Could you be pregnant?
Early signs and symptoms of pregnancy: The Real Clues
The early clues of pregnancy and the very early symptoms of pregnancy can sometimes begin even before you miss your period, in the first few weeks after conception.
- Slight bleeding
- Raised basal body temperature (BBT)
- Nausea with or without vomiting
- Heightened sense of smell
- Tender, swollen breasts or nipples
- Food aversions
- Food cravings
- Frequent urination
- Mood swings
- Faintness and dizziness
Some women experience a small amount of spotting or bleeding very early in pregnancyas very early symptoms of pregnancy, about 10 after ovulation and 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 and doesn't last long.
Many women also experience cramping very early in pregnancy as the uterus begins to enlarge. These cramps are similar to menstrual cramps.
Raised basal body temperature (BBT)
Your basal body temperature (BBT) is your oral temperature when you first wake up in the morning. This temperature rises within 1-2 days after ovulation and remains at that level until your next period. This is also called a “biphasic” curve. A typical ovulatory biphasic curve with a temperature elevated longer than 15-16 days usually means that you're pregnant as is among the very early symptoms of pregnancy. Some believe that a “triphasic” curve, where the temperature rises even further about a week or so after the initial rise, mena that you are pregnant, though there is not enough scientific proof to confirm this.
Nausea with or without vomiting
Although nausea and vomiting during pregnancy is commonly called morning sickness, it can occur at any time of the day and comes from rising levels of hCG, the pregnancy hormone, and estrogen. Morning sickness is one of the telltale signs of early pregnancy. This nausea can begin as early as two weeks after fertilization/ovulation.
Heightened sense of smell
Pregnant women also have a heightened sense of smell triggered by a variety of odors — such as foods cooking, coffee, perfume or cigarette smoke.
Tender, swollen breasts or nipples
One of the first physical changes of pregnancy is a change in the way your breasts feel. They may feel tender, tingly or sore. Or they may feel fuller and heavier. As early as two weeks after conception, your breasts start to grow and change in preparation for producing milk. The primary cause of these changes is increased production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Changes in your breasts are often most dramatic when you're pregnant for the first time.
Many women feel tired during pregnancy, especially in the early stages. This may be nature's way of persuading moms-to-be to take extra naps, in preparation for the sleepless nights ahead.
Turning up your nose at certain foods is often the first hint that you're pregnant. Even the smell of some foods may cause a wave of nausea in early pregnancy. One study suggests that pregnant women experience a unique aversion to coffee in the early weeks of pregnancy. Meat, dairy products and spicy foods are other common objects of repulsion.
Food cravings are common, too. Like most other symptoms of pregnancy, these food preferences can be chalked up to hormonal changes. Pregnant women typically find that their food tastes change somewhat, especially in the first trimester, when hormones have the strongest impact.
Many pregnant women find themselves running to the bathroom more often than usual as very early symptoms of pregnancy. During the first trimester of pregnancy, this is caused by the enlarging uterus pushing on your bladder.
If you're pregnant, you may be troubled by frequent, mild headaches. Early in pregnancy, headaches may be the result of increased blood circulation caused by hormonal changes.
Constipation is another common early indication of pregnancy. An increase in progesterone causes digestion to slow down, so food passes more slowly through the gastrointestinal tract, which can lead to constipation.
You're a no-nonsense kind of woman — so what's with this crying over Hallmark commercials? The flood of hormones in your body in early pregnancy can make you unusually emotional and weepy. Swings in your mood, from bliss to deep gloom, also are common, especially in the first trimester.
Faintness and dizziness
It's common for pregnant women to be lightheaded or dizzy. These sensations usually result from circulatory changes as your blood vessels dilate and your blood pressure drops. Early in pregnancy, faint feelings may also be triggered by low blood sugar.
Are you really pregnant?
Unfortunately, these very early symptoms of pregnancy aren't unique to pregnancy. Some can indicate that you're getting sick or that your period is about to start. And, conversely, you can be pregnant without ever experiencing these symptoms.
Your best way to diagnose that you are pregnant is a positive pregnancy test. So take it if you think you may be pregnant.