Symptoms after a missed period: Pregnancy – signs and symptoms
Pregnancy – signs and symptoms
Significant hormonal changes take place during pregnancy. These trigger a variety of symptoms. Some women experience many of the symptoms of pregnancy, while others may have only a few.
Symptoms of early pregnancy include missed periods, breast changes, tiredness, frequent urination, and nausea and vomiting (morning sickness). However, these symptoms may be caused by other factors and do not necessarily mean that you are pregnant, so if you suspect you are pregnant take a home pregnancy test and see your GP.
A wide range of changes can occur in your body in the later stages of pregnancy, including backache, headache, leg cramps or varicose veins, itch or tingling, constipation, haemorrhoids or indigestion, vaginitis or vaginal discharge, or mood changes or depression.
If you have any concerns don’t hesitate to talk to your GP. See your GP right away if you experience symptoms like vaginal bleeding or breaking waters, chronic pain, high temperature, severe headaches or vision loss.
The signs of early pregnancy can include:
- missed period
- nausea and vomiting (often called ‘morning’ sickness, but it can occur at any time)
- breast tenderness and enlargement
- passing urine more frequently than usual, particularly at night
- cravings for some foods, distaste for foods you usually like, and a sour or metallic taste that persists even when you’re not eating (dysgeusia).
Many of the signs of pregnancy, such as a missed period (amenorrhoea), nausea (morning sickness) or tiredness can also be caused by stress or illness, so if you think you are pregnant take a home pregnancy test (urine test) or see your GP, who will administer a urine test, blood test or ultrasound scan.
Missing a period is often the first sign of possible pregnancy. However, some women experience light bleeding around the time of their expected period.
Nausea and vomiting
‘Morning’ sickness is a condition that affects more than half of all pregnant women. The symptoms include nausea and vomiting, and loss of appetite. Many women with morning sickness don’t just get symptoms in the morning but experience them throughout the whole day.
Morning sickness usually begins around the fourth to sixth week of pregnancy and may settle by week 12, although it can continue for longer or return at around 32 weeks.
During pregnancy, the breasts become fuller, swollen and tender. These changes are similar to those you may have noticed in the few days before your period. During pregnancy, the skin around the nipple becomes darker and the veins in the breast become more obvious.
Overwhelming tiredness is common in early pregnancy. This is most likely caused by the massive increase in the sex hormone progesterone. Progesterone is needed to maintain the pregnancy and help the baby to grow, but it also slows your metabolism.
Try to get some more sleep or rest when you can during this early stage. Your energy levels will probably rise again by around the fourth month of pregnancy when the placenta is well established.
Tiredness during pregnancy can also be caused by anaemia, which is most commonly caused by iron deficiency. Eating iron-rich foods is important in the prevention of iron deficiency anaemia during pregnancy. Medical treatment of anaemia in pregnancy usually involves taking iron tablets. Sometimes an iron infusion (iron medicine given by a drip) is needed. This needs a hospital admission but only takes a few hours. Some iron infusions can be given by your GP.
Pregnancy causes an increase in levels of body fluids and greater kidney efficiency. The swelling uterus also presses against the bladder. As a result, most women start experiencing more frequent urination within the first few weeks of becoming pregnant.
Cravings for certain foods are very common in pregnancy, especially for foods that provide energy and calcium, such as milk and other dairy products. You may also notice a sudden distaste for foods you previously liked.
Some women even develop an unusual taste for non-food items such as soil or paper. This is called ‘pica’ and may indicate a nutrient deficiency. Please speak to your GP or midwife if this develops.
Other symptoms of pregnancy
Many of these symptoms may also be indicative of other conditions. If in doubt, see your GP.
- haemorrhoids (piles)
- heartburn and indigestion
- itchy skin
- leg cramps
- mood changes (such as unexplained crying)
- tingling and numbness in your hands
- vaginal discharge
- varicose veins and leg oedema (swelling).
Back pain during pregnancy can affect more than 1 in 3 women. This is usually due to loosening of ligaments and change in posture due to the growing pregnancy.
You can help reduce back pain during pregnancy by wearing flat heeled shoes, using chairs with good back support, avoiding lifting heavy objects, and doing gentle exercise. Exercising in water can reduce back pain in pregnancy, and physiotherapy and acupuncture may also help.
At the onset of pregnancy the hormone progesterone increases your lung capacity. This enables you to carry more oxygen to your baby and get rid of waste products such as the carbon dioxide that you both produce. At each breath you breathe more deeply and the amount of air you inhale (and exhale) increases significantly. This can make you feel short of breath.
