You’re planning to have a family and have been actively trying to conceive. Now you’re wondering if the changes you’re experiencing are actually early signs of pregnancy.
While the only foolproof way to know for sure is by paying a visit to your doctor, some early signs may be clues that you’ve got a bun in the oven.
How early do pregnancy symptoms start?
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This depends, with some women experiencing pregnancy signs as early as the first few days after conception. Others may develop signs in the second week or later on in the pregnancy.
However, most women do realize that they are pregnant in the first trimester itself. Nonetheless, some women may not recognize signs that they are pregnant because symptoms can be similar to those that they experience before the menstrual period.
Early signs of pregnancy
While home pregnancy tests and blood tests by your healthcare provider are better able to tell if you’re expecting, these early signs of pregnancy can offer some clues that you’re pregnant.
However, do keep in mind that having these indicators doesn’t necessarily mean that you are pregnant. Additionally, some expecting women might not experience any of these signs at all.
If you’ve just recently tried to conceive, you can read more on symptoms of successful implantation.
Early signs of pregnancy before missed period
Here are some of the earliest signs of pregnancy that expectant mothers might feel.
Breast changes can occur as early as a few days after conception. Your breasts may feel tender and swollen, and you might notice your areolas darkening and increasing in diameter as your body prepares itself to start producing breast milk.
There may also be tiny bumps on your areolas called Montgomery’s tubercles. While these bumps have always been there, they’re now much more noticeable because they’re starting to produce oils that work to lubricate your nipples during breastfeeding.
Raised basal body temperature
This sign is only noticeable if you’ve been using a basal body thermometer to keep track of your morning temperature. You might see that your body temperature rises about 1 degree when you’ve conceived. This increase in basal body temperature stays throughout your pregnancy.
Do remember that there are other reasons why your body temperature can rise, so it’s wise not to take this as a 100% foolproof symptom of pregnancy.
Fatigue is an early sign of pregnancy that most expectant mothers experience. Your body uses a big amount of energy to build the placenta and this can cause you to feel fatigued once you’ve conceived.
If you’re feeling fatigued, remember to rest up, eat well and stay hydrated. Many women usually feel their energy return in the second trimester.
You might be pregnant if your nose is suddenly more sensitive to the smells around you. The heightened sense of smells can cause seemingly mild odors to become unappealing. Smell sensitivity might also contribute to morning sickness and nausea.
Changes in cervical mucus
A good sign that you’re pregnant is your cervical mucus becoming and staying creamy after your ovulation period. You will also most likely notice an increase in vaginal discharge that is thin and milky white as your pregnancy progresses.
Early signs of pregnancy at 1 week
In addition to the above mentioned symptoms, implantation bleeding is one that occurs at the end of the first week of pregnancy.
Some women experience light spotting, or ‘implantation bleeding’ around 6 to 12 days after conception. Implantation bleeding is a sign that the embryo has implanted itself to the uterine wall. Menstrual-like cramps can sometimes accompany the light spotting.
Implantation bleeding occurs before your period is due and is usually light brown or medium pink in color. It also differs from your usual period in that it’s not continuous, although it can last for a few days.
Early signs of pregnancy at 2 weeks
At two weeks, the embryo would have implanted itself on your uterine wall. Your baby is in the beginning stages of growing in your uterus.
You may have an increased need to pee about two to three weeks after you conceive. This feeling is largely caused by the hCG hormone which is working to increase blood flow to your kidneys to help them get rid of your and your baby’s waste.
Besides this, there is also increased pressure on your bladder due to your growing uterus. This results in less space for urine and thus, the ‘need-to-go’ feeling.
Other signs of pregnancy
These signs of pregnancy usually appear between 4 to 9 weeks. However, every pregnancy and every woman is different so some women may experience all of these symptoms while others may not notice them at all.
A missed period is about one of the most common early pregnancy symptoms, especially if your periods are consistent every month.
Early pregnancy bloating is usually caused by increased levels of progesterone which play a role in slowing down the digestive process so that nutrients from the food you’ve eaten have more time to enter your bloodstream to reach your baby.
However, constipation often accompanies this symptom. If you do experience constipation, adding fiber to your diet can help.
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Heartburn usually makes its appearance only around the 8th week of pregnancy. It is caused by increased progesterone and relaxin which relaxes muscles tissues throughout your body. This then results in food travelling slowly through your digestive tract.
Heartburn can be quite uncomfortable so let your doctor know if you’re experiencing this. There are medications that can help with this symptom.
Morning sickness usually starts around 6 weeks after conception, but some women do experience it earlier, right from the time they conceive. Although it’s called morning sickness, it can occur any time of the day.
Morning sickness and nausea during pregnancy is caused by the increased levels of progesterone, estrogen as well as hCG.
Food aversions can be caused by your extra-sensitive nose and may contribute to morning sickness or nausea. With this symptom, the thought, smell or sight of certain foods can make your stomach turn.
Food aversions can start as early as the second week and hopefully pass by the second trimester when your body has gotten used to the hormonal changes.
Some pregnant women experience a build-up of saliva, which is also known as ‘ptyalism gravidarum’. This pregnancy symptom usually starts during the first trimester and functions to protect your mouth, throat and teeth from stomach acid.
Mood swings are common in expecting mothers due to the hormonal changes taking place in your body. You may feel the same type of PMS moodiness around 4 weeks into your pregnancy or earlier.
Getting enough rest, eating well can help with pregnancy mood swings. Also, give yours;f a break because your body is working hard to grow your little one!
You might have a stuffy or runny nose due to the increased hormone levels in your body. Additionally, increased blood production can also result in your nose’s mucous membranes to swell and bleed easily.
Do all women get early pregnancy signs?
No, not all women get early pregnancy signs. In fact, these can vary for each woman. Symptoms can also be different from one pregnancy to the next for the same woman. Some women may not feel any early signs of pregnancy while others experience all of them.
When to take a home pregnancy test?
While you may have early signs of pregnancy before your missed period, you will have to wait for about two weeks from the time you ovulate in order for a home pregnancy test to detect the pregnancy.
Home pregnancy tests measure the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels in your urine. This hormone is present in your urine about 6 to 12 days after your egg is fertilized, which is when the embryo is implanting itself in the uterus.
However, hCG levels are usually not high enough to be detected by home pregnancy tests until your period is due.
Home pregnancy tests may also give false-negative results. Thus, the most accurate way to know for sure is to schedule an appointment with your obstetrician. You OB/GYN will conduct a blood test to confirm if you are indeed pregnant.
If you’ve noticed any of these signs and feel that you might be pregnant, schedule an appointment with your doctor to get confirmation. Check out our list of recommended gynaecologists in Malaysia.
Prenatal care is important to ensure that you and your baby stay healthy throughout the pregnancy. Your first visit to gynaecologist when pregnant will be an exciting experience.
Read on what mums-to-be should expect at their first prenatal visit to help you prepare a series of questions to ask your gynae.
If you’re wondering what happens as your pregnancy progresses, check out our article ‘What Happens in Each Trimester of Pregnancy? Here It Is!’
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