Last modified on August 2022
With inputs from Dr. Pragnya Rao - General Physician
Wondering if you may be pregnant? Have you been trying to conceive for a while and just cannot wait to find out if there may be a baby growing inside you? Pregnancy in women begins with an embryo or an egg that attaches to the lining of the uterus after it has been fertilised with male sperm. A woman’s monthly periods are basically unfertilised eggs being flushed out of the body due to no sperm interaction. Therefore, the first and most obvious sign of pregnancy is generally a missed period. Taking a pregnancy test is also an effective way to identify early pregnancy, however, sometimes the timing of the test is crucial in determining an accurate result.
Some other signs your pregnant may include:
Chapter 1: What are the Early Signs of Pregnancy?
With a number of changes taking place in the body to get ready for the next 9 months, many which sign is considered as welcome sign in pregnancy begin. Having a comprehensive understanding of these can help you identify clear signs, which in turn, can help you prepare for what’s to come.
But every pregnancy and body is different, and not every mother will experience the same set of symptoms of early pregnancy. This is why we got in touch with 7 different women to tell us their stories. Through them, we witness about early pregnancy signs before missed period unfolds, showing us how unique the initial encounter with motherhood can be.
But before we hear their stories, let’s dive into the set of symptoms that are specific to pregnancy, which are strong indicators that you have conceived.
Early indications of pregnancy
There are a few sure shot ways to know you are pregnant, which are listed below.
- A pregnancy test
This is the most obvious sign of pregnancy. A positive pregnancy test very rarely displays a false positive, especially because it detects hCG in the urine or blood, which is a pregnancy hormone. The only way a false positive may show up if there is a presence of drugs or other traces of other substances in the bloodstream.
- A missed period
A period may be late due to stress, travel, or other such factors. But a missed period occurs only for a few select reasons, such as underlying medical conditions like PCOS, or more commonly, because of a successful pregnancy. If you typically have regular menstrual cycles and have missed your period after having been sexually active, then chances are that conception was successful!
- Implantation bleeding
As we saw earlier, light spotting can be a symptoms of early pregnancy, but implantation bleeding is different from that. This type of bleeding occurs when the embryo embeds itself in the uterus. This appears as mild bleeding for up to 48 hours.
- Darkening of skin
The surge of hormones results in increased melanin production. This appears much more strongly on areas of the body where melanin is already present heavily. Because of this, these areas can become even darker. Most women find that their nipples and areolas appear darker. This symptom does not show up as a sign of PMS either.
- Brittle nails
Pregnancy affects all parts of the body. Since blood pressure and hormone levels are elevated, you may find that your nails are thinner, and crack more easily. They may also grow much quicker and can be longer than usual.
- Difficulty in brushing teeth
Of all the 70 really early signs of pregnancy, you wouldn’t expect having a hard time brushing your teeth to make it to the list. But in reality, pregnancy nausea can also make your gag reflex more reactive. In addition to this, pregnancy hormones can lead to gum diseases like gingivitis. This is why it is recommended to many expecting Indian mothers that they switch to a toothbrush with softer bristles and practise good oral hygiene.
- Bitter taste in mouth
You may find a bitter taste in your mouth as well, and this is caused by acid reflux and heartburn. Progesterone causes smooth muscles in the body to relax, which includes the lower muscles of the oesophagus and the muscles of the intestines. The latter results in the formation of gas, and as this rises in the body, stomach acids and undigested foods may also rise up.
- Raised basal body temperature
Basal body temperature usually stays high after ovulation and remains this way after conception. This is a good indicator of the fact that implantation is successful because it means that the pregnancy hormones are in play and are working to prepare the body for pregnancy. In fact, many couples use this as a way to measure their likelihood of getting pregnant.
- Increased vaginal discharge
Early signs of pregnancy discharge are something all pregnant women experience. This vaginal discharge is just like the kind that is released during and after ovulation and can increase over time. If you face a problem with these early signs of pregnancy discharge, it can be helpful to wear a panty liner.
Pregnancy during COVID-19 outbreak
The COVID-19 outbreak that is far from subsiding in India, proves to be of extra danger to pregnant women. The second wave of coronavirus disease that is ravaging the country currently is not only affecting the elderly with comorbidities but also kids, teenagers and younger people with no comorbidities. One among the high-risk groups are pregnant ladies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnant women are at higher risk in developing respiratory issues than women who aren’t conceived. This can be aggravated if the pregnant woman has underlying conditions like hypertension, cholesterol and diabetes. They are more likely to be put on a ventilator. Hence it is necessary to take precautions such as staying indoors, double masking, and sanitising your surroundings frequently if you detect early signs of pregnancy.
This medical condition is quite rare and occurs when the egg does not attach to the uterine wall. Instead, it attaches itself elsewhere, like the cervix, fallopian tubes, or even the abdominal cavity. Essentially, the fertilized egg attaches itself outside of the uterus.
Since an egg cannot grow outside of the uterus, this can become potentially life-threatening if it goes unaddressed. The growth can cause damage to other organs and may result in copious bleeding.
Symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy are important to identify early on so that immediate medical attention can be provided. The signs and symptoms of early pregnancy are:
- Intense cramping or pain in the pelvis, sides, or abdomen
- Nausea and vomiting
- Vaginal bleeding
- Dizziness and fainting
If you experience these symptoms, it is best to consult a doctor immediately. Any delays can cause symptoms and pain to become more significant, which can cause harm to the mother. The doctor will help guide you through the next steps to take.
