When trying to conceive, one starts to sharply watch-out for early symptoms of pregnancy, even before you miss your period. While it does sound a bit silly, it is still widely accepted that most women would Google every little change in their bodies when they are trying to have a baby. I did the same, so I am not surprised if you came here looking for the earliest pregnancy symptoms.
It is natural, and we women cannot contain it in ourselves to wait for the period date and let it pass without as much as a drop of blood and then take a pregnancy test. Nope. Instead, we relate everything that is happening to our bodies to pregnancy symptoms, which can be a wrong call at many times.
Unfortunately, the earliest symptoms of pregnancy and an approaching period coincide to a good extent, making one feel disappointed at times. It did happen to me, and that’s why I suggest that you take your mind off “Am I Pregnant?” quiz, though it may seem hard.
When do symptoms of pregnancy begin to show?
While it is commonly known that a woman can expect a pregnancy if she misses a period, the truth is that you become pregnant the moment the implantation is completed in the uterus wall. The body does give certain indications of implantation being successful, and that can happen as early as the first week of conception. Symptoms of pregnancy begin to appear, although very subtle, much before you have your period date.
Before I take you through the earliest signs of conception before the most prominent sign – that is the missed period, let me tell you just one thing – a pregnancy test is the most accurate way to know whether you are pregnant or not. So while you look out for these signs if you are trying to get pregnant, be aware that they may not always hold true and are not really scientific in nature.
Earliest signs of pregnancy before a missed period
If the wait is killing you, and you are feeling agonised, look closely for the given signs of pregnancy symptoms that show up much before you miss your period. However, take these signs with a pinch of salt, as some of them can also be signs of an approaching period.
1. Implantation bleeding
This pregnancy symptom is supposedly the earliest – as once the fertilised egg attaches itself to the uterine walls, spotting is usually observed. You may notice this symptom about a week or so before your period is due. Light spotting on your panty or a little blood when cleaning your private parts may signal you are pregnant.
Heavier bleeding is indicative of a period, or sometimes, an early miscarriage.
2. Tender, sore breasts
When the sperm fertilizes an egg, breasts get to know immediately and they respond by being tingly, sore and very tender to touch in the initial days of pregnancy. A jump in pregnancy hormones, specifically estrogen causes breasts to feel full, and some women feel them to be painful as well.
If the changes in breasts are due to a baby building up inside, the changes will stick even after you miss your period.
If you are feeling sluggish, sleepy, tired and fatigued all the time, blame it on pregnancy hormones – and know that you will have to drag yourself all through the first trimester atleast. Moreover, the body is working overtime to prepare itself for making a baby now. All the hard work going inside will make you feel totally exhausted and you may feel difficult to carry on with your daily responsibilities.
Do remember that many of us feel sluggish when the periods are due too.
4. Nausea and sickness
While TV and movies have made nausea and vomiting the ‘ultimate’ pregnancy symptom, coupled with all the drama, the fact is many women do not feel nauseous their entire pregnancy. I am one of them. But for many others, roughly about 80% of pregnant women nausea, or morning sickness can be a definite symptom of early pregnancy. The pregnancy hormones estrogen and progesterone can cause you to vomit any time, any day.
And yes, morning sickness is actually a misnomer because it can strike you any time of the day. It usually subsides after the first trimester of pregnancy, but may last the entire gestation period for some.
A certain degree of light-headedness, caused due to the dilated blood vessels which reduce the blood pressure is also one of the earliest signs that you have a baby coming. Since the body starts to make more blood, and also diverts it to the uterus to support the baby, you may experience dizziness all through your first trimester.
6. The notorious mood swings
Pregnancy and mood-swings go hand-in-hand- and they make pregnancy quite a roller-coaster ride of emotions. Mood swings are those mysterious hormones that make you feel elated, sad, joyful, unhappy, low and a hundred other things in one moment. Sudden emotional outbursts are a result of hormonal imbalance your body is currently dealing with, and this could last atleast the first trimester.
It may be added here that many of us feel emotionally wrecked during the days leading to the periods as well.
7. Bloating and constipation
Let me tell you, the digestive system goes for a complete toss when you get pregnant, and till much after you deliver your baby. It behaves sluggishly, causing constipation to many women and you may end up farting far more than usual. Say thanks to pregnancy hormone progesterone, that makes your stomach protrude, making your abdomen feel tight, even though your fetus is still very, very tiny.
To beat your lazy digestive system during pregnancy, eat healthy food, in smaller portions and make it a point to stay hydrated at all times. Mind the burp, or two.
8. Aches and pains
Again a very common indication of an approaching period, aches and pains in legs and lower back is also a pregnancy symptom. Your body is making space for your baby and the process involves stretching a few ligaments here and there. This could cause backaches as the womb prepares itself to gear up for the baby.
9. Sudden acne and bumps
How many of you get acne and pimples and suddenly visible scars on your face when your period is due? I am one, sadly. The pregnancy hormones too could make your skin sport a little acne and a few bumps after conception. The opposite also holds true for some, when the pregnancy hormones reverse the same.
10. Sensitivity to smells
You may suddenly find yourself to certain smells which you always found appealing earlier. The pregnancy hormones can cause an heightened sense of smell making you feel miserable at moment you smell something that seems pungent to you. Some women would hate the smell of everyday cooking and some would hate eggs in the bag too.
