Are you feeling different? Have you been trying to conceive?
Part and parcel with the trying for baby process comes an acute awareness of potential symptoms. Every little thing that might seem or feel – even remotely – different, sends those little brain cells into a frenzy of ‘Is this it? Are we pregnant?’. During a time where everything might be something, knowing which symptoms may hint at pregnancy will help keep you more in sync with your body.
Regardless, symptoms – or lack thereof – are unique to every woman. While this list is aimed at helping you decipher what might be happening, ultimately, a pregnancy test is what will provide a definite answer.
Pregnancy or menstruation?
Early pregnancy symptoms are very similar to those feelings you get prior and during your menstrual cycle. Spotting and cramping once a fertilized egg attaches to the wall of the uterus, are a common symptom. This is known as implantation bleeding. It differs from your menstrual cycle in that there is only a small amount of bleeding or spotting. It usually occurs 6 to 12 days following conception, slightly before the time when you would have expected a menstrual period. Implantation blood appears darker than normal menstrual blood.
Breast Sensitivity in Early Pregnancy
Following conception, your hormones go on a crazy ride. Because of these changes, your breasts may become fuller as well as be more sensitive. Increasing levels of estrogen and progesterone may cause breast tenderness. This should subside as the pregnancy progresses. Another tell-tale sign is a darker areola: this is the area around your nipples.
Feeling very tired
Fatigue is a factor that makes an appearance as early as one week following conception. Increasing hormone levels may leave you feeling exhausted and too tired to function. Fatigue should subside once you hit the second trimester but may make yet another appearance towards the end of the pregnancy, when sleep becomes hard to come by.
Count yourself amongst the lucky ones if nausea is not something you’re dealing with. Whilst some women experience nausea one or two months after conception, or none at all, some may experience it from the second week. Nausea is not always about morning sickness either. All day nausea is very much a reality for some women.
More toilet trips
Needing to use the bathroom more often is another early pregnancy symptom. Hormonal changes raise blood flow through your kidneys, making your bladder fill more quickly, hence an amplified need for bathroom trips. This will very probably continue all throughout pregnancy and intensifies as your baby grows and places more pressure on your bladder.
Bloating and constipation
Your uterus is still quite small, but feeling bloated, similar to the bloatedness prior to a menstrual cycle, is common. Pregnancy hormones may also slow down your digestive system, leading to constipation.
Smell Sensitivity and Pregnancy
If your sense of smell feels as if it received an upgrade, pregnancy might be the cause. Whilst there isn’t much scientific research in this regard, smell sensitivity is commonly remarked upon by women in early pregnancy. Since everything smells much stronger, you may also develop food aversions and nausea early on.
Mood Swings in Early Pregnancy
Your body is doing a whole lot of work, and estrogen and progesterone levels are constantly on the increase. These hormonal changes may leave you feeling very emotional. Mood swings might also be an issue you’re dealing with right now.
Longer Luteal Phase as a Pregnancy Sign
If you’ve been charting your temperature and are in sync with your menstrual cycle, recording a longer than usual luteal phase may indicate pregnancy. Taking a pregnancy test once your luteal phase exceeds a day or two from normal, will give you a clearer answer.
If you’re keeping track of your menstrual cycle and if it usually works like clockwork, then a missed period can be a reliable pregnancy sign. If on the other hand you never really kept track of your cycle or if your cycle length fluctuates, the symptoms we listed above may prove as a more reliable indication.
Take a Pregnancy Test!
Ultimately, no symptom is a foolproof sign that you are indeed pregnant. If you think you might be pregnant, then taking a home pregnancy test once you miss a period will give you an answer. If you get a negative result and the symptoms persist, retest in a few days as it might be possible that the test did not detect the pregnancy.