Symptoms of Pregnancy

What are the early symptoms of pregnancy is a common question even if you may suspect, be concerned or hope that you are pregnant. The pregnancy symptoms you experience may vary from others that you know. The signs and symptoms of pregnancy differ woman to woman and even pregnancy to pregnancy. Right now, you are questioning if you are pregnant and wanting to know if you have any signs of pregnancy.

Implantation Bleeding:

Implantation bleeding is the earliest physical symptom of pregnancy. This happens when the egg, which has been fertilized with sperm, implants in the wall of your uterus causing light traces of blood. This is usually lighter and spottier than a period. You do not need to worry if you don’t see this because it is common for women to not notice it because it was so light.

Missed Period:

A missed period is usually the first symptom of pregnancy and is the most significant. It is possible to be pregnant and to have a period; however it is usually lighter in color, shorter, or spotty. Missing your period is a good reason to test.

Early Signs of Pregnancy:

The early signs of pregnancy will vary from woman to woman, but there are common symptoms recognized as early signs of pregnancy. It is possible that some of these will even occur prior to missing your period. You may be pregnant and experience all of these symptoms, none of these symptoms, or any combination of them:

Tender or swollen breasts – the increase of the hCG hormone may cause your breasts to feel sore, tingly, heavier, larger or more full.

Fatigue – a common symptom that occurs because of the increase in progesterone. This may also be caused by a combination of lower blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and increased blood production.

Abdominal cramps – a pregnancy symptom that is one of the most frustrating because it usually mimics the cramps of a pending period.

Nausea or morning sickness – the rapid increase in hormones frequently causes nausea, queasiness, or morning sickness – which can actually occur at any time of the day or night. Pregnant women typically have a greater sensitivity to smells which may trigger nausea feelings.

Dizziness or fainting – similar to nausea or morning sickness, the rapid shift in hormones can also trigger moments of dizziness or feeling like you may faint.

Changes in appetite – pregnancy often affects the appetite either by creating strong cravings for certain foods or the flip side by causing aversions to certain things.

Headaches – the increase in hormones causes an increase in blood circulation. This often causes headaches, but in most cases these are usually more frequent but milder headaches. Unfortunately, for some that may be prone to headaches it might trigger more severe headaches and even migraines.

Constipation – unfortunately, constipation is a common early sign of pregnancy which is attributed to an increase in hormones. Progesterone causes food to go through the intestines at a slower rate which may develop into constipation.

Mood swings – the increase in hormones is also blamed for changes in your emotional stability. Don’t be surprised if you become more emotional or experience more mood swings.

Increased basal body temperature – this is a symptom that you will only be able to detect if you have been tracking your basal body temperatures while trying to conceive. You may discover that you are pregnant if it continues to elevate for more than two weeks.

Discerning between symptoms of pregnancy and signs of pending menstruation is sometimes frustrating to those who are wondering about possible pregnancy. If you have been sexually active and experiencing any combination of these symptoms it is recommended that you take an at-home pregnancy test.

Confirming pregnancy early is important because it enables you to begin your prenatal care as early as possible. If you are experiencing these symptoms and still getting a negative on a pregnancy test, you should see your health care provider to determine what is causing the symptoms.

Sources:

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Duff, P., MD, Edwards, R., MD, Davis, J., MD, Rhoton-Vlasak, A., MD, Obstetrics and Gynecology: Just the Facts, McGraw-Hill, New York, 2004.

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Harms, R., MD, Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy, HarperResource, New York, 2004.

Bankowski, B. MD., Hearne, A. MD, Lambrou, N. MD, Fox, H. MD, and Wallach, E. MD, The Johns Hopkins Manual of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 2nd ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, 2002.

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American Pregnancy Association, Pregnancy Symptoms, http://www.americanpregnancy.org.

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