A few mothers-to-be also lose their appetite during the early stages of conception because they cannot stand the smell of cooked food. Pregnancy is strange, yeah!
11. Food cravings or aversions
So while pregnancy hormones make you increasingly sensitive to smells, they may also make you feel like eating a specific food everytime while making you feel disgusted at the sight of some others. You may have very strong cravings for food, and you may also notice having food aversions. Your favourite foods may be off the list now and make you go “ewww”.
12. Frequent urge to pee
If you find yourself in the washroom peeing again and again, it could be a sign that you are pregnant. And let me tell you, the trips to the bathroom will only increase as the pregnancy progresses and your bladder gets pushed by the uterus. You may feel the urge to pee frequently, and mind you, urinary incontinence is also noticed during the later stages of pregnancy.
In any case, do not snub the need to pee, and pay utmost attention to hygiene.
13. Metallic taste in mouth
Pregnancy is weird in more than one ways. If morning sickness does give you some time to eat something, the metallic taste reigning in the mouth will make you put it down. The influx of pregnancy hormones could alter your sense of taste, making you feel like rinsing your mouth several times a day to get rid of that sour taste that stick to your mouth.
Metallic taste during pregnancy is believed to be a by-product of (again) pregnancy hormones, and usually goes away after the first trimester of pregnancy.
14. Feeling thirsty all the time
Now because you are urinating more, you end up drinking more water because you feel thirsty all the time. The reverse is also true! But because the body needs to make extra blood (the blood volume in the body during pregnancy increases by about 50%), you end up drinking more water.
15. Shortness of breath
Pregnancy is hard work, not just for you but for every part of your body. To support the growing fetus and its needs, the body starts to pump oxygen and blood to the uterus – which supply the baby with essential nutrients to grow and develop. As your heart is already working more, you may notice shortness of breath every now and then.
The whole gestation period may be marked with you panting and feeling short of breath if you do anything heavy or fast. To deal with this, have a balanced diet, maintain an exercising routine and wear comfortable clothes at all times.
Pregnancy hormones stretch the ligaments and muscles in order to make space for the growing uterus. This may cause a cramping sensation in the abdomen, making you feel it more when you sneeze or cough or laugh. It is not uncommon to feel cramps in the legs, abdomen and back when you get pregnant.
Abdominal cramps are also indicative that your periods are about to come, so be wary of this as a pregnancy symptom.
17. Excess saliva or drooling
Some women who feel nauseous during pregnancy may also drool or have excessive saliva during the gestation period. Because nausea makes one refrain from swallowing anything, the saliva keeps building up in the mouth ultimately leading to drooling at times.
Drooling is not a common pregnancy symptom, but many women do report it as one of the pregnancy cues.
18. Change in cervical mucus
Leucorrhea, the clear, odourless vaginal discharge is often associated with being an early sign of pregnancy. Leucorrhea results due to the increased blood flow to the pelvic region, which increases the vaginal fluid. Leucorrhea is different from the thicker, egg-whites-like discharge that is often indicative of ovulation.
Vaginal discharge is always a sensitive matter and should you notice it having a foul odour, you should immediately consult your doctor.
19. Higher body temperature
If you have been charting your temperatures, you may notice your body temperature higher than usual if you have conceived. This is quite an accurate sign of pregnancy if you have been charting it daily during the days leading upto your pregnancy. The basal body temperature rises when you ovulate and decreases after you have your period. But when pregnant, basal body temperature remains elevated all through the nine months.
Well, a number of reasons can cause headaches during the early stage of pregnancy. While nausea and morning sickness can make put down anything that you may want to eat, leaving you hungry the increased blood flow too can cause you to have headaches. Fatigue and exhaustion can be other reasons. Women with sinuses are particularly affected with headaches during pregnancy.
21. Hot flushes
Feeling hot suddenly, even when you are in a comfortable temperature could be indicative of pregnancy. Hot flushes during pregnancy is not uncommon, and likely affect one in every three pregnant women during the early stages of pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones increase the blood flow to your skin making you feel warm and flushed.
Hot flushes during pregnancy most likely strike at night.
22. Pregnancy dreams
As you battle your emotions and anxiety levels, the way your brain works and processes information also changes when you are pregnant. Having vivid, bizarre dreams during early stages of pregnancy is also one of the early pregnancy symptoms. Apparently, you will also be able to recall every single detail of these dreams the entire day.
How soon can I feel the pregnancy symptoms?
It takes about 6 to 14 days after conceiving to notice the pregnancy symptoms. If you have had intercourse during the ovulation period, chances of pregnancy are quite high. And that is also the time when the body starts to prepare itself in anticipation of a pregnancy. Before your period is due, you have two weeks to notice these pregnancy signs that strike quite early. However, a pregnancy test will give you accurate results only after a week after you miss your periods.
It needs to be mentioned here that every woman, and every pregnancy is different. You may have some pregnancy symptoms, while I may have had some others. There is no rule-book for this, and there are many other symptoms that are associated with being pregnant. The symptoms listed above are just general indicators of a pregnancy, but do not necessarily confirm a pregnancy.