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The 10 most common physical pregnancy early symptoms
Are you pregnant? Even before you take a pregnancy test, be aware that some physical symptoms can make you think you're pregnant. Many pregnant women confuse pregnancy symptoms with signs of menstruation. In this article, we give you details of these pregnancy signals so that you can tell the difference between the two. Of course, it is important and necessary to consult your doctor or midwife if your doubts increase. Discover 10 physical symptoms that can make you think of a pregnancy.
1. Absence of menstruation
It may be obvious, but if your period didn't come last month, it may be due to pregnancy. Especially if your period is usually set like clockwork. The absence of menstruation is a symptom of early pregnancy that all expectant mothers know about! It is also the most obvious one.
Sometimes, some women have what appears to be an abnormally short or light menstrual period after becoming pregnant. This is called implantation bleeding* and should not be confused with menstruation. By going to the last point, you will find out everything there is to know about implantation bleeding and how to differentiate it from monthly menstruation. And yes: you may not realise that you have missed your period, at least at first.
Imagine being able to climb a mountain without training while carrying a backpack that weighs a little more each day. That's pregnancy in a nutshell! In other words, it's hard work that translates into a lot of fatigue.
When you get pregnant, an enormous amount of energy is devoted to building a placenta, your baby's life support system. All of this can rob you of your habits and cause pregnancy fatigue soon after conception.
3. Morning sickness or nausea
This unpleasant sensation, known as morning sickness, can affect you at any time of the day: in the morning, in the middle of the day, in the evening. It usually starts when you are about six weeks pregnant, although it can vary and occur earlier.
Hormones, mainly increased levels of progesterone (although oestrogen and HCG may also be responsible), cause the stomach to empty more slowly, making this early pregnancy symptom resemble seasickness.
4. Food aversions
Your extra-sensitive nose may be responsible for another early sign of pregnancy: aversion to food! Thinking, seeing or tasting certain foods may turn your stomach or contribute to morning sickness. This is true even if these are tastes that you normally enjoy. And yes: this early symptom of pregnancy can be triggered by anything - chicken, salad, fries, etc. - but it can also be triggered by other foods.
Although it is not one of the very first signs of pregnancy, it tends to appear during the first trimester. Again, it's the pregnancy hormones' fault, especially in the beginning, when your body is flooded with them and still has to get used to all the hormonal changes. Don't worry: this early symptom of pregnancy often passes into the second trimester.
5. Mood swings
From the fourth week of your pregnancy, you may experience a DTPM type disorder. This corresponds to a severe form of PMS. You may experience marked depression, anxiety and emotional lability, as well as a decrease in interest if you are a victim of this disorder. Later in the first trimester and often throughout the rest of the pregnancy, you may get up one minute and feel anxious or depressed the next.
Apart from the fact that the pregnancy hormones are getting out of control, your life is about to change dramatically, so it is quite normal for your moods to change. Give yourself breaks, eat well, get enough sleep, treat yourself and breathe deeply! Everything is going to be all right.
6. Changes in the chest area
Swollen breasts and dark nipples are some of the changes you may experience in early pregnancy. The hormones estrogen and progesterone are responsible for this. Breast tenderness is a pain but has an advantage, as it is part of your body's preparation for future milk production.
Your areolas (the circles around your nipples) may become darker and increase in diameter. You'll also probably start to notice small, increasingly large and numerous bumps on your areolas. These bumps, called Montgomery tubercles, have always been there, but they are now getting ready to produce more oil that lubricates your nipples when baby starts suckling. And last but not least, don't worry, you'll gain weight in general. On average, a pregnant woman gains between 11 and 16 kilos during pregnancy.
7. Frequent urination
Two to three weeks after conception, you may notice an increase in your need to urinate. This new need usually occurs two to three weeks after conception and is due to the pregnancy hormone HCG (the chorionic gonadotropic hormone), which increases blood flow to your kidneys, helping them to rid you of waste products more efficiently.
Your growing uterus also starts to put pressure on your bladder, leaving less storage space for urine and forcing you to go to the toilet more frequently.
Having trouble buttoning your jeans? Early pregnancy flatulence is difficult to distinguish from pre-pregnancy bloating, but it is an early pregnancy symptom that many women experience shortly after conception. Caused by the slowing down of digestion by progesterone, this phenomenon nevertheless allows the necessary nutrients to be supplied to the embryo.
Unfortunately, bloating is often accompanied by constipation. By consuming the right amount of fibre in your diet, you can counteract this symptom.
9. Increase in basal body temperature
If you have used a special thermometer to take your morning temperature, you may notice that it rises by about 1 degree at the time of conception and remains high throughout your pregnancy.
Although this is not a sure sign of early pregnancy (there are other reasons why your temperature may rise), it may give you a clue as to whether or not you are pregnant.
10. Implant bleeding
This bleeding does not necessarily happen to all women. It is due to the adhesion between the embryo and the endometrial tissue. To accommodate the baby comfortably, these form small blood vessels. Some of them may break and create implantation bleeding. In general, they occur during the first weeks of pregnancy when the embryo is irrigated. They are more fluid in texture and darker in colour than menstruation.
In up to 30% of new mothers, light bleeding or implantation bleeding before menstruation (about six to twelve days after conception) is sometimes an early symptom of pregnancy indicating that an embryo has implanted in the lining of the uterus, which may or may not be accompanied by menstrual-like cramps.
Symptoms of pregnancy: conclusion
These symptoms may therefore be felt at the beginning of a pregnancy. Some women may experience only a few, others all, or none at all. If in doubt, do not hesitate to go to a pharmacy to buy a pregnancy test and consult a doctor or midwife if it proves positive.