Missing your period is usually the only time you’d realize that you’re pregnant. In fact, it is the most prominent symptom. However, did you know that by the time you first miss your monthly period, you would have already been pregnant by a couple of weeks? As you may know, during sexual intercourse, sperm from a man fertilizes an egg from a woman.
Pregnancy happens when the egg is successfully fertilized and implants in the woman’s uterus. This fertilization and implantation take place way before your first missed period. But is it possible for you to know you are pregnant before you even miss your period?
The answer is yes!
There are several early signs of pregnancy that you would have experienced prior to your missed period because your body has to prepare for the next 9 months.
These early signs are discussed below.
Shortness of breath
It may not be the most obvious symptom but it is one of them either way. You may experience shortness of breath during the first couple of weeks of pregnancy because your body needs more blood and oxygen to share with the developing fetus inside your womb.
It will go on over the following months as the fetus grows and the need for more nutrients and oxygen increases as well.
This is a classic symptom of pregnancy that is usually observed during the first trimester. Even before you confirm that you are pregnant, you would already feel nauseous, weak, and dizzy at times. While this may be felt at any time of the day, experiencing it during early mornings are the worst.
Roughly 75% of pregnant women go through this symptom, but the severity varies depending on the individual and the pregnancy. Furthermore, morning sickness may be extreme during your first pregnancy but could diminish with succeeding ones.
Loss of appetite
Because of the morning sickness, you would tend to lose your appetite. While you may indeed experience food cravings, your appetite would decrease during the first few months of pregnancy. It may recover in the last few months of pregnancy though.
To help boost your appetite, you should avoid stress as much as possible. Also, you may want to keep lavender oil at hand. Smelling it can help minimize nausea and help boost your appetite.
Extreme thirst and frequent urination
During the early part of pregnancy, you would feel extremely thirsty all the time due to the increase in blood production. Thus, it is also normal to always have the urge to urinate as well, especially at night. However, urinating frequently would again make you feel thirsty!
While this is not a common sign of pregnancy, some women may experience excessive saliva production prior to conception. Known as “ptyalism gravidarum,” this condition is related to morning sickness and heartburn.
Pregnant women who are feeling nauseous do not feel like swallowing, resulting in the buildup of extra saliva inside the mouth. In addition, if the woman is experiencing heartburn, there may be excessive acid production too. Thus, more saliva is also produced as a response to fight the heartburn.
How? More often than not, saliva is naturally alkaline, and thus, helps in neutralizing acids.
During pregnancy, your body produces more hormones. The increase in hormones, particularly progesterone, can have an effect on your digestive system. It causes your digestive system to take more time in breaking down food, thus resulting in harder bowel movements.
It is very common for pregnant women to feel bloated or to experience frequent burping or farting even before their missed periods due to the increase in progesterone production. To help cope with this symptom, you should eat smaller portions of food, and stay away from foods that are high in cholesterol, such as deep fried food.
Menstrual cramps and spotting
If you had unprotected sexual intercourse during a period when you were fertile, it is very likely that you will get pregnant. About 1-2 weeks before you get your missed period, you might experience light spotting or bleeding, and menstrual cramps.
Not all pregnant women experience these symptoms, but if they do, they could well be the earliest symptoms of pregnancy. Light spotting is when you might notice a few drops of blood when wiping your vagina or in your underwear. It could go on for a few hours or up to a couple of days.
However, heavy bleeding could either be your menstrual period or a symptom of miscarriage.
You may feel some pain in your lower back as your body’s ligaments loosen up in preparation to carry the baby’s weight. Also, the three symptoms discussed above – constipation, bloating, and menstrual cramps – can also contribute to back pains. To prevent back pains, always lie flat on your back when you sleep. Watch your posture at all times, making sure you are not slouching.
During pregnancy, your blood sugar levels become lower than usual. Your brain cells try to come up with this, thus resulting in migraines. If the pain is bothering you or difficult for you to manage, you may ask your doctor for medication, but do not attempt to self-medicate.
There are a lot of medications that are prohibited during pregnancy as they may cause birth defects.
Hormonal changes cause mood swings. Today, you might feel so emotional and cry suddenly for no reason whatsoever, and then have outbursts of anger a moment later. This is because the extreme changes in your hormone levels affect your brain’s neurotransmitters, resulting in enhanced emotions.
During pregnancy, your blood vessels dilate, resulting in lower blood pressure. This, in turn, makes you feel dizzy. This is very common during the first trimester. During the second trimester, your blood pressure goes back to normal. Dizziness unaccompanied by other symptoms is normal and isn’t a cause for worry.
However, if it is coupled with abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding, it may be a symptom of ectopic pregnancy, which is very serious and requires immediate medical attention.
Certain food or drink aversions
When a woman gets pregnant, there are certain tastes or smells that make her feel nauseous, even if it is a food or drink that used to be her favorite prior to pregnancy.
While some food and drink aversions last throughout the full nine months, most women regain their normal appetite by the second or third trimester of the pregnancy.
Feeling so tired or sleepy for no reason at all may be an early sign of pregnancy. This is due to the sudden increase in progesterone levels. In addition, because your body starts producing more blood needed to support the growth of the fetus, you will feel drained and worn out, particularly if your diet does not include enough fluids, iron, vitamins, and minerals.
To help come up with this, you should consult a doctor so he or she can prescribe prenatal supplements for you. Also, try to avoid caffeine and carbonated drinks, and get as much sleep as you can.
Fuller and tender breasts
Your hormones send signals to your breasts the moment you conceive to prepare for breastfeeding in 9 months. The changes you will see and feel include bigger and fuller breasts that may feel sore or tingly especially when touched. The areolas of your breasts would also get darker and bigger. These changes may be observed usually 1-2 weeks after conception.
Higher basal body temperature
This symptom may perhaps be the most accurate one in this list. A few weeks before you ovulate, your body’s basal temperature would range from 97.2-97.7 degrees Fahrenheit. One to two days after you ovulate, this temperature will increase by 0.4 to 1 degree. Then it will go down when your menstrual period is over. For pregnant women though, this temperature stays elevated.
The only downside to this symptom though is that you won’t be able to notice it unless you track your temperature daily for at least a couple of months.
Keep In Mind:
The signs discussed in this article are not definite signs of pregnancy. You may experience these symptoms as a result of other conditions. Experiencing them does not immediately confirm that you are pregnant. Therefore, the best way to determine if you are pregnant is if you miss your period and you tested positive on a pregnancy test.
Or you could simply consult with your doctor about these symptoms and eventually get the treatments or tests required to confirm your pregnancy.
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