A missed period is one of the most obvious pregnancy symptoms and perhaps the most well-known. Pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg burrows into the lining of the uterus. This signals the uterus to stop shedding its lining of blood each month. The blood instead begins to nourish the growing baby. However, it may not be the first indication you are pregnant. Some women experience sporadic menstrual periods, so a missed period might not be an accurate sign of pregnancy. Read on to find out some symptoms that might arrive first!
1. Sensitive, swollen, or tender breasts
An increase in hormones can cause your breasts to become swollen and sore as early as a week after conception. That is even before most pregnancy tests will show positive results!
In the first several weeks of pregnancy, your baby is growing and changing at an astonishing rate. Where is it getting the fuel and energy to do this? From your body. Between this and the hormones that have flooded your system, you may feel very tired.
3. Increased urination
Feel like you have to pee every seven minutes? Blame those pregnancy hormones again!
4. Morning sickness
Another “classic” pregnancy symptom that may show up as early as a few weeks after conception. Although many women feel ill in the morning, pregnancy nausea can occur any time during the day (or night!).
5. Food aversion
Closely related to pregnancy nausea, food aversion is very common in the first trimester of pregnancy. Some women report feelings of nausea or revulsion even towards foods they usually enjoy.
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6. Increased appetite
Alternatively, some women are extremely hungry in the first weeks of pregnancy. Your baby grows and develops most rapidly during the first trimester. Your body may need more nutrients and calories to support that rapid growth. Good, balanced, and adequate nutrition is especially important during this time.
Although it is not common, some women experience a day or two of cramping immediately after conception. These are known as implantation cramps. They happen when the fertilized egg embeds itself in the uterine wall, causing the uterus to contract and relax. A warm bath, gentle massage, or a walk may help alleviate mild cramps. Ask your doctor before taking pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen if you suspect you are pregnant.
Implantation can sometimes cause spotting, a small showing of blood in your underwear. Small, sporadic amounts of blood are common for some women early in pregnancy. If you believe you are pregnant and experience large amounts of bright-red blood, you should call your doctor.
Again, those pesky pregnancy hormones! Your digestion slows down while you are pregnant, and this can cause gas and uncomfortable constipation. Foods high in fiber such as oatmeal, brown rice, lentils, and leafy green vegetables may help ease your discomfort. Staying hydrated is also key. Be sure to drink lots of water!
10. Swollen genitals
The increased blood flow in your body may cause your genitals to swell and become darker and more sensitive. Although this happens more commonly later on in pregnancy, it may be an indicator in the first trimester as well.
11. A positive pregnancy test
All of these symptoms may indicate that you are pregnant. However, only a test that measures the levels of the hormone hCG in your blood can tell you for certain. Home pregnancy tests, when taken correctly, are very accurate. False negatives do happen. A false positive (a test that says you are pregnant when in fact you are not) is extremely rare. A positive test almost always means you are pregnant.
Whether your pregnancy was a plan or surprise, your first or your fourth, the first pregnancy symptoms can be very exciting. Remember that all women and all pregnancies are unique. There is no wrong way to experience pregnancy. Educate yourself and listen to your body. And congratulations on your pregnancy!