If you are trying to get pregnant, or hope to one day in the future, then it is very important that you know what the early signs of pregnancy are. The earlier you are able to see the symptoms, the earlier you can confirm with your doctor and start making the necessary preparations for your upcoming bundle of joy.
There are some obvious signs that everyone knows, such as missing a period. But that is not the only thing you should look out for. There are also tons of symptoms that are a bit more obscure or less widely known and a lot less easy to spot. But beware - there are also many old wives tales that circulate about pregnancy that have never actually been proven,
Plus, every woman will have a different experience. No two pregnancies are exactly the same. Not everyone will have the same symptoms. The same woman can even have completely different symptoms during different pregnancies. That is why it is important to know all of the possible signs there are.
Are you prepared to spot the symptoms of pregnancy when the time comes? Do you REALLY know the signs of pregnancy? Take this quiz to find out!
Weight gain is almost always the first symptom of pregnancy
Weight gain is almost always the first symptom a woman will experience in the first trimester as the body prepares. As early as three weeks into the pregnancy, you may notice your belly swelling a bit even. This has to do with hormonal changes the body will experience. In particular, it has to do with the fluctuating estrogen levels. Rising estrogen affects insulin production in the body and its ability to move glucose to the liver and muscles. This causes the body to store the glucose as fat.
Your heart rate can decrease
Around the eighth or tenth week of pregnancy, your heart will begin to pump slower and softer due to the influx of hormones. A typical heart rate for adults is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Anything less than 60 is called bradycardia. Generally, this is not an issue and does not cause many symptoms. However, if you feel a sudden onset of dizziness, chest pains, fatigue or confusion, this is because your heart rate has slowed down considerably.
Nausea is an early sign of pregnancy
We have all heard the term morning sickness in relation to pregnancy. What it really should be called is all the time sickness, because it will hit you at any time of the day or night without warning. Many women begin experiencing mild to extreme nausea during the first month of pregnancy, between the second and the eighth week. Vomiting can also accompany the nausea, though it does not always. This symptom is one of the earliest signs and typically goes away later on.
A pregnant woman may need to pee more often
During a pregnancy, the hormonal changes will cause an increase of blood flow and supply throughout the body. This phenomenon is behind several of the most common pregnancy symptoms, including the need to pee more often. Since the blood supply has increased, the kidneys are processing more fluid and sending a lot more to the bladder than usual. Some women may even have incontinence. This symptom will unfortunately only get worse as a pregnancy progresses and the belly swells, putting more pressure on the bladder.
The areolas may darken in color
As early as the first or second week of pregnancy, a woman may notice that her areolas have begun to darken in color. This is because of a spike in production in the hormones progesterone and estrogen. These cause the body to produce more pigment than normal. The areolas can also grow larger. Some experts believe that this is an evolutionary adaptation to help newborn babies nurse easier. Since they have poor vision when they are first born, the darker and larger areolas are easier for them to see.
All pregnant women crave pickles and ice cream
Do you suddenly crave the strangest combination of foods, something that you would normally never even think about eating? Do you all of a sudden have the desire to top sweet, creamy ice cream with salty, juicy pickles? Then you better go out and buy a pregnancy test as soon as possible! This is a strange craving that nearly every single pregnant woman will have in the early weeks of the first trimester. No one is sure why it is so widespread.
Pregnant women can develop acne
It is very common to develop acne during pregnancy. During the first trimester of pregnancy, several different hormones increase production. One of these is a group of hormones called androgens, which includes testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and androstenedione. Dihydrotestosterone in particular, also known as DHT, is connected to sebaceous gland activity. Meaning, a spike in the hormone can cause the glands to get bigger and increase the skin's production of natural oils. The combination of these two things is what typically causes someone to breakout.
