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  • Writer's pictureJessica Lagrone

Early Signs and Symptoms When Pregnant


Woman holding positive pregnancy test

Feeling all sorts of ways and wondering if you are pregnant? Are you curious if you should take a pregnancy test? Early pregnancy causes many hormonal changes, especially in the first trimester. You may notice premenstrual symptoms before you miss a period and think you may be pregnant when it could be too early to tell. But we get it; it's nearly impossible to ignore the thought! So before you freak out, let's go through some of the symptoms of early pregnancy that women may experience from rising hormone levels. Buckle up, you may have a bun in the oven!


A Brief Overview of Symptoms When Pregnant


The best part (said sarcastically) about the earliest signs of pregnancy is that they often mimic the symptoms you may experience during or around the time of your menstrual cycle. Some of the earliest pregnancy symptoms include:

  • Missed period

  • Breast tenderness

  • Morning sickness and nausea

  • Spotting

  • Mood swings

  • Fatigue and exhaustion

Yay for the confusion! Yet a missed period is a pretty solid sign that you may be pregnant. So, let's talk more about pregnancy signs and ways to know you're pregnant.


Missed Period: The Most Common Early Sign of Pregnancy


If you've missed your period, you might be wondering if you're pregnant, right? Well, girl, let me tell you, that's the most common early sign of pregnancy! It's like your body telling you, "Hey, something's happening here!" But really, the reason this happens is because the body cranks out a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). The growing placenta makes this hormone and basically waves a flag to the corpus luteum (a temp hormone producer in the ovary during the monthly cycle) to keep pumping out progesterone.


Progesterone is like the bouncer of the uterine lining—it makes sure it stays put and doesn't get kicked out, which is what goes down during a period. So, if you've missed your period and you're experiencing some of these symptoms, it might be time to pee on that little stick and find out if you've got a little one on the way!


Breast Tenderness: PMS or Early Symptom of Pregnancy?


When it comes to breast tenderness, it's often to wonder if it's just another annoying PMS symptom or a subtle hint that a tiny human is starting to take shape within. Hormones are certainly in play either way! Deciphering the code of our bodies can indeed be a tricky task.


So, how can we tell the difference? Well, if your breasts feel like they've been filled with a gallon of helium and hurt when touched by the delicate wings of baby angels, congratulations! You might just be pregnant. But if your bosom is more akin to basic soreness and blahness, well then, it's likely good old PMS.


Morning Sickness and Nausea


Feeling nauseous is certainly a symptom of pregnancy that may be the most unpleasant sign of having a bun in the oven. What is the cause of nausea during pregnancy? Levels of hCG rise rapidly and increase during pregnancy, having an impact on the digestive system and leading to nausea and vomiting. The intensity of nausea varies from pregnancy to pregnancy, so you either need a little ginger for relief or you're making a bed next to the toilet.


Let's not forget the cruel irony of it all: it's called "morning" sickness, but it could happen at any time of the day, making you feel like a sailor on a rocky sea. Oh, the joys of creating life! But fear not, for this too shall pass.


Spotting: Period or Early Pregnancy Symptoms?


Oh, the joy of not knowing whether you're dealing with a period or early pregnancy symptoms. Spotting may occur days after conception when the developing embryo attaches to the uterus to establish a pregnancy. During implantation, the fertilized egg attaches or burrows into the uterine lining to secure itself in a process known as invasion (yes, you're being invaded). This invasion can lead to the disruption of small blood vessels in the uterine lining, resulting in slight bleeding, also called implantation bleeding.


So, how can you tell if you're experiencing implantation bleeding or if Aunt Flo is knocking on the door? The timing of the bleeding is one of the key factors. If you experience bleeding earlier or later in your menstrual cycle than expected, it could be a sign of implantation bleeding. Menstrual bleeding, on the other hand, follows a more predictable schedule.


Fatigue and Exhaustion


Oh, fatigue and exhaustion, the annoying twins that always seem to tag along when you're pregnant. That lovely hormone, progesterone, causes these tiresome symptoms. Progesterone levels rise substantially after conception, and this hormone has a sedative effect on the body. It can cause drowsiness and an increased need for sleep. Suddenly, even the simplest tasks become a Herculean challenge. Your eyelids become as heavy as a pair of dumbbells, and your brain functions at the speed of a sleepy sloth. Forget about making plans or having any energy left to socialize. So, if you're feeling like taking a bunch of naps suddenly (or maybe that's normal for you), you could be pregnant.


When to Take a Home Pregnancy Test


Before you start panicking or celebrating and raiding your fridge for pickles and ice cream, maybe it's time to consider taking a pregnancy test. If you've missed your period, your breasts are more tender than a well-cooked steak, and you're feeling a little weird, it's probably time to pee on that stick.


The accuracy of a home pregnancy test depends on when you take it. Most tests are designed to be used on the first day of your expected period or after your missed period. Testing too early can lead to false-negative results because the levels of the hormone hCG, which is detected by the test, may not be high enough to register. So, even if you're jonesin' to test, you may want to wait at least a week after a missed period for the most accurate results.


FAQs: New Pregnancy Symptoms


What are the early symptoms and signs of pregnancy?

The early symptoms and signs of pregnancy can vary from woman to woman, but some common ones include missed periods, implantation bleeding, hormonal changes, mood swings, food aversions, and feeling bloated.


How soon can I experience the first signs of pregnancy?

It is possible to experience the first signs of pregnancy as early as two weeks after conception.


Can I get pregnant without any symptoms?

Yes, it is possible to become pregnant without experiencing any noticeable symptoms.


Is a missed period a reliable indicator of pregnancy?

Yes, one of the biggest signs of pregnancy is a missed period. If you have missed your period and suspect you might be pregnant, it is recommended to take a pregnancy test.


What is implantation bleeding?

Light spotting, also known as implantation bleeding, happens when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterus lining. It can be one of the early signs of pregnancy.


Are hormonal changes common during early pregnancy?

Yes, hormonal changes during early pregnancy are common. These changes are necessary to support the developing fetus and can contribute to various symptoms, such as mood swings and food aversions.


How soon can I take a pregnancy test?

You can take a pregnancy test as early as 10 to 14 days after conception. However, for more accurate results, it is recommended to wait until at least 14 days after conception or until a week or more has passed since your missed period.


Can pregnancy symptoms start within a week of conception?

Yes, some women may start experiencing symptoms within a week of pregnancy or conception. Symptoms are likely to increase in the first few weeks of pregnancy.


How long do pregnancy symptoms typically last?

Pregnancy symptoms may continue throughout pregnancy into the second trimester and third trimester, although they may vary in intensity and duration during different stages.


What is the best way to confirm if I am pregnant?

The best way to confirm if you are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test. These tests detect the levels of the hormone progesterone in your body, which increase during pregnancy.


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