Real women and their stories
1. Padma Ramamurthy
Padma (name changed for anonymity) and her husband were overjoyed when she took the pregnancy test and two pink stripes appeared on the test kit. “I knew in the first week itself. It was just a feeling… but I avoided telling anyone, even my husband, out of the fear that I might be
getting my hopes up. But when I took that test, I had never been more sure of anything in my life!”
While Padma knew intuitively that she was pregnant, she also reported noticing other signs and symptoms in the first 3 weeks leading up to the test. Her nails grew longer much quicker (which she thought she was imagining), she slept more than usual, and she could no longer call herself a coffee lover. And along with this, there were a few other interesting symptoms. Here are the top 7 pregnancy symptoms she says affected her most.
10. Vivid dreams
One of the signs that you are pregnant is the onset of different sleep patterns. With so many physiological changes taking place to accommodate the growth of the baby, many women experience bouts of insomnia and weeks where they need more
hours of sleep and rest than usual. With more sleep and a high level of different hormones in the body, many pregnant women often report that they experience detailed, vivid dreams. There are also a lot of changes taking place mentally and emotionally alongside the physical processes, which can impact dreams as well.
This is one of the most fascinating symptoms of the early pregnancy signs. We have all heard about a mother’s intuition, but this actually appears much early on as 1 month pregnant symptoms. Most expecting mothers already know intuitively when they have conceived and are pregnant. This may be because a woman
is more in tune with her body and its cues, but there is also significant research and evidence that states that neurological changes occur when you are pregnant. To prepare for the birth, the brain changes its neural pathways to become connected to the child’s, which work to influence one another during gestation.
Another common 1st-month pregnancy symptoms some women experience is forgetfulness. Forgetfulness during early pregnancy is also known as pregnancy brain or brain fog, which occurs because of a combination
of symptoms like fatigue, insomnia,
nausea, back pain, mood swings, and more.
13. Frequent burping
Immediate signs of pregnancy can include frequent burping for some expecting mothers. This is mainly because of the elevated levels of progesterone, a pregnancy hormone. One of the side effects of this increase is that the muscles of
the intestines are more relaxed, which causes the muscles to work slower, which in turn causes digestion to slow down. This leads to the build-up of gas, causing you to burp more often.
14. Lack of focus
During PMS and pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes different changes that impact her mental state as well. Insomnia, mood swings, fatigue, swollen breasts, back pain, cramps, gastrointestinal problems, and other such issues can make it difficult to focus as the body is undergoing a lot.
15. Shortness of breath
One of the really early signs of pregnancy is experiencing shortness of breath. However, on its own, it is generally not regarded as one of the major first signs of pregnancy. But when considered with other symptoms, it may indicate the increase of progesterone, which causes the need to take breaths of air more often. This helps expand lung capacity in order to carry oxygen to both the mother and baby.
16. Coffee aversion
Many people experience an aversion to coffee, and this symptom can appear as early as the second week since conception. This may be because of nausea or the body’s general inclination to protect the fetus. Pregnancy day by day will also show you that certain foods which could be potentially dangerous to the fetus or lack nutritional value might trigger nausea and vomiting further. You can consult with a dietician to understand this better and work on incorporating a more suitable meal plan.
2. Sanjana Ghorpade
Sanjana, unlike Padma, did not understand at first what was happening to her body. “Mahesh and I had been trying for a baby for a few months by the time it finally happened. I was a little emotionally drained after that, so when it did happen,
I didn’t see it coming. I experienced so many different symptoms, and I thought there was something terribly wrong with me for the longest time.”
“Some of the signs weren’t so alarming, but they were definitely frustrating… for example, I’d begun to drool! And I don’t think I have ever drooled before. But when I missed my period, that’s when I knew.” Sanjana also experienced physical symptoms
that she hadn’t experienced since puberty, like acne and thinning hair. Her rashes also forced her to take oatmeal baths to help relieve the itching. Below are a few of the intense clues her body gave her when she conceived.
17. Itching on the stomach
One of the symptoms of getting pregnant is an itchy belly. This is attributed to the change in the balance of different hormones, which can dry out the skin. This tends to occur on the stomach more as the belly grows to accommodate the growing fetus, which causes stretch marks. For a few women, this starts early and may develop into an itchy, bumpy rash in the final trimester which is known as a PUPPP rash.
In the first month of pregnancy, you may experience congestion. This is because there is an automatic increase in the production of blood to increase supply for the baby. Combined with the elevated levels of hormones, this can cause the mucus membranes in the nasal passage to swell up slightly, leading to a stuffy nose.
Some expecting Indian mothers have reported that they salivate more, which tends to show up close to the appearance of other 1st-month pregnancy symptoms. While there is not much that is known for why this occurs, specialists have a few guesses. It may be to help protect the mouth from the negative effects of stomach acid and the frequent vomiting when morning sickness rolls around. This can also show up as pregnancy symptoms at 5 weeks or later, and varies from case to case.
20. Tingling sensation in your stomach
This symptom of pregnancy may show up in the first few weeks after conception and can be attributed to cramps caused by gastrointestinal issues as pregnancy hormones are elevated during this time.
Pregnancy symptoms after missed periods can include the development of urinary tract infections. This can be because of the increased urination and elevated hormone levels. You should consult with a gynaecologist/urologist if this persists.
