Early Signs Of Pregnancy
While the most common sign of pregnancy is a missed period, there are many other signs that may indicate conception has taken place. Many women experience some or all of these signs in the early stages of pregnancy, while others have been known to complete their first trimester before figuring out they are pregnant. Additionally, a woman may experience some of the signs in one pregnancy and others in a subsequent pregnancy. Just as all women are different, the signs and symptoms are different for each pregnancy.
Obvious Signs: A Missed Period
Most often, the first sign of pregnancy is a missed period. At times a woman who is pregnant may experience bleeding around the time her menstrual period would be expected. Usually this is due to implantation bleeding, which happens when the fertilized egg implants into the wall of the uterus. Some spotting or bleeding often occurs at this point. However, some women continue to have a menstrual period during the initial months of pregnancy. While this is not overly common, it does happen. The bleeding is often very light and spotty, but it is there, nevertheless. If a woman has not had regular periods, then she may notice some of the other signs before she notices that she's missed a period. A missed menstrual period does not confirm a pregnancy since delayed menses can be caused by illness, stress, or dietary changes, among other things.
Another early pregnancy symptom is breast swelling, tenderness, or pain. This situation may also accompany a regular monthly period and often women are unaware of the implication of pregnancy since they experience sore breasts just prior to their periods. Some women experience a heaviness and sense of fullness in the breasts in the very early stages of pregnancy. This symptom may occur in the first couple of weeks after conception.
Oh, No! I'm Going To Be Sick
Traditionally referred to as morning sickness, nausea and vomiting are also commonly associated with pregnancy. Many women question the reason for calling it morning sickness, since it can occur at any time of the day or night. Typically, nausea and vomiting begin between the second and eighth weeks of pregnancy. However, most women make the association during the first month after conception.
As estrogen rises it slows the emptying of the stomach and it is thought that this is the relationship between pregnancy and morning sickness. Accompanying nausea and vomiting is usually a craving for something specific or an aversion to certain foods-the smell of which can cause a woman to make a bee-line for the bathroom. It is not uncommon for a woman to totally alter her eating habits during her pregnancy.
Fatigue, Swelling, Cramps
Fatigue, which is very common in the early stages of pregnancy, may be linked to the rising levels of the hormone progesterone. Even though a woman feels like she's gained ten pounds in the first week of pregnancy and is feeling bloated and enlarged, she has likely only picked up a pound. Abdominal swelling is common in the early stages of pregnancy and some women also experience cramping, not unlike what they have during the days before menstruation.
I Gotta Go Pee!
The sensation of having to urinate frequently, especially at nighttime, is another symptom of early pregnancy. Leaking urine when she coughs, laughs, or sneezes, can be embarrassing. This increased desire to run to the bathroom may be triggered by the rise in a hormone called human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), which is produced when the egg is implanted into the uterus. It is believed that this hormone stimulates urination. In later pregnancy, frequent urination occurs as a result of the pressure of the growing baby on the mother's kidneys.