How to Know If You’re Pregnant
One of the earliest signs that you’re pregnant is missing your period. This is because your body prepares for pregnancy each month by thickening the lining of your uterus, which would be where a fertilized egg would attach to begin a pregnancy.
Implantation bleeding is also an early symptom. It’s very similar to a light period or spotting and can occur from six to 12 days after your fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall.
1. Missed Period
One of the first signs and symptoms that most women notice when they’re pregnant is a missed period. It’s a normal part of your monthly cycle that your body uses to prepare for pregnancy.
During your period, the tissue that lines your uterus breaks down and leaves through your vagina. The lining then begins building up again to be ready for a fertilized egg to implant in it.
However, a missed period doesn’t always mean you’re pregnant, and there are other reasons your menstrual cycle may be late. Stress, hormonal imbalances, weight loss, and rapid changes in your diet can all cause your menstrual cycle to become irregular.
But if your period is more than a week late, or you got a negative result on your pregnancy test, it’s time to talk to your doctor. He or she will be able to rule out other health concerns before confirming your pregnancy, and it’s a good idea to schedule an ultrasound scan to find out the cause of your late period and whether you’re pregnant or not.
If you’re unsure about your pregnancy, it’s important to take a prenatal vitamin that contains folic acid. This B vitamin helps reduce the risk of certain birth defects in your baby. It’s also important to get enough rest, exercise and eat a healthy diet so that your body can produce the proper hormones to help you conceive.
2. Morning Sickness
One of the earliest signs of pregnancy is morning sickness, or nausea. This nauseous feeling is usually triggered by the smell or taste of certain foods and can make you want to vomit.
It’s not uncommon for morning sickness to last into the second trimester, but it is usually relieved by taking prenatal vitamins and drinking plenty of fluids. Sips of flat lemonade, diluted fruit juice, cordial, weak tea, ginger tea or clear soup can help.
Getting plenty of rest and eating when you feel up for it can also help. If you have severe nausea or vomiting (called hyperemesis gravidarum), talk to your health care provider about treatment, which may include medicine.
Another early sign of pregnancy is spotting, cramping or light bleeding. This occurs after the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine lining.
Every woman has a different combination of symptoms. This means that while some women might notice all the early signs of pregnancy, others may only experience one or two.
Nausea and vomiting are normal pregnancy symptoms, and can occur at any time of day or night. About half of pregnant women experience nausea or vomiting at some point during their pregnancy.
Some women with extreme nausea and vomiting (called hyperemesis gravidarum) might need to stay in the hospital for treatment. It is rare, but about 3 in 100 women will develop this condition, and it can cause serious problems for both you and your baby.
Bloating is a common early pregnancy symptom that many women experience. This swollen, puffy feeling may be associated with food, but can also be caused by hormones that slow down the digestion process.
If you think bloating is a sign of a serious medical problem, speak with your doctor right away. They can assess the cause and develop a plan to address the symptoms.
Some bloating is caused by food intolerances and allergies, which happen when the body can’t break down certain foods. These can cause bloating, excessive gas and a change in bowel habits.
You can try removing these foods from your diet for short periods of time, then slowly reintroducing them. This can help your body adjust and reduce bloating.
It’s best to keep a food journal in which you note when bloating occurs and which foods it happens with. This helps your healthcare provider diagnose a food sensitivity or intolerance and create a treatment plan.
A healthy, balanced diet, along with regular exercise, is the best way to reduce bloating and ensure you have plenty of energy. Avoid foods that contain large amounts of salt and high levels of water, which can contribute to bloating.
Drinking plenty of water will also help you keep a healthy weight and lower your risk of bloating during your period. Be sure to drink about eight eight-ounce glasses of water per day.
4. Swollen Breasts
In the first trimester, your breasts may feel tender and swollen. This is caused by the rise in hormones as your body prepares for the birth of your baby.
It’s a common symptom of early pregnancy and usually goes away once you’re farther along. If you have breast pain that lasts for more than a week, take a home pregnancy test to confirm it.
You’ll also notice your nipples expand and become extra sensitive to touch. They may also get itchy when you touch them or wear tight clothes.
Your areolas (the area around your nipples) will also darken and enlarge. This is caused by an increase in melanocytes – the cells that make your nipples their color.
This is a great sign that you’re pregnant because it means that your nipples are ready to latch. You’ll also produce more milk to feed your baby.
If you have swollen breasts, it’s important to talk with your healthcare provider right away because this could be a symptom of an underlying condition such as high blood pressure. You should also check with your doctor if you experience a lump in your breasts or any changes in your period.
Most of these symptoms are normal and nothing to worry about. However, if you are experiencing unusual symptoms, it’s best to talk to your doctor. Whether you’re pregnant or not, a visit to your doctor is always recommended to keep you and your baby healthy.
Getting pregnant can be an emotional and physical journey. And not every woman reacts the same way to the first symptoms of pregnancy.
The earliest, and most reliable, sign of pregnancy is a missed period. It happens about two weeks after you conceive, and is usually due to implantation bleeding.
Implantation bleeding is when the fertilized egg attaches itself to your uterus, causing spotting and light bleeding that resembles a period.
Another early symptom of pregnancy is nausea, which may occur during any time of the day or night. Nausea is caused by hormones, and it can feel like a sudden urge to vomit.
If you’re experiencing severe, ongoing nausea, you should talk to your doctor about taking a pregnancy test. You should also make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and eating a balanced diet.
Other early signs of pregnancy include mood swings and sensitivity to certain smells. These changes are normal and can come as a result of the hormonal shifts that happen during your first trimester.
Some women experience a strange metallic taste in their mouth, while others report that they become much more sensitive to the smell of certain foods and cooking. This is because estrogen and progesterone levels are increased during the early stages of pregnancy. It’s best to avoid odors that trigger your nausea, and try to eat frequent meals throughout the day.
6. Frequent Urination
As you become pregnant, your body produces more fluids than it does at other times. These fluids are filtered through your kidneys. These fluids are then deposited into your bladder and need to be emptied more frequently than usual.
Frequent urination is an early symptom of pregnancy and typically occurs in the first trimester (weeks 1 to 12). However, it can also reappear later during pregnancy as the uterus and baby continue to grow and put pressure on your bladder.
This can make you feel like you have to urinate several times during the day or night. Generally, this is not a problem, but you should talk to your doctor if your frequent urination is accompanied by pain or other symptoms of a urinary tract infection.
You can help manage this symptom by drinking plenty of liquids, including water and herbal teas that are considered safe for pregnancy. Avoid caffeinated beverages, which are diuretics and can cause you to urinate more often.
The uterus continues to grow throughout your pregnancy, placing pressure on the bladder and pelvic floor muscles, making it harder to control your bladder. This can lead to leakage or stress urinary incontinence, which is when you urinate more often than usual.
Frequent urination during pregnancy is not uncommon, and it is usually a sign that your body is adapting to the growing baby and hormones. If your urination frequency is accompanied by painful or burning sensations, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.