22. Feeling sick with cold or flu
Because your body witnesses a number of different changes at every level, it is normal that your immunity will see a dip during this time. Feeling sick with a cold or the flu can be one of the very first symptoms of pregnancy as the body begins to feel fatigued slowly right after ovulation. If the symptoms do not go away with rest, fluids, and your regular doses of medicine, it can become a cause for concern. In which case, you may want to contact your general physician.
23. Increased sweat
This is perfectly normal since the body experiences hot flushes with increased blood supply, blood flow, and higher hormone levels. This causes the body’s temperature to rise, which is countered by excessive sweating to help cool the body down.
This may also result in sweaty hands and feet. Staying hydrated by drinking enough water can help relieve this problem. But as the pregnancy progresses, you may require ice chips and air conditioning to remain cool.
24 .Bleeding gums
Pregnancy symptoms at 5 weeks might include trouble with bleeding gums. People who have not given birth before may not know about the importance of dental care during pregnancy. The hormonal changes that occur cause gums to be increasingly
vulnerable to the buildup of plaque, which can lead to inflammation. This can worsen to bleeding. You should consider speaking with a dentist to help you with this problem.
1-month pregnant symptoms can include the onset of acne. With so many different hormones coursing through the body, the skin tends to become oily. This can clog pores and cause acne breakouts. Most pregnant women experience inflamed patches of skin and acne during the first two trimesters. A dermatologist or skin specialist can help provide a solution to this problem.
26. Thinning of hair
While this is not a common symptom, some women do report that they experience hair thinning during their pregnancy. This can be caused by the imbalance of pregnancy hormones.
27. Vaginal discharge
Early signs of pregnancy discharge can include thick whitish discharge that can cause an itching sensation. This is commonly referred to as a yeast infection and can be identified by its resemblance to cottage cheese. Yeast infections become
increasingly common through the pregnancy calendar week by week, especially in the first two trimesters when hormonal changes are higher, resulting in the disruption of the pH balance of the vagina. A gynaecologist consultation can help you prevent this.
3. Aditi Mallya
When you have allergies, your pregnancy might affect those symptoms as well. This is what Aditi experienced firsthand as well. “I didn’t have too many symptoms at first, to be honest. A friend of mine who was a few months pregnant already did tell
me that my nose bleeds might have meant I was finally pregnant. She said she had 2 or 3 herself in her first few weeks. She was quite insistent too since it was her second pregnancy. But I shrugged it off and blamed the weather.”
Aditi’s experiences are quite interesting as she also began to experience harsh reactions to bright colours. “My husband insisted on having a yellow bathroom when we moved houses so that our mornings would start on a ‘more cheerful’ note. I thought it was
tacky but gave in. For years I’ve grudgingly accepted it, but when I started getting intense headaches, I was quite baffled. I had to start using the guest bathroom instead!”
28. Dry mouth
While some women produce more saliva, others experience a dry mouth. This can be for two reasons – one, that your oral hygiene is affected by the excess hormone production, or two because the body needs more water during pregnancy. The latter
the reason is that the baby will also need water to develop, which is why the brain signals to the body to help meet this requirement.
29. Nose bleeds
For the same reason that women experience nasal congestion, others experience nose bleeds. With higher blood supply, the membranes in the nose can swell up and become inflamed. This can cause the nose to dry out which can trigger nose bleeds.
30. Pollen allergies
Some women experience worsened allergies during their pregnancy. This can be in the form of watery eyes, increased sneezing, and stuffy noses. To treat this, speak to your general physician about a remedy. If this is the first time you are
experiencing allergy symptoms, consider taking an allergy test to determine the cause.
While feeling hot is the common issue faced by most pregnant women, another common symptom that shows up is feeling cold and shivering. This is nothing to worry about as the body temperature may fluctuate with so many ongoing internal processes.
32. Increased sensitivity to colour
Pregnant women can become quite sensitive to bright colours, and while there is not enough research behind this, it may be because of the changes in the brain and hormone levels.
4. Meenakshi S.
“This was my second pregnancy, actually. So when the same symptoms started up when my husband and I were trying again, he and I joked that we should just show up at our OBGYN.”
However, Meenakshi experienced one symptom that she hadn’t in her previous pregnancy. “The spotting was new to me. I was scared it was a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. So I consulted
with a doctor online who told me that my symptoms were mild, so it was probably just the embryo attaching itself to my uterus. But she told me to observe the bleeding for a day or two and to see a doctor if it hadn’t stopped by then. Thankfully, we didn’t have to.”
33. Frequent passage of gas
Progesterone causes the muscles to relax, and this includes the intestines. Digestion slows down and this results in the buildup of gas. This can cause bloating and flatulence in pregnant women.
Symptoms of pregnancy in the first weeks of conception are heavily influenced by the shifting hormones, which impact bowel movement a lot. One of the earliest signs of pregnancy can be diarrhoea.
If this gets worse, you should talk to a gastroenterologist.
Pangs of hunger become frequent as you progress through the pregnancy calendar week by week, and may show up more towards the early and final stages. Because the body is experiencing a surge of
hormones that are in flux, a rise and fall in hunger are completely normal. And towards the final trimester, this is also more common as the body requires more food for the baby as well.
You may find yourself emotionally and having crying spells in early pregnancy. This could continue on throughout the 9 months and is because there is a mix of chemical changes taking place. However,
if you feel depressed or anxious, you should talk to a therapist to understand if your symptoms indicate mental health issues.
