Are You Pregnant? Know The Early Symptoms Of Pregnancy
An accurate pregnancy test and your doctor confirming it is the best proof of pregnancy. These tests work by detecting the high levels of hCG which can be found only in a pregnant woman’s blood or pee. This chemical hCG starts to build up once the fertilized egg implants in the uterus (about 1.5 weeks after conception). Did you know that home pregnancy tests became widely available only after 1978?
Of course, having a missed period for a week or more is a good indicator for most women for the good news. If you experience an irregular menstrual cycle, or if the reason is attributed to menopause, this symptom might be misleading.
But, did you know that even before your period stops, as early as a few days after conception, pregnancy symptoms may begin to appear already?
Find out how and when pregnancy symptoms can appear.
At what point do pregnancy symptoms appear?
Within the first week itself, after sperm meets egg, symptoms (such as spotting) may develop. The week following conception is often characterized by other mild symptoms (such as urinary frequency). Early pregnancy symptoms can differ from person to person. Centuries ago women relied on their bodies giving them these clues.
Pregnancy brings a tsunami of physical, psychological, and hormonal changes in the body of an expecting mother. That’s why pregnancy symptoms are not just physical. An expecting mother can also experience mental symptoms like mood swings, desire for new food combinations, etc.It is great to be aware of these pregnancy symptoms so that you can be better prepared mentally and physically to deal with pregnancy.
What are the common signs and symptoms of pregnancy?
If you are one of those curious cats that can’t even wait for a pregnancy test, here is a list of 14 common telltale signs of early pregnancy.
1. Changes in the sensitive areas
Your breasts may feel tender or even swollen early in the pregnancy due to hormonal changes. As your body adapts to hormonal fluctuations, discomfort is likely to decrease after a few weeks. Also, you may notice gradual darkening in the nipple area.
2. Smell sensitivity
Increased sensitivity to smell is an early pregnancy symptom. As a result, previously mild odors may appear to be strong and disgusting. Interestingly, this is attributed to primitive protective instinct so that mothers could smell the undesirable stuff and be cautioned against danger.
3. Nasal congestion
Having high hormone levels and blood production can cause your nose to swell, bleed, or dry out. As a result, you may experience a stuffy or runny nose during early pregnancy.
4. An increase in urination
Urinating more than usual might be a sign you are pregnant. Pregnancy causes the body to produce more blood. As a result, your kidneys process this with extra fluid into the urine, hence the excess urination.
5. A rise in the basal body temperature
During pregnancy, you might observe a rise of around 1 degree in your body temperature. This happens because of raised levels of progesterone, which helps in implantation ( appx five to six days after fertilization). But a temperature rise is not a guaranteed early pregnancy symptom because we all know that body temperature can rise for a host of other reasons too!
During the early phase of pregnancy, the body is dealing with a lot of changes. That’s why fatigue is also one of the most common early symptoms. To add to this, an increase in progesterone levels during early pregnancy may also contribute to fatigue.
7. Excess saliva
You can experience saliva build-up early in pregnancy. It usually begins in the first trimester. Your body uses this mechanism to protect your mouth, teeth, and throat from the damaging effects of stomach acid.
8. Food aversions
Your sense of taste may change while you are pregnant. You may also experience cravings for weird food combinations. These food preferences are likely a result of hormonal changes during pregnancy.
9. Heartburn and indigestion
You may also experience heartburn around month two of pregnancy. Several hormones contribute to it, including progesterone and relaxin. They relax the smooth muscle tissue throughout your body. Consequently, food moves slower through your digestive system and that’s why you feel heartburn.
Early in your pregnancy, hormonal changes can make you feel bloated. It may feel like you’re starting a menstrual period.
You may experience mild uterine cramping early on in pregnancy. However, it is nothing serious.
12. Light spotting
One of the first signs of pregnancy might be light spotting. An implantation bleeding occurs when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus. It normally occurs approximately 10 to 14 days after conception. An implantation period occurs around the time you would expect to have your period. However, many women do not experience it at all.
13. Feeling dizzy
During early pregnancy, the blood vessels dilate and increase in volume. This expansion leads to a drop in blood pressure. This is the reason why you may feel dizziness or fainting during the early pregnancy.
14. Mood swings
Your body is bombarded with hormones, which can leave you weeping and feeling emotional. You may also experience frequent mood swings.
Would-be moms are all unique. You may experience all these symptoms during pregnancy or only one or two. For some women, a few symptoms are extremely mild, whereas others are very pronounced. However, you don’t need to suffer any of these. In case any of these symptoms bother you, you should discuss them with your doctor. None of the early symptoms should ideally cause you anything more than mild discomfort.
Pregnant or menstruating?
Many symptoms of early pregnancy resemble PMS (Premenstrual Symptoms).
However, the changes in your areolas are unique to pregnancy. They will look darker, wider, and swollen only if you are pregnant. A consistently elevated BBT and creamy vaginal discharge are also reliable indicators of conception, but they are certainly not guaranteed.
In all other cases, you will need to wait until a pregnancy test is available to discover if other early pregnancy symptoms (nausea, tender breasts, fatigue, bloating, sensitivity to smell, etc.) are caused by a baby or PMS.
Please note, none of the above is a sure indicator of pregnancy. And one cannot omit other reasons for the above symptoms either.
What to do if you think you could be pregnant?
If your symptoms point towards pregnancy, start taking a daily dose of a prenatal vitamin. You might have even started taking the prenatal vitamins if you have been mindfully trying for a baby. Folic acid and iron, two key vitamins and minerals to support your baby’s growth and development, are commonly found in vitamins. Plus they are safe to take otherwise too.
Get a home pregnancy test for confirmation, or make an appointment with a health care provider for the same. However, you MUST visit your doctor if your home pregnancy test is positive. Your doctor will have further advice suited to your body type and lifestyle.
Article by - Vaidya Kanika Verma is an Ayurveda Consultant (BAMS, MMS, PGDPC, PGDVA) with a focus on Preventive Ayurveda