You’ve just got that feeling… but you want to know for sure. Waiting those ten days after ovulation to take a home pregnancy test can be brutal! Read on to learn about 15 of the early signs of pregnancy to look out for.
#1: Changes in your breasts
Maybe you’ve noticed your breasts are swollen, tender and sore. Or perhaps your nipples are darkening and protruding in preparation for breastfeeding. Your areolas may also get larger. For some women, breast tenderness in early pregnancy feels suspiciously like the usual symptoms of PMS, but for others, it’s distinctly different.
#2: Frequent urination
If you find yourself getting up routinely at night for trips to the bathroom, it could be an early sign that a fertilised egg has begun implantation on the uterine wall. The hCG hormone – sometimes called “pregnancy hormone”—often triggers frequent urges to pee even while the embryo is still very tiny and there’s no real pressure on your bladder from a growing baby. Not yet, anyway.
Call it morning sickness or all day sickness, but either way, nausea is a reality for many women in early pregnancy. About 50% of women will have vomiting along with nausea during their first trimester.
While nausea may be one of the very early signs of pregnancy, most women don’t experience vomiting until two weeks to two months after conception. For the majority of pregnant mamas, queasiness and vomiting will subside by the second trimester as production of the powerful hCG hormone plateaus.
#4: Fatigue and exhaustion
At conception, progesterone levels begin to rise rapidly and will continue to do so throughout your first trimester. Progesterone is the hormonal sustenance of pregnancy, preventing uterine contractions and inhibiting early immune responses. The downside? The sudden uptick in progesterone during early pregnancy may leave you utterly exhausted.
#5: A cold
With a tide of progesterone at work to keep your immune system from attacking the new (and foreign) DNA inside the body, it’s common for viruses and bacteria to use this opportunity to set up shop. A cold that would have been no biggie before pregnancy might knock you down after conception. Check out these natural cough and cold remedies to fight off a cold during pregnancy.
#6: Puffy and sore gums
With the immune system at bay, mouth bacteria might also begin to flourish. Plus, as your body builds blood volume and fluid levels to nourish baby, you may already have tissue swelling (including your gums!) Be aware of inflamed, sore or bleeding gums, or puffy eyes and face, as one of the early signs of pregnancy. You might even notice a nosebleed or two!
#7: Early signs of pregnancy discharge
If you’ve been keeping track of your menstrual cycle as you prepare for pregnancy, you already know that cervical mucus, or discharge, increases and thickens during ovulation to help carry sperm to meet the egg. In a cycle without conception, the stretchy cervical mucus will dry up within 24 hours of ovulation.
But if conception has occurred, then this cervical mucus will continue to be produced for multiple days after the date of ovulation. This mucus will actually continue on some level throughout your entire pregnancy as it keeps the vagina clean and reduces the chances of bad bacteria approaching your baby. The difference is subtle, but for women who know their cycles and bodies well, it’s one of the first signs of pregnancy.
#8: Cramping and bloating
Don’t despair if you feel the classic symptoms of PMS while you’re hoping for a positive pregnancy test . Implantation of the egg on the uterine wall can create the very same premenstrual symptoms but without your true period ever arriving. Many women experience mild early signs of pregnancy, like uterine cramping, as the egg implants, which can extend to a mild backache and abdominal bloating.
As the fertilised egg implants deeper into the thick uterine lining, you may experience several days of light bleeding. In fact, about 25-30% of pregnant women have spotting during the first few days of pregnancy.
Because implantation will likely occur around the time of your period during a regular menstrual cycle, you may mistake these few days of light bleeding for an actual period. Early pregnancy spotting, however, will be brownish or light pink in colour and will not be enough to fill a pad or tampon.
#10: Food sensitivity and aversion
If you’re experiencing nausea, food aversion tends to just come with the territory. (Rethinking that beloved spicy kimchi?) But even without early pregnancy queasiness, you may find that your morning Joe no longer seem appealing, while other foods and drinks suddenly hit the spot.
Hormone fluctuations around the time of conception and throughout early pregnancy can trigger cravings for some foods and sensitivity to others.
#11: Metallic taste
Perhaps the weirdest early pregnancy symptom is a persistent metallic taste in the mouth that lingers even after eating food. Many women have reported this early sign of pregnancy without understanding where it came from or why it was happening.
But tasting pennies or aluminium is a true side effect of the hormonal shifts that are taking place in your body. That metallic taste even has a medical name: dysgeusia. Oestrogen levels have a remarkable effect on our sense of taste, and until hormone production stabilises in the second trimester, that metallic taste might be here to stay.
#12: Temperature sensitivity
Freezing cold? Burning hot? Feeling just… strange? With all the hormonal changes of conception and early pregnancy, it’s no wonder that you might be feeling a bit off. If you know your body well, you’ll likely feel real changes in your sensory organs and your body’s internal thermostat soon after conception.
#13: Excess saliva
Are you all of a sudden drooling like Pavlov’s dog? What gives? Well, ptyalism gravidarum, the medical term for excess saliva is usually caused by the beginnings of morning sickness, acid reflux or heartburn, which are all very common pregnancy symptoms.
Progesterone relaxes the muscles in our body, which can cause the valve that closes the oesophagus off from the stomach to stay slightly ajar. As a result, stomach acid can make its way north, leading to heartburn or acid reflux. Try sipping a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in 1/2 cup of water before meals to ease indigestion and help tame the saliva flow. Additionally, progesterone can slow down digestion and the bowels (fun times!)
Well, progesterone again is to blame for this lovely pregnancy symptom because it can slow down your bowels and their peristalsis movement. Be sure to drink enough water (1/2 your body weight in ounces) and boost your magnesium-rich foods. I also love this simple diet trick to get the bowels flowing with ease.
If you’ve made it this far in the list, then you know, above all, early pregnancy means huge hormone fluctuations as your body begins the enormous process of growing a baby. So perhaps the least surprising of all these signs of pregnancy is the change in your mood and emotions. It’s totally natural if you find yourself feeling hormonal during this time.