Woman looking at pregnancy test

What Are the Early Signs of Pregnancy?


Missing a period is the most obvious sign of a potential pregnancy. However, some women may experience bleeding or spotting throughout pregnancy.

Additionally, there are other useful early symptoms of pregnancy you can look out for. Learn the most common early signs of pregnancy even before your missed period to get a heads up that you may need to take a pregnancy test soon.

Nausea

Nausea is a common sign of pregnancy. Progesterone and other hormones released by the body during pregnancy cause the stomach to empty more slowly and make you feel queasy.

Breast changes

Changes to the breasts are one of the early signs of pregnancy. Due to estrogen and progesterone, your breasts can become achy, tender, swollen and heavier. Your nipples can also darken as your body prepares for breastfeeding.

Fatigue

The amount of energy your body needs to develop the placenta and a supportive environment for the baby can leave you exhausted. If you find yourself taking more naps than usual or finding it harder to get up in the morning, your body may be preparing for a nine-month visitor.

Increased frequency of urination

During pregnancy, your kidneys have to process more urine. The hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormone increases the flow of blood to your kidneys to help get rid of your—and eventually your baby's—waste more efficiently. Your bladder may also get pressure from a growing uterus, making you need to go to the toilet more than usual.

Importantly, you should not cut back on drinking plenty of fluids because you're having to pee more often.

Food cravings or aversions

Your cravings and dislikes during pregnancy give you an insight into what nutrients your body needs and what it needs to avoid. Your hormones play a role in what causes you to rush to the grocery store to buy pickles or throw out snacks that you now find repulsive.

With your changing hormones, your body's unique way of preparing for pregnancy is unpredictable. Other common early signs of pregnancy include:

  • Spotting
  • Cramping
  • Bloating
  • Headaches
  • Lower back pain
  • Mood swings
  • Lightheadedness

When should I take a pregnancy test?

A pregnancy test uses either a blood or urine sample to detect traces of the hCG hormone, which your placenta develops 10 days after fertilization.

Blood tests carried out by healthcare professionals are very accurate and can detect pregnancies in the second week after conception. At home, urine pregnancy tests are 97% to 99% accurate and can detect pregnancies two weeks after conception or around the time your next period is due.

Make an appointment with your Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group OBGYN to verify your pregnancy and receive advanced prenatal care during your exciting journey.

Sources:

Signs of Pregnancy/The Pregnancy Test

American Pregnancy Association

What To Expect

WebMD

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