The first signs of pregnancy: bleeding, nausea, fatigue and more.

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While missing a period is one of the most obvious early signs of pregnancy, there are several other symptoms to look out for if you are trying to get pregnant. Symptoms vary from person to person, including those without early signs of pregnancy.

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Bleeding implant

Implantation bleeding is often the first sign of pregnancy; however, most of the time it goes unnoticed. About one in four women will experience light bleeding during early pregnancy. This spotting or light bleeding occurs when a fertilized egg implants into the lining of the uterine wall about 6 to 12 days after conception.

This time will be around day 20 or after the 28 day cycle and can easily be mistaken for an early period. However, implantation bleeding is much easier and generally lasts less than your period. Implant bleeding is normal and does not require medical attention.

Stained against bleeding

Mild cramps and spotting are common and can be a normal early sign of pregnancy, but vaginal bleeding can be a sign of something more serious, such as the risk of:

  • Spontaneous abortion
  • Ectopic pregnancy

Call an ambulance if you have painful cramps or heavy bleeding and think you are pregnant.

Period lost

The most common first sign of pregnancy is missed periods, and nearly a third of women report this as the first sign.

When you become pregnant, the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) stops the secretion of the lining of the uterus that forms menstrual flow .

Pregnancy is not the only reason you may miss your period. Several other factors can delay your period, including:

  • Stress
  • Too much exercise
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • On a diet
  • Menopause

Nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting or morning sickness are serious early signs of pregnancy that can occur at any time of the day, not just in the morning.

About 30% to 75% of women experience nausea and almost 10% experience nausea during early pregnancy.

Most of the time, nausea begins around the fifth to eighth week of gestation and peaks around the ninth week, usually subsiding at 12 weeks.

The cause of nausea and vomiting is relatively unknown, but it is believed to be due to increased hormone levels and stress. If you experience nausea and vomiting, talk to your doctor about possible treatments, such as antiemetic medications.

Warning: dehydration

Severe vomiting can lead to dehydration and nutritional deficiencies. Talk to your doctor if you experience severe vomiting or signs of dehydration, such as:

  • Dark urine
  • Dizziness
  • Inability to retain fluid

Fatigue

Another common sign of early pregnancy is feeling tired, which is believed to be caused by high progesterone levels.

Fatigue can significantly affect your quality of life and for many it is a difficult part of early pregnancy. However, most people feel less tired in the second trimester.

Tender breasts

Breasts change a lot during pregnancy and these changes start early when they soften and grow larger. You may feel sore, full, and heavy in your breasts a week or two after conception.

As the levels of prolactin, progesterone, and estrogen hormones increase, the number of mammary glands increases, making the breast tissue feel full and heavy. Some women experience sore breasts and nipples during this change. Any discomfort usually goes away as your body adjusts to the increase in hormones.

Frequent urination

Urination more frequent than usual is a common early sign of pregnancy.

The hCG hormone increases blood flow to the pelvic area, which can lead to increased urination.

Also, due to increased blood flow, the kidneys need to filter more waste that is excreted when urinating.

Problems with frequent urination.

Sometimes frequent urination can indicate an infection. If you are concerned or experience symptoms such as fever, pain, burning when urinating, or feel like you are unable to empty your bladder, see your doctor.

Humor changes

Changes in hormones can mean mood swings that you may notice a few weeks after conception.

Elevated levels of hormones such as progesterone and estrogen can affect neurotransmitters that help regulate mood. Sometimes these mood swings can be triggered by the anxiety or stress of becoming a parent, if you already know you are pregnant or think you might be. Mood swings can also be a side effect of other signs of pregnancy, such as tiredness or nausea.

Mood swings most often occur between the sixth and tenth weeks of pregnancy and towards the end of pregnancy. While it is normal to feel mildly anxious or sad, persistent feelings of sadness, listlessness, crying, self-harm, or anxiety should be discussed with your doctor.

Appetite changes

Changes in appetite are a well-known sign of early pregnancy and can include:

  • Push
  • Disgust
  • Increase or decrease in hunger.

Nausea and vomiting can cause decreased appetite, and hormonal changes can make you feel hungry.

Metallic taste

A strange metallic taste in the mouth is an early pregnancy sign that many women report. It may taste like coins in your mouth during the day or after eating certain foods. Other flavor changes include:

  • Increased bitterness
  • Decreased sweet taste.

The reasons for the change in taste are still being investigated, but researchers believe it is due to changes in:

  • Hormones
  • Immune system response
  • Metabolism

Headache

Hormonal changes and increased blood flow can cause headaches during pregnancy.

Watch out for dehydration headaches if you don't drink enough water due to increased blood flow or vomiting.

Some people also experience fatigue headaches, another common sign of early pregnancy.

Other causes of headaches.

In rare cases, headaches can be a sign of another medical condition, such as an infection or high blood pressure. If you experience severe or persistent headaches, seek medical attention.

Cramps

Colic that appears to be having your period can occur early in pregnancy. These mild cramps are normal, but if the cramps are very painful or occur on only one side of the abdomen, it could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy and you should call your doctor immediately.

When to see your doctor for cramps

Although mild cramps are normal, seek emergency help if you experience:

  • Severe or persistent cramps
  • Cramps on one side of the abdomen.
  • See cramping bleeding

These can be signs of a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy.

Constipation

About 11% to 38% of women experience constipation during pregnancy due to changes in the body and the gastrointestinal tract.

As progesterone and motilin, the hormone that controls the rate at which waste leaves the body, decreases, the intestines move more slowly. Also, during pregnancy, the intestines absorb more water, which makes the stool dry and difficult to pass.

Other factors include less exercise and less vitamin intake, which can contribute to constipation.

Nasal congestion

Pregnancy-related nasal congestion is most common in the second and third trimesters; however, some women report increased nasal congestion in early pregnancy.

Increased hormone levels and blood flow can cause swelling or dryness of the tissues inside the nose. These factors can lead to nasal congestion.

Get the word of drug information

Pregnancy can cause many symptoms, some of which are undesirable and difficult to control. While these signs don't necessarily mean you're pregnant, if you expect to be, a pregnancy test or a visit to your doctor can tell you for sure. Also, your healthcare provider can help you find ways to treat or change many of the uncomfortable early signs of pregnancy.

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