In addition, as pregnancy approaches term, the pressure of the enlarging uterus and baby on your diaphragm can make your breathing feel more laboured.
Contact your doctor or midwife if you experience sudden onset of breathlessness associated with any of the following:
- palpitations (heart pounding)
- extreme tiredness
Constipation refers to infrequent, hard bowel movements that are difficult to pass. Constipation is a common problem in pregnancy that may be caused by pregnancy hormones slowing your gastrointestinal movement, or by the pressure of your growing uterus on your rectum.
If you experience constipation during pregnancy, you are advised to:
- drink plenty of water every day.
- increase your dietary fibre (such as bran, wheat and fresh fruit and vegetables).
- do gentle, low impact exercise such as swimming, walking or yoga.
Don’t take over-the-counter laxatives without first consulting your midwife or GP. If changes to your diet and lifestyle don’t make a difference then your GP or midwife can prescribe a laxative that is safe to use in pregnancy.
You may develop haemorrhoids (also known as piles) as a result of straining from constipation or the pressure of your baby’s head. Be reassured, symptoms usually resolve on their own soon after birth.
If you have bleeding from haemorrhoids, itching, discomfort or pain it is recommended that you:
- Alleviate or prevent constipation by increasing your daily water and fibre intake.
- Sit in warm salty water for about 15 minutes, especially after a bowel motion.
- Apply haemorrhoid cream.
If the bleeding or pain continues, talk with your GP (doctor) or midwife.
Contact your GP or midwife if you have a headache during pregnancy that is not relieved by paracetamol (such as Panadol), especially in the second half of pregnancy.
A persistent headache can be associated with pre-eclampsia – a condition that can affect your kidneys and thus increase blood pressure and decrease blood flow to your baby.
Heartburn and indigestion
Heartburn, reflux or indigestion is the pain and discomfort associated with acid from the stomach entering and ‘burning’ the oesophagus.
Indigestion is more common during pregnancy due to the pressure of the enlarging uterus on the organs of the abdomen and the action of the hormone progesterone that relaxes the muscle between the oesophagus and stomach.
If you are experiencing heartburn, reflux or indigestion, it is recommended that you:
- Eat small and more frequent meals.
- Avoid eating just before going to bed.
- Sleep with extra pillows so your head is raised.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing.
- Avoid any food or fluid that aggravates symptoms – such as fatty foods (including fried foods, fatty meats and pastry), spicy foods (including curry and chilli), alcohol and caffeine (including tea, coffee, chocolate and cola).
- Consult your doctor before taking antacids.
If these strategies do not relieve your symptoms, please consult your GP, who may prescribe a medication that will safely reduce the secretion of acid.
Widespread itching over the body is not common in pregnancy but it can be very distressing, interfering with sleep and enjoyment of pregnancy. Dry skin and eczema are the most common causes but sometimes there may be no apparent cause for the itching. In rare cases, where the palms of the hands and soles of the feet are itchy, it may be due to serious liver disease – a blood test can be done to check for this.
An itchy rash in the later part of pregnancy is thought to be caused by the body’s reaction to the stretching of the skin. This is called PUPPS. Itching can be controlled by using moisturisers and antihistamines. Ask your doctor or midwife what antihistamines are safe in pregnancy.
Leg cramps occur due to a build-up of acids that cause involuntary contractions of the affected muscles. They are experienced by up to half of pregnant women, usually at night. Leg cramps are more likely in the second and third trimesters.
If you experience leg cramps, it is recommended that during an episode you:
- Walk around.
- Stretch and massage the affected muscle(s) to disperse the build-up of acids.
- Apply a warm pack to the affected muscle(s).
If you find cramps troublesome, discuss with your GP or midwife the option of taking magnesium lactate or citrate morning and evening.
Some newly pregnant women experience mood changes such as irritability. Other pregnant women experience feelings of elation. It is thought that the pregnancy hormones influence chemicals in the brain, causing mood changes.
During pregnancy, 1 in 10 women experience depression. Depression is treatable, so if you are feeling depressed or ‘down’ during pregnancy it is extremely important to get help early. Please contact your GP (doctor), midwife or maternal and child health nurse as soon as possible.
Tingling and numbness in your hands (carpal tunnel syndrome)
Carpal tunnel syndrome – tingling and numbness in your hands – affects up to 60 per cent of women during pregnancy. It is caused by compression of the median nerve due to an increase in the tissue fluids during pregnancy.
