One of the earliest signs of pregnancy is a missed period. But there are several other pregnancy symptoms besides a missed period which can subtly hint that you may have conceived. These tell tale signs are basically bodily changes that are preparing you for the new life growing inside you.
Often times, these symptoms may go totally unnoticed. Paying attention to these early symptoms could help you find out if you have conceived, especially, if you’ve been having irregular or erratic cycles. Watch out for these signs before you can test positive for pregnancy or miss your period.
Higher Basal Body Temperature
Do you feel unusually feverish all the time? Then it could be a possible sign than you’re pregnant. Your basal body temperature (BBT – oral temperature when you first wake up in the morning) increases by a few degrees soon after ovulation and stays that way throughout your pregnancy.
In fact charting your BBT is one of the ways to find out if you’re pregnant. If your BBT continues to spike for more than two weeks, it may be a positive sign that you’ve conceived.
At around 6 to 12 days after conception, you may experience a slight staining in pink or brown colour. Spotting or bleeding is a common pregnancy symptom during early stages of pregnancy. Known as implantation bleeding, it is caused by the fertilized egg, as it burrows into the endometrial lining of the uterus. This type of bleeding is lighter and spottier than your usual period and does not last long.
This may appear at a time when your period is just around the corner. So it would be normal to mistake it for your period. But if you’ve been planning on having a baby and you’ve had sex around that time, this could be a good indication that you are pregnant.
As the uterus gets bigger, many women also experience cramping during the early days of pregnancy, similar to the cramping that occurs before the onset – or during – the period.
You may find yourself visiting the bathroom very often, even though your consumption of fluids has been less. If you have no clue why this is happening, it is because of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) which is produced in your body when the embryo implants itself in the uterus. The uterus wall hardens to make way for the baby to grow. This reduces the space for the urinary bladder and creates a pressure on it that results in frequent urination. You may face this problem for a short while until the uterus adjusts itself. You’ll settle down and will be back to normal soon.
Feeling tired and exhausted all the time? High levels of the hormone progesterone can make you feel as if you’ve run a marathon. Fatigue is typical of early pregnancy, though it is not a surefire symptom on its own. However, it is important that you don’t stress or overwork yourself unduly. The first few weeks of pregnancy are crucial and the chances of miscarriage are high. So the best way to deal with it is to take it a little slow, hit the bed early and rest as often as possible.
Darkened Areola, Tender Breasts
Like the rest of your body undergoes changes and prepares you for pregnancy; you will find significant changes in your breasts too. This breasts start to prepare for milk production during the early stages of pregnancy. Don’t be surprised if you bra doesn’t fit you suddenly. Swollen and tender breasts are a common pregnancy symptom which may show up during the 1st or 2nd week after conception.
Breast tenderness and sensitivity can sometimes make you feel uneasy. Wearing a sports-bra can help reduce discomfort. As your body slowly gets used to the increase in these hormones, the tenderness will progressively subside, usually after the eighth week.
You may realize that these are much similar to the changes that occur before the onset of your periods. In addition to this, you may also notice that the nipple has grown larger and skin around it has darkened. This is a possible sign that you may have successfully conceived. However, it could also be sign of hormonal fluctuation which is unrelated to pregnancy.
Though breast tenderness is a common pregnancy symptom, it does not necessarily show up in many women. Changes in your breasts are often most noticeable and conspicuous when you’re pregnant for the first time.
Altered Sense Of Smell
A sudden change in the sense of smell could be a sign of pregnancy. Certain odors and smells can sometimes trigger nausea or vomiting. Similar to altered tastes, sensitivity to smell is a common pregnancy phenomenon. It normally occurs during the first trimester and subsides gradually. But sometimes, it could last throughout pregnancy.
The best way to deal with this is to stay a good distance away from the offending odor. Try avoiding all strong odors, especially those with a harsh chemical smell.
Food Cravings Or Changes In Food Taste
Food cravings too may sometimes be a sign of pregnancy. Don’t be surprised if you find that you have developed a strong aversion to some of your favourite foods and an unusual liking for foods that you totally disliked. Some women complain of having a strange metallic taste in their mouth; others may complain that they cannot handle the taste of their favorite beverage – coffee or tea. Try and resist foods rich in fats and sugar as they are high on calories and low on nutrients.
Aversions and craving may not be a sure symptom (may be a sign that your body is low on a particular nutrient). But if cravings are accompanied along with other conspicuous symptoms mentioned here, it could be a positive sigh of pregnancy.
Morning sickness usually doesn’t strike until a few weeks after conception (a few lucky do escape it altogether.) For others, it may happen even as early as a couple of days following conception, making them feel nauseated and queasy. And contrary to misconception, pregnancy-related nausea can occur in the morning, noon, or night – not just in the morning.
Morning sickness affects about 50% of pregnant women and is a result of sudden spike in the levels of the pregnancy hormones progesterone and estrogen. Nausea is one of the first few symptoms of pregnancy and it’s a completely phenomenon. So, if you’re planning on having a baby, do be sure to watch out of this sign.
Headaches and Backaches
If you are having dull headaches around the time when your period is due, chances are that you may have conceived. Due to low blood sugar levels, the brain does not get enough sugar supply leading to headaches. If you’re battling with frequent headaches, then the hormones oestrogen and progesterone are at work, preparing the uterus for the baby.
Lower back pain arises due to loosening of ligaments as your body prepares to carry the weight of the baby.
Many women experience severe mood swings like anxiety, depression, irritability and sudden outbursts of anger just before the onset of periods. This can also be one of the signs of pregnancy. This again, is related to hormonal changes happening in your body. So if you find yourself behaving unusually and reacting unreasonably to situations, it could be a sign that you’re pregnant, especially if you’ve been trying to conceive.
Positive Home Pregnancy Test
If your periods are usually regular, and is late this time, it’s worth trying a pregnancy test. A missed period is one of the first signs of pregnancy.
Before going to a doctor, you can check it yourself using a home pregnancy test kit which is available at the local pharmacy. If you’re doing the test even as early as on the first day of a missed period and it’s positive, you’re most likely to be in the family way. And the best way to re-confirm this good news is to hear it from your doctor herself. So don’t waste any time in making that vital appointment.
Remember, most of these symptoms could be unrelated to pregnancy and have a close bearing to pre-menstrual signs. You are the best judge to differentiate between the two. And the best way to know if you’re pregnant is to keep a close watch on these body changes before you can reconfirm it with your health consultant.
Tips & Tricks
If you water bag breaks, stay calm and call your gynaec. Wear a sanitary pad to protect your clothes and on the way to the hospital, use a plastic sheet to prevent the car seat from getting soiled.
Before buying a home pregnancy test kit, be sure to check the expiry date. For accurate results, take the test after one week after the missed period; testing very early, can give you negative results.
Dry fruits are a rich source of iron and contain high dietary fibre. They also meet your nutritional needs during pregnancy