The signs and symptoms of pregnancy are numerous. Speculation is massive at this time, and you should probably pay close attention to things such as missed periods followed by a full range of body changes to determine whether or not you have a baby on board. So, what signals does the body give to tell you that you are pregnant?
MomJunction enlists those signs that can confirm your pregnancy without going for a pregnancy test.
How To Confirm Pregnancy Without A Test (Common Signs And Symptoms):
1. Missed periods:
This is one of the first signs of pregnancy, but could be misleading. There are many reasons for a missed period such as sudden weight gain or loss, regular usage of contraceptives, stress or overexertion, and eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. Therefore, you should consult a doctor to make sure that your missed period is a sign of pregnancy.
[ Read: Pregnancy Symptoms Before Missed Period ]
If you notice a few drops of blood after one or two weeks of your last period, this could be implantation bleeding, which is harmless. Spotting occurs when the embryo implants itself to the uterus wall. However, this is not the case with every expectant mom. Check with your doctor if you experience any pain or discomfort (1).
3. Nausea and vomiting:
One of the earliest signs of pregnancy, nausea will surface as early as three weeks into conception. It is referred to as morning sickness, though it can occur at any time. Any smell, taste, or even a regular perfume can make you feel nauseous. It is an indication that the hormonal levels are rising, and is a sign that your body is preparing for pregnancy.
Gas accompanies a feeling of fullness or bloating. You will also have flatulence, excessive belching, and cramps. Some women may have this symptom very early in their pregnancy due to the rising progesterone levels, which relax the smooth muscle tissue in the gastrointestinal tract affecting the digestion process. It leaves you feeling full even after small meals, and your clothes also fit tightly across your waist.
5. Sore breasts and tingly nipples:
Your breasts will feel sore, tender, and painful to touch. A closer view will tell you that your breasts are bigger and heavier. The areolas and nipples will turn darker, and you can notice small spots around the nipples area. You may also see some pimple-like white spots around the areola.
6. Frequent urination:
If you find yourself rushing to the washroom every 20-30 minutes, it could be a major indication of pregnancy. Hormonal changes cause increased blood flow and water retention, making your bladder full. Also, the growing uterus exerts pressure on the bladder causing frequent urination.
If your lower back aches just like how it does before and during a period, it could imply pregnancy. Some women experience a backache throughout the day, and it does not go away with rest or massage. Pregnancy back pain occurs around the sacroiliac joint and could be due to weight gain, posture change, hormonal changes, and stress.
The good thing is, the pain eases gradually, and all you need to do is exercise regularly. Light prenatal yoga, meditation, riding a stationary cycle, and swimming could help. Also, hot and cold compresses are relaxing. However, you should consult your doctor before doing any of them.
Headaches are more common in the later part of the first trimester and all through the second trimester. But sometimes, they start early. Stress, along with drowsiness, cravings, and physical changes, could lead to headaches. However, they go away with some rest and care.
[ Read: Headache During Pregnancy ]
9. Irritability or mood swings:
You may seem to lose your temper without much provocation! Even though you may not know it, your irritable and moody behavior is due to pregnancy hormones. You feel oversensitive, grumpy, and tearful, all due to hormonal changes altering the levels of neuro-transmitters or chemical messengers to the brain. This results in heightened emotions, both good and bad. You could try to counsel yourself or talk to a friend, divert your mind, and try to keep a cheerful disposition. It is tough but possible!
10. Food aversions/cravings:
Desperately craving for something that you did not like till now, or suddenly putting off some foods which you liked so far? The rising level of estrogen is the cause. You can have cravings at any time throughout your pregnancy; just make sure you don’t overeat as it can make you sick.
11. Fatigue and sleeplessness:
Due to all the physical changes, your body’s sleep cycle may be disturbed. Rising progesterone levels, nausea, and frequent urination could fatigue your body and therefore contribute to sleeplessness. You will feel energetic close to the second trimester, and tiredness returns in the third trimester (2).
What Are Other Signs And Symptoms Of Pregnancy?
12. Bleeding gums:
Though not a common symptom, your gums will bleed when you brush or slowly massage them. Hormonal changes may be the cause of plaque build-up which is known to cause gum disease (3). Consult your doctor if it does not go off on its own. Do not brush hard or apply force on your gums while cleaning.