Carpal tunnel syndrome may be mild, intermittently painful, or severe, which may cause partial paralysis of the thumb or loss of sensation. Symptoms usually resolve on their own soon after birth.
If you are experiencing tingling and numbness in your hands, inform your doctor or midwife. In very severe cases, your doctor may recommend corticosteroid injections or surgical treatment.
An increase in vaginal discharge is a common change during pregnancy. If it is associated with itchiness, pain, a bad odour or pain on passing urine then it may be due to an infection. Seek treatment from your GP.
Vaginitis is inflammation of the vagina, and is a distressing complaint for many women. It is more frequent during pregnancy. Some causes of vaginitis include vaginal thrush, bacterial vaginosis, trichomoniasis and chlamydia. See your GP for diagnosis and treatment
Varicose veins and leg oedema (swelling)
Varicose veins of the legs are very common in pregnancy due to a combination of factors, including increased volume of circulating blood during pregnancy, and pressure of the pregnant uterus on the larger veins. This increased pressure on the veins can also result in swelling of the legs (oedema) that can cause pain, feelings of heaviness, cramps (especially at night) and other unusual sensations.
If you have varicose veins, it is recommended that you:
- Wear support stockings.
- Avoid standing for long periods.
- Exercise gently and regularly (walking or swimming).
- Lie down to rest with feet elevated, when you can.
- Try massaging your legs.
- Tell your doctor or midwife at your next pregnancy visit.
It is recommended that you contact your hospital or carer if you are worried or if you have any of the following during pregnancy:
- vaginal bleeding
- less movement of your baby than usual
- severe stomach pain
- pain that doesn’t go away
- leaking amniotic fluid (that is, if your waters break)
- a high temperature
- vomiting that will not stop
- a headache that will not go away
- vision loss or blurred vision
- widespread itching of the skin
- sudden swelling of face, hands and feet.
Read more about problems that can occur during pregnancy.
Where to get help
- In an emergency, call 000 for an ambulance
- Your GP (doctor)
- Your maternity hospital
- Your maternal and child health nurse
- Sexual Health VictoriaExternal Link Tel. 1800 013 952
- Sexual Health Victoria – Our ClinicsExternal Link
16 early signs of pregnancy
You’ve got one question on your mind: Could I be pregnant?
A pregnancy test is the only way to know for sure. But if it’s too early to take a test, you may be on the lookout for early signs – or maybe you think you’re already experiencing some early pregnancy symptoms.
Is it too early to tell if you’re pregnant? What symptoms may be the earliest signs of pregnancy? Below, we answer those questions and more.
How early can you tell if you’re pregnant?
Again, you’ll need to take a pregnancy test at the right time to confirm your hopes or suspicions. But when it comes to the first symptoms of pregnancy, everyone is different. Some people start to notice changes within a week after conception. Others might not notice anything until they miss their period.
When should you take a pregnancy test?
It’s usually recommended that you take a pregnancy test after you’ve missed your period. This is because pregnancy tests measure the level of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) in your body, which is a hormone that starts to build up when you conceive. It can take around three to four weeks from the first day of your last period for there to be enough hCG in your body to show up on a test.
What are the first symptoms of pregnancy?
The most common sign of early pregnancy? A missed period.
Your menstrual cycle is your body’s way of preparing for a possible pregnancy each month. Part of that is the thickening of your uterine lining, which is where a fertilized egg would implant to begin a pregnancy.
If you’re not pregnant, your period is how your uterus sheds that extra lining. If you are pregnant, that lining stays put and you don’t get your normal flow. This is why a missed period is often the earliest sign of pregnancy.
Of course, a delayed or missed period doesn’t always mean you’re pregnant. If your body is under a lot of stress or you have a hormonal imbalance, you could be experiencing an irregular menstrual cycle.
What other symptoms can be early signs of pregnancy?
Every person – and every pregnancy – is different. So, if you are pregnant, you’ll likely experience a unique combination of common, not-so-common and sometimes overlapping symptoms. And, they may show up earlier or later than expected. Here are more than a dozen possible symptoms of early pregnancy.
1. Spotting or light bleeding
Many women are surprised to learn that spotting or light bleeding can be an early sign of pregnancy, but about one-third of women experience it. This is often called implantation bleeding because doctors believe it occurs as the fertilized egg attaches (or implants) itself into the uterine lining. This is different from bleeding that could occur from something like a miscarriage – which is usually heavier.