37. Spotting pregnancy
Spotting pregnancy signs may literally translate to spots of blood. This is nothing but implantation bleeding, and should not be confused for periods during first month of pregnancy. At the same
time, this should not last for over 2 days nor should it turn into heavy bleeding, as otherwise, it may indicate complications with the pregnancy.
Cramps during pregnancy are common, and this too can be a sign of successful implantation of the embryo in the lining of the uterine wall. Hormonal changes also cause an increased buildup of gas,
so you may experience cramps during pregnancy for this reason as well.
3 weeks pregnant symptoms and signs often comprise of bloating. The implantation of the embryo can cause the uterine wall to swell, which can cause bloating. Additionally, because digestion slows down
with the hormonal changes occurring in the body, gas tends to build up in the intestines. For this reason, your belly may feel hard and round, which can cause physical discomfort. Drinking plenty of water,
staying away from caffeine, and avoiding spicy or oily foods can help curb this.
40. Back pain
Whether it is pregnancy symptoms at 5 weeks or 5 months, back pain is something that plagues expecting mothers right from the beginning. It starts early as a result of the body loosening ligaments and
joints to stretch the body to prepare for the growth of the baby. This can put a strain in the muscles in the lower back. As the baby grows, the weight can cause more stress to this area. Posture is very important
for this reason and you should speak to a doctor about maintaining this to avoid complications and further strain.
41. Lack of sleep
Insomnia is another of the many signs of one week pregnancy and ties back to other symptoms. The discomfort caused by other problems can make it difficult to fall asleep. Mainly, physical problems like back pain,
tender breasts, digestive issues, cramps, nausea, and headaches can cause this. But the inability to fall asleep may also be attributed to the effect of hormones on your mood and emotions. Practising yoga and other relaxation techniques can help you sleep better if this is the case.
For Priyadarshini, it took a while to understand her symptoms were signalling something else and not the onset of her period. “I have heavy PMS symptoms, and then a heavy period. This is normal for me. I was working on a big project at work
at the time and was under a lot of stress as well. So when I was late by a few days, I thought to myself that it must be the stress that is causing me to feel this way and it must be what is aggravating my symptoms.”
But when a week and a half passed and Priyadarshini still hadn’t gotten her period, her husband suggested that they purchase an at-home pregnancy kit. “It hadn’t occurred to me until he suggested it. And when the stick told us it was positive,
everything just clicked! I’ve worked in stressful situations before as well, and I never experienced these symptoms then. So, of course, it was this happy surprise!”
42. PMS symptoms
The body mimics PMS symptoms through the early stages of pregnancy because of how closely the two are related. Both processes see an increase in hormones like progesterone and estrogen, which result in the same bodily changes.
Apart from slowing down digestion and relaxing the muscles of the body, increased production of progesterone in the body lowers blood pressure. This drop can cause intense fatigue. Some may also experience dizziness, fainting, and
breathlessness. You should get plenty of rest, food, and fluids for this reason, and avoid overexerting yourself.
44. Increased heart rate
There is an increased supply of blood in the body, which is one of the major signs of getting pregnant. Because of this, your heart rate may increase by a little, and you may experience palpitations. This is completely normal and is not considered harmful.
45. High blood pressure
1 month pregnant symptoms can include high blood pressure, and this should be checked by a doctor if it persists. This can be harmful to pregnancy development and for the fetus growing inside.
46. Weight gain
Most weight gain in pregnancy takes place in the latter two trimesters. However, some women may find themselves gaining weight within the first few weeks of pregnancy. This may just be because of bloating and an increase in water weight.
Progesterone levels are elevated right from the first week of pregnancy. This hormone relaxes smooth muscles in the body, and since the muscles of the lower oesophagus fall in this category, it can become difficult for it to function normally.
This causes food and acids to rise up, which is known as acid reflux.
Both blood sugar and blood supply are affected in early pregnancy. This can cause lightheadedness, dizziness, and infrequent fainting spells. This is also caused by an increase in hormone production in the body.
Many women complain of various head-related problems and these can be some of the first physical signs of pregnancy. This impacts vision and the nasal passage, which can lead to dull headaches. There is also an increase in stress and fatigue during
these initial few weeks of pregnancy, which can result in sinus headaches as well. If your headaches worsen, you should see a neurologist to make sure that there are no underlying causes for this that are of concern.
50. Increased thirst
As the body prepares for a pregnancy, the production of blood goes up. This is to help meet the requirements for the baby within the womb as well. Because of this, your body will need more nutrients and water, which is why the body signals a feeling of thirst more frequently.
51. Healthy hair
While some women experience hair thinning during pregnancy, many actually enjoy thicker hair during this period. With higher levels of estrogen in the body, hair can become fuller, thicker, and shinier. At the same time, it may promote changes in texture, and even the
excessive growth of hair in various places, including on the belly and breasts.
6. Deepali Kaushik
Deepali spoke to us about her troubles getting pregnant, and the difficulties she faced right from the beginning. “Pregnancy is nothing like most people make it out to be. At least, not for me. I had a few recurrent miscarriages before I could finally get through
my pregnancy to fruition. And once I did get pregnant, I had a hard time coping with the changes my body underwent.”
“Many of my friends spoke to me about their own troubles, which really helped me understand that this was normal. Pregnancy is a different experience for all, but the bundle of joy you have placed in your arms at the end of it makes it all worth it.”
