Early Pregnancy Symptoms - How to tell if you are Pregnant
Its is important to remember that every woman is different, and often not all of these symptoms will be present. Ultimately the most reliable way to tell if you are pregnant is to go to a doctor, however, here is a list of the most common early signs.
Starting usually within the first month of pregnancy, and usually lasting till the end of the first trimester, morning sickness is usually a very visible sign that you are pregnant. Despite its name it can occur at any time of the day and can manifest itself as a sensitivity to smells or certain foods, to all day long nausea and vomiting. Every woman is different although it is thought that as many as 95% of pregnant women report some form of morning sickness. If you are affected by morning sickness, make sure you eat plenty of foods, avoid those that make you nauseous and try taking ginger in any form (capsule, tea etc) to help settle your stomach naturally.
As early as just one week after conception, the pregnancy hormone hCG begins to be released into the blood stream. This hormone makes your body direct more blood to the pelvic region, which in turn may stimulate your bladder to pass more often and in small amounts.
Supporting a growing embryo creates alot more work for your body. Your metabolism will speed up and the increase in the hormones required for pregnancy can have a sedating effect.
Constipation and Heartburn
As your uterus begins to swell, the organs inside your body get pushed around. This can often lead to heartburn and maybe constipation. Eating smaller and more frequent meals can help relieve heartburn and increasing your fibre intake (vegetables, dried fruits etc) can decrease constipation. Make sure you drink plenty of water too. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any kind of heartburn medication as some may harm your baby.
Mood Swings and Irritability
Often mistaken for PMS, mood swings and grumpiness are a product of the hormones racing through your body during the formative weeks of your pregnancy. The drastic changes a child can make to your life can cause mixed emotions during this time, and may also be emotionally turbulent for your partner as well. Make sure he or she is aware that this is all part of the pregnancy, and ask for their patience and support, even if you are a emotional mess through some of it!
Higher Body Temperature
You may feel as though you have a fever coming on. Increased body temperature can be a symptom of pregnancy, so if you are trying to conceive, try keeping track of your daily temperature. If it stays above average for any length of time your may be pregnant, or you may have a fever. Either way check with your doctor!
Another symptom often mistaken as a pre menstrual sign is breast tenderness. As your body begins to prepare your breasts for producing milk, they can become sore and sensitive and even change colour and size. This is one of the most obvious symptoms of pregnancy.
Quite often you will not experience any symptoms until around the time you will miss a period. This is often the event that triggers women into checking themselves for other signs of pregnancy. Often you may experience some spotting or a lighter than usual period, and in some rare cases your period may go on unchanged.
An unnerving sign of pregnancy is cramping, which often people associate with miscarriage. Cramping is, however, quite normal, and unless accompanied with bleeding, should not worry you. If cramping is accompanied by bleeding, don’t panic, this is also quite common however you should see your doctor for assessment.
Sense of Smell/Taste
You may notice an increased sense of smell, and the rising hormone levels in your saliva can affect the way you taste. Often these heightened senses can cause more nausea associated with morning sickness.
Home Pregnancy Test
All of these symptoms can mean anything, and until you take a pregnancy test it is hard to be sure if you are pregnant. Make sure to wait at least a week after your period was due before testing to give the body time to develop enough hormones to be detectable.
Positive Home Pregnancy Test - Now What?
The best thing to do would be to go to your doctor because although home pregnancy tests are considered 99% accurate if used properly, there is still that 1% that they are incorrect on. The doctor will be able to perform his/her own tests that will verify your own results and they will advise you as to what to do next. Some tests the doctor may perform are:
Urine Test - Same as a home pregnancy test.
Blood Test - Blood tests will be looking for the same hormone increase that is found in the urine. These are often unnecessary as most doctors will be content with the results of the urine test.
Internal/Pelvic Exam - This test is unnecessary however is available to those that want it. Obstetrician’s often perform one of these at your first pre-natal appointment however it is not medically needed so don’t feel like you have to have one if you are uncomfortable with it.