When does implantation bleeding occur?
Implantation bleeding typically occurs 10 to 14 days after conception, which is just before or right around the time your period is due. So, you may think you’ve gotten your period.
But implantation bleeding is a light flow, which may start and stop over a couple days. And while it can take on a range of colors, it’s more likely to be pink, brown or light red.
Your period, on the other hand, may start off light in flow and in color but after a couple days becomes heavier, changes to a crimson red color and lasts up to a week or so.
2. Lower abdominal pain or cramping
While cramps and lower-abdominal pain can signal a coming period, they can also be a sign of egg implantation.
What do implantation cramps feel like?
Implantation cramps can occur with or without spotting or bleeding, and may feel different from period cramps. For example, you might feel mild to moderate prickling, pulling or tingling that comes and goes over a few days.
But menstrual cramps can often feel like a throbbing or dull ache, and typically start a day or two before your period.
3. Higher basal body temperature
If you’ve been tracking your basal body temperature (BBT) to increase your chances of getting pregnant, you probably know that your BBT goes up slightly right after ovulation. If you’re pregnant, your temperature may remain elevated rather than dipping back down.
Of course, you could be running hot for other reasons, but if it lasts more than a few weeks, pregnancy may be the explanation.
4. Changes in cervical mucus
If you’ve already been checking your cervical mucus to figure out when you’re most fertile, here’s a reason to continue: In the first few weeks of pregnancy, the amount of cervical discharge may increase and become stickier and whiter.
5. Breast tenderness, swelling or tingling
When you’re pregnant, your body experiences big changes in hormones – specifically, increases in estrogen and progesterone – to support your growing baby. This change in hormones can contribute to many symptoms, including breast tenderness.
Oftentimes, increased breast tenderness, swelling or tingling start to become noticeable a few days before a missed period.
If you usually experience breast tenderness leading up to your period or shortly after it begins, pregnancy-related breast tenderness and swelling will likely be more intense than you’re used to and stick around. You may also experience nipple soreness.
Fatigue in early pregnancy is common, and some women might notice it before they know they’re pregnant. In fact, fatigue may set in as soon as one week after conception. This is thanks to those sudden changes in hormone levels, particularly increasing progesterone.
7. Frequent urination
If you’re making more trips to the bathroom than usual around the time your next period is due, it may be a sign of pregnancy.
Certainly, your drinking habits play a big role in how many times you pee in a day. However, pregnancy increases the amount of blood in your body, which gives your kidneys more fluid to filter and more waste to get rid of.
So if you’re pregnant, you may notice you’re peeing a lot more – a symptom that can start early on and (unfortunately) last throughout your pregnancy.
8. Nausea or vomiting
Morning sickness might be the most well-known of all pregnancy symptoms, taking the form of food aversion or nausea, and even vomiting for some. This symptom can set in as early as two weeks after conception, which is around the fourth week of pregnancy and right around the time you’d miss your period if you were pregnant.
But some may not experience nausea or vomiting at all. And despite its name, morning sickness can actually happen at any time of the day or night.
9. Darkening areolas
When you’re pregnant, your areolas (the areas round your nipples) will likely grow and darken. Usually, these changes are gradual and continue throughout pregnancy. However, some women notice these changes really early on in combination with other symptoms.
10. Bloating or constipation
We all experience bloating or constipation from time to time, but both are quite common during pregnancy. Once again, those changing hormones are the culprit. They slow down digestion, which can cause a buildup of air in the gut and lead to constipation.
Early on, bloating or constipation may be mild and accompanied with other pregnancy symptoms. But – as a heads up – if you really are pregnant, these symptoms may stick around throughout your whole pregnancy.
11. Metallic taste in your mouth
Many women report a metallic taste in their mouth during pregnancy. Once again, hormones are to blame – specifically, estrogen.
Typically, this symptom (as well as changes in taste overall) is common in the first trimester but may occur at other times too – including before a missed period.
12. Sensitivity to smell
Many women report that sensitivity to smell was one of their first signs of pregnancy. In fact, as many as two-thirds of women become more sensitive or reactive to the smells around them during pregnancy.
And oftentimes, this heightened sense of smell can stick around through the first trimester or beyond, and contribute to other symptoms such as nausea, and food cravings or aversions.
