Early Signs of Pregnancy

I’d been a paramedic for almost 15 years before I tried to conceive so, in theory, I was well versed in the signs of pregnancy.  After trying for more than a year to get pregnant, however, that “knowledge” didn’t stop me trawling the internet for “new” signs and symptoms that I might have finally been successful as I eagerly awaited the absence of a period.

Alas, I did not find any special tips, tricks, or magical information that could manifest a pregnancy for me.  For those of you as desperate and frustrated as I was becoming, here is a guide of what to look for to tell that you are pregnant:

Early Belly Bump

During pregnancy, the pregnant woman’s body goes through a lot of changes. For the woman who is actively trying to conceive, she will often watch her body like a hawk for any changes that may herald a successful conception.

The confusing this is, however, that if you are pregnant, you may experience many of these signs and symptoms, or you may experience none at all. Some women report the commencement of these ‘feelings’ within days of conception, while others may be a couple of months pregnant before they notice anything different.

And, to confuse the woman even further, all of these symptoms can have other causes, or may feel like an impending period rather than actual pregnancy. Fortunately, if you present with several of them together, the chances of the cause being “pregnancy” increase.

Early signs of pregnancy include:

– Sore, swollen breasts – An initial reaction to your body’s surge in hormones may make your breasts increasingly tender to the touch. In most women, this will ease as their bodies become accustomed to new hormone levels.

– While we’re on the subject of breasts, darkening of your areolas may signal successful conception or a hormonal imbalance. It may also be left over from previous conceptions.

– Increase in frequency of urination may also indicate pregnancy. This increase occurs after the embryo has implanted in the womb and the hormone production of “human chorionic gonadotropin'”(HCG) commences. This should settle after the first trimester, but the need to urinate will increase again as the baby becomes larger and pressure is put on the bladder.

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– Fatigue is a common complaint, with high levels of the hormone progesterone making your feel tired.

– Cravings for particular foods can indicate a pregnancy, but can also be experienced by some women pre-menstrually. Cravings can also be psychological, or indicate that a particular nutrient is lacking in your diet.

– Chloasma: this is the official name for those darker areas of pigmentation that pregnant woman can present with, particularly to the face, but also tracking down the centre of a pregnant woman’s belly in a line. Chloasma is a by-product of hormone changes, and can also be caused by the contraceptive pill. These areas of darker pigmentation may fade somewhat after the pregnancy, but are permanent. Consistent use of sunscreen will minimise their appearance.

– Nausea, a.k.a. ‘morning sickness’: May occur as early on as a few days after conception, take a few weeks to present, or may be absent all together for a lucky few. Despite its name, morning sickness can occur any time of day or night. Women also often experience changes in taste, and may complain of a metallic taste in their mouth. Some remedies that may assist with coping with morning sickness include fresh ginger, and eating frequent, small meals before hunger kicks in.

– Spotting: Many women experience a little bleeding about 8 days after conception as the fertilised egg burrows into the endometrial lining. This is often referred to as “implantation bleeding.” It is usually pinkish or brownish, and may be accompanied by mild cramping.

– Your basal body temperature remains high. You will only notice this if you have been charting your basal body temperature, such as to predict ovulation. If your temperature remains elevated for 18 days, you are probably pregnant.

– Missed period. If your period doesn’t come, especially if you are usually pretty regular, it’s time to take a pregnancy test.

– A positive home pregnancy test. These are pretty reliable these days so, if you get a positive result, it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor to confirm the good news. Congratulations!



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