When you are waiting eagerly for a positive pregnancy test, you find yourself looking for even the slightest signs that you may be pregnant.
We have all heard about the iconic signs of pregnancy like nausea, breast pain, and intense fatigue.
But do all women experience these early signs of pregnancy?
Research shows that every woman goes through her own unique pregnancy journey. It’s just a question of how early (and how intensely) she feels her pregnancy symptoms.
Some women notice these signs as early as six days after ovulation (6 DPO). However, others may mistake them for premenstrual symptoms and only realize that they may be pregnant after a missed period.
In this article, we will find out more about early pregnancy symptoms and how they may be experienced by different women.
- How do early signs of pregnancy start?
- What are the most common symptoms of early pregnancy?
- Should you worry if you don’t experience early signs of pregnancy?
Back to the Beginning! How do early signs of pregnancy start?
Have you wondered what happens in the womb right after the egg meets the sperm and conception occurs?
The ovary releases the mature egg from its follicle around 12-14 days before your next menstrual period, leaving behind the corpus luteum. This prompts the release of the pregnancy hormone progesterone, which thickens the lining of the uterus and gets it ready for the new baby to grow and develop.
If the egg is fertilized by the sperm, the newly formed embryo implants itself into the endometrium or the innermost lining of the uterus to grow. After implantation, levels of the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone rise, which is then detected in urine pregnancy tests.
With the increase in progesterone and hCG, the body goes through several changes, which are recognized as early signs of pregnancy, that are often felt within 10 DPO or 10 days post ovulation.
Recognizing the signs! What are the earliest symptoms of pregnancy?
Studies show that nearly 25% of women may experience slight bleeding or spotting, which is lighter than their normal period. It usually occurs 6-12 days after conception and is known as implantation bleeding. When the embryo burrows into the uterine lining breaking a few blood vessels and causing small amounts of blood to come out through the vagina. As this happens, some women may also experience sharp cramps.
- Nausea and vomiting
80% of women report feeling nauseous, and 35-40% experience vomiting during the first trimester. It usually begins 2-8 weeks after conception.
For some women, this symptom may continue throughout their pregnancy. Did you know that even though it is called morning sickness, it occurs in the morning for only less than 2% of women?
Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy can be present at any time during the day.
- Breast pain
Studies show that 76% of women experience breast pain. Tender, full breasts and painful nipples may be felt 1-2 weeks after conception. Fluctuating hormone levels cause blood to flow to the chest area to prepare the mammary glands for breastfeeding. So, while it may appear that your breasts have had a sudden growth spurt, it comes with pain, swelling, and tenderness. You may find that the skin around your breast feels irritated and itchy.
During the initial days of pregnancy, you may notice that you are more tired than usual. Along with fatigue, many women also feel very sleepy and lethargic. This happens because your body is working overtime to increase blood supply to the uterus. Your metabolic rate also climbs higher than normal, as you are using up more nutrients and body water. Your blood sugar and blood pressure may also dip, causing exhaustion.
- Frequent urination
You may find yourself going to the bathroom more often. This is because the sudden rise in human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone increases the blood flow to your pelvic area.
Headaches, mood swings, and food cravings or aversions are also common signs of pregnancy, but they are often mistaken for the feeling you get right before your period, so they are often overlooked.
Warning Signs! Should you worry if you don’t experience early symptoms of pregnancy?
Women often hear about the common signs and symptoms they are expected to experience from family members, friends, and doctors. So it is understandable to get worried if you are trying to get pregnant but are not experiencing any of these symptoms.
However, there is no single definition of ‘normal’ pregnancy symptoms. Every woman experiences them at different times and with varying levels of severity. Many don’t experience pregnancy symptoms until eight weeks after their last menstrual period.
In fact, the symptoms may change every day, depending on how your hormones fluctuate. If you are worried about your lack of symptoms or if you experienced symptoms, but they suddenly went away, it is always reasonable to speak to your doctor about your concerns.
It may be tempting to do a pregnancy test at this time, just to make sure that you are pregnant. However, this may cause more confusion because these tests often come negative this early in the pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association suggests taking blood tests for hCG levels 11 days after conception while waiting 12–14 days before taking a urine test. This means that you should take your pregnancy test after you miss your next period.
Pregnancy tests detect the level of human chorionic gonadotropin hormone in either your urine or your blood. Until the hCG levels rise high enough for it to be detectable in the tests, you may get false negative results even though you may be pregnant.
The early signs of pregnancy can act as useful hints if you are waiting anxiously for some good news. However, considering that they present so differently in women, it is advisable to confirm them with your doctor or with a pregnancy test at the right time.
- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24028734/ http://americanpregnancy.org/while-pregnant/hcg-levels/