Pregnancy signs and symptoms can vary a lot from one woman to the next. Symptoms can also be very different in different pregnancies for the same woman. In early pregnancy, you may or may not have noticeable signs. The severity of symptoms can vary quite a bit, and in some women, symptoms may not be noticed for several weeks.
Subtle signs of early pregnancy often are very similar to the symptoms you experience just before a menstrual period, so they can be easy to miss. Women that are very in tune with their own body recognize almost right away when little things are different than usual. Certain signs could very well indicate pregnancy and mean that it could be time to make an appointment to see your OBGYN.
1 – Missing Your Period
For many women, the very first sign of possible pregnancy is a missed period. If your period is usually irregular, you may not even realize that it is late, but if you are regular, you will notice right away. Some women experience cramping and spotting and may mistake these symptoms for a period. If you are of childbearing age and are more than a week late for your period, see an obstetrician/gynecologist or a certified nurse midwife.
2 – Breast Changes
Swollen, tender breasts may be the first sign that you notice. Your breasts may feel heavy, full or uncomfortable in early pregnancy. This is caused by hormonal changes and is usually not a symptom you experience each month before your period. The area around the nipple, called the areola, may darken in color.
3 – Fatigue
Fatigue and lack of energy is a vague symptom that could have a wide variety of causes, but in some cases, it is a sign of early pregnancy. You may have the urge to stay in bed or to take frequent naps. Sleepiness in early pregnancy can be caused by a surge in the hormone progesterone.
4 – Nausea
Morning sickness is an expected sign of early pregnancy and strikes at different stages and in different degrees for each pregnancy. You may feel just slightly nauseous, or you may feel violently ill and experience vomiting along with nausea. Smells of certain foods may make you feel even more nauseous.
This symptom doesn’t always happen in the morning even though it is known as morning sickness. It usually becomes less intense as your pregnancy progresses. For some women, it continues throughout the entire pregnancy.
5 – Increased Urination
A common symptom of early pregnancy that may come over you without warning is increased urination. Due to hormonal changes that usually occur around six to eight weeks into your pregnancy, your kidneys have extra fluid to process. As the size of your uterus and baby grow throughout the pregnancy, the urge to urinate frequently will continue.
Other Possible Signs of Pregnancy
While these are five common early signs in most pregnancies, there are other signs you might experience. Many of these symptoms resemble premenstrual syndrome. You may have headaches or feel lightheaded. You may have mood swings characterized by weeping and intense emotions. Bloating and constipation are not uncommon in early pregnancy.
The presence of any or all of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you are pregnant. Many times they just mean that your period is about to start. Some people have no symptoms at all in early pregnancy.
If you have missed a period and have noticed any of these signs, take an at-home pregnancy test, or make an appointment to see your OBGYN or midwife. If you are pregnant, it’s important to begin prenatal care early.