streak of discharge. Another symptom that may accompany it is mild cramping in the abdomen, pelvis, or low back area.
Nausea with or without Vomiting (Morning Sickness)
“Morning Sickness” is a popular and prevalent word when it comes to pregnancy. This is because these symptoms affect more than half, if not all, pregnant women. But a frequent misconception is that morning sickness occurs only in the morning. This is absolutely not true as most women actually needed to endure this “morning sickness” throughout the day. Morning sickness is usually a high indication of early pregnancy (especially in women whose menstrual cycles are irregular) and it begins as early as the fourth to sixth week of pregnancy. So, if you are experiencing morning sickness and you missed a period, it is conceivable that you may be pregnant.
Breast changes (e.g. Tenderness, Enlargement)
These symptoms can sometimes be misleading because some women who are approaching their menstrual period also experience their breasts becoming fuller and tender. The only difference that you could observe (if you are pregnant) is the skin color around your nipple (areolar) becomes darker, and the veins in your breasts are more obvious.
Your progesterone level will surge during early pregnancy and steadily increases throughout pregnancy. This hormone is vital to maintain the pregnancy and support the growth of your fetus. What it does that causes you to feel irrepressibly tired is also slows down your metabolism. You need to rest as much as you can during the early stage of your pregnancy and this symptom will usually get better during your second trimester when your placenta is already well developed.
During pregnancy, the amount of blood in your body increases, and your kidneys in return need to process more fluids causing the extra fluid to accumulate in your bladder. At the same time, your uterus begins to grow and its swelling may press against the bladder causing pregnant women to feel the urge to urinate more frequently.
You may notice a sudden craving or distaste for certain foods and this is totally normal. You may also become more sensitive to certain odors. But if you observe yourself developing an unusual taste for non-food products like paper, clay, ice, dirt, feces, hair, sand etcetera, you could have Pica, which indicates a nutrient deficiency. You will need to speak to your GP regarding this matter.
Are you really pregnant?
The symptoms above are highly suggestive of a pregnancy, even more so if you are going through most of them. Unfortunately, many of these signs and symptoms aren’t unique to just pregnancy. It could indicate that you are just unwell or about to start your menstrual period. Likewise, you can also be pregnant in the absence of all the symptoms mentioned. In the end, you will still need a home pregnancy test (urine test) or a GP checkup (urine test, blood test, ultrasound scan) to confirm.
How soon do pregnancy symptoms appear?
Pregnancy occurs about two to three weeks after sexual intercourse. Some women begin to experience pregnancy symptoms as early as a week after pregnancy begins which is when a fertilized egg successfully attaches itself to the uterus wall. And the first sign to suspect pregnancy is usually always a missed menstrual period.
Warning signs and symptoms during pregnancy
It is advisable for you to seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of these symptoms during your pregnancy:
- Vaginal Bleeding
- Severe stomach pain or cramps
- Pain that does not go away
- Less fetal movement as compared to usual
- Leaking amniotic fluids
- High fever
- Severe vomiting
- Headache that will not go away
- Blurred vision or vision loss
- Sudden facial swelling, or on the hands and feet
- Peeing less (oliguria) or not at all (anuria)
- Trouble breathing
- Changes in mental state