52. Sensitivity to smell
This is probably one of the most common pregnancy symptoms. This sense of heightened smell occurs even more in women who experience pregnancy nausea and vomiting more.
53. Breast soreness
Two weeks pregnant symptoms tend to include breast soreness for many. To prepare for childbirth, the body begins to expand the milk ducts in the breasts. Because of this, the breasts can become heavier and swollen, which starts off as breast soreness to begin with.
54. Darkened areolas
Signs of one week pregnancy often show up as darkened areolas, which are the areas around the nipples. This is because melanin increases in areas that are already high in melanin due to the increase in hormones
Many believe that since the hormones affect the body to help it become ready for pregnancy, all changes to the breasts during pregnancy are to prepare for breastfeeding. This is why the milk ducts become bigger, and the darkening of the areola may be to help the newborn identify its food source with more ease.
56. Mood swings
Hormonal imbalances cause frequent mood swings, and this can be one of the major pregnancy symptoms after missed periods because there is a higher surge of progesterone and estrogen during this time. Mood swings in the first few weeks typically range from frustration and
irritation to sadness and sensitivity.
57. Food aversions
Most women find that they can no longer stomach the same foods once they are pregnant. Items that they previously had an appetite for may seem unappealing. These food intolerances can be attributed to the heightened sense of smell and increasing nausea. Regular morning sickness later
in the pregnancy can worsen this.
58. Frequent urination
Pregnancy can lead to the production of more urine, and this builds a frequent need to visit the bathroom. Since thirst is also heightened to help the body match water levels for the increased blood supply, pregnant women will urinate more.
59. Pregnancy glow
Because of the increase in blood supply, your skin may feel flushed. In addition to this, many women find that they feel hotter and sweat more as a result of this. All this can help give you a pregnancy glow.
Digestion is usually quite off in the first few weeks, resulting in constipation, gas, and bloating. This can result in pregnancy nausea and even vomiting. There is also an increased formation of acid in the stomach, and with acid reflux becoming more frequent, nausea can build up even further.
To prevent this from worsening,
avoid oily and spicy foods. Consuming smaller meals can also go a long way in curbing nausea.
61. Metallic taste in the mouth
Your senses change during pregnancy, and this affects your taste as well. Many women find that they have a metallic taste in their mouth, which is what it would feel like to suck on old coins.
62. Hair loss
While this is not as common, it is still a sign of pregnancy in women who experience this. The surge in hormones can cause a shock to the body which causes thinning hair and increased hair fall. If you experience this, you may also want to get a thyroid test to confirm there aren’t any other
underlying causes for this.
7. Sneha Silva
Sneha (name changed for anonymity) happened to be one of the lucky ones, as her pregnancy happened around the same time as her sister-in-law’s pregnancy. “It was such a happy coincidence and I was very thankful since I had some guidance and support through it. My sister-in-law knew
we were trying to get pregnant, and when my instincts told me something was different, she urged me to get a test.”
“It was nice to have someone know what I was going through and to laugh about our symptoms together. We even began to have the same food cravings together!” While some women, like Deepali, have an aversion to lots of different foods, some other women experience intense cravings that they’ve never experienced before.
63. Change in libido
Pregnancy day by day can result in a number of different symptoms, many of which cause physical discomfort. Stress and elevated hormone levels also affect the mental, physical and emotional states. All of this can cause a change in libido, with women finding a decrease in sexual desire in the first few weeks
64. Cigarette aversion
When a woman is pregnant, the body begins to reject items of food that do not provide enough nutrition or may be potentially harmful to the child. A good example of this is the resulting aversion to coffee. Similarly, women who smoke will find themselves appalled by cigarettes. However, if you have a habit
of smoking, you may also want to take a smoker’s risk assessment test to ensure there are no underlying conditions that can cause harm to your health through the pregnancy.
One of the problems experienced during pregnancy is the development of haemorrhoids in the first trimester. All the hormonal changes and imbalances can cause severe constipation, which results in the development of swollen lumps near the anus. These can be quite painful, and you should see a doctor at the
earliest if you experience this problem.
66. Heaviness in your stomach
A heavy stomach may be the result of the buildup of gas and stomach acids during pregnancy. To help flush this out, drink plenty of water.
67. Leg cramps
Early signs of pregnancy cramping are not limited to the stomach or uterus. Because of the increase in blood supply and expansion of the uterus, some women may experience leg cramps during pregnancy, especially at night.
68. Veins on breast
The blood supply to the breasts increases in the first few weeks of pregnancy, and this results in about 20-40% more blood volume within the breasts. Because of this, the veins in the breasts become a lot more prominent.
69. Tingling sensation on breasts
The supply of blood to the breasts increases due to elevated progesterone and estrogen in the body. This can make them a lot more sensitive, resulting in soreness, tenderness, and can even cause a tingling sensation. This may indicate that the milk ducts are also expanding to prepare the body
70. Food cravings
Just as pregnant women find their tastes changing leading to food aversions, there are also strange food cravings that can come up. Many women find themselves attracted to foods they never had much of an affinity for and might find themselves physically craving these items.
Some pregnant women also find that they crave items without any nutritional value, like dirt, paint chips, or less dangerous items, like ice. This is known as pica and can be harmful to the health of the mother and baby. You should see a doctor if you experience this.
