Many women who are trying to have a baby anxiously await any signs or symptoms that they might be pregnant, starting with a missed period. However, some signs are so subtle and occur so early in the pregnancy that they are often disregarded as something else. Alone, these signs and symptoms don’t necessarily point to pregnancy. But, when combined, pregnancy is likely the answer.
One of the earliest signs of pregnancy that occurs six to 12 days following conception is implantation bleeding. This phenomenon, which results when the embryo implants into the uterine wall, is not so much bleeding as it is spotting. In fact, many women mistake implantation bleeding as the beginning of their period. Unlike a period, however, implantation bleeding is typically lighter in color and duration.
Changes in hormones can make breasts tender to the touch and slightly swollen. Because this occurs within the first two weeks of pregnancy, many women pass this off as a symptom of their impending period.
Elevated Body Temperature
Soon after ovulation, a woman’s basal body temperature starts to increase. Basal body temperature refers to her oral temperature when she first wakes up in the morning, and it stays elevated until she starts her next period. If the temperature remains elevated for an extended period of time, it could signal pregnancy.
Increased progesterone production, as well as low blood sugar and low blood pressure, can make any newly pregnant woman especially tired in early pregnancy. Thankfully, fatigue tends to pass by the second trimester as hormone levels stabilize. However, fatigue can return later in pregnancy as the growing fetus places additional strain on the mother’s body, further compromising her sleep. Fluctuating hormone levels during pregnancy also increase the number of headaches a woman experiences, makes her crave or repel certain foods, and can cause her to act moody and emotional. A particularly unpleasant side effect of increased hormone production is constipation.
Nausea and Vomiting
As reported by the Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service, up to 80 percent of women experience nausea with or without vomiting. A misnomer, “morning sickness” can occur at any time during the day and is thought to be partially due to a rise in estrogen. The length and severity of morning sickness varies from one woman to the next, and even during subsequent pregnancies. Morning sickness often resolves toward the end of the first trimester and can usually be managed by eating small, bland meals. It also helps to stay away from stimuli that can trigger nausea and vomiting.
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