Top 10 Signs of Pregnancy

If you have been planning your pregnancy, the wait time before your period to arrive can feel like it lasts forever. During this time, our minds do a great job of making us question whether we are experiencing any early signs of pregnancy or simply PMS, and nature is cruel by making the symptoms of both so similar. Even though early signs of pregnancy cannot wholly confirm whether someone is pregnant, they can give a little bit of a heads-up and are fun to know. So, what are the first signs that conception has occurred and an individual is pregnant?

Missed Period

A missed period is usually cause for someone to take a pregnancy test, to figure out whether or not they are pregnant. Although a missed period can be an obvious sign for some, for many others who experience PCOS or irregular periods, a missed period can look like just another day and cycle. Once a period is missed, if conception has occurred, it should show up on an at-home pregnancy test. A positive at-home pregnancy test is 99% accurate, and if combined with other pregnancy symptoms and an ultrasound or blood test, pregnancy can be confirmed.

Body Basal Rise in Temperature

If you have been using Natural Family Planning or Temping to track your cycles, you might take your Body Basal Temperature (BBT). This BBT temperature typically drops before someone gets their period; but if they are pregnant, it will rise and stay high. Another possible sign of pregnancy is an implantation dip. This is a dip in the BBT temperature that occurs when implantation happens. It is not guaranteed that this dip equates to pregnancy, but if a drop occurs during implantation and a rise in BBT occurs right before a period should start, you might be pregnant.

Morning Sickness and Food Aversions

Most commonly, morning sickness does not begin occurring until the sixth week of pregnancy, but there are times when it can start earlier than that. Sometimes morning sickness is nausea and vomiting, other times, it is only nausea. Occasionally, morning sickness can show up in aversions to specific foods, smells, textures, etc. Unlike its name, morning sickness does not only happen in the morning and can impact you throughout the day and night. Extreme nausea and vomiting should be taken up with a care provider; but otherwise, morning sickness often dissipates by the second or third trimester.

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Fatigue

Exhaustion and fatigue are some of the most common early pregnancy symptoms. You might need double the sleep you usually do, canceling plans for naps and rest, and not feeling nearly as productive as you used to be. In addition, hormones are changing, and blood volume is increasing, which causes pregnant bodies to feel tired. Extreme exhaustion can be a sign of low iron levels and should be taken up with a care provider; but otherwise, take naps and rest as much as possible. Once the second trimester arrives, it usually gets better.

Breast/Chest Tenderness and Swelling

Just as with fatigue, your hormones are changing rapidly, and breast/chest tissue changes can occur. This sign can declare itself within the first week or two of pregnancy and continue throughout the rest of pregnancy and postpartum as more changes occur. At around six to eight weeks of pregnancy, breast growth is typical and can continue throughout the rest of pregnancy and postpartum.

Increased Urination

Even though a fetus is tiny during the first few weeks of pregnancy, the frequency of urination in a pregnant person can increase. The growing blood volume can cause this, and the kidneys need to process extra fluid. This symptom might continue throughout the pregnancy or pick back up toward the end, as the baby puts more pressure on the bladder.

Bloating and Constipation

During pregnancy, the body slows down in its digestion process, due to changes in hormones. This can cause bloating and constipation, similar to how the body acts when you're menstruating. If the bloating and constipation become unmanageable, impacting day-to-day life, see your care provider for good resources on how to help resolve these issues.

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Light Spotting

This sign commonly scares or confuses pregnant individuals. Occasionally, when implantation occurs and the egg attaches to the lining of the uterus, light spotting can occur. Although this can feel startling, it can be one of the earliest signs that pregnancy has been achieved! If the bleeding is heavier than light spotting, consult with your care provider.

Cramping

Cramping is another sign that often scares pregnant individuals. Although it feels alarming, it is more common than most would think! However, if the cramping is accompanied by bleeding, a consultation with your care provider is needed to check on the baby and ensure that everything appears normal.

Nasal Congestion

Increased hormone levels and blood volume can cause your mucous membranes to swell, dry out, and bleed more easily. This sign can be overlooked, especially during winter or cold and flu season, but it is one that many pregnant individuals experience.

It is important to remember that not every pregnant person experiences pregnancy the same. Some individuals go through their pregnancies with little to none of the signs and symptoms conveyed above, and others have a few or all of them. These signs and symptoms are not indicators of fetal health. Every pregnancy is unique unto itself and should be treated as such. Signs or no signs, your pregnancy is valid and honored!

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