Early Symptoms of Pregnancy

Knowing the early symptoms of pregnancy is important for not all women experience all these symptoms. This information is important either when someone becomes pregnant by choice or by accident.

Early symptoms of pregnancy

The following are some of the early symptoms of pregnancy. If you experience them, you can take certain tests to confirm your status.

Missed Period: The first early symptom of pregnancy is when you miss your monthly period. This is called amenorrhea when hormonal changes prevent the uterine linings from shedding when your period is due. Missed period can also be a sign of weight gain or loss, breastfeeding, tension, stress, birth control injections or pills that you take and then discontinue. Hence, running pregnancy tests is a must.

Bleeding: Some women may have a light period or just spotting without the normal flow. The spotting can be light brown or pink in color and not the normal color of blood. Some women who have spotting can have a normal pregnancy while in others it could be a sign of ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage. Having spotting can be dangerous and you must consult your doctor immediately.

Extreme tiredness or fatigue is possible during the first weeks of pregnancy. This is because the body is changing, placenta is being built and excessive progesterone being secreted. As the first few weeks pass, you will feel less tired.

Tender and swollen breasts : Breasts will become tender and swollen. This is because the hormones progesterone and estrogen in pregnant women are high especially during the early weeks of pregnancy. Breast tenderness can be noticed within a few days of conception. Fibrocystic breast disease, PMS and ingestion of birth control pills can create tenderness of the breasts.

Dark areolas: This is the skin around the nipples and an early symptom of pregnancy is when this becomes darkened with bumps (Montgomery’s tubercles). They also start to look large and prominent. These gradual changes start during the first weeks of pregnancy when the breasts start to produce milk. Puberty, tanning, hormonal imbalance and previous pregnancies can cause darkened areolas.

Craving for Foods: You will suddenly develop a craving or distaste for some foods. In the same way, certain food smells and cooking smells can make you nauseous. You may have a strange, metallic taste in your mouth. You could lose interest in certain foods and beverages like coffee, tea or fatty foods.

Morning sickness : Morning sickness is another classic early symptom of pregnancy. Women experience queasy and nauseous feelings usually early morning or sometimes throughout the day. The pregnancy hormone – hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) found in the bloodstream, acidity buildup in the stomach, stretching uterine walls and superior sense of smell are all causes of morning sickness. If you are pregnant, morning sickness symptoms start from the second week and usually continue for eight weeks. Food poisoning, gall bladder disease, tension and other diseases or infections can also cause symptoms similar to these.

Mood swings : Some women experience mood swings due to the hormonal changes that their bodies undergo during pregnancy. These could be feelings of depression, happiness, and sudden urges to cry without a reason or getting irrationally angry.

Constipation: Some women can have problems passing motion and start having irregular motions.

Urination : The urge to urinate and frequency of urination will also increase. This happens becomes most women gain weight during early pregnancy and this increase the amount of body fluids and the pressure on the uterus causing the increased urge to urinate frequently.early pregnancy symptoms

Vaginal Discharge: A lot of women have vaginal discharge during early pregnancy and at later stages too. This is normal and happens because the vaginal walls and cervix are soft and discharges can prevent the spread of infections to these areas. 

Some other early symptoms of pregnancy are:

  • Headaches
  • Heartburn
  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss
  • Losing interest in tobacco products

What to do?

With unprotected sex, most healthy couples can conceive in a year. So, if you are young and healthy and experience the early symptoms of pregnancy, you can take a home pregnancy test to confirm if you are pregnant or not. After this, you can get in touch with a good obstetrician and gynecologist who will run further tests and confirm your pregnancy.

Pregnancy Tests

Home pregnancy tests are inexpensive; require urine samples and quick to provide results. These are available at drug stores. Buy a good brand and follow the instructions carefully. Wait for a week after your first missed period and take the test. Repeat the test after a week. If you are negative and still have symptoms, consult the doctor.

Doctors conduct blood tests – Quantitative and Qualitative tests. Quantitative tests (beta hCG test) is very accurate. It measures hCG levels in the blood – a sign of pregnancy. Even small levels of hCG will be revealed by this test. The Qualitative hCG test checks if your blood contains pregnancy hormones. This is as accurate as the urine test and gives a positive or negative answer. 

Precaution during early phase of pregnancy

Your OB (obstetrician) will require you to come for periodic tests to ensure both you and the baby are well. You will be tested for general health and required to take vitamin and mineral supplements. Make sure you take these regularly to ensure the good health of both you and your baby. Regular checkups also spot any problems early and doctors can take the right remedial action.

Doctors will recommend the diet you need to follow and certain foods that you need to avoid. Those who have prior health problems like blood sugar, high blood pressure, heart problems etc. must give all their medical history to their OB who will then need to monitor you closely. Women are advised to stay off alcohol, drugs and cigarettes to avoid harming their fetus.

Get extra rest, take plenty of exercise and avoid stressful situations as far as possible. Of course those who do not want to get pregnant may follow birth control measures. Consulting their gynecologist can help, for they can suggest the most effective preventive measures.