The most recognized ways of detecting pregnancy are ultrasounds and pregnancy tests. While these methods are the only medically acceptable methods there are several early signs of pregnancy to watch out for.
When we talk about early pregnancy signs, your mind may immediately focus on missing your period. Just so you know, it goes beyond this. There are several early signs of pregnancy such as frequent fatigue, morning sickness, and smell sensitivity.
In this post, we will take a look at the different early pregnancy signs and symptoms to watch out for. It promises to be enlightening and exciting so let’s get straight to it.
When do You Begin to Notice The Symptoms?
This will probably seem a bit odd but it is possible to detect pregnancy from the first week. You can do this if you can remember the exact date you had your last period. Medically, the week you ended your last period is regarded as your first week of pregnancy.
This is why the date of your last period is used in calculating your due date. While you may not have any early pregnancy symptoms in the first few weeks, they still count towards a 40-week pregnancy.
Below is a table summarizing the signs and symptoms of pregnancy from week 1 to week 12.
|Signs and symptoms||Timeline (from the missed period)|
|mild cramping and spotting||week 1 to 4|
|missed period||week 4|
|fatigue||week 4 or 5|
|nausea||week 4 to 6|
|tingling or aching breasts||week 4 to 6|
|frequent urination||week 4 to 6|
|bloating||week 4 to 6|
|motion sickness||week 5 to 6|
|mood swings||week 6|
|temperature changes||week 6|
|high blood pressure||week 8|
|extreme fatigue and heartburn||week 9|
|faster heartbeat||week 8 to 10|
|breast and nipple changes||week 11|
|noticeable weight gain||week 11|
|pregnancy glow||week 12|
To make it more understandable, we have explained each of these symptoms briefly below.
Cramping and spotting in the early days
Everything about your pregnancy is still at the cellular level during the first four weeks of the pregnancy. The fertilized egg forms a blastocyst that transforms into the different body parts and organs of your baby. A blastocyst is a group of cells that are filled with fluid.
Between 10 and 14 days after conception, this blastocyst is implanted into the endometrium which lines the uterus. This process can result in a condition known as implantation bleeding. Many women confuse this for their period even though it is pretty light. Some signs of this include:
- The color of the discharge may be red, pink, or brown.
- Sometimes the woman bleeds which is why this is confused for a regular period. At other times, it is just spotting which is the blood that is evident only during wiping.
- There may be mild pain or sometimes it can be severe or moderate depending on the individual.
- Implantation bleeding may not last beyond three days and it needs no treatment.
During this period, you should stay away from alcohol or smoking or any drugs associated with heavy bleeding.
A missed period in the early stages of pregnancy
As soon as the implantation is done, the body begins the production of human chronic gonadotropin (hCG). It is this hormone that ensures that the body maintains the pregnancy. HCG also prevents the ovaries from producing mature eggs as usual.
This is why it is very likely that you miss your period after the first four weeks of pregnancy. We advise that you should take a confirmatory test if your period hasn’t been regular. Many tests that you conduct at home these days can detect hCG in the urine.
Here are some tips to help you out in this regard:
- Double-check with a pregnancy test.
- Reach out to your doctor to fix an appointment once you test positive.
- Stop all medications until your doctor gives a go-ahead. This is very important to keep your baby safe.
Increase in body temperature
This is one of the early signs of pregnancy that is quite common even though most women don’t recognize it. It is possible that the temperature of your core will increase especially during hot weather or an exercise routine. We advise that you drink lots of water during this period and be very careful with exercise too.
Fatigue is one of the early pregnancy signs that is not restricted to the first few weeks. In fact, in most cases, as the woman progresses in the pregnancy, there are chances of more fatigue. Bouts of fatigue are more frequent in the early weeks because of very high progesterone levels. This is likely to make you feel drowsy or sleepy very frequently.
Some helpful tips include:
- Ensure you get enough sleep during the first few weeks of your pregnancy.
- Keep your bedroom as cool as possible to enable you to sleep more comfortably.
Increased heart rate
Between weeks 8 and 10, there is a likelihood that your heart will pump harder and faster. These arrhythmias and palpitations are quite common during this stage of pregnancy. It is a result of hormonal action so you don’t have to be scared.
The increase in blood flow is needed to cater for the fetus in the later stages of the pregnancy. In most cases, this is noticed before conception and consequently managed. If you have a heart problem, you should consult with your doctor for lower dosage drugs.
Changes in the breasts
One of the major early signs of pregnancy is the change you will experience in your breasts. From tingling to aching and growing, the changes begin at about the fourth to sixth weeks. The hormonal changes make the breasts tenderer than they used to be. You are also likely to experience swelling.
Once your body adjusts to the changes, you may not even notice them anymore. However, your breasts will keep growing and the areola may become darker and wider. There is also a possibility of acne breakouts if you are prone to acne.
This is a very common symptom of pregnancy in the early days. Due to spiking in progesterone and estrogen levels, it is very possible to become more emotional and experience mood swings. There is also the possibility of anxiety, euphoria, irritability, and depression.
Incontinence and urination
During pregnancy, your kidney process more fluid than regular because of the increase in the blood your body pumps. As a result of this, your bladder fills up faster than usual. This is why you pay more visits to the bathroom than you are used to.
Constipation and bloating
Hormonal changes may be the primary cause of bloating during the first few weeks of pregnancy. This is because hormones may slow down your digestive system. One of the end results of this may be constipation. It is not uncommon to feel bloating around the abdominal area too.
Morning sickness and nausea
This is likely to develop around weeks 4 to 6 after the implantation of the blastocyst. It is still one of the most recognized early signs of pregnancy to date. Even though we know it as morning sickness, you can experience it at any time of the day.
While it isn’t so clear what causes morning sickness, we cannot rule out the role of hormones. As a pregnant woman enters the second trimester, morning sickness tends to subside considerably.
Dizziness and high blood pressure
It is very common for blood pressure to drop during the first few weeks of pregnancy. Because of this, the woman may feel dizzy from having her blood vessels dilated. There are situations where women experience high blood pressure during pregnancy. Very often this is tied to an underlying problem. The doctor will usually take blood pressure readings on the first visit to set the baseline for your normal blood pressure during the pregnancy.
Food aversions and smell sensitivity
This is one of the self-reported early signs of pregnancy. To date, there isn’t much scientific evidence about this. What we know is that this sensitivity may trigger vomiting and nausea. It is also a possible cause for distaste for some foods.
You are more likely to notice weight gain as you progress into the second trimester. Even though your calorie requirements don’t really change initially, they will increase with progression in the pregnancy.
There is a possibility for the valve separating the esophagus from the stomach to relax. The primary cause of this is hormonal activity. When this occurs, the acid in the stomach leaks, and then it results in heartburn.
Many people see this as one of the confirmatory early signs of pregnancy. You are likely to hear people tell you that you have the “glow.” This is simply because you have a higher blood volume which mixes with higher hormonal levels. When these push blood through the body’s vessels, the oil glands begin working overtime. This gives your skin a glossy, flushed appearance.
Early Signs of Pregnancy-Wrap Up
We have enumerated the early signs of pregnancy in this post. You should not that these signs will change as you cross into the second trimester. It is important that you discuss with your doctor and ask questions when you need to.