Pregnancy affects a woman’s body from the moment she conceives. Hormone fluctuations cause changes in the body, including increased blood production, the preparation of the uterus for the implantation of the embryo and changes in the breasts to prepare for milk production. Although pregnancy can be determined through medical tests, a few signs of pregnancy may occur before a missed menstrual cycle.
Changes in the breasts are often an early sign of pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic. Hormonal changes from pregnancy can affect or increase the size and weight of breasts. The nipple can tingle, feel tender or sore to touch. The color of the nipple may darken.
Basal Body Temperature
For women who use a basal body thermometer to determine ovulation, their temperature chart can be one of the first signs of pregnancy. A woman uses a basal body thermometer to take her temperature immediately upon awakening each morning. She records this temperature on a chart, beginning the first day of her cycle. The basal temperature will drop before ovulation, elevate after ovulation and remain elevated until her next period. For women who have been charting their basal body temperature for several months, an elevated temperature for longer than two weeks after ovulation can suggest pregnancy.
Increased fatigue and sleepiness can be an early sign of pregnancy. No one knows for sure what causes fatigue, according to the Baby Center website, but it is possibly linked to the rapid changes in hormones. Pregnancy causes other changes in the body–including blood sugar, blood pressure and increased blood production–can reduce energy.
Morning sickness is a classic symptom of pregnancy for many women. Like fatigue and breast tenderness, nausea stems from increased hormone levels. The onset and intensity of the nausea varies from woman to woman; mothers of multiples often experience increased or earlier nausea or morning sickness.
Food Cravings and Aversions
Food cravings–especially cravings for unusual food combinations–were considered a sign of pregnancy before early tests were available. Pregnancy can also cause certain foods to be distasteful, even foods the woman liked before her pregnancy. Women who are pregnant with multiples may crave increased amounts of protein.
- prospective mother image by Svetlana Bogomol from Fotolia.com