Noticed any weight change? Aversion to smells? Hungry enough to eat a cow? You might be pregnant….
A woman’s body is constantly changing. From the time we start puberty straight through to menopause, our bodies are constantly in flux. Some may have clockwork periods and know exactly when they’ll show up while others may have irregular periods that can make it difficult to determine your menstrual cycle. Whichever you are, there are always early signs of pregnancy you can keep an eye out for.
Tender, swollen breasts: Your breasts can provide one of the first symptoms of pregnancy. As early as two weeks after conception you may notice sore, tingly or tender breasts.
Fatigue: During early pregnancy, levels of progesterone soar. In high enough doses, progesterone can actually put you to sleep. At the same time, low blood sugar levels, low blood pressure and increased blood production sap your energy.
Slight bleeding or cramping: As the egg implants in your uterus you may notice pale pink or red bleeding. Your uterus adjusts to its new job which can cause cramping as well.
Nausea with or without vomiting: Morning sickness can strike at any time of the day or night. For some women, the queasiness begins as early as two weeks after conception. Nausea comes along with rapidly rising levels of estrogen, which causes the stomach to empty more slowly. Pregnant women are also more heavily affected by various odors – such as foods cooking, perfume or cigarette smoke – and can cause waves of nausea in early pregnancy.
Food aversions or cravings: No longer like your favorite dish? Can’t stand the smell of something you normally wouldn’t mind? Randomly craving pickles? Hormonal changes – especially in the first trimester, when hormonal changes are the most dramatic, are the culprit to all your food woes.
Headaches: Increased blood circulation caused by hormonal changes may trigger frequent, mild headaches.
Constipation: Remember pesky estrogen causing the stomach to empty slowly. It can also cause food to pass more slowly through the intestines, which can lead to constipation.
Mood swings: The flood of hormones in your body in early pregnancy can make you unusually emotional and weepy. Mood swings are common, especially in the first trimester.
Faintness and dizziness: As your blood vessels dilate and your blood pressure drops, you may feel lightheaded or dizzy. Early in pregnancy, faintness also may be triggered by low blood sugar.
Raised basal body temperature: Your basal body temperature is your oral temperature when you first wake up in the morning. This temperature increases slightly soon after ovulation and remains at that level until your next period. If you’ve been charting your basal body temperature to determine when you ovulate, its continued elevation for more than two weeks may mean that you’re pregnant.
Missed Period: Perhaps the most obvious early symptom of pregnancy is when you’ve missed your period. This is often what causes women to search for more details about the other pregnancy symptoms.
Maybe you just feel different; tired, moody, queasy, lightheaded. You may also have heartburn, constipation, or find yourself making more frequent trips to the toilet. Perhaps you feel a dull ache or stiffness in your lower back, you have sore breasts or they seem overly sensitive, or you are simply not feeling like your usual self.
Playing the waiting game can be hard. Usually, you can get an accurate response from a home pregnancy test (or HPT) as soon as you miss your period. Don’t want to take the test alone? Come visit us at Birthright and we will give you a free pregnancy test and a friendly face to talk to while you wait for your results.
Please know you don’t ever have to do this alone. We are always here and happy to help.
The Birthright Vancouver Team