You may experience a sudden burst in energy
If you experience a sudden, unexplained burst of energy, this could possibly be an early sign of pregnancy. This is because your body begins to rapidly produce higher levels of hormones like estrogen and testosterone. In addition, the increased blood flow and supply can also contribute to this random energy burst. There are elevated levels of adenosine in the blood which will cause the adrenal glands to release adrenaline. This is also a common symptom of premenstrual syndrome, aka PMS, that many women experience.
Your sex drive can suddenly disappear
If you have noticed that your sex drive has dramatically dropped, you could be pregnant. Hormonal changes throughout pregnancy can affect a woman's sex drive. Your desire to have sex may go up and down throughout the different stages depending on the symptoms experienced. Furthermore, the combined symptoms of fatigue and nausea can hit most women pretty hard during the first trimester. Sex is typically the last thing on one's mind when they are feeling this way. Thus, sex drive can possibly return during later stages.
Back pain can occur throughout pregnancy
Back pain is a symptom associated with the later stages of pregnancy when your belly has grown in size and is throwing off your alignment. But it is also a known early sign of pregnancy to watch out for. This kind of back pain is caused by the surge of hormones, specifically of the hormone progesterone. The body is preparing itself for delivery by loosening up some of the tissue and ligaments in the lower back. These will stretch later on in the pregnancy process.
A random surge of strength is an early sign
Have you experienced a sudden surge of strength, even though you have not been working out any more than usual? Have you noticed that, out of nowhere, you can lift considerably more than you normally can? This can be an early sign that you are pregnant and should buy an at home test immediately. The spike in hormones your body is experiencing also spurs the production of muscle proteins. These will strengthen the skeletal muscles in your body as a preparation for the extra weight it will soon have to support.
Pregnant women will often get headaches
Got a splitting headache that keeps coming back every day with no obvious reason? This could be a sign that you are pregnant. They are one of the most common symptoms women experience during pregnancy. They can occur throughout the process, but it is most likely to hit you during the first trimester. The headaches are caused by the skyrocketing hormones women experience during the first few weeks. They can be exacerbated by dehydration, lack of proper sleep, and stress.
Your body temperature can increase
The increased blood flow during pregnancy can cause the basal body temperature to rise. This is the temperature your body has when it is at rest. For most of us, our typical resting temperature is around 98.6°F or 37°C. The extra blood flow will boost the body's metabolism and cause a woman's body heat to rise by a few decimals. Since the body's heat while resting has increased, it may also increase more than usual during exercise or hot weather.
You can get bloated and constipated
About half of women report feeling constipated and/or bloated during pregnancy. During the early stages of pregnancy, This is most likely caused by a spike in the hormone progesterone. This particular hormone will relax smooth muscles, such as the digestive tract. When the hormone production spikes, food and waste passes through the intestines much slower. This is what causes women to feel constipated and blocked, and can also cause bloating. During the later stages of pregnancy, this can be made worse by the pressure of your expanding uterus.
You can have mild bleeding or spotting
Though missing a period is a common sign of pregnancy, you can still notice mild, light bleeding. About 20 percent of women report spotting during the first 12 weeks of their pregnancy. The spotting can begin anytime after conception. This blood flow will be much lighter than a normal period. It is typically a few spots or streaks - it will not be enough to cover a panty liner. Its color will range from a light pink to a dark brown.
The whites of your eyeballs can turn yellow
This is a rare sign of pregnancy. About 5 percent of women report seeing a mild yellow tint to the whites of their eyeballs in the first couple of weeks of the first trimester. Though it may appear to be a serious issue, there is usually no reason for alarm. This condition is called jaundice and is caused by excessively high levels of bilirubin in the bloodstream. In pregnant women, it is often caused by the red blood cells being broken down too quickly as a result of the increased blood supply. The yellow tint will fade as soon as the levels go back to normal.
