The most obvious signal to a woman that she may be pregnant, is having a missed period. However, that is rarely the first sign, and there can be indications of pregnancy before a home pregnancy test will come back positive.
Missed or altered period- This is the most obvious sign, although like most pregnancy symptoms, there can be other causes for this. Once you have missed your period though, a pregnancy test is usually quite accurate. Other causes for missing or altered periods include: Excessive weight gain/loss, fatigue, hormonal problems, tension, stress, ceasing to take the birth control pill, illness or breastfeeding.
Just a “feeling” you are pregnant- Many women believe they have an intuition about being pregnant. Their intuition is often proven to be right. Other Explanations: fear or worry about possible pregnancy, or hopefulness, happiness and excitement about possibly being pregnant.
Implantation bleeding- A slight bleeding and spotting unlike the flow of a period that can be caused when the fertilized egg begins to implant itself into the uterus. This is known as "implantation bleeding" and it usually takes place between 3 to 6 days after fertilization, before a missed period or positive pregnancy test. Other Explanations: changes in birth control pill, actual menstruation, altered period, some types of infection, or slight rips or tears from intercourse.
Discharge- Some women notice a little bit of watery discharge in their underwear. Changes in discharge are due to increased cervical secretions brought on by the increased hormone levels in your body after conception occurs and the pregnancy begins. This is one of the first signs you might experience & may be white or golden in color. Other explanations are ovulation, and hormonal fluctuations, or infection.
Fatigue- One of the earliest pregnancy signs for some women may be fatigue and exhaustion. I was personally hit hard by this in my first pregnancy. So much so that the alarm would go off and I would cry because I was just that tired. You may start going to bed sooner, napping more or when you usually hadn’t needed to before, or you find it harder than usual to get out of bed in the morning. This early pregnancy symptom is caused by all of the changes that your body is going through, plus the increasing levels of hormones. Other Explanations: Stress, exertion, exhaustion, depression, common cold or flu, or other illnesses.
Breast Tenderness- tender, swollen, somewhat sore breasts, especially when removing your bra at the end of the day, or when lying down or showering. During pregnancy, your body begins preparing your breasts for producing milk and breastfeeding. Hormones also start increasing. In addition to breast tenderness and swelling, women may feel their nipples are sore or extra sensitive. Some women notice their nipples darken in color. Other Explanations: Hormonal imbalance, birth control pills, & impending menstruation (PMS) can also cause your breasts to be swollen or tender.
In my next article we will explore more of the signs of early pregnancy.