13. Mood changes
From a stressful day at work to the natural wonders of your menstrual cycle, there are a lot of things that can affect your mood. But changes in mood are very common during pregnancy – and they may be especially noticeable early on as your body gets a sudden burst of estrogen and progesterone.
If you are pregnant, any mood changes you’re experiencing are likely coupled with other symptoms such as fatigue or nausea. You may feel more sensitive or weepy. Or perhaps your fuse is a little shorter and you’re more easily annoyed.
Headaches are a part of life. They come with colds and allergies. They come with stress or fatigue, or when you cut down on caffeine to help prepare your body for pregnancy. But they can also come with pregnancy.
Headaches can happen thanks to the increasing blood volume and hormonal changes that occur in early pregnancy. You can also get headaches if you’re dehydrated as a result of nausea.
As blood flow increases during pregnancy, blood pressure can also decrease and lead to dizzy spells. Usually, dizziness is more of a second trimester symptom, but some women may notice it very early on, too.
16. Nasal congestion
A lot of people are shocked to learn that nasal congestion can be a pregnancy symptom. You may wonder if you’re coming down with something or your allergies are acting up. But if you’re noticing a stuffy or runny nose along with other pregnancy signs, you might be taking a pregnancy test in the near future.
The mucous membranes in the nose are also affected by hormones and increased blood flow throughout your body. This can cause blood vessels to swell, resulting in congestion and even sneezing.
Could you have early pregnancy symptoms and not be pregnant?
Yes. As we’ve mentioned, many early pregnancy symptoms can overlap with symptoms of other conditions, especially premenstrual symptoms. So, the best way to know if the symptoms you’re experiencing are pregnancy related is to try to relax and patiently wait until it’s time to take a pregnancy test.
When should you see a doctor about a new pregnancy?
If you’ve taken a pregnancy test and it’s positive, go ahead and make your first prenatal visit right away. This is also a great time to start looking into educational resources like the myHealthyPregnancy app.
At the first prenatal visit, you’ll get a physical exam and other tests to make sure everything is looking healthy, and you’ll learn about the rest of your prenatal appointment schedule. You’ll also get to talk through any expectations and questions you have, such as which foods to eat and avoid while pregnant.
The first signs of pregnancy | Kotex®
Gynecologist Anastasia Degteva
“You can’t diagnose yourself by the first symptoms. If you have a reason to suspect pregnancy (ineffective contraception or lack of it, delayed menstruation), then be sure to do a urinary pregnancy test or take a blood test for hCG.
Important! A blood test is a more accurate way to determine pregnancy than a urine test.
You should also exclude the possibility of pregnancy and consult a doctor if, after a delay, the discharge differs from the usual duration and volume. The appearance of bleeding may be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy, and not the onset of menstruation.
Although pregnancy tests and ultrasounds are the only ways to accurately determine pregnancy, there are a number of signs and symptoms to watch out for. How to understand that you are pregnant? The first signs of pregnancy include not only the absence of a period, but may also include fatigue, sensitivity to smells, and morning sickness. It is worth remembering that these are POSSIBLE signs of pregnancy, they can appear in both pregnant and non-pregnant women and are associated with ovulation and menstruation.
When do symptoms appear?
Oddly enough, the first week of pregnancy is determined by the date of the last menstruation.
Your last period counts as the first week of pregnancy, even if you haven’t actually been pregnant yet. The estimated due date is calculated from the first day of your last period.
Taking a home pregnancy test is the cheapest and easiest way to find out if you are pregnant. Remember that home pregnancy tests measure the level of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in the urine, and there is usually less of it in urine than in blood.
The test gives the most accurate results from the moment of missed menstruation.
The menstrual cycle is considered delayed if the menstruation did not begin within 5 or more days after the day of their expected start.
However, it is worth remembering that even the day after the expected delay, more than a third of women have such home tests come back negative, and if you test too early, the result can be negative, even if you are already pregnant. You can do another test at home after a couple of days to get a more accurate result.
Signs and symptoms of pregnancy
If you are pregnant for the first time, then you may well not notice signs of pregnancy in the early stages or confuse them with symptoms of impending menstruation.
It is not worth spending long hours looking for answers on the forums in experiences, in any case, your research will not change what has already happened or has not happened, but mood and sleep can thoroughly spoil.
First signs and symptoms of early pregnancy:
- Slight lower abdominal pain and spotting
- Absence of periods
- Breast swelling
- Frequent urination
- Dizziness on movement
- Mood swings
- Temperature changes
- High blood pressure and and slight bleeding
From weeks 1 to 4, changes in a woman’s body are still happening at the cellular level. A fertilized egg creates a group of cells filled with fluid, which is called a blastocyst, which, after pregnancy, will have to turn into organs and body parts of the fetus.
