Even before a missed period, the very first signs of pregnancy may appear. Keep in mind that the early pregnancy symptoms are not exclusive to pregnancy.
It’s always best to consult with a doctor to confirm your condition if you feel that you may be pregnant, even if you received a negative on your home pregnancy test.
What Are the Earliest Signs of Pregnancy?
There are several physical and mental/emotional symptoms that are the earliest symptoms of pregnancy. The most obvious sign is a missed period. However, if you’re looking for the very first signs of pregnancy because you’ve been trying to conceive, you may notice symptoms between seven and 14 days after conception.
Tender, Swollen Breasts, and/or Sore Nipples
This is often the first symptom to show up, as early as just two weeks after conception You may notice stinging or itchy nipples or your breasts may be large and sore in a manner similar to before your period. The best way to relieve soreness is to wear a solid, supportive bra.
Darkening of the Areolas
This is another very early sign of pregnancy that can happen as early as one week after conception. You may also find that the surface appears bumpier as well. This darkening occurs due to hormonal changes.
This is quite often the first sign pregnant women get, but in some cases, other symptoms show up first. Though a missed period doesn’t always mean you’re pregnant, it is one of the most conclusive signs. It is important to see a doctor if you miss your period and suspect you are pregnant so you can begin receiving prenatal care to protect the health of your baby.
Fatigue occurs due to heightened levels of progesterone. To relieve fatigue, get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods, and participate in a moderate physical activity.
Faintness or Dizziness
In early pregnancy, low blood sugar is the likeliest culprit for dizziness. Eat every few hours, and concentrate on healthy foods like complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.
Nausea and Vomiting
Morning sickness can show up as early as two weeks after conception. Eat something starchy first thing in the morning and stick to easy-to-digest foods when you are experiencing this symptom. Drink water frequently to stay hydrated. Folic acid deficiency may also trigger nausea during pregnancy, so make sure you are getting enough of this important nutrient.
Even before a missed period, and definitely before the baby is big enough to put pressure on the bladder, hCG levels can cause this symptom. There’s not much you can do to relieve frequent urination. Visit the bathroom frequently to eliminate emergencies.
Also known as implantation bleeding, spotting may occur when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus. This occurs roughly ten to 14 days after conception. Wear a panty liner to protect your clothing from spotting. If you experience bleeding that concerns you, heavy bleeding, or bleeding associated with severe cramping, seek medical care.
Higher progesterone levels, the same thing that causes pregnancy-related fatigue, also contribute to constipation. Drink plenty of water and eat fiber-filled fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. If you need something a bit more powerful to ease constipation, drink a glass of prune juice.
Slowed digestion, thanks to hormones, can cause heartburn early in pregnancy. Hormones also relax the valve that keeps stomach acids in the stomach.To prevent heartburn, avoid carbonated beverages, acidic foods, and large meals. Instead, eat small meals, and drink fluids about 30 minutes before or 60 minutes after meals rather than with them.
Elevated Basal Body Temperature
If you’re charting your temperature by checking it orally every morning, you may notice that your temperature goes up a bit upon ovulation, then stays that way for up to two weeks after your period should start. It usually drops back down when you get your period.
During early pregnancy, there are many triggers for uterine contractions, which will feel like cramps. In general, cramps signal a growing uterus, but it can also tell you there is something wrong if they are unusually severe or accompanied by discharge or bleeding. If you are concerned, talk with your doctor. To minimize cramps, apply a warm (not hot) heating pad to the area or gently massage it. Walking or gentle stretching may also help minimize cramping.
Sometimes you just know before the pregnancy test will be able to confirm or deny pregnancy. Call it women’s intuition or just not feeling like yourself, sometimes women just “know” they’re pregnant.
Food Cravings and/or Aversions
Hormonal changes affect your sense of smell when you are pregnant, giving you a sense of “super smell.” This heightened sense can lead to food cravings and aversions. If you find yourself craving certain foods, indulge in moderation and continue to eat a healthy diet. Cravings for non-food items is called pica, and can signal nutrient deficiencies. If you experience pica, talk with your doctor.
Early in your pregnancy, you may find yourself crying more or getting angry more easily. This is related to hormonal fluctuations, or it can arise from not feeling well. Take plenty of time to rest, and if you feel yourself getting angry or stressed, take a few deep breaths or meditate.
What to Do
You can purchase a pregnancy test from a drugstore, though if you’re very early into your pregnancy, you may receive a false negative. The best time to take a pregnancy test is during your first urination in the morning when hormone levels are at their highest. Pregnancy tests are most accurate one day after your missed period and beyond. Another alternative is to get a blood test in a doctor’s office. A blood test can give you a positive as early as six days after conception.
Until You’re Sure
If you think you may be pregnant and you’re experiencing some of the symptoms, you can always make an appointment with your doctor for testing. It’s best to wait at least ten to 12 days after you think you conceived before taking a pregnancy test at all, especially an at-home test. A blood test can give you accurate results as early as six to eight days after ovulation, but these are not always accurate this early on in a potential pregnancy. Be patient for the most accurate results, eat well, and abstain from activities and substances that could be harmful to your baby if you think you are pregnant.
It is best to begin acting as if you are pregnant as soon as you suspect you may be.
- Cut out alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes.
- Lower your caffeine intake.
- Take a prenatal vitamin with folic acid.
- Eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables.
- Eat small meals throughout the day.
- Seek prenatal care as soon as possible to assure you and your baby remain in good health throughout gestation.