Some women know they’re pregnant before their period is even due, because they feel pregnant. Some are mistaking early pregnancy signs for PMS. Here are 11 most common signs that you could be expecting alongside with the explanation what causes them.
1. Tender or sore breasts
As soon as the fertilized egg implants in uterus, you feel tension in your breasts. Some moms-to-be are saying their breasts are painful when touched. It’s caused by increased blood flow. You might even notice your breasts are growing. Later in pregnancy, you can experience colostrum (baby’s first breast milk) leaking from your nipples. That’s how your breasts are preparing for breastfeeding when your baby arrives.
2. Stronger sense of smell
It’s when you notice your co-worker, who sits on the opposite side of the office, had chinese food for lunch.
Intensified sense of smell is typical for pregnancy. Most probable reason for it is to keep unborn baby safe. You notice smoke from fire sooner or you start avoiding harmful things like some chemicals, alcohol or cigarettes.
3. Nausea or vomiting
Morning sickness is a nightmare. At the time when you’re trying the most to maintain healthy diet and to avoid junk food, you feel so sick you can’t even think of food. Then you get hungry and you eat anything from the nearest fast food.
Nausea in first trimester is caused by high level of pregnancy hormone hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) which is responsible for baby’s nutrition at the start of pregnancy. Its level drops significantly in the second trimester when placenta develops and takes over providing nutrition for the baby. At that time, sickness will go away for most women.
My advice is:
Don’t worry about your diet too much as long as you manage to drink enough fluids and eat anything that gives you energy to “survive.” Your baby will get all the nutrients he needs, no matter if you eat healthy or not.
Tricky thing about eating unhealthy during pregnancy & breastfeeding is that YOU will miss out on nutrients. You will have a healthy baby, but your hair, nails, bones and joints will become weaker.
That’s why you should return to eating healthy as soon as morning sickness subsides and you start feeling a bit better.
Cramping similar to your period pain is very common in early pregnancy. It’s caused by stretching ligaments and muscles around your uterus as your uterus starts to grow. If the pain is too sharp or too intense, get checked by your doctor. Otherwise, there’s nothing to worry about.
Many moms-to-be say the pain is slightly different to the one they know as period cramps.
5. Implantation bleeding
Fertilized egg is implanting into endometrium (uterus inner lining) by making a tiny hole and sinking in it. This could cause a slight bleeding – spotting. It should be pink or light brown color when you see it. If the bleeding gets heavier, is accompanied with a pain or you feel generally unwell, you should talk to your doctor.
Your body works hard throughout your entire pregnancy. You’re growing another human being, it’s not easy. I was fit and healthy when I first got pregnant and I was shocked how weak and tired I felt.
I remember calling my doctor crying: “What happened to me? I can barely get up from my bed in the morning! What’s wrong with me? I just want my normal life back!”
“Welcome to pregnancy, girl,” was his reply.
Why do you feel tired in pregnancy?
High level of progesterone, rising amount of blood in your body, low sugar level and low blood pressure are all behind the tiredness you experience.
The good news is that you should feel more energetic again in second trimester. For now, just get as much rest as you can.
Your body is getting ready to give birth. Progesterone causes smooth muscles to relax. It allows your uterus to grow and prepares the birth canal for labour. But it can also relax the valve which closes the top of your stomach. When it does, stomach acids get back to your esophagus and cause burning or painful sensation.
When it happens, try to drink a sip of water to flush the acids back down into stomach. Sit upright or put extra pillow under your back when lying. Peppermint chewing gum is also very helpful.
If it’s too bad or no home remedies help, ask your doctor about stomach acid reducing drugs that are safe to take in pregnancy.
8. Frequent trips to the bathroom
Frequent urination is a surprising first sign of pregnancy as many people think it’s only an issue before the end of the pregnancy when baby is pushing down on your bladder.
Yet, waking up at night to go to the bathroom can be one of the first thing you notice before your period is due.
The amount of blood in your body during pregnancy will increase by 40-50%. Your kidneys are working harder, filtrating more blood and producing more urine.
9. Food craving or aversion
Funny cravings during pregnancy have nothing to do with your baby’s gender or his future food preferences. Craving some food doesn’t necessarily mean vitamin or mineral deficiency either.
Your sense of smell changes, your taste buds too and metabolism of sugars and proteins is also different. That’s why you like different foods.
Spoil yourself with a nice treat – sweet or savory and enjoy this special time of being pregnant.
10. Mood swings
Emotional rollercoaster is “just” another signal you could be pregnant. Your body is flooded with hormones which affect your mood.
As soon as the test confirms your pregnancy, you’ll need to process the new information and get ready to be a mom. That will make you even more emotional and prompt to mood changes.
Getting used to the idea of being a mom-to-be could be harder than you expect, even if being pregnant is your dream coming true. All the pregnancy symptoms you experience as well as upcoming increased responsibility could feel a bit overwhelming.
It’s absolutely OK to feel this way. Don’t worry, you can do it and you will be the best mom for your new baby.
11. Pregnancy glow
Pregnancy glow is something you probably won’t notice. Your spouse, family or colleagues at work might see it, though. Some people have a nose for pregnancy, so don’t be surprised if someone asks “Any news?” looking at your belly.
Is pregnancy glow really real?
Yes, it is. Increased blood flow makes your face look fuller. Your skin also becomes less dry (or more oily), so it looks shinier.
How soon can I test for pregnancy?
If you can’t wait to test until the first day of missed period, you can buy an early pregnancy test. It might give you positive result up to 4 days before your expected period date.
If you have regular 28 day cycle and your last menstrual period date (LMP) was September 1st.
Ovulation date: September 15th
Next period expected: September 29th
The day you can take EARLY pregnancy test with over 90% accuracy: September 25th (10 days past ovulation)
You can increase the chance of detecting pregnancy early if you use first morning urine. It contains higher concentration of hCG – hormone that makes the test turn positive.
If the test result is positive, congratulation, you’re pregnant.
If it’s negative, but you feel pregnant, try to test again in 2 days. Level of hCG doubles every 48 hours, so there’s much higher chance of seeing a positive result then.
Good luck, I hope you see your BFP // soon!