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Early pregnancy signs and symptoms

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You can tell that you’re pregnant by your body’s early signs. Changes in your hormone levels, increased appetite, and nausea are all signs of pregnancy. Cramping and nausea are also signs of pregnancy.

If you’re not sure which signs you’re experiencing, read on. These signs may indicate a healthy pregnancy. Listed below are some common signs to keep an eye out for. Read on to discover if you’re pregnant and how to tell.

Symptoms of a healthy pregnancy

There are many different symptoms of pregnancy, and these may not be immediately apparent. Some may even be a sign of a more serious issue. Symptoms of pregnancy during early pregnancy should be investigated by a healthcare practitioner.

They may order a blood, urine, or ultrasound test to determine if you’re pregnant. While most women experience healthy pregnancy symptoms, some may be signs of problems.

If you have concerns, speak to your doctor or midwife.

Many women experience uncomfortable symptoms during early pregnancy. Some of these are not only uncomfortable but also beneficial for the expectant mother and baby.

Backaches, constipation, and heartburn are all common signs of a healthy pregnancy. For example, your areola and nipple may darken or appear larger.

Other signs of early pregnancy may include increased fatigue and mood swings. If any of these symptoms persist, see your midwife or GP.

One of the first signs of pregnancy is light spotting, or implantation bleeding. This occurs when a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining.

While light spotting is common in early pregnancy, not all women experience it. A few women also experience mild uterine cramping in the early stages of pregnancy.

Additionally, hormonal changes can affect digestion, causing constipation and bloating. Food aversions and mood swings may be chalked up to normal pregnancy symptoms.

Changes in hormone levels

Women’s bodies undergo a huge range of changes during pregnancy. Changes in hormone levels affect everything from the heart and kidney function to the fat content of the breasts and uterus.

Pregnancy-related hormones affect both the mother and the baby in different ways, and they are produced by the ovaries and placenta. Here’s what you need to know about these hormones, and how they affect you during pregnancy.

The corpus luteum, or the embryo’s home, is the source of P and E2 hormones during the first trimester. This organ remains in place after implantation and continues to produce these hormones until the second trimester.

The uterus also produces an important hormone called hCG, which makes its debut one day after the embryo implants.

This hormone helps the embryo develop into the placenta, which provides nourishment and rids waste from the mother.

Another common symptom of pregnancy is constipation. High progesterone levels slow down food movement in the digestive tract.

This problem is compounded by the fact that iron supplements can make the problem worse.

To prevent constipation, increase your fiber intake and drink lots of water. Avoid spicy foods and fried food during pregnancy.

If possible, avoid eating a large meal at one sitting. Eating small, frequent meals is best during this time.


Among the most common symptoms of pregnancy, nausea is common for many women. Nausea occurs during the first trimester, when a woman’s hormones are beginning to increase.

While the origin of nausea during pregnancy is unknown, pregnancy hormones are most likely to blame.

However, not every woman will experience this ailment. While it’s not harmful for either mother or baby, it is still an unpleasant experience for many expectant mothers.

While some doctors believe that nausea is a sign of pregnancy, this condition is actually one of the most common symptoms.

While medication can provide a quick fix, many women would prefer to avoid medications while pregnant. Although many anti-nausea medications have been found to be safe, they haven’t been studied extensively enough.

In fact, one of the medications was withdrawn after it was linked to birth defects. However, later research failed to confirm the connection. Fortunately, there are other ways to alleviate nausea during pregnancy.

You can try eating a high-protein diet, such as fish, poultry, and lean meats. A good source of complex carbohydrates is whole grain breads, brown rice, and dried beans.

While there is no clear-cut cure for morning sickness, the fact is that about half of all pregnant women will experience it at some point. It is not harmful to the growing baby, but it can negatively affect your quality of life and ability to work.

So, how do you cope with nausea during pregnancy?

Natural remedies for morning sickness.

1. Eat more frequent, smaller meals.

Not eating might aggravate nausea. Instead of three substantial meals each day, consider smaller, more frequent meals to prevent having an empty stomach. To alleviate morning sickness, keep some plain crackers, dry bread, or cereal beside your bed so you may consume a little quantity as soon as you wake up.

2. Ginger can help settle your stomach.

According to research, ginger may help relieve an unsettled stomach. Ginger tea, ginger chews, ginger preserves, and ginger ale produced with actual ginger are all options. Taking 250 mg ginger tablets four times a day might also assist.

3. Avoid eating specific meals.

Avoid fatty and greasy meals, very sweet foods, spicy foods, and gas-producing foods. Now is not the time to try that new Indian eatery! Women have claimed that high protein, carbohydrate-heavy, salty, low-fat, bland, and/or dry meals (such as almonds, crackers, toast, and cereal) induce less nausea. You can also reduce nausea during meals by keeping foods and liquids separate (do not consume beverages while eating).

