Although only a pregnancy test is an accurate indicator of being pregnant yet many times, women do have an instinctive knowledge of having conceived and generally experience one or more of the early pregnancy symptoms. The symptoms vary in individuals and not all pregnant woman experience the same symptoms.
Most early pregnancy signs start manifesting themselves only after the second week of conceptions and include fatigue, nausea and tender breasts which are often mistaken as premenstrual signs. Some of the other most common ones are
- The increased blood flow to the breasts caused by pregnancy hormones also often causes a tingling or prickling sensation accompanied by tenderness in the breasts. The soreness is more noticeable from the fourth week of conception.
- The vulva and vagina which are normally pink changes color to a dark purplish-red. This color change starts roughly from the fourth week of pregnancy and continues darkening with progressing pregnancy due to the increased blood flow to these tissues.
- There is also a marked increase in vaginal discharge during this time period. This discharge will be similar to pre-menstrual discharge and the change is only in the quantity of discharge. Any changes in smell, color or appearance of the discharge will need immediate consultation and treatment from the doctor. Douching should be avoided during pregnancy as it tends to irritate the skin.
- Similarly, an outbreak of vaginal yeast infection called thrush is also seen in a pregnant woman. Although this infection will not cause any harm to the baby, treatment under advice from the doctor is recommended.
- Light pink or brownish color spotting around the expected time of menstruation is another pre-pregnancy indicator, although not very common in all women.
- Some women experience excessive hunger pangs while others have a loss of appetite. A metallic taste in the mouth and a change in appetite, as well as extra sensitivity and a strong dislike to particular smells and food, is often seen during early conception. This is also often confused with premenstrual symptoms.
- Morning sickness starts between the second to fourth weeks of conception. Nausea is caused by an increase in pregnancy hormones (Human Chronic Gonadotropin) HCG and estrogen.
- Fatigue and mood swings are also seen in few women. Morning sickness and hormonal changes contribute to fatigue. These same hormonal changes are responsible for mood swings ranging from elation and happiness to depression and anxiety.
- Abdominal bloating and frequent urination is another indication of pregnancy. Similarly, some women feel the urine smells more basic rather than acidic.
- Higher basal body temperature in the initial days also indicates pregnancy.
- Missed periods, especially in those women who have a fairly normal menstrual cycle, is a good enough reason to take a pregnancy test and confirm the news.
- The high level of hormone progesterone and increased blood volume in the body together causes shortness of breath which returns to normal after childbirth. Even light exercises cause heavy breathing and a pregnant woman is normally advised to rest and not strain themselves excessively.
- The growing fetus pushes against the uterine walls causing contraction which manifests as cramps and is generally not a cause for worry. If bleeding occurs along with cramping consult a doctor immediately.
- Nasal stuffiness as a result of hormonal changes is seen in some pregnant women. These hormones also tend to suppress the immune system to protect the growing fetus but also lead to a tendency to catch flu and cold.
- Some pregnant women get acne or pimples due to sudden hormonal changes in early pregnancy. Do not squeeze the pimples; apply for external medicines like creams to get rid of them.
A combination of any of these symptoms warrants a pregnancy test and consultation with your doctor.