10 early signs of pregnancy
Long before you get a positive pregnancy test, your body issues some early signs to share the news. While the only way to know for sure is with a pregnancy test or an ultrasound, there are some symptoms most women experience during the earliest days of their pregnancies. Some of these early pregnancy indicators can mimic premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which means some women think they are gearing up for their next period and they ignore them.
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it is not necessarily a cause for alarm. You may want to follow up with your primary care physician or visit the nearest Care Net location for free pregnancy testing.
- Cramping and spotting
This is a common early hint your body sends about pregnancy. It usually occurs between 10 and 14 days after you become pregnant. You may notice some light spotting and cramping, as part of the implantation process. This means one of your eggs was fertilized by sperm and has now embedded itself into your uterus, where it will continue to grow into a fetus. So, how do you know if it is implantation spotting or a light period? The color of the bleeding is your first clue. It tends to be pink, red, or brown and can last less than three days. Some women describe the pain of implantation bleeding as mild while others say it causes severe pain. Every woman is different.
- Missing a period
Many women suspect pregnancy after the first missed period, especially if they recently engaged in sexual activity with their partner. You miss your period during pregnancy because your body begins producing the human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) hormone. Its sole purpose is to maintain the pregnancy by signaling to your ovaries they no longer need to release mature eggs for fertilization. Some home pregnancy tests can detect hCG levels as soon as eight days after you miss your period. They are not always reliable, so you may want to take more than one or visit your local pregnancy care center for follow-up and confirmation. A free limited pregnancy ultrasound can help confirm or refute pregnancy.
- Rising body temperatures
Basal body temperature is an excellent way to monitor your fertility cycle. Some women choose to use it for natural family planning purposes to help pinpoint when they ovulate to either get pregnant or help avoid pregnancy. Once you become pregnant, your basal body temperature rises and stays elevated. This is because your body is producing more progesterone to support the pregnancy.
- Feeling sleepy
Fatigue during early pregnancy is common for most women. When progesterone levels rise, it can make you feel more fatigued. The same properties of progesterone that help it to loosen your joints and ligaments in preparation for pregnancy and birth can cause feelings of sleepiness.
- Increasing heart rate
Your body goes through many changes during pregnancy to help support the growing fetus. One of those changes involves your heart rate. Starting between eight and 10 weeks, your heart begins pumping faster and harder to promote increased blood flow to your uterus. Arrhythmias and heart palpitations are common during pregnancy due to the boost in your blood flow.
- Urinating frequently
A heart that beats faster and harder is not the only side effect of increased blood flow during pregnancy. All that extra blood circulation makes your kidneys work harder to process the extra fluid. The result? You will need to pee more often. Some women also find they are unable to hold their urine. When they feel the need to go, they must find a toilet quickly. If you find yourself urinating more frequently without any extra intake of fluids to account for it, you may be pregnant.
- Bloating and constipation
Some women experience bloating and constipation during PMS, which is why this warning sign often is ignored. This duo of symptoms signals a change in your digestive system, which slows down during pregnancy due to the shift in hormones to support the growing fetus.
- Rising blood pressure
For most women, their blood pressure drops during the early stages of pregnancy. This is caused by progesterone, which promotes more blood flow and a faster heart rate. Because your blood vessels are so dilated, some women experience dizziness, especially when they first stand up. If your blood pressure is lower than normal and you find yourself experiencing dizziness, you could be pregnant.
- Smelling senses increase
If you find yourself turned off by the smell of something you used to love, it can be your body’s way of signaling pregnancy. These smell sensitivities can happen with foods or with anything odorous in your environment. Flowers, perfumes, and even household cleaning products can trigger pregnant women.
- Feeling nauseous
This is one of the earliest symptoms most women associate with pregnancy. You may just feel nauseated, or you might also throw up. Medical professionals are not entirely certain why this happens, but believe fluctuating hormones play a role. Dubbed “morning sickness,” it usually occurs first thing in the morning and subsides as the day goes on. Some women, unfortunately, are nauseous throughout the day with their pregnancies. Feelings of nausea usually begin between the fourth and sixth weeks of pregnancy.
What to do if you suspect you are pregnant
If you suspect you are pregnant but are not sure, making an appointment with a pregnancy care center can help. Care Net offers free pregnancy testing and free limited pregnancy ultrasounds. The first step in our process is to have you take a pregnancy test. If it is positive, then we follow that up with an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy. Sometimes pregnancy tests are not accurate, and an ultrasound is the best way to confirm a positive test. Contact us to schedule your initial consultation the minute you suspect you are pregnant. We care about you and are here to help!