Whether this is your first pregnancy, or you’ve been down this road before you are likely awaiting your first missed period before you celebrate. However, for those with irregular periods or the few of us who simply don’t keep track there are other signs that can be used as indicators that conception may have occurred.
So, before you head to the drugstore or make an appointment with your health care practitioner you may want to see just how many of these early pregnancy signs apply to you.
As soon as you become pregnant your body sends out a whole array of hormones designed to get your body ready for pregnancy and motherhood. One of the first areas to be affected by the deluge of hormones is your breasts. As early as a few weeks pregnant your body is busy amassing breast tissue so that you will be able to produce milk to feed your baby. Many newly pregnant women will find that their breasts feel heavy, are larger and are sensitive to touch, and this is one of the first indications that you may be pregnant.
Often confused with menstrual cramps, you may feel a twinge or two when the fertilized egg implants itself in the lining of your uterus. Additionally your uterus has already begun growing, which will also lead to some discomfort in your lower abdomen.
As many as 25% of pregnant women have some light bleeding when they first become pregnant, as a result of implantation. While many will mistake this bleeding for the start of their period, as long as it is shorter or lighter than your normal period you can take it as an indication that you may have actually missed your period entirely. Give it a few days, or if you can’t wait then head to the store for a pregnancy test.
While your body busily gets started on developing a baby and preparing your body, you may find that you have a lot less energy than normal. By then end of the day you may barely make it through dinner and head to bed hours earlier than normal, are in need of a nap and regular activities like exercise are rapidly falling by the wayside. Within two weeks of conception your body is already using more calories than normal, which is why you may find that you are so tired. Start adding a few more healthy snacks during the day to help your body keep up the energy.
Just like your breasts, your nipples are also preparing for their eventual duty as deliverer of milk. The ingredients that are working to prepare your breasts may affect the nipples as well – meaning they may be larger or darker than usual. This shouldn’t cause concern as everything will return to normal after baby is born.
Morning sickness won’t rear its ugly head for a few more weeks, but you may feel slightly nauseous at points during the day. The sensation may become more noticeable when you are in a car or on a plane, and will feel much like motion sickness.
Are you having trouble getting into your favourite pair of jeans? Well perhaps you should pick up a pregnancy test as this symptom may mean that you have a little traveler growing inside of you. While bloating prior to your period is common, when you are pregnant it tends to stick around. Combine this with a missed period or other symptoms and it may be time to decorate the nursery.
Being pregnant means peeing for two – so if you find that you can’t make it through the night, through a movie or through a meal without dashing off to the bathroom then you are likely pregnant, hooray! After the first trimester this should ease off a bit, and then return full force during the last few weeks of your pregnancy as baby starts using your bladder as a punching bag. Sorry.
If you are spending more time with your head in the fridge than in a book, or are having sudden, irresistible cravings then congratulations are likely in order. Your body has kicked into high gear and is requiring about 300 more calories per day. It’s time to consider a balance diet that will meet these additional caloric needs while making sure that you are fulfilling all of you and baby’s nutritional requirements. While an occasional treat (or carton of ice cream) is perfectly acceptable, ensure that you are balancing these sweets out with more nutrient-pack food that will help your baby grow and develop.
We all have headaches now and again, but pregnant women definitely will notice an increase in the amount of headaches they are afflicted with. This has to do with your body’s quest to rapidly increase your blood volume as well as hormonal changes. Treat your headaches with acetaminophen (Tylenol) only if you need it and make a doctor’s appointment to confirm the happy news.
All these hormones that are messing up your body are also responsible for this super fun pregnancy side effect. Although constipation is not exactly enjoyable, it does somewhat serve a purpose as your body is slowing down your digestive tract so that it can absorb more nutrients from what you eat. Increase the fiber and water in your daily diet and get ready for the long haul as this pregnancy side effect will hang in there until the end (no pun intended). If it is getting to you talk to your doctor about possible treatment.
Commercials making you cry? Are you finding that you are unreasonably weepy, angry or just tired of it all? Blame those hormones again and grab a pregnancy test before your partner decides to send you to the loony bin. This moodiness should pass after the first few weeks as you body gets accustomed to all the hormonal changes, although in the last trimester it has a tendency to return.
Basal Body Temperature
Women who are trying to conceive in earnest may be taking their oral temperature every morning before they get out of bed in order to narrow down their fertility window. This is a useful tool as right before you ovulate your temperature will raise by about a half a degree. Once you have your period your temperature returns to normal, but if you are pregnant your temperature will remain higher than normal.
If you are planning on getting pregnant it may be a good idea to pick up a digital basal thermometer at your drugstore and start tracking your basal body temperature every day. Not only will this help you get pregnant faster it may also help you know when you conceive before all the other pregnancy signs kick in.
Whether you have one, a few or all of these pregnancy signs it is important to confirm your pregnancy quickly so you can ensure that your baby gets the quality care and nourishment it needs. Schedule an appointment with your health care provider and bring along any questions that you would like answered about this important time in your life.