So now that you know the physical signs of pregnancy and the wide variety of symptoms that can show up, you can better assess your own need for a test. You may also be tempted to know pregnancy symptoms week by week, but any research will only show you a general overview. This is because while
these symptoms and others throughout your pregnancy are common, each individual is unique (as we have just seen) and experiences these 9 months in their own ways, which is what makes it all the more special!
There are as many as early pregnancy signs before missed period and they range from some of the least to most obvious side effects of pregnancy. By signs, we mean the indicative health changes that you notice in pregnancy. Most of these symptoms will appear within the first month of pregnancy and may
last throughout the course of the 9 months. Others will disappear or decline by the second trimester or the start of the third. However, it’s important to note that each case is unique and sometimes even the most common pregnancy symptoms will be experienced differently by an expecting mother. It is also important to understand the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy so that they can be addressed before any further complications arise.
Chapter 2: How Early Can You Detect Signs of Pregnancy?
“The journey to becoming parents can be an exciting one for most couples! If you are trying to get pregnant, then it’s natural to want to look out for early signs of being pregnant. However, it’s important to remember that many of these signs can also resemble that of PMS. Therefore, if you think you’re pregnant, take a home pregnancy test or visit a gynaecologist for confirmation.”
– Dr. Pragnya Rao, General Physician
Pregnancy is a life-changing event for anyone. The body undergoes major changes over the course of about 40 weeks, which roughly translates to a period of 9 months. From your sleep, appetite and mood, to your physiology and hormonal balance, everything is a brand new experience.
And of course, the journey of parenthood afterwards is a whole different topic. Since pregnancy is so significant, it is important to understand the signs early on.
There can be as many as 70 early signs of pregnancy to help you as an Indian mother, figure out how to prepare for the months to come. This may include dietary changes and counselling, taking certain supplements, practising yoga, lactation counselling, and other various lifestyle changes. You may also have to take a vitamin profile test to understand what your body needs better.
Pregnancy can be detected as early as 2 weeks after the time of conception. At this time, only a few symptoms may crop up. Women also experience a few similar symptoms before the beginning of their next menstrual cycle, which is known as PMS i.e premenstrual syndrome. A feeling of nausea, sore breasts, and fatigue are a few of the symptoms similar to those of the early signs of conception.
This can cause some confusion for a woman if she is sexually active as it can become difficult to distinguish whether it indicates the proximity to the next period cycle or the early stages of pregnancy.
The reason the first signs of pregnancy are similar to that of PMS is because of two hormones, namely estrogen and progesterone. A woman’s body releases these every month, which help the ovaries develop and release an egg. This process is known as ovulation.
At the same time, the early signs of getting pregnant also have a lot to do with progesterone and estrogen. Progesterone rises significantly in the body in the first few weeks of pregnancy until the placenta is formed and helps to keep the muscles of the uterus relaxed.
The effect of this hormone on the body is that it lowers blood pressure slightly, which can cause fatigue, dizziness, or fainting. A rise in progesterone can also cause gastroenteric symptoms like acidity and gas, constipation, nausea, and reflux.
The levels of estrogen in the body also rise, both as symptoms of pregnancy in first weeks of conception and right after ovulation in anticipation for the implantation of the embryo in the uterus.
Elevated estrogen can cause nausea, skin changes like acne, and increase in appetite. Estrogen also works to prepare the breasts for the production of milk by enlarging the ducts, which is what causes breast tenderness and heaviness.
Since these two hormones play a vital role in preparing the body for pregnancy, the levels start increasing right after ovulation. And this is why the symptoms of PMS are so similar to conception symptoms. If fertilization is successful, estrogen and progesterone continue to rise in the body throughout the first trimester, and an expecting mother will
experience these symptoms along with many others for this duration. But if the implantation does not occur, the levels of these hormones quickly fall and symptoms disappear either right before, during, or after the period.
What is the difference between symptoms of pregnancy and PMS?
In order to understand the differences, it is also important to understand the similarities first. Knowing these will help you understand what steps to take next, or if you should wait until the symptoms become clear.
To begin with, the earliest signs that the two share are:
Tender breasts (also known as mastalgia)
Light bleeding or spotting
Feeling of nausea
Here’s a closer look at each symptom to understand if there are any noticeable differences within the similarities.
Mood swings during PMS appear very suddenly and are most often feelings of irritability, anxiety, frustration, or sadness. These go away just as quickly as they came once the period begins. During the early stages of
pregnancy, mood swings can vary from a range of emotions, and they do not go away swiftly. Or you may be anxious to conceive. These signs may also indicate a larger mental health issue, like depression, or premenstrual dysmorphic disorder.
If mood swings are severe and persist, you should consult a psychiatrist for a clinical diagnosis.
When it comes to tender breasts, in both cases, the individual will possibly experience mild to severe pain. In addition to this, breasts may feel sore, heavy, or fuller. To be able to tell the difference, you should consider the timing of the appearance of this symptom. If it is a case of PMS, it can only occur after ovulation, which is the second half of a menstrual cycle. As it begins, symptoms become more severe over the days and finally improves or clear up at the start of, or during the period.
Fatigue during pregnancy and PMS is caused by elevated levels of progesterone. This can also cause trouble sleeping and can lead to a bout of insomnia just before your period begins. Once a new menstrual cycle starts, the fatigue should go away. But with pregnancy, expecting Indian mothers may feel tired or exhausted in the first few months or throughout all 9 months.
