12 Early Signs of Pregnancy

Early Pregnancy symptoms

If you’re trying to get pregnant, you are probably analyzing every twitch, twinge, and change in your body during the two week wait.  I’ve been there.  I know what it feels like to wonder if you’re imagining the symptoms or if they are real.  It can be stressful and agonizing waiting to take a test and wondering what the results will be.  What makes it even more stressful is that some of the symptoms of early pregnancy are very similar to PMS symptoms, so it can be hard to tell the difference.

Here’s a list of early pregnancy symptoms you might experience.

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1. Spotting

Implantation bleeding can happen 6-12 days after conception.  The embryo implants itself into the wall of the uterus and may cause some spotting.  Usually this is lighter than a normal period and lasts only a few days.  A lot of time it happens a few days before your missed period but because it can happen around the same time you would expect your cycle to start, women often confuse this for their periods.  I experienced implantation bleeding and was one of the people who thought they had just started their cycle.  It happened 3 days before I expected to get my period and it ended up being very light and lasting 2 days.  Talk about an emotional rollercoaster thinking you didn’t get pregnant that month only to find out a few days later you actually did!

2. Cramping

Cramping can be a symptom of early pregnancy.  Similar to spotting, it happens when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus.  Cramping associated with early pregnancy is also frequently confused with menstrual cramps because they happen around the same time you would expect menstrual cramps to start and can feel very similar.

3. High basal body temp

If you are tracking your basal body temperature you might be able to detect pregnancy early.  Basal body temperature is your temperature when you are at complete rest.  This temperature increases after ovulation and remains high until just before your period starts when the hormone progesterone drops.  However, if you are pregnant, progesterone stays high and your basal body temperature won’t drop.  So, if your temperature is still high as you’re nearing your expected period, you just might be pregnant!

4. Breast changes

The hormonal changes in the first few weeks of pregnancy can cause your breasts to feel tender and swollen.  This is often confused with PMS if it’s a regular symptom for you before getting your periods. 

5. Constipation and Bloating

Constipation and bloating before your missed period can indicate pregnancy.  Hormonal fluctuations cause digestive muscles to relax and slow digestion which causes these symptoms.  If you’re experiencing these not-so-enjoyable symptoms, it might be for a really exciting reason!

6. Fatigue

One of the more common early signs of pregnancy is exhaustion.  Activities in your normal routine may start to wear you out.  This was my first symptom of pregnancy.  I went for a bike ride, something I do regularly, and could barely catch my breath halfway through.  Of course, at the time, I didn’t make the connection that this was because I was pregnant.  I just thought I was having a bad day! 

Blood volume increases significantly in the first few weeks of pregnancy.  This means your heart is pumping more blood every minute increasing your heart rate.  Your body is working much harder than it was pre-pregnancy which can cause you to feel fatigued.

7. Frequent urination

Another symptom related to increased blood flow and hormone changes is frequent urination.  This usually starts right before your missed period.  Your kidneys are producing more urine making you run to the bathroom more often. 

8. Moodiness

An inability to control your feelings can also be caused by changing hormones associated with pregnancy.  If you find yourself crying over something trivial one minute and giddy the next, it might be time to take a pregnancy test.

9. Dizziness

Blood vessels dilate during pregnancy, thanks to the hormone relaxin.  This can cause blood pressure to drop.  Low blood pressure can make you feel dizzy, particularly when quickly changing positions from sitting or lying to standing up.

10. Headaches

Headaches are another possible symptom of early pregnancy.  The reason for this is thought to be changing hormones and blood volume.

11. Sense of smell

If you suddenly have a heightened sense of smell and normally tolerable scents are making you gag, this can be a sign of pregnancy.  Like most of the other symptoms, this can also be blamed on changing hormones.

12. Missed period

This one is obvious.  The most concrete sign of pregnancy is your missed period.  If you’ve experienced this, go take that pregnancy test! Pregnancy tests check for the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin).  Your body will produce this hormone after a fertilized egg attaches to the wall of your uterus, which happens about 6 days after fertilization.  After that, hCG levels rise quickly.  At-home pregnancy tests detect hCG levels at a certain threshold, so be sure to follow the instructions on the test you use to make sure you aren’t taking it too early. 

Everyone woman is different and every woman will experience different symptoms leading up to their positive pregnancy test.  Some have all the symptoms and some have no symptoms at all.  I only had a couple signs prior to my missed period and I didn’t even realize they were symptoms of pregnancy until I got the positive test and looked back at how I was feeling. 

I know the two week wait feels like forever.  I hope this is the month you get your positive test!  And if not, don’t get discouraged! Take this time to enjoy spending time with your husband as you prepare for the next big step in your lives together.

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