All you ever wanted to know when it comes to primary and secondary pregnancy symptoms.
It’s true that the best and most accurate method of finding out whether or not you’re pregnant is to take a home pregnancy test. However, how do you know if you’re pregnant simply by relying on the symptoms you’re experiencing?
Of course, if you miss a period, that’s a good sign, but there are plenty of other early signs and symptoms that indicate you’re expecting.
The primary signs suggest a high likelihood that you’re pregnant but hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy also cause secondary signs which increase the chances of you being pregnant but don’t necessarily indicate you’re definitely having a baby.
With all of this in mind, if you’re wondering whether or not you’re pregnant, read on and discover the early signs of pregnancy.
What Are Early Pregnancy Symptoms
Below, you’ll discover a few early pregnancy symptoms which suggest that there’s a good chance that you’re expecting:
1. An Implantation Bleed
Between the first and fourth weeks nothing is going to happen. Tis is because your baby is just a microscopic cluster of cells. The fertilized egg creates a collection of fluid-filled cells known as a blastocyst. This later develops into the body parts of your little one.
About 10 to 14 days following conception, the blastocyst implants into the endometrium and implantation bleeding can be the result.
Many women mistake implantation bleeding for a lighter period so they end up ignoring it as they don’t know what it actually is. You can different between the two things by reading these tips:
Each implantation bleed won’t last over 3 days. No treatment will be required.
Implantation bleeding can be pink, brown or red.
Some women have severe pain during implantation bleeding while others experience moderate pain or only mild discomfort..
When compared with a regular period there will be only a small amount of bleeding. Usually, blood will only be visible when you wipe.
Assuming you’re not having a lighter than usual period, you’re probably pregnant but you should still see your doctor or take a home test.
2. A Missed Period
If you miss your period, this is a key sign that you’re expecting a baby. It will occur once the blastocyst has implanted into the uterus lining. This causes the body to begin producing HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin), a hormone.
This hormone has responsibility for ensuring the pregnancy is safe and successful. It tells the ovaries not to produce any more eggs each month so your period will be missed and you won’t bleed.
Pregnancy tests are looking for HCG hormone in the urine that you produce and if it’s detected, the test shows positive.
Therefore, if you’ve missed a period following conception, you need to contact a doctor to arrange a prenatal appointment!
One of the best known early pregnancy symptoms that pregnant women experience at an early stage is tiredness.
Fatigue occurs due to high levels of the hormone progesterone in the body which makes you feel exhausted and sleepy through the day.
Don’t try to fight through that sleepy feeling. The body requires sleep so it can work better when you’re expecting, making your little one grow well and develop in a healthy way. Therefore, you should get plenty of sleep.
In order to enjoy a better quality of sleep, keep the temperature of your room cool. A lower temperature will help the body relax and, so, fall asleep more easily.
4. Nausea, Morning Sickness & Vomiting
Usually, morning sickness with vomiting and nausea happens between the 4th and 6th weeks. Nobody knows why this symptom arises, however it’s likely to be because of hormonal changes.
Despite the fact that it’s known as morning sickness, in fact this nausea can occur any time during the day or night. It can range from severe to mild during your first trimester. Often, it will start off mild but gradually worsen until your first trimester draws to an end.
Don’t worry though! Those symptoms aren’t present for the whole 9 months. They’ll begin to reduce in severity once your second trimester begins.
Take care to drink plenty of water and other fluids so you can stay healthy and hydrated. Try keeping saltine crackers next to the bed so you can eat them before getting up in the mornings. They can help to settle morning sickness.
Some women vomit so much they can’t keep anything down. If that happens, you must immediately speak to your doctor.
5. Breast Changes
Aching and tingling in the breasts occurs between the 4th and 6th weeks. Often, you’ll notice your breasts are tender and swollen due to hormonal changes that take place in the body.
Some time around your 11th week, you’ll notice nipple and breast changes taking place. They’ll begin growing in size while the areola (the area surrounding the nipples) often gets darker and bigger.
You can ease the pain and aching by wearing breast pads in your bra. This will reduce the friction that occurs between your nipples and your bra.
It’s also suggested that you start wearing a maternity bra as this will be more comfortable and will relieve tenderness. You’ll probably find that cotton non-underwired bras are most comfortable.
When buying a bra, choose one that has different clasps so your breasts have sufficient room when they grow bigger.
6. Increased Urination
When you’re pregnant, your body will pump more blood around your body than usual. This means your kidneys have to process more blood than they did before and increased urination is the result.
Hormones have a role to play in the health of your bladder too. They may cause you to leak or have to go frequently to the toilet at the most inconvenient moment. Don’t stress though, it’s completely normal!
Dehydration can occur due to increased urination so you must compensate by drinking more fluids. Consume about 300ml more water each day.
Also, try to plan bathroom times in advance before going out to avoid any inconvenience.
Secondary Symptoms Of Pregnancy
These symptoms don’t always mean you’re pregnant however if you’re experiencing them together with the primary symptoms, there’s a greater chance that you’re expecting.
