Trying for a baby? Then you are probably always looking for pregnancy symptoms to let you know that your efforts are finally bearing fruit. Pregnancy symptoms begin to manifest about 3 to 6 days after the egg has been fertilized. But you may not experience any symptoms at all until you are well into the later stages of your pregnancy.
Some women just ‘feel’ pregnant. This is not, as sceptics opine, just wishful thinking. If you are in tune with your body, you can tell when changes are occurring in your systems. It is the same as being able to tell that your period is coming on, except it is more subtle. Fortunately though, there are more tenable sensations that will help you determine whether or not you are pregnant.
There are dozens of pregnancy symptoms on record. You may not experience all pregnancy symptoms. There are a few women who barely have symptoms at all and their pregnancy goes by smoothly just like any other nine months of their lives. Then there are women who feel all the symptoms plus a dozen other unheard of pregnancy symptoms and have a tough time throughout. But a majority of women will experience the most common pregnancy symptoms and have their ups and downs that don’t veer to any extreme.
Keep in mind though that apart from a positive pregnancy test, none of the following symptoms are definite signs of pregnancy. However, pregnancy is the most likely diagnosis if you are experiencing the symptoms listed below.
When you get pregnant, the body immediately starts to prepare itself for the coming few months. Your pregnancy hormones will go into overdrive trying to get everything ready for the developing fetus as soon as possible. In a way, it’s like getting a house ready for guests who showed up without calling. Everything has to be moved around and gotten ready in a rush. So naturally, you will feel this upheaval in your body. The reactions you experience, though uncomfortable, are a good sign. It means that everything is going well and that your body is doing what it needs to in preparation for your baby.
Here are some of the most common pregnancy symptoms that you will most likely experience after you have conceived.
Late or missed period
If you generally have regular periods but all of a sudden you miss one, then you should consider taking a pregnancy test. Especially if you have recently had unprotected sex and are of childbearing age. A missed period is one of the most definite pregnancy symptoms.
Commonly called morning sickness, nausea and bouts of vomiting can actually hit you at any time of the day or night. This is one of the symptoms of early pregnancy. The intensity of the nausea will differ from woman to woman. Some may feel a little queasy but OK otherwise, some will be unable to keep any food down, and some will be bed-ridden by the nausea.
Heightened or altered sensitivity
Smells will be stronger. It gets so bad for some women that they get nauseous from the aroma of someone’s perfume or soap. You may discover that foods taste different to you. Some women have a coppery taste on their tongue.
The dark skin around your nipples is called the areola. After successful conception, the areolas tend to get darker than usual.
You may suddenly want fried onions or pickles or apple pie. There is no medical research about why cravings occur during pregnancy, and it is not a very reliable pregnancy symptom either. But if you have strange cravings in addition to some of the other symptoms on this list, then it may be a sign that you are pregnant.
On the other hand, you might find that you are repulsed or just not that into foods that your previously enjoyed. You will go back to enjoying these foods after you have delivered your baby.
This is one of the pregnancy symptoms that will plague you before any of the others do. During the early stages of pregnancy, your sudden need to run to the bathroom so often is caused by the kidney excreting the extra blood and fluid that it has to use for the changes that your body is making. You’ll actually have to pee a lot throughout the pregnancy. In the later stages as the baby grows, it weighs right on top of your bladder thus limiting the amount of liquid that this small organ can accommodate comfortably.
Swollen or sore breasts
Many women feel like their breasts are heavier or fuller, and that they feel sore or painful. This is simply your body preparing your breasts to feed the coming child.
As your breasts prepare to breastfeed when you are pregnant, there will be a discharge called colostrums. It may leak out of just one of your breasts or both of them. Some women will have a heavy discharge that seeps through the clothes while others will barely notice any leaking.
Feeling very, very tired is one of the earlier pregnancy symptoms. You’ll feel like sleeping a lot and will have low energy levels.
You may feel light-headed even if you’re just standing around doing nothing. You may also faint. Your blood sugar levels tend to drop quite quickly when you’re pregnant as the food you eat is rapidly processed by the body for you and the baby. Having frequent healthy snacks may help. Other cause may be that as the uterus grows, the arteries in your legs are compressed and this causes blood pressure to drop, which in turn leads to dizziness and/or fainting.
Implantation spotting or bleeding
Not many women will recognize this as one of the pregnancy symptoms as they mistake it for a period if they do not know that they are pregnant yet. When the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterine wall, bits of the wall may get dislodged and exit the body through the vagina. It appears the same as menstrual blood but it may be pinkish or bright red in color.
Hormonal changes during pregnancy may slow down digestion and cause constipation. This is one of the pregnancy symptoms that may last throughout your pregnancy. The only way to combat it is to eat foods high in fibre like fruits and vegetables.
One of the uncommon pregnancy symptoms is being unable to fall asleep at night. Try to reduce your caffeine intake and exercise more so that your body feels the need to rest.
Hormonal changes affect emotions too. And they mimic PMS or pre-menstrual syndrome. After all, it’s the same hormones and systems at play with pregnancy as with menstruation. So here are some pregnancy symptoms that affect you on a psychological or emotional level.
This is one of the most common pregnancy symptoms. Little things will annoy you, whether it’s justified or not.
Of all the pregnancy symptoms, this is the one most women identify with. You will feel absolute joy and absolute misery in equal proportions not only in the earlier stages of your pregnancy but through all of them.
You may suddenly burst into tears for no reason. As long as this does not spiral into frequent and chronic depression, it is OK.
Most women experience a little bit of depression when they are pregnant. But if you find that you are down in the dumps for several weeks together and can’t seem to snap out of it, check with your doctor.
Lack of focus
As your body prepares to welcome the baby it puts all its energies into your reproductive system. In a way, it prioritises the baby above all else. So don’t be surprised if you find that you have difficulty concentrating on tasks that you could do simply before. You literally do not have the energy to put into them.
Abnormal Pregnancy Symptoms
Sometimes, even the usual pregnancy symptoms can go overboard and be a sign that something is wrong either with your body or the baby. Most abnormal pregnancy symptoms can be managed with medical solutions so that the pregnancy can progress smoothly. But you must catch the symptoms at the earliest so that measures can be taken to prevent them from worsening.
- The nausea can sometimes get so unbearable that you are unable to eat or drink at all. Or when you do eat you vomit it all out. This can cause severe dehydration and malnutrition.
- If frequent urination is accompanied by a burning sensation, pain in the back or stomach, or a fever, it may be a sign of urinary tract infection and you should speak to your doctor to prevent problems during your pregnancy.
- While cravings are part and parcel of any pregnancy, be wary if they border on the absurd. For example, if you start craving chalk or clay, tell your doctor. This is a known condition called pica and can be harmful to you and your baby.
- While spotting is OK, see your doctor if it lasts for more than a couple of days. Discuss any bleeding with your doctor just to make sure that it is an expected part of your pregnancy.
- See your doctor if you have severe headaches, back aches or abdominal pains.