13. Palmar Erythema:
In some cases, you may notice redness on your palms, also referred to as red palms. An increase in estrogen along with increased blood volume causes the redness (4).
[ Read: PMS Symptoms Vs. Pregnancy Symptoms ]
14. Nasal congestion:
Rising hormonal levels and blood production will affect the mucous membranes in the nostrils to swell, dry, and bleed. This will, therefore, lead to a runny or stuffy nose (5).
15. High basal body temperature:
When you have been actively trying to conceive, you may chart your basal body temperature to check for ovulation. If you find the temperature has remained elevated for more than two weeks from ovulation, it means you are pregnant.
16. Low sexual desire:
The hormonal changes in the body post pregnancy cause a decrease in your sex drive. Various other reasons such as fatigue, stress, medications, or excessive exercise can also sometimes cause a decrease in sexual interest (6).
You are likely to notice some dark patches on your cheekbones, upper lip, bridge of the nose, and forehead. They are known to be pigmentation spots, otherwise called melasma or the Mask of Pregnancy. This occurs due to the over secretion of melanotropin hormone in your body during pregnancy. Sunlight can further worsen the condition. In most cases, the pigmentation lessens post delivery (7).
18. Dark line of hair on the body:
Sometime around the third month, you will notice a dark line of hair in the front part of your body. It will mostly be a thin line of hair from the pubic bone towards the top of the uterus. If you have been pregnant earlier, the line may appear before pregnancy.
Pregnancy can often bring back your spells of acne that peppered your teenage years. You may have great glowing skin or oily and patchy skin. Drink lots of water and stay hydrated. Use products that work well for sensitive skin. If the problem persists or worsens, speak to your doctor about it.
20. Itching sensation on the skin:
When you are pregnant, you will experience mild itching sensations on the skin. It happens due to the increase in blood supply to the skin. Wear loose and comfortable clothes. Ensure the fabric is soft and breathable, as it will help prevent the itching from worsening. Speak to your doctor about certain pregnancy creams that can prevent or reduce itching. If the condition gets severe, then talk to your doctor as it could be a condition known as obstetric cholestasis (OS).
21. Spider veins:
When you are pregnant, your body produces excess estrogen. As a result, you notice a sudden breakout of veins all over your body. Once you deliver your baby, the spider veins will slowly fade away. Speak to your doctor if you see them even after the delivery.
22. Dry skin:
Your skin feels drier when you are pregnant. The various changes in hormonal levels, fatigue and lack of sleep can all aggravate the dryness. Use some home remedies and drink water and liquids to keep your skin hydrated and moisturized. If the condition worsens, speak to your doctor about safe topical treatments (8).
23. Enlargement of uterus:
Your uterus will increase in size when you are pregnant. You will not be able to notice this change, but your doctor will observe this during a physical exam or imaging test. As your pregnancy progresses, your uterus will require more space to accommodate the growing baby. Other factors too could make your uterus increase in size. If you also experience symptoms such as pain during intercourse and heavy bleeding, do speak to your doctor about it.
These are some of the tell-tale signs of pregnancy. While some symptoms can be seen immediately, most others may initially go unnoticed. If you experience a combination of the signs mentioned above and are not sure whether you are pregnant, you may then go for a home pregnancy test or speak to your doctor about it.
How To Check For Pregnancy At Home?
Home pregnancy tests detect the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. This hormone is produced six days after fertilization and continues to double every two to three days (9).
While some tests are sensitive enough to give the positive result as early as five days before your next menstrual period, others are not. You should produce enough hCG to yield a positive result. If you get a negative result, you can do a pregnancy test about a week after you miss your periods.
The kit comes with instructions which you have to follow carefully. Do not use the kit if it is past the expiry date or has been deteriorated. Use the first urine after you wake up, for best results. It may take around ten minutes to get the result. Do not assume that you are not pregnant with one negative result. The hCG hormone production differs for every woman and with each pregnancy. If the result is negative even after multiple home pregnancy tests and you did not have your period, then check with your healthcare provider.
[ Read: Simple Home Pregnancy Tests ]
If you have a combination of the above signs of pregnancy, see a doctor for confirmation. Remember, the sooner you visit the doctor, the better you will feel.
What is your first experience during your pregnancy? Do share them with us in the comment section below.
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