You’re feeling very tired lately for no reason. Your bowels begin to act up. You’re snapping at others for no reason. Guess what? You could be pregnant! While the most common sign of pregnancy is a missed period, there are many other early symptoms that can help confirm you’re expecting.
Fatigue can come from a variety of sources. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep last night or you forgot to have your morning coffee. But if you are feeling tired for no apparent reason, it could be an early pregnancy symptom. This fatigue could be caused by a surge in progesterone, a hormone secreted by the female reproductive system that is linked to the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, and development of the embryo. Progesterone is a hormone that can make you sleepy and you may mistake it for fatigue.
Does your system suddenly feel backed up? Constipation is an unusual but possible indicator that you may be pregnant. Constipation is one of the first symptoms you may notice when you get pregnant. It is associated with a progesterone surge that leads to smooth muscle relaxation in the digestive tract, making it harder for you to clear your bowels. If you are taking any medications that have constipation as a side effect, you may want to speak with your doctor to clarify if the constipation you are experiencing is one of your early pregnancy symptoms.
Also known as implantation bleeding, you may spot or feel some cramps when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of your uterus. It can be mistaken for a menstrual period. However, this is lighter than menstrual bleeding. It stops on its own and doesn’t require any treatment.
Out of the blue it hits you! The “morning sickness” can hit you any time of the day or night. Most women experience nausea around week 4 of pregnancy. Nausea can occur with or without vomiting. Some women sail through the first trimester without this unpleasant symptom. Usually, by the beginning of the second trimester, nausea abates.
Frequent urination is another common early pregnancy symptom, once again attributable to increased levels of progesterone. Higher progesterone triggers increased flow of blood through the kidneys, making you want to hit the bathroom more often. This is one symptom that will likely persist as your pregnancy progresses. For one, blood volume keeps rising through your trimesters. Second, as your baby grows inside you, it’s likely to put more pressure on your bladder.
Another early pregnancy symptom that could occur is in your breasts. In the early weeks, when conception has just happened, breasts will begin to feel tender. As the months progress, you may experience darkening of the areolas, or even soreness, heaviness, or a tingling feeling. This can also be attributed to an increase in hormone levels.
Physical changes are an obvious sign of pregnancy, but let’s not forget that there can also be changes in your mental health as well. Mood swings and anxiety could occur because hormones affect the neurotransmitters in your brain. The swing between highs and lows, a bit of irritability, and snapping at others are all normal in early pregnancy.
Abdominal bloating is another early pregnancy symptom. Some causes include hormonal fluctuation, which can relax the womb and slow digestion. This also can cause constipation which gives off the feeling of abdominal bloating. Bloating often happens in the first trimester and can worsen during the third trimester.
Headaches will happen as an early pregnancy symptom. In fact, nearly four out of ten pregnant women report having headaches. In the first trimester, hormonal changes, weight changes, and higher blood volume are considered the main causes of headaches during pregnancy, although other causes can include dehydration, nausea, stress, and lack of sleep. During the second and third trimesters, these causes can change, such as high blood pressure. This can raise the risk of complications during pregnancy, such as low oxygen flow to the baby, and low baby birth weight.
Pregnancy symptoms can show up 2-3 weeks after intercourse, and even as late as 8 weeks after intercourse. Depending on your health history and other demographic factors, this number may vary. About half of women had pregnancy symptoms after five weeks, but 7 out of 10 women experienced them by the 6th week, and 90 percent by the 8th week.
If you have any questions about early pregnancy symptoms, you can visit Sepalika and sign up for our pregnancy management program or or contact one of our health specialists regarding your pregnancy. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!
DISCLAIMER: Some of the symptoms of pregnancy are also common symptoms in other medical conditions, or side effects of medications. If you have one or more of these conditions or are taking one or more medications with these side effects, please consult your doctor to rule out these conditions/medication side effects.