You can get nose bleeds
There is an increased blood supply to the skin during pregnancy. The blood vessels in the nose can also expand. This creates more pressure and makes the vessels more susceptible to rupture, i.e. cause a nosebleed. Around 20 percent of women can experience a nosebleed during pregnancy. This symptom may seem alarming, but it is actually pretty harmless. Experiencing a couple of nosebleeds throughout the course of pregnancy is not a big deal. Nosebleeds can be made worse by a cold or chilly weather.
A pregnant woman will start eating for two
Wow, do you hear your stomach rumbling even though you just ate? Could you literally eat a cow right now? Has your appetite seemingly multiplied by two overnight? Is it almost like you are eating enough for two people all of a sudden? You just might be! Eating twice your usual quantities of food is one of the first signs of pregnancy. This is because you absolutely must eat double what you normally do to nourish your child as well as yourself.
Your belly button can change shape
Say you wake up one morning and catch a glimpse of your stomach in the mirror and notice the most peculiar thing - your belly button seems to be a lot wider than it normally is. Or maybe it is rounder than it was before. No, you are not seeing things or going insane. This is an early sign that you might be pregnant! This is a less common symptom to experience during the first few weeks - less than 10 percent of women have it.
You can be itchy
Due to the increased blood supply to a pregnant woman's skin, it is possible to experience a mild to severe itchy feeling during pregnancy. This symptom can be experienced throughout the different stages. In the later stages, the stretched skin around the stomach and breasts can also feel itchy. The itching can be alleviated by wearing clothes made of natural and breathable fabric like cotton rather than synthetic materials. Some women also say certain perfumes can make the itching worse.
Food looses its taste
Have you noticed that your favorite dessert does not taste nearly as delicious as it used to? Do you find yourself putting a lot more salt, sugar, or spices on your food just to get the same level of taste that you normally experience? Do your taste buds feel a bit duller than they usually do? Then you better go out and buy an at home pregnancy test stat! Food randomly losing its taste is a common sign, and it typically only lasts a couple of days.
You can be super tired out of nowhere
Maybe you usually are up at the crack of dawn; but lately, it has been more like the crack of noon. You have been smashing that snooze button a lot more than usual. And when you finally force yourself to get up, you can hardly keep your eyes open. You are feeling extremely exhausted for no apparent reason. You just want to curl up in bed and stay there all day. What gives? Well, fatigue can be caused by a number of things...including pregnancy.
You can get a dark, vertical line under your belly button
About a quarter of pregnant women will experience something called linea nigra - a dark line down the center of the abdomen. It typically runs from the pubic bone to the navel, but it can extend even further up the stomach. Many think that this line is created by skin stretching during the later months of pregnancy, but it can also occur during early pregnancy. It is caused by hormones generated by the placenta that increase melanin production in the body.
A pregnant woman can have a heightened sense of smell
One of the earliest signs of pregnancy is a heightened sense of smell. Things like food, perfumes, and even your partner's scent can smell a lot stronger than usual. Experts are not completely certain why this happens. One theory is related to the increased blood flow during pregnancy. Since the increased blood flow moves to the brain faster and in bigger quantities, this could cause a heightened reaction to smell. The olfactory centers could also be impacted. Another theory is that the body develops this as a protective mechanism.
You can sneeze uncontrollably
You just cannot stop sneezing lately. You do not have any other cold symptoms and you normally do not suffer from allergies. What is the deal? Well, you could be pregnant! This is yet another symptom caused by the increased blood supply during pregnancy. Your sinuses, and in particular your nostrils, may get overstimulated at times during this process. This is what causes the uncontrollable sneezing. Women who have this symptom typically experience it four to six weeks after conception.
A pregnant woman may get white patches on her skin
Have you noticed some white spots showing up on your skin, particularly on your cheeks and forehead? This can be a sign of pregnancy and is most often a result of the extra oily skin and excessive sweating that can happen during pregnancy because of the increased blood flow. The oil causes an overgrowth of microscopic yeast that lives on the skin. In some cases, the spots can also flake. About half of pregnant women experience this symptom, and it usually goes away on its own.
