Seriously, is there anything more complicated than a womanʼs body? Especially during childbearing years, it can seem like something new is happening every day. For some women, the menstrual cycle is predictable, coming and going on a pretty even keel; others, however, experience physical and emotional turmoil of the Jekyll-and-Hyde kind. Either way, whenever something new or different is felt, thereʼs always the question
lurking in the backs of our minds: is that normal or am I pregnant?
These six symptoms of pregnancy are classic, though they donʼt always represent a pregnancy. Sometimes the daily trials and tribulations of ordinary life can bring on symptoms that may make you think you're pregnant. Donʼt let these symptoms fake you out, but do have them checked out if they persist.
- Youʼre Late
According to the textbooks, the average menstrual cycle lasts 28 days, but this timeline isnʼt etched in stone. There are no textbook women and no textbook menstrual cycles. The stresses of everyday living can affect hormones in a way that speeds up the cycle or slows it down. Both good stress - new love, new job, dream vacation in Paris - and bad stress can affect it. Anytime life is going through a change, it is not unusual for it to inﬂuence the menstrual cycle.
Again, stress takes its toll on oneʼs energy level so changes in the outside world, especially stressful changes, affect the quality of our sleep. Sometimes lingering fatigue is the only symptom of a low-grade infection or an early sign of something more serious. Take the day off, eat something healthy, watch a funny movie, and crawl into bed early. If a few nights of good, relaxing sleep donʼt clear up the fatigue or if additional symptoms develop, do see your doctor as soon as possible.
- Food Cravings
Pickles and ice cream may be legendary on the pregnancy menu, but food cravings can signal a nutritional deﬁcit. The body craves the foods that supply the missing nutrients. Someone whoʼs never liked tomatoes, for instance, but ﬁnds themselves popping juicy little cherry tomatoes like popcorn, is likely to need the nutrients supplied by the tomato. She may be pregnant, but she may also just need to improve her diet.
- Canʼt Keep Food Down
Stress and dietary imbalance can lead to nausea. A binge of potato chips and chocolate is as likely to leave someone as queasy the next morning as a binge of martinis...or even a glass or two more of wine than a personʼs used to. If nausea lingers, do see a doctor; nausea can be a signal of a number of other issues.
- Tender Breasts
The menstrual cycle changes over a womanʼs lifetime and can cause the breasts to feel tender even when that hasnʼt been a typical symptom of menstruation or premenstrual syndrome (PMS). A more vigorous exercise class or running an extra mile can irritate the breasts, too. Unusually amorous lovemaking can leave tender lingering memories, too.
- Crazy Mood Swings
Sometimes they seem crazy, but sometimes theyʼre justiﬁed. Loss of a loved one, new home, money or job woes, an approaching birthday, or sending the last kid to school can take an emotional toll on even the most stoic individual. Most women can wear a pretty, public smile when needed but a good cry behind the scenes can be a very healthy way to release emotional tension, even if you didn't know it was there.
One of the best things about being a woman is our fabulously complex body. Itʼs dynamic - it changes a bit every day. Celebrate it, enjoy it, but try not to let every new sensation come with hope of a pregnancy. The stress of such intense anticipation can sometimes be counter-productive.
Source: "What Are Some Common Signs of Pregnancy?" National Institute of Health. 19 Mar 2013. Web. 16 Sept 2013.