1. Mood Swings
Pregnant women often experience mood swings because of the high level of progesterone and estrogen hormones in the body. These hormones change moods, making you feel reactive and emotional.
These mood swings can also cause you to feel sad, anxious, irritated, uneasy, depressed, or even, sometimes, euphoric.
2. Smell Sensitivity And Food Aversions
When pregnant, some women develop a sensitivity to specific smells which can cause food aversions, even triggering nausea and vomiting.
Researchers have spent time studying more than nine decades of reports into pregnant women and they showed a large number of women found odors more intense when they were in the first trimester.
3. Constipation and Bloating
Similar to your period, the hormonal changes you experience during the first trimester often make you experience bloating. The digestive system can slow down and this causes constipation. This, in turn, makes you feel more bloated in an endless cycle!
4. Nasal Congestion
With constantly changing hormonal levels and your body pumping more blood around your body than usual, your nose’s mucus membranes can become swollen. This may cause it to easily dry out or bleed.
Even when your nose is clean and normal it may feel stuffy. Luckily, your body eventually will become used to such changes and will return to normal.
Many women experience moderate or mild uterine cramps in the first trimester. Usually, this is accompanied by implantation bleeding.
6. Higher Body Temperature
In the first trimester you may find that your body’s temperature increases because of the higher blood circulation rate and hormonal changes.
Stay hydrated and drinks lots of water as this will reduce your temperature. Also, take care to only exercise cautiously.
Try sleeping in a cooler room since the increase core temperature of your body could disturb your sleep quality.
This timeline of key pregnancy symptoms will make things easier to understand.
Remember weeks will be counted dating from the last period you experienced, even though you weren’t technically pregnant at that point. Your last period’s date is considered to be week 1.
|Implantation bleed||Weeks 1-4|
|Missed period||Week 4|
|Breast tingling||Weeks 4-6|
|Constipation and bloating||Weeks 4-6|
|Morning sickness, nausea, and vomiting||Weeks 4-6|
|Increased urination||Weeks 4-6|
|Higher body temperature||Week 6|
|Fluctuating moods||Week 6|
|Breasts & nipple size changes||Week 11|
|Weight gain||Week 11|
Am I Actually Pregnant?
Although most of these symptoms occur in pregnant women, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re pregnant should they happen to you.
Whether secondary or primary, none of those signs mentioned above are unique only to pregnancy. In fact, they can suggest your period may be starting, or could just mean you’re sick.
Sometimes, though, women are pregnant and have none of those early pregnancy signs or symptoms.
But, those symptoms do indicate a high likelihood of pregnancy and if you have more of them, the higher the chances are that you’re going to have a baby.
How can you be certain whether or not you’re pregnant? There are two ways of accurately determining the answer:
1. Take a home pregnancy test:- You can buy these anywhere and they’re simple to use. Just choose a trustworthy brand and wait to get a result. Should you need more assurance, purchase two different brands of test and if you find both show positive, you’re definitely pregnant.
2. Visit your nearest doctor:-A doctor will have all the equipment and tools necessary to carry out a pregnancy test professionally to tell you whether or not you’re expecting.
Important Precautions And Tips
If you’re experiencing any symptoms above, here are a few tips you need to follow, even if you’re unsure whether you’re pregnant:
● No Smoking or Alcohol
Stop smoking and drinking alcohol straight away as both can cause severe development and growth problems in babies.
● Stop Medications
You should stop taking medications until you’ve spoken to your doctor. There are certain drugs like tetracycline which have a toxic effect on a baby’s formation. In fact drugs are believed to be a primary cause of congenital deformities.
● Eat a Well-Balanced Diet
Your growing baby depends on you in order to obtain the nutrients they need to grow well and healthy and to develop a properly functioning body. This is why you must eat a balanced and healthy diet packed with nutrients and vitamins.
If you’re missing out on nutrients or vitamins, take some prenatal vitamins as these will not only fulfil your needs but also those of your little one. Talk to your doctor first though before taking them.
● Avoid Radiation
Steer clear of any radiation sources. Avoid having any X-rays while you’re expecting.
● Get Sufficient Sleep
It’s important to get plenty of sleep while expecting. This should be a primary goal.
Sleep regulates your levels of growth hormone and not only does it dictate your own size and shape, it’s also important in your baby’s development.
Sleep for at least 6 – 9 hours each day.
● Arrange a Doctor’s Appointment
Making an appointment with your doctor is vital to ensure your pregnancy is successful and safe. Your doctor can give you advice that’s tailored to your individual needs and can prescribe essential supplements and medications for you.
It’s true that pregnancy is often distressing, painful and exhausting. If you’ve found the early signs of pregnancy are interfering with the way you live your life, you should speak with a medical professional to find relief and to get guidance through the process.
More positively, though, most early pregnancy symptoms fade away once your second trimester begins, so stay strong and patient!