4. Avoid strong odors.

Avoiding environmental triggers, particularly strong odors, is one of the finest things you can do. Keep a safe distance from cigarette smoke, fragrances, and anything else that appears to have an effect on you. When it comes to cooking, consider if you can delegate the meal preparation to someone else. If you must cook, keep the windows open to reduce cooking odors.

5. Experiment with aromatherapy.

On the other hand, smelling mint, lemon, or orange may help relieve nausea. Put a cotton ball or tissue soaked in fragrant oil beneath your nose. (Many people prefer spraying an aroma into the air with a cotton ball since you can immediately remove the cotton — and its smell — if it makes you sick.)

6. Take your prenatal vitamins on time.

Many prenatal supplements include iron, which can aggravate nausea. Instead of taking your prenatal vitamins on an empty stomach in the morning, try taking them at sleep. If it doesn’t work, ask to your doctor about taking an iron-free prenatal vitamin. Because your iron needs increase later in pregnancy, it may be alright to forgo the iron as you get through this stage, but make sure to notify your provider so he or she can monitor your iron levels.

7. Take a different route.

Many women indicate that sea-band bracelets, which are available to cure motion sickness in many drugstores and seek to reduce nausea by rubbing on an acupressure point on your inner wrist, have helped them. Although it’s unclear if this is due to the bracelet or a placebo effect, this low-cost solution is worth considering. Acupuncture has also helped some women, and studies have shown that hypnosis can help with nausea feelings.

8. Get up and move.

Exercise has been shown to benefit some ladies with their symptoms. Take an additional stroll during the day, go for a pool, or sign up for a prenatal yoga session. Keep in mind that while exercise is generally recommended during pregnancy, you should always contact with your physician before starting a new exercise plan or significantly boosting your fitness level.

This simple change in your daily diet may help. A little research might be all you need to make sure you’re not suffering from morning sickness during your pregnancy.

When do you notice early pregnancy symptoms?

Some people exhibit symptoms as early as their twenties. Within 5 days of sperm fertilization, embryo-implantation hemorrhage or cramping develops. Breast soreness and mood swings are two early warning symptoms.


Some of the most common early pregnancy signs and symptoms are missed menstrual periods and bleeding from the vagina. Early pregnancy bleeding is not the same as menstrual bleeding, and it’s usually just a spot of blood or pink discharge. Cramping can be an early sign of pregnancy as well, and it’s not necessarily indicative of a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. Cramping may also be accompanied by cramping and a bad odor.

This pain can be mistaken for a regular period or PMS, but it’s not a sign of pregnancy. This symptom occurs when the uterus begins to stretch and change. It’s usually mild, but you should see your doctor if the pain is too severe or persists. Cramps are common in early pregnancy, and you can consult a doctor if you notice any of these symptoms.

Another early pregnancy sign is feeling full. You may feel full even before you missed your period. This symptom may come and go, and first-time mothers may miss it entirely. Second-time moms, however, may notice it right away. It can even happen during a period when you’re actively trying to conceive. If you haven’t noticed any of these signs, your doctor can still help you conceive and keep you comfortable and safe.

Light spotting

Light spotting as early pregnancy symptoms is common in women. Bleeding during pregnancy is not a cause for alarm, but it is important to see your doctor if you notice it. Typically, this bleeding is harmless, but in some cases, it may indicate an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. A light spotting bleeding does not necessarily indicate an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. In fact, many women experience light spotting as early pregnancy symptoms after a normal period.

Pregnant women experience light spotting because their bodies begin pumping 50 percent more blood than a woman on her regular period. In addition, the number of blood vessels in the pelvic area increases, making the cervix more prone to bleed. As a result, light spotting as early pregnancy symptoms can occur during sex, a pelvic exam, and Pap tests. In addition, pregnant women often experience light spotting after fertilization.

The reason women experience light spotting as early pregnancy symptoms is that the implantation bleeding that occurs during this time mimics the appearance of the menstrual cycle. This implantation bleeding lasts only a few days and can be mistaken for period bleeding. If you notice light spotting as early pregnancy symptoms, it is important to see your healthcare provider as soon as possible. You may be pregnant but not know it.


Early pregnancy is an extremely difficult time for any woman, but for the first trimester of your pregnancy, you may feel more like a shadow than a human being. You may feel sluggish and run down throughout the day, and lack the energy to complete even the simplest household tasks. Even simple hobbies may no longer hold the same romance. Thankfully, pregnancy fatigue will eventually pass. But until then, take a few simple steps to combat your fatigue and get enough sleep to feel your best.

The first thing to know about fatigue during early pregnancy is that it is usually only temporary. Most women feel much better in the second trimester. However, if you do experience any serious problems during this time, it’s best to consult your doctor or midwife for help. Your doctor can prescribe you medication to alleviate any symptoms that you’re experiencing. Aside from pregnancy-related fatigue, expectant women often experience aches and pains, increased weight and frequent trips to the bathroom.