Approximately 10-14 days after conception (4 weeks), the blastocyst attaches itself to the endometrium lining the uterine wall. This process can cause some bleeding, which can be confused with light menstruation.
Here are some signs of such bleeding:
color can be red, pink or brown
bleeding: usually comparable to normal menstruation, usually lighter
usually lasts about three days
After the blastocyst attaches to the walls of the uterus, the body begins to produce a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, which tells the body that it is time to stop releasing eggs from the ovaries every month. Most often, after conception, menstruation disappears at 4 weeks of pregnancy.
If you’re late, it’s worth taking a home pregnancy test, especially if you have irregular periods.
Fatigue may appear at any time during pregnancy. During pregnancy, progesterone levels rise, and this hormone can make you feel sleepy. If you feel tired, then make sure you get enough sleep.
Morning sickness and vomiting
Nausea and morning vomiting usually develop between 4 and 6 weeks of gestation. In fact, such symptoms can occur not only in the morning, but in general at any time of the day. This symptom is typical for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. If you often feel sick, then you need to make sure that you drink enough water to avoid dehydration.
Breast swelling and tenderness
Breast changes may begin at 4-6 weeks of gestation. They are also associated with changes in hormone levels. Most often, the breast swells somewhat and becomes more sensitive than usual. Usually these symptoms disappear in the future, when the body gets used to the changed hormonal background.
During pregnancy, blood flow increases and this causes the kidneys to process more fluid than usual, which can cause frequent urination even in the early stages of pregnancy.
Constipation and bloating
This symptom is similar to the typical menstrual symptom and is also caused by hormonal changes, which can slow down the digestive processes, which causes bloating and constipation.
High blood pressure and dizziness during pregnancy
Most often in the early stages of pregnancy in women, blood pressure drops, which can cause a feeling of dizziness due to vasodilation of the brain. High blood pressure in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy usually means that there are some health problems that occur along with pregnancy. Such a symptom may have been present unnoticed prior to pregnancy, or it may have developed during the process. In such cases, it is especially important to monitor your blood pressure and consult your doctor.
Since estrogen and progesterone levels are elevated during pregnancy, this can cause changes in your emotional background and you may become more sensitive than usual. They can cause such strong feelings as depression, irritability, euphoria and anxiety.
Increase in basal body temperature
Basal body temperature is the lowest body temperature it reaches during rest or sleep. It is determined by measuring the temperature in the early morning by inserting a thermometer into the rectum. Normal body temperature may also rise, especially during heat or physical activity. It is important to consume enough liquid in such cases. Make sure you don’t get too hot to sleep.
The first signs of pregnancy in the early stages, before and after the delay, how to recognize
Some women claim that they felt that they were pregnant even before the delay, in the first weeks, while others did not suspect that the pregnancy had come before the middle of the term. There are cases when a woman found out about her pregnancy only in childbirth. Why does this happen and what are the signs of early pregnancy?
How is the pregnancy
Pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks. During this time, the female body undergoes serious changes, which are quite difficult not to notice for both the woman herself and those around her. In order to verify the onset of pregnancy, you can resort to different methods.
Contents of article
Do not self-medicate! In our articles, we collect the latest scientific data and the opinions of authoritative health experts. But remember: only a doctor can diagnose and prescribe treatment.
Regardless of whether you are planning a pregnancy or not, you want to know about it as early as possible. The most obvious sign of pregnancy in the early stages is a delay in menstruation. Although it can be caused by various reasons, it is most often the first and main symptom of pregnancy.
Is it possible to find out that conception has occurred even before the cherished date of menstruation? Yes, some signs of pregnancy are possible in the early stages before the delay. We have collected them for you, but we warn you right away: the signs are not indisputable, and each of them individually is not yet enough to diagnose pregnancy. Rather, these are just guidelines, signs that you should pay special attention to your health just in case.
Caitlin Buhrow, MD in Iowa, recommends taking a pregnancy test 12 days after ovulation, but not before the first day of delay. Of course, if there are other early signs of pregnancy, you can do the test earlier, but in this case the result may be inaccurate.
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How can I know for sure that I am pregnant?
