Posted on 6th Jun 2013
Early Signs of Pregnancy
Finally the day you have been waiting for is here! You have discovered you are pregnant and probably excited and anxious at the same time, wondering what is happening inside your body. Apart from the missed period, there are some early pregnancy symptoms you should be aware of. You may feel some or all of these symptoms.
1. Spotting and cramping:
About 6 – 12 days after conception, the embryo attaches itself to the wall of the uterus. This is called implantation. There may be spotting at this time along with cramps. Many women mistakenly think that it is the start of their period. Implantation bleeding doesn't last too long, and is very light compared to menstrual bleeding. Some women may only have spotting others may only have cramping and some may not feel any of it.
2. Fatigue or Tiredness:
This is one of the first symptoms of pregnancy. Hormonal changes in pregnancy creates high levels of progesterone in the body, which can make you feel extremely tired and can also make you terribly sleepy. Sometimes to the extent that you find it difficult to be up and about for too long. Sometimes due to low blood sugar and low blood pressure also leads to fatigue, because of the changes happening in the body.
3. Nausea and vomiting:
Morning sickness, which can happen anytime of the day or night (between 2 – 9 weeks after conception) is another common pregnancy symptom. Due to the sudden hormonal changes during pregnancy, you might be very nauseated, and even have bouts of vomiting. It helps to suck on a boiled sweet or have a cracker / biscuit just before you get out of bed in the morning. Staying hydrated and eating protein rich foods throughout the day can also help. Some women are lucky not to have any nausea at all, while some may feel nauseous throughout their pregnancy.
Some women may feel dizzy and some may even faint. This may happen because your blood vessels are dilated, leading to low blood pressure during pregnancy. Do get it checked with your doctor. If your blood sugar is low, it is crucial that you eat small meals every 2 – 3 hours. By the end of the first trimester, many women start feeling better.
5. Changes in the breasts:
You may find your breasts heavier, tender and achy. The pregnancy hormones surging in your body might cause your breasts to start swelling and become painful or tingly on touch. The areola (area around the nipples) may get bigger and darker too. Apart from the hormonal changes, water retention due to pregnancy can make you feel bloated. It is very important to wear a good supportive bra (preferably without underwire, as it may cause discomfort) more so while exercising.
6. Need to urinate frequently:
Suddenly you will find yourself visiting the toilet more often. This is because not only is your uterus growing and exerting pressure on the bladder but also your kidneys have to process more urine now.
The hormone progesterone, causes the smooth muscles to relax during pregnancy, as a result the digestive system is affected, and slows down a little. Due to this the food passes through the intestines more slowly. This might cause constipation and gas. Apart from this, your growing Uterus takes up more space, giving your bowels less room. Further the iron supplements can also lead to constipation. Do ask your doctor to change your iron supplement in case it is causing constipation. Eating high fibre foods will help greatly in reducing constipation.
8. Shortness of breath:
You need more oxygen in pregnancy. The increase in the levels of Progesterone affects your lungs. The growing embryo needs more oxygen, and as a result, you might be short of breath even though you haven't exerted yourself too much. You'll feel better if you take slow, deep breaths.
9. Heightened sensitivity to smell:
Some pregnant women develop a heightened sense of smell. They find some smells cause nausea, which might have not bothered them earlier. Some women also develop a funny taste in their mouth, which may just not go away.
10. Change in food likes and dislikes:
It is common to have food cravings and aversions to food during pregnancy. You might start reacting unexpectedly to certain foods. A favourite food might suddenly make you retch, and you might start craving for a food you never really cared much for.
You might be prone to headaches due to the rise of hormones in the body.
12. Mood Swings
The high level of hormones in early pregnancy can cause emotional upheavals making you unusually sensitive and weepy. If you find yourself tearing up at the slightest stimulus, don't worry, nothing is wrong with you. You could be happy one minute and weeping the next minute. This is completely normal and something you cannot help!
Do remember these signs are not unique to pregnancy. If they persist, you need to see the doctor. At the same time, some women may not experience these symptoms and might still be pregnant.
It is best to wait until you miss your period, and take a pregnancy test to be absolutely sure, and then follow it up with a visit to the doctor! The sooner you know you are pregnant, the sooner you can start taking prenatal care.
Do message me if you have felt any symptoms which are not mentioned here. Also if you would like to know more about any topic related to Pregnancy and beyond. Look forward to your comments.
Seema Kazi Rangnekar is the founder of Samã Birthing & Beyond. She is a Mumbai-based internationally certified Childbirth, Pregnancy Fitness, Prenatal Nutrition and Lactation Educator. Seema is a member of CAPPA - Childbirth & Postpartum Association, USA, the world's largest Childbirth organization. She is a passionate advocate for women’s maternity care and her articles have appeared on various Mother & baby blogs. Seema is also a CAPPA faculty in India, conducting workshops for Childbirth Education and Pregnancy Fitness. Last, but absolutely not least, she is also the mum of two beautiful children, her daughter Samara and son Samarveer.