My appetite has fallen and I feel extra tired this week. Also, my breasts feel sore and heavy. Am I pregnant? Or am I just reading too much into it?
#1 Missed period
A missed period is one of the most unmistakable signs you might be expecting, especially if you’ve noticed other bodily changes (see the following sections for more information). It’s also a particularly telling sign if your monthly menstrual cycles have always been regular.
If your cycle is mostly irregular, it’s best to take a pregnancy test to check if your period is difficult to time (as usual) or if you’re really expecting!
However, keep in mind that there could be other reasons your period is delayed or skipped altogether. Common culprits include high stress levels, a change in body weight, and a lack of sleep .
#2 Morning sickness
When you’re expecting, your body produces more oestrogen and progesterone. This may lead to nausea or vomiting in some people, also referred to as morning sickness . Contrary to its name, morning sickness doesn’t just happen in the morning — it can happen at any time during the day or even at night.
Morning sickness is a symptom that typically develops during weeks 4-6 of your pregnancy. It becomes more severe towards the tail end of the first trimester before dipping as you head into the second trimester .
If you’ve been hit hard by morning sickness, there are a few things you can do to ease the symptoms, such as :
- Get plenty of rest — naps are always essential!
- Drink more water and stay hydrated. Tip: Take small, regular sips of your drink instead of consuming a large amount in one gulp to lessen the odds of vomiting.
- Eat smaller and frequent meals and, if possible, avoid heavy or rich-tasting foods.
Feeling sleepy all the time? Fatigue could be an early sign of pregnancy, as soon as one week after conceiving .
You can blame your lethargy on a few factors, such as :
- The rise in progesterone (a pregnancy hormone)
- Increased blood volume leading to a faster heartbeat and breathing rate
- Lower blood sugar levels
- Decreased blood pressure
Implantation bleeding, commonly known as spotting, is another early pregnancy sign. Spotting happens when the fertilised egg implants itself in the uterine lining and is generally harmless.
Because this type of bleeding usually occurs around the time your period starts, spotting could be mistaken for menstruation. You could also get cramps similar to your typical period cramps .
Though it can seem like menses, implantation bleeding is far less than a typical period and is usually very light. Remember that spotting can last from a few hours to a few days .
#5 Sensitivity to smell or food aversions
While there’s no scientific evidence yet, anecdotal accounts show that sensitivity to scents may be a sign of early pregnancy. Previously mild smells might now seem strong or unpleasant to the point of being repulsive.
Due to your heightened sensitivity to odours, you could also have food aversions, where the sight, thought, or smell of some foods can cause you to feel sick or lose your appetite .
#6 Frequent need to pee
When you’re expecting, you might visit the toilet more than usual and even experience urinary leakage!
And no, the leak isn’t due to your baby pressing on your bladder just yet (although this will happen in the third trimester). Instead, it’s due to increased human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone and fluid levels within your body. A greater fluid volume also means more urine must be passed out of your system .
#7 Sore, aching breasts
For a while now, your breasts have seemed different. Maybe you can tell — or maybe your partner will be the one to notice.
Your bust might feel tender, aching, swollen, sore, full, or even tingle. The area around your nipple might even darken or grow bigger in size. These physical changes are due to the hormonal fluctuations your body undergoes during pregnancy .
To keep your bosom comfortable, switch your bra to one that’s wireless, soft, and has varying clasp lengths that allow you to adjust as your chest grows.
#8 Raised basal body temperature
One of the tried-and-tested methods for couples trying to track their ovulation date for conception is to record their basal body temperature (BBT) month on month. To clarify, your BBT is your body’s temperature at rest.
If your BBT has gone up by about 0.4 °C and stays high for two weeks or so before your next menstrual cycle, this could be a sign you have a bun in the oven .
You might feel dizzy and light-headed due to changes in your hormone levels and blood pressure .
To help prevent fainting spells (if you’ve had bouts of dizziness), keep yourself hydrated and have a sufficient food intake, such as by snacking regularly. Also, avoid sudden movements like standing up from your seat too quickly.
#10 Pregnancy glow — or acne
Any deviation from your usual complexion could also be an early sign of pregnancy.
For some, you’ll have a pregnancy’ glow’ where your skin appears shinier. That’s because certain hormonal changes kick the skin’s oil glands into overdrive to produce more sebum (read: an oily substance). Moreover, a higher blood volume drives more red fluid to the skin’s surface, bestowing natural radiance on your complexion .
On the other hand, some pregnant individuals may experience acne breakouts due to these physical changes. After all, the excess sebum now clogs the pores, increasing the odds of unwanted pimples.
Other possible signs of pregnancy
Besides the 10 early pregnancy signs listed above, there are other clues that hint at whether you’re expecting or not :
- Heartburn and indigestion
- Change in vaginal discharge
- Mood swings
When do the symptoms start?
Will it be possible to tell in the few days after you ovulate whether your attempts to conceive have been successful? If not, how soon will you first see signs that you might be pregnant?
The thing is, you may actually be in the family way even before you’ve missed your period.
Some early pregnancy symptoms (think fatigue and tender breasts) can start before menstruating. However, the type of symptoms and when they appear would differ from person to person.
With that said, a missed period would be the most telling sign that you’re carrying a child, as most of the pregnancy symptoms we’ve covered will only appear after that.
And in case you didn’t know, your pregnancy timeline starts from the first date of your last period. Keep this information in mind when counting down to when your symptoms might arise .
Do all women experience these early pregnancy signs?
Everyone has a different pregnancy journey, symptoms included. Some have terrible nausea that renders them unable to stomach food, while fatigue or dizziness hits others harder.
Thanks to the possibility of various pregnancy symptoms, every expectant mother could experience a different mix. It’s much like how some of us have similar yet distinctive COVID-19 symptoms of varying severity.
The best method to detect early pregnancy
Sure, quite a few tells may or may not hint at potentially happy news nine months later. Instead of playing the guessing game, though, the surest way to find out if you’re pregnant (or not) is to use a pregnancy test kit.
Case in point: The twoplus Pregnancy Test Kit gives accurate and reliable results in just 3-5 minutes. Bonus: It comes with discreet packaging and free shipping.
If your pregnancy test kit shows up positive, congratulations! If your test results are negative, don’t give up hope, especially if you’ve experienced any of the symptoms mentioned above. A negative test result could still turn positive at the right time — so consider doing another pregnancy test a few days later .