(Health) Early signs and symptoms of pregnancy
Every pregnancy is different so if you don’t have any of these early signs, don’t worry. If you notice one or more of these symptoms, take a pregnancy test.
Your period is late
This is a classic sign of pregnancy. If your period is late, take a pregnancy test to check whether you are pregnant.
You can keep track of your period by marking the days in a calendar or by using an app.
About eight to ten days after ovulation, you might have some cramps in your lower tummy. You may also have a slight pink, red or brown staining around the time you expect your period. This is known as implantation bleeding and is caused by the fertilised egg settling into the lining of your womb.
Even though your baby is still smaller than a peanut, the first few weeks of pregnancy can be draining, both physically and emotionally. You may have extreme tiredness, caused by changes in your body.
Early pregnancy tiredness is not like ordinary tiredness – you may feel completely exhausted after a normal day’s activities. The best way to deal with this symptom is to listen to your body and get more rest.
Some women have breast tenderness or a tingly feeling in their breasts during the early weeks of pregnancy. The skin around your nipples may look bumpier than usual, too. These bumps are called ‘Montgomery’s tubercules’ and they secrete an oily fluid to prepare your nipples for breastfeeding.
Your breasts may also feel heavier. Many of these symptoms are because of the extra hormones that you have in your body during pregnancy.
Funny taste in your mouth
Have you suddenly gone off your favourite food or do you have a strange metallic taste in your mouth? These are signs of early pregnancy. Some women also complain about having too much saliva.
Some women also report being more sensitive to smells
Need to wee more often
In early pregnancy you may need to pass urine more often than usual because your womb is expanding and pressing on your bladder.
The hormone progesterone also makes you need to wee more, as well as sometimes causing constipation.
Feeling nauseous and/or being sick
New pregnancy hormones are flooding your body and, for some women, the reaction to this is to feel sick. Some women feel slightly queasy and others may actually be sick. This is commonly known as morning sickness but it can happen at any time of the day.
You might be more sensitive to smells, including food and cooking.
If you can’t keep any food or water down talk to to your midwife or GP because there is a risk that you may become dehydrated.
Not all mums-to-be will get strange cravings but hormonal changes can trigger them in some women.
Hormones are natural chemicals that help your body manage your pregnancy, prepare it for the birth and help produce milk for your baby. The hormones oestrogen and progesterone flood your body in the first 12 weeks. It is these hormones that can also make you feel more emotional than normal.
You may find that you are laughing one minute, then crying the next. Don’t worry, this is normal.
Pregnancy brings anxieties and stresses as well as happiness. However, if you are a feeling down or anxious for a large part of the day and it seems to be lasting longer than a couple of weeks it is important that you talk to your midwife or GP about how you are feeling.
The much talked about glow of happiness can actually make women who are not feeling this very isolated. It is common to feel stress and anxiety in pregnancy and you need to keep an eye on your emotional well-being as well as your physical well-being.
The symptoms above are just some of the most common but there are many others. Your pregnancy will be unique to you and your symptoms might be too. If you’re trying to get pregnant, listen to your body and look out for any changes.
‘One of my earliest signs is a rumbling tummy and feeling constantly hungry!’
Clio, mum of two
What to do next
If you’re experiencing one or more of the symptoms above, take a pregnancy test. However, if you haven’t missed a period yet it may be too early to tell, or your test result may be inaccurate.
Positive pregnancy test
If you have done a test and it was positive, read about the five things to do when you find out you’re pregnant.
Negative pregnancy test
A negative result might not be reliable if you took it too soon.
If you do a home test very early and have a negative result, do another test in two to three days’ time if you still haven’t had your period. If you continue to get negative results and still don’t have a period, talk to your doctor.
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