Stomach cramps during pregnancy can be one of the side effects of pregnancy in Indian mothers and are also common symptoms before and during a period. The cramps experienced close to PMS are known as dysmenorrhea and can be mild or severe, which varies from person to person. These typically appear a day or two before the first day of bleeding and continue on into the first few days of the period. As the
bleeding gets lighter, these cramps will subside as well. However, the cramps that occur as early signs of conception are a lot different from dysmenorrhea. They are usually mild or light and are felt in the lower back area. These can last for several weeks or months.
Light bleeding or spotting
This symptom is the least likely to confuse you. At the first stage of pregnancy development, spotting or light bleeding may occur because of the successful implantation of the embryo. This type of bleeding is completely different from the spotting you may notice as one of the early signs of periods. In some cases, women might experience light spotting between menstrual cycles, which is normal.
Feeling of nausea
One of the most common pregnancy symptoms is morning sickness and nausea. This symptom usually only appears a month after conception, and the nausea is not always accompanied by vomiting. However, unlike the pregnancy symptoms at 4 weeks, vomiting is not common during PMS.
If you experience any of these symptoms and have missed a period, a pregnancy test can be taken at home for more clarity. This can also help clear up any confusion or anxiety. However, a pregnancy test is most effective and can only yield a definitive result two weeks after conception.
What is your body going through before the first missed period?
If you are sexually active and have missed a period, this is one of the major signs that you are pregnant. However, this should be confirmed with a pregnancy test, which can be taken at home with a kit. Alternatively, more accurate results can be obtained with a pregnancy blood test which can be taken at a clinic or with a diagnostic lab nearby.
You may not see any period signs for other reasons as well, which could be any of the following:
- Undergoing high levels of stress
- Major changes in weight
- Increased exercise
- Ill health
- Use of medication or drugs
- Conditions pertaining to the reproductive system like PCOS
- Eating disorders
Assuming that pregnancy is the reason for a missed period, it is safe to say that your body is undergoing several different changes. This can be understood with a look at pregnancy symptoms week by week.
During the first week, fertilization is successful and the egg forms a protective barrier immediately. Within a mere few hours of this, the cell begins to divide and multiply. This goes on over the course of the next few days until a few 100 have grown into clusters which will form the embryo. During this first week, there may be no symptoms of pregnancy.
After this, signs of pregnancy at 2 weeks begin to appear, with symptoms resembling PMS.
During the third week of pregnancy, the cluster of cells travels from the fallopian tubes into the uterus to embed itself in the walls there and grow over the course of the next several months. This process can take a few days. In the meantime, another process is taking place within the ovaries. The corpus luteum develops in place of where the egg was earlier and begins to produce progesterone and estrogen which will help nourish the fetus until the placenta can form by week 10.
Pregnancy symptoms at 4 weeks begin to show up even more as implantation occurs during this time. Early signs of pregnancy including cramping can begin and some may experience what is sometimes called a ‘pregnancy period’. This type of period during the first month of pregnancy and conception has little to do with the menstrual cycle. In reality, the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall, which can cause implantation bleeding.
Implantation bleeding is quite common and can be one of the first and immediate signs of pregnancy after a missed period. This type of ‘pregnancy period’ is very light and can appear as light pink to brownish bloody spots. Unlike a period, it only lasts for 1 or 2 days.
If bleeding persists or becomes heavy or painful, you should consult an obstetrician or gynaecologist immediately.
There are many symptoms of getting pregnant, which can be similar to the symptoms of PMS. This is because of the elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body. There are a few ways to make out the differences between similar symptoms, but a pregnancy test can help determine this best. The first 4 weeks of conception are crucial for implantation of the fertilized egg to take place, which will trigger many different physiological changes in the body as it prepares for the growth of the embryo into a fetus.
Chapter 3: When to Take a Home Pregnancy Test?
A home pregnancy test should ideally be taken 2 weeks after a missed period. This is because the levels of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, also commonly referred to as hCG, begins to form during the first few weeks of pregnancy. In fact, it is one of the first signs of pregnancy at 2 weeks. This hormone eventually aids in the formation of the placenta which provides the essential nutrients to the fetus while it is within the womb.
As some of the 70 early signs of pregnancy begin to appear in the first few weeks, hCG is one of the first hormones to be produced amidst these processes. The levels rise and double every couple of days for the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. This circulates in the bloodstream throughout the body and can be detected in the urine by a home pregnancy kit., as a high concentration confirms the pregnancy.
In addition to this, hCG has other vital functions and contributes to very early pregnancy symptoms. hCG signals the ovaries to stop the production of mature eggs every month and informs the body that life is growing within the womb, which then prompts other functions to help prepare and nurture the body further.
Types of pregnancy tests
Two types of pregnancy tests are available to you. These are namely a blood test or a urine test. A urine test is fairly easier and more accessible as there are many different pregnancy home test kits which can be found in local drug stores and pharmacies nearby. These can be purchased and the test can be taken at home, without requiring assistance or a long wait for test results to appear.
A blood test, on the other hand, can provide more accurate results as it takes a more precise reading of the hormone levels in your body. However, a blood test cannot be taken on your own and will require a lab technician or a medical professional to draw and test the blood. The results will not be available instantaneously. To avoid the trip to the clinic, you can always opt for a home pregnancy test wherein the technician will arrive at your doorstep to draw and take the blood sample.