For example, take a pregnancy test, it will respond to an increase in the concentration of chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) – a hormone whose level rises in the first weeks after conception. A pregnancy test is recommended to be done after a delay in menstruation – before this period, the concentration of the hormone may be insufficient to detect, it will not work to focus on this sign of pregnancy.
Another option for confirming pregnancy is donating blood for hCG. An increase in the concentration of the hormone is one of the first signs of pregnancy. A blood test is more accurate, since the concentration of the hormone in the blood is greater than in the urine. In the first weeks of pregnancy, the concentration of hCG increases in proportion to the period, determining the amount of the hormone will help to more accurately identify which week of pregnancy a woman is in.
Ultrasound is also used to confirm pregnancy. The study itself is carried out transvaginally – in the early stages of pregnancy, you can already notice the first signs of pregnancy, examine the fetal egg and fix the heartbeat.
What causes pregnancy symptoms?
From the moment of the reunion of the spermatozoon and the ovum, various processes begin to take place in your body, connected with the birth of a new life. Sometimes they are accompanied by some unusual sensations that can be considered the first signs of pregnancy after conception.
Thus, pulling pains in the abdomen may accompany the attachment of a fertilized egg to the endometrium of the uterus. This sign of pregnancy usually appears even before the delay, and sometimes it can coincide with it in time.
During implantation, scanty spotting sometimes occurs – often mistaken for the onset of menstruation. This, by the way, is one of the reasons why many women remain in the dark for quite a long time about the fact that their body is preparing for motherhood: they are sure that they are menstruating. So don’t fool yourself when you expect your period after unprotected sex: more meager than usual discharge may well be a sign of early pregnancy.
Hormonal changes after conception are responsible for breast tenderness, fatigue and mood swings. These are not the most reliable signs of pregnancy before a missed period, but they should not be ignored.
Signs of pregnancy before your period: what you need to know
Most tests detect the first signs of pregnancy after a missed period, the same applies to blood tests for hCG and ultrasound. All these diagnostic methods are recommended to be carried out after the first day of delayed menstruation – it is from this day that the obstetric gestational age is counted. However, the cycle in women may be unstable, and menstruation may be absent for various reasons. This is what prevents some pregnant women from noticing changes in their condition.
It is especially difficult to recognize the first signs of a first pregnancy when a woman has never encountered this condition and does not know what to expect from her body. Below we list what signs can indicate pregnancy.
These are early signs of pregnancy that appear even before the delay, and which a woman can ignore, mistaking them for signs that precede the onset of menstruation. In fact, in the first stages of pregnancy, the signs may not be alarming, but resemble those that a woman experiences every month before menstruation.
An early sign of pregnancy: pulling pains in the abdomen
Unpleasant sensations in the lower abdomen can occur, as we have already written, when a fertilized egg attaches to the endometrium. As a rule, we are talking about mild discomfort. If the pain is intense, it is better not to hesitate to contact a doctor: for example, acute and cramping pain, discomfort in the perineum may be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy.
Implantation occurs on average one week after conception. Drawing pains at this time can be considered the first sign of early pregnancy. If the pregnancy is ectopic, then the pain usually appears later.
Soreness of the mammary glands
Many women notice an increase in breast sensitivity already in the first days after conception, when there are still no other signs of pregnancy. The fact is that breast tissue is very sensitive to hormonal changes, so breast engorgement may be the first sign of pregnancy as early as its first week.
As the body gets used to the change in hormonal levels, the pain disappears, although sensitivity may persist throughout pregnancy. By the way, the breasts can not only hurt, but also increase in size a little, so the sudden appearance of a luxurious bust in place of a modest first size may be a sign that you are pregnant.
Of course, you could just be tired, not get enough sleep, get nervous. But if fatigue appeared literally out of the blue, you want to sleep all the time and don’t want to do anything, this may be an early sign of pregnancy, which will appear even before the delay in menstruation.
Once again, hormones are to blame: changes in their levels become a serious stress for the body. In addition, the fetus grows and requires nutrition, and your body has not yet had time to rebuild to provide the fetus with everything it needs. Although this sign of pregnancy is not specific, on the forums you can often find stories of girls who guessed that they were pregnant, precisely because of unexpected drowsiness and constant fatigue, which was unusual for them before.
Mood lability is also a non-specific sign of pregnancy, which may appear one of the first, before the first delay. Many girls do not behave quite adequately during PMS, when they are ready either to kill everyone around, or to sob in a corner. But if premenstrual syndrome is characterized by irritability and depressive mood, then expectant mothers usually not only feel sad, but also rejoice. At the same time, the mood can change dramatically in just a couple of minutes.
