Most women know that one of the first signs of pregnancy is a missed period; However, if you have irregular periods, it can be difficult to know when a period is missing. Let’s explore the other signs of pregnancy that may signal the need to consult a healthcare professional or do a home pregnancy test.
- Implantation bleeding
Spots or light bleeding 6 to 12 days after your last period may indicate that a fertilized egg has invaded the uterine wall.
- Some women may feel cramps as if they are about to get their period.
- Spots can be mistaken for an easy period, especially if you have irregular periods.
- Pay attention to breast pain/tenderness
Swollen and tender breast tissue is a sign that hormones in your body are changing. They can begin one to two weeks after conception. Your breasts may start to feel heavier.
- If you often have tender breasts, move on to other symptoms to determine the likelihood of pregnancy.
- Some women may even increase their bra size for several weeks after pregnancy. If so, you may be pregnant.
- Your nipples may also darken. This change is also caused by hormones from pregnancy.
- Feeling tired/lethargic
As your body adjusts to pregnancy, women usually start to feel tired and lethargic. This can happen as early as the week of conception.
- Fatigue is the result of an increase in progesterone levels, which causes drowsiness.
- If you are likely to be pregnant, avoid treating fatigue with caffeine. Caffeine has been shown to be harmful at this early stage, but if consumed in excess, it can increase the likelihood of miscarriage. The exact amount is unknown, but 200 mg is usually considered the cutoff.
- Nausea/ Morning Sickness
Morning sickness can begin about two weeks after conception and last up to eight weeks after conception. If you start to feel regular nausea, it’s time to take a home pregnancy test.
- Nausea can also accompany food aversion. Some of your favorite foods may make you sick during pregnancy.
- Nausea may not always be accompanied by vomiting.
- You may notice an increased sensitivity to odors. Even the smells you once enjoyed can now cause nausea.
- Food cravings
Even in early pregnancy, hormones alter your desire to eat certain foods. You may want weird food combinations that you never wanted before. Your previously favorite foods can cause nausea.
- You may notice a metallic taste in your mouth. This is normal in early pregnancy.
- Many women report feeling averse to the smell of coffee during pregnancy, even if they drank a lot of coffee prior to pregnancy. If you feel sick from the smell of coffee, it could be a sign of pregnancy.
- Headaches, back pain, and frequent urination
These are the signs of early pregnancy. They are caused by a combination of pregnancy hormones, a lot of blood in your system, and kidney function.
- Certain over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen, can be taken to relieve headache and back pain. Although ibuprofen is generally considered safe in early pregnancy, few doctors will recommend its use unless you are closely monitored.
- Instead of medication, consider treating pain with home remedies such as a warm bath, heating pad, massage, etc.
If you feel all the above symptoms, you might be pregnant. In these conditions, you should go for the pregnancy test or see your doctor immediately.
Determine if you have two or more early signs of pregnancy
If you do, take a home pregnancy test. In most tests, you place the tip of the probe in a small container of urine or move the test stick into the urine stream. Within a few minutes, the probe should show results, changing colors, showing the words “pregnant” or “not pregnant” or symbols on the stick.
- Most pregnancy tests will not be reliably accurate until the fifth week of pregnancy.
- The instructions for home pregnancy tests are different. Follow the instructions on your chosen test.
- Home pregnancy tests check for the presence of the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone that accompanies pregnancy.
Repeat the test a week later, or decide to go to your doctor for a test
Although home pregnancy tests rarely give false positives, they can give false-negative results if early in pregnancy. If you feel like you are within a week or two after implantation, you should get tested twice.
- The first step is to take a home pregnancy test in the morning when your urine is concentrated. Drinking too much liquid before taking a home pregnancy test can lead to a false-negative result.
- A false-positive result can occur if hormonal changes occur with menopause or if you receive hCG injections as part of fertility treatment.
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If you regularly get positive home pregnancy test results, or your pregnancy symptoms persist despite negative results, see your gynecologist or family doctor. Blood tests done by doctors can detect pregnancy faster than home urine tests.
- The sooner your pregnancy is confirmed, the sooner you can learn about your options. Your doctor can discuss your pregnancy options with you.
- If you plan to continue your pregnancy, your doctor can help you with your antenatal care.