Process of the test
While both tests analyse fluid samples to detect hCG, a urine sample offers a qualitative result, while a blood test takes on a quantitative approach. What this means is that a urine test will merely tell you whether or not your sample contains traces of hCG. A blood test can inform you of the exact amount of it in your blood. This can help identify extremely low levels which may indicate complications in the pregnancy. Both of these also have their own unique advantages. Many prefer an at-home pregnancy kit as it allows for privacy from the comfort of your own home. Others prefer blood tests for their accuracy and definitive results.
How to take a urine test to detect a pregnancy
These kits are available in various drug stores as small boxes with a test device and user manual which will help guide you through the process. There may also be a dropper in the box to help you collect the sample.
Read the instructions for the test device carefully. These sticks may vary from brand to brand and might require you to remove a cap, apply only a few drops, or other specific instructions. It may also tell you how long you need to keep the device in the urine sample.
The following steps are typically the most common instructions:
Remove the test stick from the box and seat yourself on the toilet
Carefully place the stick under a stream of urine, or use a cup to collect a sample
If you have used a cup, use a dropper to place a few drops in the test window or slot, or dip the stick in the cup. If you have not used a cup, simply place the stick on a flat surface
Set it aside, wash your hands, and wait for 3-5 minutes for accurate results
The window for the results will then display a “+” or “-” symbol to indicate whether you are pregnant or not. Based on the brand, it may display two lines or a single line for the same. This will be made clear in the manual.
You should always check to see if there is also a time limit for the result as well. Most people know that they should wait the exact number of minutes before confirming the result displayed on the window. But many tests expire and show inaccurate readings after a certain time frame, which can go missed out on and can cause confusion. You should never buy an expired pregnancy test kit either to avoid such problems.
Many people recommend taking the test upon waking up as a urine sample at the very start of the day will display more accurate results. This is because the urine has not been diluted by the intake of any fluids yet.
How to take a blood test to detect a pregnancy
The steps to taking a blood test to confirm very early pregnancy symptoms are much simpler since there is not much to be done by you personally. In order to get a blood test done, visit a local clinic, diagnostic lab, or book a pregnancy test at home.
A phlebotomist will draw a blood sample from a vein, which will be tested for the presence and quantity of hCG. Based on the type of lab and the appointment, it may take a few hours to get your results or a few days.
Once you have received your results, there are a few questions worth asking your doctor to know more about your pregnancy. You may want to know whether or not you should get multiple blood tests to track hCG levels and understand possible complications better. Since this pregnancy hormone doubles every two days, your doctor may recommend this as well. This can also help indicate:
- Any illnesses or diseases
- Any complications or possibilities of abnormalities
- Whether you are having twin babies or more
- The chance of a miscarriage
- An ectopic pregnancy
Consulting with a gynaecologist online
Once you are all set on your journey to motherhood with positive test results, you’ll want to research and seek out medical care for the next 9 months. Finding the right gynaecologist is important as they will guide you through regular checkups, scans, and the different changes you will experience over the course of the three trimesters.
You will want to think about the professional help you will be getting and consider things like the experience the doctor brings to the table, the proximity of their office to your home, and how reputed they are in their field. After all, you will be highly dependent on them through some of your life’s most crucial moments.
Finding the right doctor can be made simple by consulting with a gynaecologist online. With MFine, you can view a doctor’s profile to see the hospital they work in, the number of years they have been practising in their field, and you can even schedule an online appointment to get to know them better.
Consulting with a gynaecologist online can help you make a more informed decision about the doctor-patient relationship you will be building.
There are two types of pregnancy tests, namely a urine and blood test. Both of these test for the presence of a pregnancy hormone known as hCG. People choose either test based on their preference at the time. If the results are positive, then the next step is to visit a doctor and choose a gynaecologist to consult with over the course of the pregnancy.
Chapter 4: Frequently Asked Questions on 70 Early Signs of Pregnancy
Q1. What are the early signs of pregnancy?
There are as many as 70 early signs of pregnancy. These can range from PMS symptoms like bloating, tender breasts, insomnia, and nausea, to symptoms unique to a pregnancy, which are darkened areolas, prominent veins on the breasts, a missed period, and implantation bleeding.
Q2. When do pregnancy symptoms begin?
Pregnancy symptoms can start as early as the first week of conception for many women. But since this varies from case to case, other women may experience symptoms later. Early pregnancy symptoms will show up no later than 4-5 weeks after conception.
Q3. What does an early pregnancy feel like?
Most often, you cannot really feel an early pregnancy. You may show symptoms, but these can largely resemble PMS symptoms as well. However, some women do experience cramping and mild bleeding which occurs when implantation bleeding takes place.
Q4. When is the best time to take a pregnancy test?
The best time to take a pregnancy test is after waiting one week after a missed period. This means that if your period has not shown up for over 7 days from the day it was estimated to begin, you should take a test. Many people recommend taking a urine test first thing in the morning since it is not diluted. This can help yield more accurate results.
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Q5. Why is my period late if I’m not pregnant?
If you are not sexually active or are not pregnant, you may have missed your period for other reasons. This could be because you have been travelling, are stressed, are on another type of medication, or because of other underlying medical conditions.
Q6. Is COVID-19 dangerous during early pregnancy?
Pregnant women do not appear to be at greater risk for complications from COVID-19 than the general population. However, if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant, you should follow social distancing and other safety precautions recommended by health authorities.