Early Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy
Could you be pregnant? Realizing you are pregnant without planning for or expecting it is a lot to take in at once. We want you to know that no matter how much you may feel it, you are not alone. You are not without hope. Whether you are considering parenting, abortion, adoption, or all of these, Lifeline Children’s Services desires to meet you right where you are and give you truthful information and counseling for all the options you are considering.
Our services to you are free, and support is available 24/7 by calling 1(800)875-5595
The first step is finding out whether or not you’re pregnant at all. Pregnancy has several early signs and symptoms – if you find yourself experiencing many of these, you should get a pregnancy test as soon as possible.
Sore or Sensitive Breasts
If your breasts feel sore, sensitive, or heavy, it’s possible you could be pregnant. Hormonal changes in your body start the physical changes of pregnancy early on, and breast sensitivity is often one of the first symptoms many women notice when they become pregnant.
Fatigue and Tiredness
Hormonal changes can also lead to feelings of fatigue and tiredness, especially early in pregnancy. While the exact cause of early pregnancy fatigue is unknown, it could be related to elevated levels of progesterone in combination with other symptoms like morning sickness, difficulty sleeping, or aches and pains.
Many women report feeling nauseous when they become pregnant, especially early in the day when hormone levels tend to spike. This morning sickness is one of the defining symptoms of early pregnancy, but not all women experience it (or they feel it to very different degrees). If you do find yourself feeling unexplainably sick during the day, pregnancy could be the cause.
Headaches are a frequently reported symptom of pregnancy, usually caused by hormonal changes which lead to changes in blood flow in the head and body. If you do think you could be pregnant, you should only take acetaminophen for your headaches – avoid ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin, as these medications can harm your developing child and lead to increased risk of pregnancy complications. Some women also report feeling stuffiness and sinus pressure in addition to headaches.
Food Cravings and Aversions
The reason for it is unknown, but many women in early pregnancy report feeling strong cravings or aversions to familiar foods and food smells. This can include cravings for or aversions for your favorite foods or cravings and aversions for foods you usually don’t like. Aversions can be especially powerful – many women report feelings of nausea or disgust toward strong smells, even of foods or drinks they normally like.
Constipation and Bloating
The hormonal changes that come with pregnancy can also affect your digestion. Many women report feelings of constipation and abdominal bloating early in their pregnancies, similar to the feelings they get during a normal menstrual period. These symptoms often occur in combination with feelings of nausea and a frequent need to urinate.
One of the most common symptoms of early pregnancy is a frequent need to urinate. This is due to hormonal changes that increase the flow of blood through your kidneys, which in turn causes them to process more liquid and fill up your bladder faster. This can also lead to some of the bloatedness common to early pregnancy.
The hormonal changes of early pregnancy do not just lead to physical changes. They also can cause unexpected and dramatic mood swings and strong emotional reactions. If you find yourself having very strong or uncharacteristic feelings and reactions during your normal day-to-day life, pregnancy could be the cause.
Along with headaches, another common early pregnancy symptom is backache/stiffness. This can be due to several causes, including hormonal changes, difficulty sleeping, and changes to blood flow through your lower body. Much like with headaches, you should avoid treating backaches with anything other than acetaminophen if you think you could be pregnant.
Many women report feeling cramps similar to menstrual cramps during the early parts of their pregnancy. Cramping is usually due to the uterus stretching in order to receive the fertilized egg. It can be difficult to tell these cramps apart from period cramps, but you should be careful about how you treat them if you think you could be pregnant.
Spotting or Discharge
Along with cramping, some women also experience light spotting during early pregnancy. This is technically referred to as implantation bleeding and occurs when the fertilized egg implants into the uterus. You may also notice some discharge, which usually occurs due to your body working harder to keep infections out.
Many of the symptoms listed above are distinct, but they can also be easy to miss or to attribute to other causes. For many women, the first sign they get that they could be pregnant is a missed period. If your periods are generally very regular or if you are more than a few weeks late, you should take a pregnancy test as soon as possible.
Positive Pregnancy Test
If you notice any of the above symptoms in combination or over a period of a few days, a pregnancy test should be in order. Most drugstore pregnancy tests are very accurate from the day of your missed period and beyond, though you should always get a pregnancy test and confirmation ultrasound at your doctor’s office as soon as possible to confirm you are really pregnant.
Thinking through all the options for your unexpected pregnancy, your child, and for you is wise, and Lifeline Children’s Services desires to meet you right where you are and give you truthful information and counseling for all the options you are considering. You will have a one on one relationship with a pregnancy counselor whose passion is to serve you. Your counselor will get to know you and learn about your circumstances, needs, goals, and values.
Our desire is to care for you holistically as a whole woman, not just as a woman who is pregnant.