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First signs - symptoms of pregnancy

pregnancy symptoms


First signs - symptoms of pregnancy

You might begin to suspect that you are pregnant within the first few days of pregnancy.

Every woman and pregnancy is different and the early signs of pregnancy vary from woman to woman and from pregnancy to pregnancy.

Am I pregnant?

Some women know from the moment of conception. Others know from signals they or their husbands sense or become aware of. We are talking about the very first signs of pregnancy: those tiny clues your body sends that are an indication of things to come.

You may have been planning to get pregnant and have a good feeling you are indeed pregnant. While other women don't have a clue until their tummies bulge and their periods finally stop! Most women do not suspect they are pregnant until they miss a period, and a few do not suspect or believe they are pregnant for months after conception.

I have missed a period, am I pregnant?

Pregnancy is the most likely reason for a missed period, but it is not the only one - stress is another possible cause. You should not assume you are pregnant just because you have missed your period.

Common signs of early pregnancy

The signs below are other early indicators of pregnancy, which may occur before a missed period. Many women do not notice these until later in pregnancy.
pregnancy signs symptomsYou may experience all, some or none of these symptoms.
  • Feeling nauseous, particularly in the mornings.   ...more
  • Changes in sense of smell, taste or food craving.   ...more
  • Tenderness in the breasts.   ...more
  • Frequent trips to the Bathroom.   ...more
  • Increased tiredness.   ...more
  • Slight bleeding or spotting or cramping   ...more
  • Elevated basal body temperature (BBT)   ...more
  • Positive home pregnancy test (hpt)   ...more


Morning Sickness

Morning sickness, that queasy feeling is not limited to mornings. Most pregnant women who experience morning sickness feel slightly nauseated at other times during the day as well.
You may feel sick, and go off certain foods and smells. About half have vomiting, but very few have severe enough morning sickness to develop dehydration and malnutrition.

Thought to be caused by a high level of the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in the blood, rapid stretching of the uterine muscles, excess acid in the stomach, and an enhanced sense of smell. Morning sickness usually starts two to eight weeks after conception.

Remedies for morning sickness

You can try several of these suggestions until you find the ones that work for you: crackers
  • Eat a piece of bread or a few crackers before you get out of bed in the morning, or when you feel nauseated.
  • Get out of bed slowly. Avoid sudden movements.
  • Eat small meals several times during the day.
  • Snack on raw fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat high protein meals (lean meats, vegetable proteins, beans).
  • Eat complex carbohydrate foods (crackers, breads, potatoes, rice).
  • Eat lightly seasoned foods and avoid spicy foods.
  • Avoid greasy or fried foods. These foods are hard to digest and may cause nausea.
  • Sip soda water (carbonated water or ginger ale) when you feel nauseated.
  • Try cold foods such as Popsicle's or ice.
  • Fresh air may help. Take a short walk or try sleeping with a window open.
Eat plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, and bran cereal to avoid constipation.
Be sure to drink plenty of water, at least 8 glasses a day.

If the suggestions above do not work for you, or you are unable to stop vomitting, or unable to keep fluids down, contact your healthcare provider.

Other possible causes: food poisoning, tension, infection, other diseases.


Changes in taste or food craving

icecreamWhile you may not have a strong desire to eat pickles and ice cream, many women will feel cravings for certain foods when they are pregnant. You may go off coffee, alcohol and fried foods which is good. Try to resist cravings for high fat or sugary snacks as these are high in calories and low in nutrients.

Good nutrition is important during pregnancy so try to maintain a balanced diet in spite of your cravings and aversions.

Sometimes women report an increased in sensitivity to certain odors or smells that can sometimes cause nausea and/or vomiting. Some pregnant women report a strange metallic taste in mouth. Caused by hormonal changes in the body, food cravings and aversions are usually experienced during the first trimester. This can last throughout your entire pregnancy. See - Healthy Beginnings for healthy living advice.

Other possible causes: poor diet, stress, beginning of period.


Tenderness in the breasts

If you are pregnant, your breasts will probably become increasingly tender to the touch, similar to the way they feel before your period, only more so. The glandular portion of the breast becomes enlarged and the surrounding fatty tissue retains fluid, breast enlargement is a feature of early pregnancy. Caused by an increased amount of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

The breast starts to make changes from very early in pregnancy in preparation for the milk making job to come. Your bra size may go up a couple of sizes very quickly. Swollen or tender breasts is a pregnancy symptom which may begin as early as 1 or 2 weeks after conception.

