When a woman is trying to have a baby, doctors commonly advise that they observe for any signs of pregnancy developing within a two week period which starts on the day of ovulation to the first day of a missed menstrual cycle. Other women may develop pregnancy signs as soon after implantation of the fertilized egg in the womb takes place, around the 8-14 days following ovulation.
If you have been trying to conceive, here are the 12 earliest signs of pregnancy that you need to look out for.
1) Missed Period
This is the most common sign of pregnancy that women should expect. In some cases, there may be some light spotting, which is indicative of implantation. If you notice this spotting occurring a few days before you are expected to have your menses and it lasts for less than a day, you should get a pregnancy test kit to make sure whether or not you are pregnant.
2) Elevation in Basal Body Temperature
Many women who have been having difficulty in conceiving are usually advised to monitor their basal body temperature (BBT) to determine when ovulation is taking place. Usually, your BBT should be elevated within a two week period, starting from ovulation to the start of your period. However, if your BBT continues to be high after these two week period, you should consider the possibility that you are pregnant.
3) Nausea and Vomiting
Another common sign of pregnancy is the development of nausea and/or vomiting, which is termed as “morning sickness”. Most women will only experience morning sickness during the first trimester of pregnancy. However, there are others who will be bothered by this ailment throughout the duration of their pregnancy. While the cause of morning sickness is unknown, doctors have hypothesized that this could be due to the pregnant woman’s reaction to the high levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) inside her body.
4) Frequent Urination
Pregnant women discover that they pee more frequently. This is because the growing uterus is pressing against the bladder inside the pelvis. In addition, there is also greater blood flow to the pelvic region, which also compounds frequent urination. You can expect to pee even more frequently during the third trimester when the baby is large enough to press against the bladder again.
5) Abdominal Discomforts
Women may experience a number of abdominal discomforts during pregnancy. This is largely due to the action of high levels of progesterone on the digestive system. The hormone relaxes the smooth muscles of the digestive tract, so that food passes slowly through the intestines, causing constipation and bloating. In the case of heartburn, progesterone causes relaxation of the smooth muscles in the oesophagus. This results in gastric acids in the stomach going back up the oesophagus, producing the characteristic burning sensation.
6) Breast Changes
The breasts undergo changes as early as the first few months of pregnancy in preparation for milk production. Most women complain about breast soreness and increased sensitivity to touch. This symptom may be accompanied visible darkening in colour of the breasts and areola. Because of the increased blood flow to the breasts, the veins may become distended and visible.
7) Uterine Cramps
Some women may be misled into thinking that they will be having their period when they develop uterine cramps. However, mild cramps are due to the expansion of the uterus as it accommodates the baby growing in the womb. A definite cause for concern though is if the cramps are intense and accompanied by heavy bleeding. In this case, you might be suffering a miscarriage and thus should be seen by a doctor immediately.
High levels of progesterone cause your entire body to relax. As a result, you always feel very tired and prefer to want to sleep more. You may also experience shortness of breath with slight exertion.
9) Mood Swings
Hormonal imbalances may lead to fluctuations in mood and increased emotional sensitivity. It may also aggravate psychological conditions, like anxiety and depression.
Fluctuations in blood pressure and blood volume may lead to episodes of lightheadedness or dizziness in some women. This may also be aggravated by pre-existing iron deficiency anaemia. Women are therefore given iron supplements to treat anaemia and to prepare her for the blood loss during delivery.
11) Changes in Food Preferences
Cravings and sudden aversions to certain foods is often indicative or pregnancy. Although the cause is unknown, many have speculated that these food preference changes may be due to a need for certain nutrients or that the body’s defence mechanisms are guarding the baby against foods that contain substances that are harmful to it.
12) Oversensitive Smell
Some women may develop increased odour sensitivity due to the increase in oestrogen levels. Heightened smell may aggravate morning sickness.