Your body’s hormones, which affect your mood and sleep pattern, also lower your energy levels during early pregnancy. The hormones affecting your energy levels also affect your metabolism and body’s metabolism. Your energy level will be lower during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, but once you’ve passed the first trimester, you’ll find it easier to take on the daily tasks. In addition to physical changes, you’ll likely be feeling emotional changes.

Early pregnancy symptoms prior to a missed period

While pregnancy tests and your doctor can provide conclusive answers, these symptoms may be indicators that you’re pregnant.

Remember that just because you’ve had some of these symptoms doesn’t imply you’re pregnant. You can also have none of them and still have a perfectly healthy pregnancy.

Although each woman is unique, some early signs might develop before you miss your period.

Early signs of pregnancy If you have a regular monthly menstrual cycle, the earliest and most reliable sign of pregnancy is a missed period

Increased body temperature during rest

If you’ve been tracking your first morning temperature with a special basal body thermometer, you may have seen that it increases roughly 1 degree when you conceive and remains raised throughout your pregnancy.

Though not a guaranteed sign (your temperature might increase for various reasons), it may give you a heads-up on the exciting news.

Breast alterations

Breast changes that occur early in pregnancy include tender, puffy breasts and darker, bumpy areolas. The hormones estrogen and progesterone are mostly to blame for this pregnancy symptom. However, breast discomfort is painful with a gain since it is part of your body’s preparation for milk production.

Sense of smell

Another symptom is a heightened sense of smell, which makes previously moderate scents overwhelming and disagreeable. Babies may be in the air if your sniffer becomes suddenly more sensitive and easily irritated, since it is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy that many women describe.

Cervical mucus changes

Have you grown acquainted with your cervical mucus? Then check it now: if it gets creamy after ovulation and stays that way, it’s a good indicator you’ll have a positive pregnancy test.

You’ll also notice increased vaginal discharge, known as leukorrhea, as your pregnancy continues. This thin, milky-white discharge is typical and healthy, but consult your healthcare provider if it becomes lumpy or heavy.

Urine frequency

You may experience an increased desire to pee two to three weeks following conception. The pregnancy hormone hCG causes an increase in blood flow to your kidneys, allowing them to more efficiently cleanse your body (and, eventually, your baby’s body) of waste.

Your expanding uterus is also putting strain on your bladder, leaving less storage capacity for pee and forcing you to use the restroom more frequently.

Mood swings

Again, blame pregnancy-related hormone changes for any mood swings you may experience while pregnant. You may experience PMS-like moodiness as early as 4 weeks into your pregnancy; later in the first trimester, and regularly during the duration of your pregnancy, you may be up one minute and worried or down the next.

What’s the difference between early signs and PMS?

The majority of early signs of pregnancy symptoms before your period are very similar to PMS symptoms. However, if you’re pregnant, you’ll mainly notice changes in your areolas (they’ll seem darker, broader, and bumpier). A regularly raised BBT and creamy vaginal discharge post-ovulation are also relatively good indicators of conception, although they are far from failsafe.

Otherwise, the only way to determine whether additional early pregnancy symptoms (sore breasts, nausea,  exhaustion, bloating, sensitivity to scent, etc.) are caused by a baby or PMS is to wait until you can get a pregnancy test.

When is it safe to use a home pregnancy test?

Although you may have early pregnancy symptoms before your period, most women must wait an average of two weeks after ovulation for a positive home pregnancy test result. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels in urine are measured by home pregnancy tests.

This placenta-produced hormone enters your urine nearly soon after an embryo begins to implant in your uterus, which occurs between six and twelve days after fertilization. Most home pregnancy tests may be used as soon as hCG is identified in your urine — and hCG levels are normally not high enough to be detected by a home pregnancy test until your period is due.

Can’t wait that long? Some HPTs guarantee 60-75 percent accuracy four to five days before your menstruation. Wait until your period arrives, and the accuracy rises to 90%; wait another week, and the findings are 99 percent accurate.

Remember that false negatives are far more common than false positives, so if your period arrives and passes without your monthly flow, consult your health care practitioner. In any case, you should have a blood test to establish your pregnant status.


No matter what symptoms you’re experiencing, the only way to be certain if you’re pregnant is to see an OB/GYN.

Make your first prenatal appointment as soon as possible so that you may obtain the finest care available immediately away if you do experience early pregnancy symptoms. And congrats if you are expecting a child! You’re about to go on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

About the Author

Dr. Jennifer Broad is a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist who has been practicing in Newport Beach, California for over a decade. She received her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco, and completed her residency training at the University of California, Irvine.

Dr. Broad is dedicated to providing personalized care to her patients and is committed to staying up-to-date with the latest medical advances in her field. She is a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a member of the Orange County Medical Association.



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