Hormonal changes are to blame again. This symptom of pregnancy most often appears on the 10th – 14th day after conception.
How else does early pregnancy manifest itself? Nausea is one of the common symptoms that up to 90% of women experience. True, this sign of pregnancy usually appears at least a month later, not earlier. Most people feel sick in the morning.
Nausea is usually associated with increased salivation and sometimes with vomiting. All these 1st signs of pregnancy are a consequence of changes in progesterone levels. Some women feel sick before giving birth, but most of the discomfort disappears by the second trimester.
Vaginal discharge may be an early sign of a first (or not first) pregnancy. When an egg is implanted, up to 5 ml of blood can be released. Sometimes there may be unusual mucous discharge. Their appearance is associated with changes in the composition of the cervical mucus, which becomes less viscous, facilitating the access of sperm to the egg.
If you are looking for a reliable sign of how to understand that a woman is pregnant, then you should hardly be guided by the discharge. However, if they are combined with other symptoms, and there is an unprotected sexual intercourse in the anamnesis, then this is a reason to think.
Change in eating habits
The classic sign of pregnancy usually appears after a delay, but some even notice a sudden desire to chew something inedible or simply unusual before it. You may traditionally be drawn to salty or sour, you may awaken a passion for some products that you were previously indifferent to.
This pregnancy symptom is typical of the first trimester. The child needs vitamins and minerals, if your body does not have excess, it will strive to get them from food. It is believed that it is necessary to satisfy the whims of pregnant women, and if they seem completely wild and unhealthy to you, then special vitamin complexes that the doctor will recommend can help.
Increased sensitivity to smells
Another classic sign of pregnancy. which can appear both before the delay and after it. Hyperosmia in pregnant women is associated with an increase in the concentration of estrogen in the body. Nature has provided this mechanism to protect the body of a pregnant woman from the use of low-quality products and being in potentially dangerous places.
Usually this is not the first sign of pregnancy before menstruation, but many women experience it even before the uterus begins to grow rapidly and put pressure on the bladder. Due to fluid retention due to hormonal changes, you often run to the toilet “in a small way” more often than usual. Alas, this will only progress throughout your pregnancy, so get used to planning your day so that there are toilets in your way.
At what week do the first signs of pregnancy appear and how do they change?
Even at the earliest stage, one or another of the signs that many women associate with the onset of pregnancy and its development can be felt. Let’s analyze which week the signs of pregnancy appear most clearly.
1st – 4th weeks
Drawing pains in the lower abdomen, scanty bleeding usually appear within two weeks after conception. Increased sensitivity of the mammary glands, soreness when touched are also among the first signs of pregnancy, which can persist for several more months.
1st – 6th weeks
Increased emotionality, mood swings, tearfulness. From the sixth week, the mood becomes a little more even, but don’t count on it too much: often pregnant women themselves are surprised by their unexpected emotional reactions.
Delayed menses. The most obvious and unambiguous sign of the onset of pregnancy.
4th – 6th weeks
Nausea, change in appetite (decrease or increase), change in taste preferences. Increased fatigue, drowsiness, constant fatigue. These signs usually disappear by the second trimester, but may persist until the very birth.
Frequent painless urination. As a rule, this symptom persists until the end of pregnancy. Weakness, dizziness also usually occur in the fifth or sixth week, but as the body gets used to the new status, they disappear.
Temperature fluctuations from normal to subfebrile (37 degrees). Usually this sign of pregnancy disappears by the second trimester.
What signs of pregnancy can be detected before a missed period?
A single first sign of pregnancy, which is exactly present in every woman, is difficult to single out. Some do not experience exactly any changes before the delay (and often after it), others literally the next day after intercourse feel changes in themselves, and the symptoms that appear, which we described above, are associated with pregnancy. Most of these sensations are subjective – more often they appear in those who are looking forward to the onset of pregnancy, such women tend to take any body signals for a desired event.
When does pregnancy occur?
It is worth remembering that pregnancy does not always occur immediately after intercourse. The process of fertilization of an egg by a sperm does not occur instantly and can happen even a week after unprotected sex. In general, the signs of pregnancy in the first weeks may be different, and the degree of their manifestation may differ.
When can you accurately detect pregnancy?
Doctors are confident that the most reliable data on the onset of pregnancy can only be obtained after a delay – in the case when the obstetric gestation period exceeds 4-5 weeks.