Symptoms of Pregnancy

Early Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy

Knowing that you are pregnant is important so that you can begin to take extra care of yourself and the baby as early as possible. Understanding the symptoms of pregnancy is also important because each symptom may be related to something other than pregnancy.

Symptoms of Pregnancy

Early Pregnancy Symptoms

Symptoms of pregnancy are not the same for every woman. Pregnancy symptoms can also vary in their strength, frequency and how long they last. The following early signs and symptoms of pregnancy are only general guidelines.  If you notice any of these signs take a home pregnancy test or contact your heath care provider to have a pregnancy test completed.

One of the most common early signs of pregnancy is that you do not have your normal menstrual period.  Other early signs of pregnancy are that your breasts feel tender or sore, feel fuller and heavier, and your nipples may darken and be ultra sensitive.

Additional early sign of pregnancy are fatigue and exhaustion caused by the many changes your body and hormonal systems are going through. Nausea and vomiting (morning sickness) is another one of the telltale signs of pregnancy that many women experience around the 4th-8th week of pregnancy, but the queasiness can begin as early as 2 weeks after conception. 

Like many pregnant women you may have an increased sense of smell, so a variety of odors such coffee, perfume, incense, cigarette smoke, meat, dairy products and spicy foods can cause you to vomit or feel nauseous. Food cravings are also common.

Frequent urination is caused by your expanding uterus pushing on your bladder.  As the uterus expands it also presses on the arteries in your legs which can cause your blood pressure to drop making you feel dizzy or even causing you to faint.  You can also feel faint if your blood sugar level drops because you have not eaten for some time. 

Heartburn and constipation are other pregnancy symptoms caused by the expansion of your uterus as it pushes against the stomach and other organs as it grows. Also, increasing levels of hormones may slow down your digestion and bowel functions. This slowing of the normal digestive processes may result in the release of increased stomach acid to aid digestion, leading to heartburn.

Mood Swings and Irritability caused by hormonal changes and stress are common during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester.  There is also the stress and emotional upheaval caused by the recognition that a baby will change your world.  Remember, it is perfectly normal to feel the mixed emotions of excitement and depression, happiness and fear, peace and anxiety.

You may experience cramping very early in your pregnancy as your uterus begins to enlarge. These cramps are similar to menstrual cramps. Some women experience a small amount of spotting or bleeding very early in pregnancy. This is known as "implantation bleeding" and it usually takes place between 10-14 days after fertilization.

Mild headaches are very common early in pregnancy.  These may be due to stress but are often related to increased blood circulation caused by hormonal changes.

Unavoidable weight gain is another sign of early pregnancy and weight gain will continue throughout a healthy pregnancy.  Eating a healthy diet, taking a good pre-natal vitamin, taking a pure fish oil capsule, and regular exercise may ease some food cravings and help prevent extra weight gain.  Talk to your health care provider to confirm the amount of weight you should gain and be careful to avoid some herbs and herbal supplements.

If you notice any of the above symptoms, take a home pregnancy test or contact your heath care provider to have a pregnancy test completed. Pregnancy tests work best if you wait to take them until at least a few days after you miss your period. If the pregnancy test result is positive you should start prenatal care as soon as possible.  If the pregnancy test is negative, you should try it again a few days later to be sure.  If it is still negative and you have the above symptoms, contact your health care provider so you can determine the cause of the problem(s).

Additional Information

Mayo Clinic: Symptoms of pregnancy: What happens first

Womens health: Pregnancy symptoms

Symptoms of pregnancy


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