Early Signs of Pregnancy
August 14, 2016
It is important to note that signs of pregnancy manifest differently in different women and even in different pregnancies. For example, if you experienced nausea when you were pregnant with your first child this does not necessarily mean you will experience the same with your other children. In addition, certain symptoms of pregnancy could also manifest due to other reasons and hence the best way to confirm that you are pregnant is through a pregnancy test. If the pregnancy test reads negative and you still suspect you are pregnant, it might be too early to detect. You can try again after a few days or consult your doctor since hospitals have certain tests they use which can detect pregnancy in its earliest stage.
1) Morning Sickness/Nausea and Food Cravings
Most movies will portray a person is pregnant through dramatically having them dash to the bathroom in the morning to throw up. While “morning sickness” is a sign of pregnancy it doesn’t necessarily have to manifest in the morning. It could happen at any time of the day or not at all for some women. The same applies for food cravings or sudden food aversions which could happen quite early in your pregnancy and some food aversions might not go away even after you deliver.
If you are experiencing morning sickness, crackers could help you cope plus remember to stay hydrated and eat healthy meals with foods that don’t upset your stomach so much. If the vomiting becomes too much it will be best to consult your doctor.
2) Heightened Sense of Smell and Taste
You will also find that certain smells which never used to bother you do all of a sudden; or you can smell something like the garbage bin from a far. This heightened sense of smell also has a hand in the nausea you might be experiencing. There might also be a strange taste in your mouth often described as a metallic taste. Other women also have a sudden increase in saliva making them want to spit frequently.
3) Spotting and/or Cramping
You might notice some light red blood stains on your panties known as implantation bleeding caused by the fertilized egg attaching itself to the walls of your uterus. Most women confuse this with the commencement of their menses hence one way to tell the difference is that implantation bleeding is normally lighter in colour and often appears unexpected (not in line with your cycle). In addition, you might feel some cramping or pain in your lower abdomen caused also by the changes which are taking place in your body.
If the cramping or abdominal pain is too much it will be best to consult your doctor to ensure that it is not due to an ectopic pregnancy (the attachment of the fertilized egg to an area outside of the uterus such as the Fallopian tube).
4) Dizziness and Fainting
Due to a decrease in your blood pressure and blood sugar you might experience some dizziness or even faint. Like in the case of fatigue it is important that you maintain a healthy diet, stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.
5) Breast and nipples changes
Pregnancy may also cause your breast to feel swollen, fuller or heavier. You might notice some visible veins and your breast could feel sore or sensitive to the touch. This often manifests a week or two after conception. You’re areola may also darken.
To cope with these changes you could try wearing a comfortable and supportive bra. This is bearing in mind that your breast may never go back to how they were before the pregnancy.
6) Fatigue and Shortness of Breathe
Fatigue could set in as soon as one week after conception. This is often caused by the increased levels of progesterone hormone, lower levels of blood sugar and blood pressure. You might also experience a shortness of breath caused by your growing fetus consuming oxygen. While fatigue might only last during the first trimester, shortness of breath might continue throughout your pregnancy since as the fetus grows they also apply pressure against your lungs.
To deal with fatigue it’s important that you maintain a healthy diet rich in protein and iron. Ensure to get plenty of rest and stay hydrated.
7) Frequent Urination and/or constipation
Due to the increased amount of blood in your body your kidney will be working overtime to process the extra fluid which winds up in your bladder causing frequent urination. As you go further along into your pregnancy, you will also experience this more as your growing fetus will tend to apply pressure on your bladder.
Constipation is also a common sign of pregnancy caused by the increased levels of the progesterone hormone which slow down digestion.
8) Headaches and Lower Back Pains
You might experience some slight headache or lower back pains. The back pains are caused by your lower back ligaments loosening up and this might continue throughout your pregnancy as you get heavier. If you experience any of these pains and suspect that you might be pregnant, it is important to consult your doctor to get pregnancy safe painkillers. Most common painkillers are not suitable for pregnancy.
9) Mood Swings
You may notice that your tolerance level has suddenly shifted or that you just feel moody. This is very common in the 1st trimester but may last throughout your pregnancy. It is caused by the sudden increase in hormones in your body.
10) Missed Periods
This is the most obvious sign of pregnancy and like morning sickness is also a movie favourite. However, bear in mind that you could also miss your period if you are stressed or taking certain birth control medication.
It’s important to note that you will not necessarily experience all the above signs at once; but rather even as little as one or two may manifest during your pregnancy.
Experience of a Mama Mzazi Mom:
“Before I knew I was pregnant with my daughter, I suddenly began to feel tired. Extremely tired. I was finding it hard to focus at work and I looked really horrible that some of my co-workers were worried. I was also experiencing severe abdominal pain which is what made me suspect I might be pregnant. In addition, for the life of me I could not stand my husband’s cologne which was previously my favourite one. The first test I took, read negative but the pains still persisted. I then took another test a few days later which also read negative and finally a week later I took another test which showed positive. I then went to the hospital because of the abdominal pains to confirm that all was well and after a quick scan I was given the green light. The abdominal pains subsided as I progressed in my pregnancy.”