Understanding The Early Signs of Pregnancy
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Are your periods late? Are you wondering if you are pregnant or not?
By watching out for a few tell-tale signs that hint towards the early stages of pregnancy, you can tell if you are pregnant or not way before a home pregnancy test kit can give you results. Since several of these symptoms can be quite similar to the ones that you experience during PMS, it may get a little tricky to tell them apart.
It is important however that you don’t solely rely on these symptoms to determine if you are pregnant. Only a pregnancy test or your health care provider can offer a definitive conclusion.
The early signs and stages of pregnancy:
1. Missed period:
This is the most obvious sign of a possible pregnancy, especially if your menstrual cycle is otherwise regular. While there can be several possible reasons for a delayed period, a missed period is the most common sign of pregnancy (more so, if you have had unprotected sex in the month prior).
2. Cramps And Spotting:
Many women experience what is called “implantation bleeding” in the early stages of pregnancy. The symptoms are similar to that of a period, just milder.
You might notice a slight spotting instead of full-fledged bleeding and the accompanying cramps are also not as painful.Other than spotting, women often experience a milky white vaginal discharge caused due to the thickening of the vaginal walls, immediately, post conception.
3. Mood Swings:
Pregnancy is a hormonally charged time and all these hormones can wreak havoc on your emotions. During the early stages of your pregnancy, you might experience extreme mood swings very much like the ones you deal with every month before your periods.
You might feel happy and joyous one minute and in the very next you might find yourself bawling. This is normal behaviour. Giving yourself a moment to gather your emotions and relax can help to a great extent.
4. Constant Fatigue:
Feeling unusually tired is among the very first signs of pregnancy and can manifest as early as just one week after conception. Part of it is because of high levels of the hormone - progesterone, which prepares your uterus for the baby. It is also partly because a lot of your energy goes into preparing the placenta that will nourish and nurture your baby in the coming months.
Morning sickness is a queasy nauseated feeling that resembles seasickness. While it is one of the most famous signs of pregnancy, not all women experience it. The increase in levels of pregnancy hormones such as progesterone, oestrogen, and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is the main reason behind this symptom. Morning sickness typically starts at about six weeks into your pregnancy.
If the symptoms do not ease eventually, consult your doctor for a possible treatment for morning sickness.
6. Sensitivity to smell and food aversion:
Even though this symptom might show up a bit later in your first trimester, most women report a heightened sense of smell during the early pregnancy stages. It can make even mild smells strong and triggering. This sensitivity to smell can also cause a sudden aversion to previously appealing food. The mere thought, smell, or sight of certain food items can make you queasy and even add to your morning sickness.
7. Changes in the breasts:
Noticeable changes in your breasts are another early sign of conception. Owing to the rapidly occurring hormonal changes in your body, your breasts might feel heavier and tender or become swollen and sore. The areola (the area around your nipples) might grow in diameter and become darker than usual.
8. Other common early symptoms of pregnancy:
With all that is happening inside your body to accommodate the needs of your baby, you might experience several other signs of pregnancy including but not limited to:
- More frequent urination
- Bouts of headache and back pain, etc.
How Early Do The Symptoms Show Up?
Some women begin to see the early symptoms of pregnancy as shortly as in a week’s time from the date of conception, i.e., a week after the egg is fertilised and gets implanted into the uterine lining. On the other hand, other women do not experience any symptoms well into the latter half of the first trimester.
Do All Women Experience These Symptoms?
Every woman’s body is different so the early signs of pregnancy vary in frequency, duration, and intensity for different women. While most women experience one or more of these symptoms, there are several women who go through their entire pregnancy without experiencing any symptoms at all.
What next if you are pregnant?
First things first. If you experience the early signs of pregnancy, take the home pregnancy test to be sure that you are pregnant. If you get a positive result on the home pregnancy test kit, schedule an appointment with your doctor for a thorough examination of your symptoms and conclusively determine whether you are pregnant or not.
What you will experience next is a whirlwind of advice from your health care professional, friends and family. The most important thing to do during your pregnancy is, however, to ensure the right nutrition for you and your baby’s health. One simple way to achieve that is by adding folic acid rich food to your diet. A nutritional drink specifically designed for pregnant women such as Horlicks Mother’s Plus can also prove to be extremely helpful. It provides Protein, DHA, Choline, and 25 other vital nutrients that are important for a healthy pregnancy and the development of the baby.
Pregnancy is a monumental time in your life. Additionally, the constant barrage of information on what to do, what not to do, what to eat, and what to avoid, can get a little overwhelming.
It is important to step back and take a few deep breaths every so often. Rest when you feel tired and move when you feel like it. Incorporate relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation into your routine and enjoy this stage of your life as much as you can.
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