When you’re actively trying to conceive, waiting around to see if you miss your period can seem endless. While there are early pregnancy tests, they are often unreliable or inaccurate. So, how can you tell if the symptoms you’re experiencing are just PMS or actual early pregnancy symptoms?
Although early pregnancy symptoms can vary from woman to woman, knowing what to look out for and understanding when pregnancy symptoms appear can help you determine if you’re pregnant, even before taking a test.
While paying a visit to your general practitioner or gynaecologist is the only way to accurately verify that you’re pregnant, noticing and understanding your pregnancy symptoms can help you figure out when a visit to the doctor is appropriate and can provide information that can help your doctor tailor your antenatal care.
When Do Pregnancy Symptoms Appear: Early Pregnancy Symptoms
The earliest signs of pregnancy can appear before you miss your period, surfacing as soon as a few days after conception. While the specific pregnancy symptoms vary from woman to woman, many women report these symptoms in the very early stages of their pregnancy. Read below to know when pregnancy symptoms appear to find out if what you’re feeling could be a sign that your family is about to get a little bigger.
Sensitivity to Smell
Smell sensitivity, or a heightened sense of smell, is one of the most reported early pregnancy symptoms. Odours that never seemed to bother you in the past may become noticeably stronger and more unappealing.
Raised Basal Body Temperature
Some women trying to conceive are using a basal body thermometer to track their body temperature. Basal body thermometers are used to identify your body’s resting temperature to help determine when you’re ovulating. Since ovulation may cause a slight increase in basal body temperature, women can use basal body thermometers to determine the best days to have sex for conception.
Your basal body temperature should be taken when you’re fully at rest, such as first thing in the morning before getting out of bed.
When you conceive, your basal body temperature often increases by around one degree.
If you have been tracking your temperature every morning and notice this slight rise, it may be an early pregnancy symptom.
In the early stages of pregnancy, even as early as one or two weeks after conception, you may experience tender or swollen breasts. This is your body preparing your breasts for breastfeeding. The sensation of sore breasts typically peaks in your first trimester due to the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which are critical in preparing your body for pregnancy.
Increased blood flow to your breast area can make your breasts grow, which can sometimes be painful.
During early pregnancy, you may also discover that your areolas (the circles around your nipples) are darkening and getting bigger. Sometimes the little bumps on your areolas, called Montgomery’s tubercles, also grow bigger and increase in number. When your baby starts nursing, these bumps produce the necessary oils to lubricate your nipples.
Almost every mother-to-be experiences fatigue during pregnancy, making it one of the most common early pregnancy symptoms reported. Pregnancy requires a huge amount of energy to build the placenta, the organ that develops in your uterus during pregnancy to provide both oxygen and important nutrients to your baby during growth. With a significant amount of your energy diverted to building the placenta, you may feel tired or sluggish as you go about your day.
Pregnancy fatigue usually comes and goes throughout your pregnancy but can begin shortly after you conceive, making it a valuable early sign of pregnancy.
Other Common Early Pregnancy Symptoms
If you haven’t experienced any of these symptoms, that does not necessarily mean you are not pregnant. Many other pregnancy symptoms may appear in the early stages and throughout your pregnancy. Keep your doctor informed about your symptoms so they can provide the appropriate antenatal care.
Between six and twelve days after conception, you may experience light spotting, known as implantation bleeding, along with what feels like menstrual cramps. This bleeding is usually medium pink or light brown, not your typical period red.
Creamy cervical mucus is another sign you may be pregnant. During your pregnancy, you may notice an increase in thin, white discharge, called leukorrhea, which is healthy and normal. However, a lumpy or thick discharge indicates an infection or an STI, and you should visit your general practitioner.
If you’re moodier than usual, pregnancy hormones may be to blame. You may experience an uptick of mood swings as early as four weeks into your pregnancy.
Two to three weeks after conception, the pregnancy hormone hCG increases blood flow to your kidneys, which can cause you to urinate more frequently. Additionally, your growing uterus can increase bladder pressure, leaving you with less storage space for your urine.
You may experience some or all of these pregnancy symptoms during early pregnancy. Knowing the early pregnancy symptoms and when do pregnancy symptoms appear can help you determine when it’s time to visit your general practitioner for a blood and urine test to verify pregnancy.
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True Health Medical Practice offers expecting mothers comprehensive family planning and antenatal care services.