Know Your Early Pregnancy Symptoms

Wondered that you got a baby on board? Pay attention to the minor changes in your body and spot the early symptoms if you are pregnant. Pregnancy symptoms may vary from person to person in their intensity, duration and occurrence. About 60% of the women experience early pregnancy symptoms by the time they reach 6 weeks and almost 90% women experience by the time they reach 8 weeks. Pregnancy tests and ultrasounds are the common and ultimate ways to confirm whether you are pregnant or not because the early pregnancy symptoms are often mistaken as symptoms before or during menstruation. Here are the most common early pregnancy symptoms you may experience, check out.

Symptoms of early pregnancy

Slight Bleeding/Spotting (Implantation Bleeding)

A slight amount of vaginal bleeding or spotting is observed around the time your period is due, it is known as implantation bleeding. The reason for implantation bleeding is when the fertilized egg is attached to the lining of your uterus and happens about 10-14 days after fertilization. This bleeding differs from a normal period as it is earlier, spottier, lighter in colour and also doesn’t last so long.

Cramping

Mild cramps in your tummy are very normal in the early part of pregnancy. There is nothing to worry about the cramps as your body goes through some physical changes and gears up for carrying the baby. These early pregnancy cramps feel like heartburn or period pains. To soothe your tummy cramps, take a warm bath, do some gentle exercises or take a mild painkiller if needed.

Missed Period

A missing period is obviously the most important early symptom of a pregnancy. This pregnancy symptom will allow you to search for more other pregnancy symptoms. Once implantation is done (fertilized egg adheres to the uterus wall) your body starts producing human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) and inform ovaries to stop producing mature eggs every month. Generally, a period is missed after 4 weeks of conception.

Fatigue

An increase in the progesterone hormone levels will make you tired and sleepy. Added to this the body needs to support the fetus growth, if you don’t get enough vitamins, minerals and iron, you will feel more exhausted. Low blood sugar levels and low blood pressure team up to sap your energy. Get enough sleep, stay hydrated, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly to cope with fatigue during pregnancy.

Morning Sickness/Nausea

Nausea and morning sickness develops around 4-6th week after conception. Even though it is called morning sickness it can happen at any time during day or night. The rise in hormone levels especially estrogen and HCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin) are considered responsible for causing nausea. Here are some tips to deal with morning sickness.

Tender, Swollen Breasts

Just two weeks after conception due to hormonal changes you are likely to develop swollen, tingly and tender breasts. In the beginning, the blood vessels in the breast dilate and start growing. The areola ( an area around the nipple) may become darker in color and even larger. Also, your breasts slowly may feel fuller and heavier. To relieve tenderness wear a cotton, under-wire free bra.

Frequent Urination and Incontinence

During pregnancy, there are a lot of hormonal changes in the body and there is an increased amount of blood to pump. So kidneys have to process more fluids than usual which may result in filling up your bladder more frequently. The frequency of urge to pee is more during night time. To manage incontinence do some kegel exercises, avoid carbonated or caffeinated drinks and eat a high-fiber diet.

Abdominal Bloating/Constipation

Your tummy protrudes and your clothes may feel close-fitting at the waistline and might need to unbutton to breath easily. Even if your fetus is tiny, you may look like you are pregnant. Progesterone may be the reason for your bloating because it retards your digestion and as a result, you may feel constipated. Avoid gassy foods, drink enough water and have small meals throughout the day to get relief from abdominal bloating.

Mood Swings

The levels of hormones, estrogen and progesterone are very high during pregnancy, which can affect the level of your brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) which regulate your mood and can make you more reactive than usual. Mood swings can make you more emotional, highly anxious, feel irritated and even depressed at times. To get enough shut-eye, get regular physical activity, spend time with loved ones and can practice some relaxation techniques.

High Basal Body Temperature

Soon after ovulation, your basal body temperature (early morning oral temperature) slightly increases and until your next period remains at the same level. If your basal body temperature remains elevated for more than two weeks, then it means you may be probably pregnant. Keeping your living space as cool as possible and drinking more water may help.

Food Aversions/Cravings/Smell Sensitivity

Change in the hormonal levels in the body will possibly affect the appetite all through your pregnancy. During pregnancy, smell sensitivity is increased and you get repulsed by foods with strong smells such as onions, garlic, eggs, milk, coffee and spicy foods. Women having food aversions, generally experience morning sickness, nausea and vomiting. Some women have bizarre cravings as they run for pickles and ice creams in the midnight.

Shortness of Breath

Do you get breathless going up the same stairs at home or office all of a sudden? The reason might be you are pregnant. The growing fetus needs blood and oxygen and cause shortness of breath. Increased levels of progesterone may also be a reason for breathlessness. This one may be uncomfortable and exhausting throughout your pregnancy and can be reduced by maintaining an exercise routine.

Headaches/Backaches

As a result of hormonal changes in your body, some early signs of pregnancy may include aching of head and back. During pregnancy your pelvic ligaments loosen up and relax, preparing for the birth process, this may lead to instability and pain in the back. Weight gain also can cause lower back pain. Take acetaminophen if necessary to deal with the pain.

Weight Gain

You may gain some weight at the end of your 1st trimester and average weight gain is around 2-4 pounds. Fluid retention (sodium retention) may also account for a few pounds. Some may even actually lose weight due to morning sickness and food aversions. Try to maintain a good weight by eating healthy foods and it is better not go on a diet during pregnancy.

Positive Pregnancy Test

The symptoms above are not completely unique to pregnancy and you may even be pregnant without experiencing any of the above symptoms. So to confirm it, you can take a home pregnancy test. If the test is positive it may indicate that you are pregnant but it’s better to visit your doctor to double check and confirm your pregnancy. Once pregnancy is confirmed you can start prenatal care.

Remember, during pregnancy, frequently visiting your concerned doctor, eating healthy foods, staying hydrated, maintaining hygiene, doing some regular exercises and getting enough sleep is very much important to keep yourself and your baby safe.

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