early signs and symptoms of pregnancy
The first indication most women have that they might be pregnant is missing a period. However there are many signs of pregnancy. Not all women experience all of these signs. But if you have been trying for a baby and you experience any of these symptoms, buy a home pregnancy test to see if your suspicions are correct. Then it's a good idea to go and see your doctor or midwife to have the pregnancy confirmed.
monthly periods stop
The first hint that most women have that they might be pregnant is that they miss their monthly period. However, many women do not have regular menstrual cycles, and even those women whose cycles are generally regular can have late or missed periods, without being pregnant. Stress, tiredness and stopping the oral contraceptive pill can disrupt the menstrual cycle. Trying for a baby can be very stressful indeed - and also tiring - so even if your period is a couple of weeks overdue it isn't a guarantee of pregnancy.
After a missed period, morning sickness is the next most obvious sign most women have that they are pregnant. Not all women experience morning sickness during pregnancy, but between half and two-thirds do. Those that do experience it usually begin feeling nauseous within 2 weeks to 2 months of conception. Luckily, morning sickness rarely lasts the entire length of the pregnancy, and usually goes away once the pregnancy reaches three or four months.
Although called morning sickness, symptoms of nausea related to pregnancy can occur at any time of the day. While some women just feel sick, others actually vomit.
There are many theories about what actually causes morning sickness. Some doctors think that morning sickness is prompted by the changes that occur in the body during pregnancy, which affect hormone levels, blood pressure and the digestive system. But whatever the cause of morning sickness, be assured that while it may make you feel quite rough, it will not harm your developing baby.
tender or swollen breasts
When you are pregnant, your breasts will become larger and may feel tender. You may also notice darkening of the nipples. These changes are your body preparing for breastfeeding once the baby is born. You may notice these changes in your breasts as early as the first month of pregnancy.
During the first few months of pregnancy you may feel tired and extremely sleepy. You feel tired because the baby is growing rapidly inside you and your body has to adjust to this.
As the baby grows, so will you. Obviously you will notice that your belly swells as the baby develops in the womb, but weight gain is not just limited here. You are storing fat to prepare for after the birth when you will be breastfeeding.
An aching back is common during pregnancy and can begin at any time. The pain is a response to the redistribution of weight in your body. The weight of the developing baby in the womb puts stress on your back.
Many women have cravings for odd foods when they are pregnant. You may find yourself craving something that you do not normally like, such as pickles. Alternatively you may find yourself wanting to eat odd combinations of food, for example, banana and bacon sandwiches. If you become pregnant again, you are likely to find that your food cravings are different each time. Some women also find that they have a slightly metallic taste in their mouth during early pregnancy.
Within 2 to 3 months of becoming pregnant you will probably find that you need to go to the toilet far more often than usual. This is because your growing baby is squashing your bladder, and because the size of the bladder does not increase during pregnancy, you may sometimes find that you need to urinate urgently. It is therefore a good idea to plan ahead when travelling or going on outings to make sure you know where the toilets are if you need them.
blocked nose and sinuses
Some women find that they have a 'stuffy' nose during early pregnancy, sometimes even before they have missed a period. This is because the hormone changes in your body brought about by pregnancy affect mucus production in your nose and sinuses.
Although not all women experience all these signs, they are a good indicator that changes are taking place in your body. So think about getting a test and hope for good news!