Before you can even suspect that you are pregnant, your body will experience significant changes, early pregnancy symptoms that are designed to support the developing embryo. Waves of pregnancy hormones such as estrogen, progesterone and hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) are synchronized to create a nutritious and protected environment for the newly fertilized and implanted ovum.
First symptoms of pregnancy
Most women do not begin to experience symptoms of pregnancy until about week 6. However, there is a great variation between individuals, some women are so in tune with their bodies that they know almost from the moment of conception that something is happening and if you have been trying to conceive, you are more likely to be aware of changes in your body. For example, couples who undergo fertility treatments are often more aware of the early indicators of pregnancy.
Also, do not worry if you do not experience all or any of the symptoms of pregnancy. Some women navigate through the early stages with little or no measurable change to how they usually feel. This does not mean that they are less pregnant or more at risk than women who have all the symptoms that pregnancy can have.
Physical changes: early pregnancy symptoms
One of the first physical changes of pregnancy will be an increase in blood flow in the uterus, vagina, cervix and vulva. These tissues take a distinctive bluish or purple coloration in early pregnancy. Most women do not realize themselves, but if your doctor does a pelvic exam, or your partner is particularly observant, it may be noticeable.
You can feel almost overwhelmed by hunger. You may feel an empty sensation around your belly for hours, which may take a short breath when you eat, but it does not disappear completely.
The Sensation of need to urinate frequently, although when the bladder is emptied there is not as much volume as usual. Initially, this might seem like a possible urinary tract infection or the result of drinking too much caffeine. However, doubt may arise, especially if you have had unprotected sex in recent weeks.
Nausea and feeling of stomach upset. This may not reach the point of needing to vomit, but you may feel a sense of instability that comes and goes throughout the day and night.
Sore sores, heavy and sensitive. Your nipples can become more sensitive and rigid, to the point that you become very aware of them. Your areolas can become darker and bigger than they usually are. Your breasts may feel similar to how they do just before your period, but even more uncomfortable.
You may have a slight loss of vaginal blood. It will not be as heavy as a period and could be of the dotted type. This is called implantation bleeding and occurs when the newly fertilized egg enters the vascular wall of the uterus.
One of the definitive signs of pregnancy is the lack of a period when it is usually due. Depending on the duration of each woman’s menstrual cycle, the period will come to a couple of weeks after she has ovulated. Some women continue to have a mild period while they are pregnant, although it is rare.
A strange, metallic or acidic taste in the mouth. This is very difficult to describe, but it is usually penetrating and difficult to undo. Brushing your teeth and using mouthwashes with a strong flavor will barely hide the taste.
Back pain that you don’t usually have. Headaches are another early sign and are believed to be due to the influence of pregnancy hormones.
Sharpness in the sense of smell. Odors that usually go unnoticed can cause nausea and fainting. You could pass out because of the smell of raw meat, especially chicken and beef. Even kitchen odors that don’t usually bother you can become almost intolerable
You might find that you have developed a dislike for the foods and drinks you normally enjoy. Coffee, alcohol, fried or fatty foods may make you feel physically ill. If you are a cigarette smoker, you may develop an aversion to their smell and therefore to smoking.
You could start craving foods that are unusual or out of your normal diet. Vinegar foods such as pickles or condiments may suddenly be a new attraction, as well as salty foods.
You may experience heaviness, bloating in the belly and gas. You will wonder about pickled pickles and make a silent promise to yourself to refrain from them, even if the cause of the gases is not influenced by your diet.
Feeling of overwhelming fatigue, to the point where you wonder how you could spend the day. This can be worse if you have other children to take care of that demand your time and energy.
If you have been monitoring your body temperature to predict your ovulation, you may notice that your temperature rises for about 18 days. A temporary temperature increase is normal at the time of ovulation that usually returns to the normal range if a fertilized egg is not implanted.
Emotional changes: early pregnancy symptoms
Some women claim to feel different as if something had changed within them. Others may determine when the embryo is implanted within the wall of your uterus, usually between the eighth and tenth day after ovulation.
You could be a little tearful and more prone to normal emotional outbursts. Sometimes you might find yourself overwhelmed and wonder what has happened to temperament?
It is perfectly normal to feel a little different since you must adapt to the physical and mental changes of pregnancy. However, if at any stage you feel that things start to be overwhelming or if you find it difficult to manage every day, visit COPE: Perinatal Center of Excellence to receive advice that will help you identify and cope with the many changes during the pregnancy.
Most women wait until they have a delay in their period to have a home pregnancy test. For others, this seems too long. It is possible to have a false negative pregnancy test if it is done before pregnancy hormone levels can be detected in a woman’s urine. However, it is not possible to have a false positive test.
As your pregnancy progresses, there will be different symptoms and changes inside your body, some will be more pronounced and obvious while others will be subtle. Remember that there are no two exactly the same pregnancies, even if you have already had a baby, get ready for a different experience each time.