Breast tenderness and sensitivity can sometimes be very uncomfortable. Wearing a sports bra is the best treatment measure. Once your body grows accustomed to the increase in these hormones, the tenderness will subside, usually after the eighth week. Pregnancy hormones also cause changes in the nipples. They usually become darker, usually larger, and the areola becomes wider.

Though breast tenderness is common, not every woman experiences it. Changes in your breasts are often most dramatic when you are pregnant for the first time.

Other possible causes: birth control pills, beginning of period, fibrocystic breast condition.
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Frequent Trips to the Bathroom

Most pregnant women report having to go to the bathroom more often, even before missing a period. You may even have to get up during the night. This occurs after the embryo has implanted in the uterus and begins producing the pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).

This hormone triggers changes in muscle tone, also the growing uterus presses against the nearby bladder resulting in frequent urination. The increase in frequency of urination is often more pronounced in the first eight weeks. After this the uterus tends to move upwards, which relieves the pressure until later in pregnancy. It is common for some women to pass a small amount of urine when they laugh, sneeze or cough. Pelvic floor Exercise, also known as Kegel Exercise may help here.

Other possible causes: urinary tract infection, diuretics, tension, diabetes, drinking excess fluid.


Increased tiredness

Feeling tired or exhausted? You may feel as if you've run a marathon when all you've done is put in a day at the office. You may find yourself falling asleep on the bus. Fatigue is also extremely normal and may be one of the first signs of pregnancy.

Feeling tired is a common complaint, naps suddenly become attractive, even to those who rarely take them. Caused by high levels of the hormone progesterone, which can have a sedation effect, and the body's increased use of energy as the fetus develops.

This usually appears during the first trimester. The best way to deal with this is to give into it - rest as much as you can and go to bed earlier than usual.

Other possible causes:
tension, stress, depression, poor diet, flu, lack of exercise, poor sleep or lack of sleep.


Slight bleeding or spotting or cramping

Some women experience a small amount of spotting or bleeding very early in pregnancy, about a week to 14 days after fertilization. Known as implantation bleeding, it happens when the fertilized egg first attaches to the lining of the uterus. This type of bleeding is usually a bit earlier, spottier and lighter in color than a usual period or a brownish discharge and doesn't last long.

Because there is typically so little and it is before you would expect your period it would be normal to think you are just getting ready to start your period. But, if you are attempting to get pregnant and you know that you ovulated and you had sex around that time it might be a good indication that you are in fact pregnant.

Implantation bleeding is fairly common with pregnancy. Twenty to thirty percent of women will have spotting during early pregnancy. If you have some light spotting before your period would normally start this is not something to worry about and may be a sign of pregnancy.

Many women also experience mild cramping during the early weeks of pregnancy as the uterus begins to enlarge. These cramps which may be similar to the cramping that occurs prior to or during the menstrual cycle.

Other possible causes: beginning of period, breakthrough bleeding from the pill.

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Elevated basal body temperature (BBT)

Your basal body temperature (BBT) is your oral temperature when you first wake up in the morning. This temperature spikes slightly soon after ovulation and remains at that level until your next period.

If you've been charting your BBT to determine when you ovulate, its continued elevation for more than two weeks may mean you are pregnant. In fact, BBT stays elevated throughout your pregnancy.

The proof is really in the pregnancy test. But you may suspect or hope that you are expecting, even before you miss a period.


Positive home pregnancy test

Pregnancy testThough many common early signs of pregnancy have been mentioned here, it is important to note that not everyone will experience these symptoms. Therefore do not let a lack of symptoms convince you are not pregnant, if you have reason to believe you might be. Instead use a home pregnancy test or see a doctor to verify your condition.

If the early signs of pregnancy are present, and especially if you have verified that you are pregnant with a home pregnancy test, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor right away. The sooner your pregnancy is verified the sooner you can start taking care of yourself and plan for the future.

Even if you take a home pregnancy test and get a negative result, if your symptoms persist or your period does not return to normal, you should see your doctor.

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