If you’ve ever tried to conceive, you know it can be an exciting and sometimes scary process. After all, you have to wait for a whole cycle to see if all of this hard work has really paid off. If not, you start from scratch, which can make you even less patient over time.
Since it is really, really hard to wait to find out if you’re pregnant, you probably want to know the first signs of pregnancy, which is fair enough. It’s a life changing moment we’re talking about here.
Just know this: “The most reliable early sign of pregnancy is a positive pregnancy test,” says Christine Grèves, MD, certified obstetrician-gynecologist at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies. Many potential symptoms of early pregnancy can be the result of many other conditions, or can even be brought on by your period, making it less reliable than, for example, missing your period, points out. she does.
Plus, every woman – and every pregnancy – is different, says Dr Greves. So even though your best friend might swear that her breasts immediately swelled the second she got pregnant, you probably won’t have the same experience.
That said, there are a few potential tips you can expect that don’t involve you needing to take a pregnancy test. (Although you definitely need to do this to confirm the situation when it’s time.) Before that, keep this information about early pregnancy in mind.
At what age do pregnancy symptoms start?
Again, a missed period really is the biggest indication that you might be pregnant. Still, you may have other symptoms sooner than that, and before you can even take a pregnancy test to confirm the big news. Everything is due to—Yeah-hormones.
“Human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG, is the hormone tested by a pregnancy test and which contributes to the secretion of progesterone, the main hormone responsible for most symptoms of pregnancy,” says Jonathan Schaffir, MD, gynecologist at Ohio State. Wexner Medical Center. HCG begins to enter your bloodstream around seven to ten days after conception, but it “doesn’t reach levels that would show on a pregnancy test until a few days before your period is missed,” he says. .
Still, HCG levels are pretty low at this point, but not so low that a test won’t pick it up. “The tests are very sensitive,” says Dr Greves. At the same time, says Dr Schaffir, you’re unlikely to have extreme symptoms. But some women are more sensitive to changes in their body than others, or may experience symptoms like implantation bleeding or cramps five to six days after becoming pregnant, according to a women’s health expert. Jennifer wider, MD.
What are the symptoms of early pregnancy?
These symptoms don’t necessarily guarantee pregnancy – getting tested is really the only way to confirm this – but they could be a sign that you’re expecting. Keep an eye out for these early pregnancy symptoms:
- Increased urination. If you are aware enough of how often you pee, you may notice that you go to the bathroom a little more often than usual. “The hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause the kidneys to dilate and more urine output, which helps the body get rid of wastes faster,” says Dr. Wider.
- Tired. That’s a tricky question, says Dr Greves, given that you can feel tired from so many things, including having your period. But, if you’re pregnant, you may feel a little tired from high levels of the hormone progesterone and increased blood production in your body, says Dr. Wider.
- Sensitive and swollen breasts and nipples. When you’re pregnant, increased progesterone levels can cause your mammary glands to swell (so you can breastfeed later), says Dr. Schaffir. So, you might feel a little pain or notice some swelling early on.
- Nausea with or without vomiting. Not everyone experiences nausea and / or vomiting during pregnancy. If you are going to have them, the symptoms are more likely to be more noticeable after your missed period due to the increased levels of pregnancy hormones. “Nausea is thought to be a direct result of the hormone HCG, which peaks at eight to 10 weeks of the last menstrual period before declining,” says Dr. Schaffir. Yet, you may notice that you feel a little nauseous before this. “Some women are more vulnerable to it than others,” says Dr Wider.
- Constipation. Poop less than usual? You could be pregnant. “Progesterone relaxes the smooth muscles in your gut, slowing the transit time for food,” says Dr. Greves. As a result, you may feel a bit stuffy.
- Headache. It’s not very common and it’s hard to understand considering that, hello, you can get a headache for a ton of different reasons. When it comes to pregnancy, a headache can be “caused by a combination of increased hormones and increased blood volume,” says Dr. Wider.
- Elevated basal body temperature. This is due to an increase in progesterone levels, which stay high if your egg is fertilized, says Dr. Wider. You won’t necessarily feel any different, but you might notice a slightly higher temperature if you’ve followed it.
- Bloating or gas. This goes back to the fact that progesterone slows down your gastrointestinal tract: it can also make you feel gassy and bloated, says Dr. Schaffir.
- Mild pelvic cramps. It can happen after the egg attaches to your uterine wall, says Dr. Wider, although not everyone notices or feels it. “Sometimes it looks like period cramps, which makes some women think their period is imminent,” she says.
- Spotting. Some women may notice a small amount of implantation bleeding (that is, when the egg attaches to your uterine wall and causes spotting), says Dr. Schaffir. It’s not a lot of blood, however, it’s only a small amount, different from your period.
- Food aversions. Suddenly you don’t want your favorite breakfast anymore? It could be a sign of pregnancy, and it’s usually related to increased levels of HCG, says Dr. Schaffir. It doesn’t last forever, however. “It usually gets better by the end of the first trimester,” he says.
- Mood swings. Not everyone has it, but you may feel a bit cranky or emotional if you’re sensitive to the effects of progesterone on your brain receptors, says Dr. Schaffir.
- Nasal congestion. Your blood supply begins to increase during pregnancy, which can trigger swelling in your nasal passages, says Dr. Wider. It’s unlikely to be major, but you might notice you’re a little crowded, she says.
How quickly can you take a pregnancy test to know for sure if you are pregnant?
Again, home pregnancy tests look for the presence of HCG in your body, and this hormone can usually be detected in your pee 11 to 14 days after conception, says Dr. Schaffir.
While many pregnancy tests promise they can give results several days before your period, they aren’t as reliable at this point. “Many tests are designed to give the best results after a woman’s missed period,” says Dr. Wider.
Basically if you can wait to test until you miss your period, you will get the most accurate results.
The bottom line: There are several symptoms of early pregnancy that you can watch out for, but the best way to know for sure if you’re pregnant is to wait until your period is late to get tested.
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