Since every woman is different, early pregnancy symptoms vary from one woman to the next. According to Dallas OBGYN Dr. Nathan Thomas, “some women even have different symptoms from one pregnancy to the next. In addition, some early pregnancy symptoms are subtle.”
Symptoms such as the ones shared below may be caused by reasons other than being pregnant. So the fact that you observe some of these symptoms does not always mean you are pregnant. To know for sure, visit your OBGYN for a pregnancy test.
- Spotting, Discharge, and Cramping
- Breast Changes
- Disgusted by Specific Foods
- Mood Swings
- Missed Period
Spotting, Discharge and Cramping
A few days after conception, the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall. This can cause one of the earliest signs of pregnancy, known as implantation bleeding. Implantation bleeding occurs anywhere from 6 to 12 days after the egg is fertilized.
Some women mistake the cramps as menstrual cramps and the bleeding for the start of their period. The bleeding and cramps, however, are slight.
Women may also notice a white, milky vaginal discharge. This is associated with the thickening of the vagina’s walls, which starts almost immediately after conception. The increased growth of cells lining the vagina causes the extra discharge. This discharge, which can continue throughout pregnancy, is typically harmless and doesn’t require treatment. However, if there is a bad smell related to the discharge or a burning and itching sensation, please be evaluated by your doctor in order to rule out an infection needing treatment.
A woman’s hormone levels rapidly change after conception with an increase of both estrogen and progesterone. Because of the changes, her breasts may become swollen, sore, tender or tingly a week or two later. They may also feel heavier or fuller. The area around the nipples, called the areola, may also darken and increase in size. Another reason your breasts swell is that your body retains water during pregnancy. This retention can also make you feel bloated.
Other things could cause breast changes, so always confer with your doctor. But if the changes are an early symptom of pregnancy, it is going to take several weeks for your body to get used to the new levels of hormones. But when it does, breast pain should subside.
Feeling very tired is normal in pregnancy, starting early in the first trimester. Many begin to feel the fatigue as soon as one week after conception. Progesterone often times creates a feeling of exhaustion.
There is usually an energy boost in your second trimester, but exhaustion can creep back during the home stretch. If fatigue is related to pregnancy, it’s important to get plenty of rest. Go to bed earlier and get naps whenever you can. Eating foods that are rich in protein and iron can help offset the fatigue.
Nausea (Morning Sickness)
Morning sickness is the notorious symptom of pregnancy. The exact cause of morning sickness is not known but pregnancy hormones likely contribute to this symptom. Nausea during pregnancy may occur at any time of the day but most commonly experienced in the morning. Some lucky women don’t get morning sickness, but some experience it throughout the entire pregnancy. Most commonly, nausea will subside by the 18th week of pregnancy.
Talk to your doctor for advice on eating a healthy diet to be sure you and your developing baby get essential nutrients.
Disgusted by Specific Foods
Also, some women crave, or can’t stand, certain foods when they become pregnant thanks to those lovely hormones. The effect can be so strong that even the thought of what used to be a favorite food can turn a pregnant woman’s stomach. Even certain scents can be nauseating. Some women even develop a funny taste in their mouth.
As long as you are not losing weight and are staying hydrated, the developing baby will be fine. If you begin to lose a significant amount of weight, please consult your OB/GYN. Take a prenatal vitamin recommended by your doctor to make sure you’re getting nutrients and folic acid, which you need to prevent certain birth defects. Also, drink a lot of liquids to avoid getting dehydrated. The disgust will most likely dissipate near the second trimester.
During the first trimester, the changes from hormones can bring about mood swings. Also, the anticipation of the new addition, whether planned or not, can cause stress which can exacerbate the mood swings.
Fatigue and hunger can also make mood swings worse, rest and eat small snacks throughout the day can help.
The most obvious early symptom of pregnancy — and the one that prompts most women to get a pregnancy test — is a missed period. But not all missed or delayed periods are caused by pregnancy.
There are reasons, besides pregnancy, for missing a period. It might be that too much weight was gained or lost. Hormonal problems, fatigue, or stress are other possibilities. Some women miss their period when they stop taking birth control pills. If a period is late and pregnancy is a possibility, you may want to get a pregnancy test.
More Pregnancy Symptoms to be Aware of:
- Frequent Urination – For many women, this starts around the sixth or eighth week after conception. Although this could be caused by a urinary tract infection, diabetes, or overusing diuretics, it most commonly is simply a side effect of pregnancy. Your kidneys have to process more urine during pregnancy. Plus, your uterus getting bigger puts pressure on your bladder. Together, that’s a lot of trips to the bathroom.
- Constipation – During pregnancy, higher levels of the hormone progesterone can make you constipated. Progesterone causes food to pass more slowly through your intestines. To ease the problem, drink plenty of water, exercise, and eat plenty of high-fiber foods.
- Headaches & Back Pain – Many pregnant women report frequent mild headaches, and others experience chronic back pain.
- Dizziness & Fainting – These may be related to dilating blood vessels, lower blood pressure, and lower blood sugar.
If you believe you may be pregnant contact Dallas Top10MD OBGYN Dr. Nathan Thomas today.
Dr. Nathan Thomas is a Dallas, Texas Obstetrician and Gynecologist and Board Certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Thomas moved to Dallas in 2009 and now one of the most sought-after OBGYN’s in Dallas. He follows hundreds of patients yearly all receiving the same quality of care and expertise. Dr. Thomas has been named 2015/2016 Top10MD – an honor only 1-in-3 doctors in the United States succeed with. To schedule your appointment contact Dr. Thomas at 972-566-4555.