You may have inkling that you’re pregnant soon after you’ve conceived when the fertilised egg attaches itself to the wall of your uterus (womb). This usually happens within about 10 days of conception. Or you may be unaware of any changes for weeks, only wondering if you’re pregnant when you miss a period. Though you may experience some, all, or none of these, here are the top 10 signs of pregnancy.
Swollen and tender breasts
Soreness or tingling in breasts is one of pregnancy’s most common symptoms. Early in pregnancy breasts will fill out and change shape as they prepare to produce milk. Breasts may become very tender and sensitive for a few months as a result. But not all women experience these changes, especially if they have been on birth control pills.
Spotting and cramping
It’s common to have some spotting at the time when you’d usually have your period. You may notice a slight pink or brown-coloured stain in your knickers, or when you wee, or feel slight cramping. Experts aren’t sure why spotting in very early pregnancy happens, but it’s thought to either be caused by the egg implanting in your uterus, or more likely, the hormones that control your periods kicking in.
If you’re lucky, you’ll escape this completely. However, morning sickness is a common symptom of early pregnancy. It often starts when you’re about six weeks pregnant, though it can start as early as four weeks. You may feel sick and queasy, or even vomit. Despite the name, morning sickness can affect you at any time of the day, or night.
Increased basal body temperature
In order to know if your basal body temperature has increased, you would need to be keeping track of it prior to ovulation. A woman who keeps a bbt chart may be able to tell she is pregnant just by looking at the temperatures on her chart. After ovulation, progesterone causes a woman’s temperatures to rise. Sometimes a woman will see a second rise in temperature around 7 days past ovulation. When this happens, it is called a triphasic chart. A triphasic chart can be one of the earliest signs of pregnancy.
Feeling faint or dizzy
Feeling faint or dizzy Shifting hormones, combined with the heart beating faster to pump more blood through the body can cause blood pressure to gradually decrease early in pregnancy. As a result many women experience periods of dizziness or feeling lightheaded. Though fatigue is not a sure-fire symptom on its own, it’s a common pregnancy symptom. You may find that tiredness wipes you out the most in your first trimester and third trimester.
Needing to wee frequently
From about six weeks of pregnancy, you may notice that you’re weeing more often. This is down to a combination of pregnancy hormones, a larger volume of blood in your system, and your kidneys working extra hard. If you feel pain or a burning sensation when you wee, though, you may have a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Skin changes are common during pregnancy. One of the first changes you may notice is the circle of skin round your nipples (areolas) getting darker. This can happen from about eight weeks. You may also find that the bumps around your nipples become more pronounced, and your nipples more erect. Your vulva and vagina may change to a deeper, purplish red, too, though you probably won’t notice this!
Food cravings and altered sense of smell
Food cravings can be a sign of pregnancy.
You may go off some foods, but develop a craving for others. This can happen very early for some women, even before they’ve missed a period. Some women report a metallic taste in their mouth, others that they can’t stand the taste of coffee or a food they usually like, such as eggs. Your sense of smell may change as well, and you may find that you’re more sensitive to aromas from food or cooking.
A missed period
The most obvious indicator of pregnancy is a missed period, but a missed period doesn’t always mean a baby is on the way. Stress, diet or an irregular schedule can also be the culprits, so it’s best to get tested before making the big announcement.
The proof: a positive home pregnancy test
Most home pregnancy tests will give you a reliable result if you wait until at least the first day of a missed period. If a blue line appears in the test window, you’re probably expecting.