You can experience mood swings
Moods swings and heightened emotions are a very common sign of pregnancy. Women can experience them throughout their pregnancy. They are caused by the increased production of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. When the levels of these two hormones are high, it affects your neurotransmitters - which are brain chemicals that communicate information. Both good and bad emotions can come on more suddenly and feel a lot more intense. The mood swings can cause feelings of depression, anxiety, irritability, and euphoria.
Pregnant women can experience heartburn
Many women experience heartburn for the first time in their lives during the early stages of pregnancy. Heartburn is a burning sensation that one can feel from the bottom of the breastbone all the way to the lower throat. It is quite an uncomfortable feeling. During pregnancy, it is typically caused by the extra production of the hormone progesterone by the placenta. This hormone will relax smooth muscles in the body, including the valve separating the esophagus and the stomach. This allows stomach acid to leak, which causes the heartburn.
Shortness of breath is a sign of pregnancy
Perhaps you can normally climb five flights of stairs with ease. But for some reason, it feels like torture as of late. You have been getting winded after the first or second flight. Are you just getting out of shape? Maybe not! Many women experience shortness of breath during the first few weeks of pregnancy. This is because the growing fetus needs a ton of oxygen and blood so it can grow healthy and strong. Since you are sharing your supply, you can get winded easier.
A pregnant woman can have a heightened sense of sight
It is the strangest thing...you were never able to read that street sign across the road from your house before, but now all of a sudden you can see every letter clearly. You can see much farther away and everything around you is much clearer. Maybe your vision was 20/20 before, but now it feels like it is 20/10. Maybe you normally need reading glasses, but now are able to go without them. This is a sign that you may be pregnant and has to do with the surge of hormones you are experiencing.
The vulva, labia, and/or cervix can turn blue
Have you noticed that the tissues around your vagina, vulva, and/or cervix have become darker in color all of a sudden? They make have a bluish or even a purple or red tint to them. This may seem scary, but it can actually be an early sign of pregnancy. The vaginal or cervical mucosa can darken in color as early as six to eight weeks after conception and is yet another result of the increased blood supply that women during pregnancy.
Your throat will be sore for no reason
The surge of hormones during early pregnancy can cause inflammation throughout the body and can affect the efficiency of the body's immune system. One of the affected areas is the throat. Pregnancy can cause a woman's throat to feel scratchy, dry, sensitive, and tender. In the worst cases, a woman may experience a burning sensation in the areas right behind the mouth or in the tonsils. This can make it difficult to swallow and make it harder to speak normally.
A pregnant woman can have intense food aversions
Someone opens up a jar of mayo or is cooking a steak, and it hits you hard. Things that you did not mind or could tolerate before all of a sudden seem absolutely revolting to you. Even foods that you normally enjoy can smell and taste disgusting out of nowhere. Did your tastes just change overnight? Perhaps. But the more likely explanation is that you could be pregnant. Many pregnant women can experience intense food aversions as their sense of smell becomes more sensitive.
Symptoms of PMS can be mistaken for pregnancy
Having pregnancy symptoms is not a guarantee. Even if a woman is showing several different signs of being pregnant, that does not mean that she is actually with child. The symptoms of pregnancy can overlap with other conditions. One of these conditions is premenstrual syndrome – several symptoms that many women experience about a week before their menstrual cycle. Sometimes the symptoms of PMS, such as rapid mood changes, fatigue, and tender breasts, can be mistaken as the signs of early pregnancy.
A positive at home pregnancy test is always accurate
Once there are signs pointing to a possible pregnancy, the first thing most women will do is go out and buy an at home pregnancy test. Most tests work by placing the end of a dipstick in urine and waiting a few minutes. Then it will display the results through something like a plus or minus sign, or through one or two lines, or the words pregnant or not pregnant. These test results are accurate 100 percent of the time.