Are you experiencing early pregnancy symptoms or is it just something you ate last night? We’ll discuss all the early symptoms and signs of pregnancy that you need to be aware of to find out if you're pregnant.
There are many very early signs of pregnancy that you can be aware of before you go and see your Doctor or Midwife. So where do you start when trying to find out if you’re expecting?
Even before you have a missed period, you may ‘feel different’. Some women know they are pregnant right from the start! They just ‘know’ they have conceived.
* Missed menstrual period - pregnancy or menopause are the commonest reasons for this, although there are occasional other things which bring this on.
* Unusually light period – 1 or 2 days maybe, this could be an implantation bleed. This is where a fertilized egg is embedding itself into the wall of the uterus.
* Metallic taste in your mouth or other heightened senses.
* Changes in your appetite – ‘going off’ your favourite drinks or foods like coffee or tea for example. Usually due to your heightened sense of smell and taste.
* Tender breasts, similar to what some women experience with premenstrual syndrome.
* Feeling queasy or nauseous …anytime of day.
* Morning sickness (as above), but can also include vomiting. If you are suffering with morning sickness it can be quite debilitating and depressing. For most women it doesn’t last past 12 to 14 weeks gestation.
* Frequency of urination – going for a pee all the time.
* Headaches; caused by changing hormone levels.
* Goodell's Sign. This is when your cervix becomes softer than usual; found by your midwife or doctor if they do an internal exam.
* Hegar's Sign. At about six weeks gestation your uterus softens and other changes happen such as changes of the size and shape.
* Slight swelling of the lower abdomen (below the belly button). Nature provides you with a padding of protective fat or adipose tissue in early pregnancy.
This has a 2-fold benefit 1. In case of famine or drought situations your extra fat supply can be metabolised to provide energy for the developing baby and 2. The padding gives physical protection to the uterus with a few extra inches of fat.
This lower abdominal fat padding disappears after the first trimester and your shape will change.
You might experience some or all of these early pregnancy symptoms. Some people don’t get any signs and even keep having regular monthly bleeds or ‘spotting’ for several months. This can be the most disconcerting and it’s often these women who don’t even suspect that they have conceived.
The first early pregnancy symptoms may be simply unexplainable overwhelming tiredness. You may be trying to figure out what it is you’ve done to cause you to feel so fatigued. Especially if you haven’t been planning a pregnancy.
a) If this is your first pregnancy then you may not ‘show’ until you reach about 20 – 24 weeks gestation or 4 months. If you’re working and want to keep the pregnancy a surprise it isn’t too hard.
b) If this isn’t your first pregnancy you could start showing straight away. This will be true even if your other pregnancy(s) have ended in miscarriage. In fact women who’ve had many pregnancies find that with each subsequent pregnancy they ‘show’ earlier and earlier! This also goes for many other events in pregnancy e.g. labor often begins sooner, can be shorter and Colostrum come in sooner etc.