Early Signs of Pregnancy That You Should Be Aware Of
Whether you are actively trying to conceive or babies may be in the future, it’s always good for a woman to be aware of the early signs of pregnancy. Often these signs can be confused with other causes. Sometimes even when a woman is aware of early pregnancy symptoms, it can still slip by their mind.
When you can pick up on early pregnancy you can start planning the path you are about to take and consult a medical professional. It can be exciting for a trying couple and here is what you can expect.
What Are Early Signs of Pregnancy?
The early signs of pregnancy are any of the symptoms that you may feel after getting pregnant. Typically, you won’t start seeing or feeling symptoms until the first few weeks as it takes time for the embryo to travel to the uterus and attach itself.
One of the earlier signs that can be attributed to pregnancy is implantation bleeding. However, implantation bleeding can often be confused as period spotting because of the similarities. Timing can be really important so if you pay attention to your menstrual cycle, you can see that implantation bleeding usually falls between 10-14.
Like implantation bleeding many of the earliest signs of pregnancy can be misinterpreted for a period or other causes.
When Do Early Signs Of Pregnancy Start?
The earliest sign of pregnancy will be most likely implantation bleeding. This is because the embryo travels down to implant itself on the uterus wall. You may get bleeding from it popping some vessels on its way or during the implantation itself to the wall.
The tricky part of this is while you can experience implantation bleeding 10-14 days it is hard to tell whether it is period spotting or from being pregnant.
Early Signs Of Pregnancy Symptoms
Early signs of pregnancy can essentially be classified into different stages and the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. In other words, your first trimester is going to give you hints and clues that you are pregnant starting from week one to week 12. While you may know that you’re pregnant early on, you should still be aware of some of these early pregnancy symptoms.
Let’s break things down into three stages in order.
The first stage will have a few of the early symptoms that can sometimes be mistaken for other causes.
Week 1-4: Mostly likely between 10-14 days will be the first possible sign of pregnancy. This is called implantation bleeding and often looks like spotting and light bleeding. Some women may interpret this as period spotting or light
How implantation bleeding looks different from a period:
- Color: usually light pink or brown as opposed to bright red.
- Thickness: no clotting or tissue in the blood.
- length of Time: implantation bleeding lasts less than three days whereas the period is usually 4-7 days.
You may also experience light to moderate cramping from weeks one to four. This can be harder to separate from period cramps if you have them more often. There’s no real differential.
This stage will include a lot more symptoms related to pregnancy. Women may find it easier to notice the symptoms because it all starts with a missed period.
Week 4-6: The first clue you will get is the missed period. If you have an irregular period maybe this won’t be alarming to you but you may also be accompanied by several other undesirable symptoms that can be a sure giveaway of pregnancy.
You may expect:
- Nausea or Morning Sickness: Some women get sick and end up throwing up or not being able to smell or eat certain foods.
- Unexplained Fatigue: Becoming inexplicably tired and drained all the time is a sign of pregnancy.
- Tender Breasts: Just like your breasts may feel achy when you’re on your period, you’ll get a similar feeling when pregnant.
- Having to Pee: We hear this all the time. Women suddenly have to pee a lot after getting pregnant and you may notice this around 4-6 weeks.
- Bloating: On top of starting to maybe show a tiny bit, we may experience extra bloating and feel gassy.
- Motion Sickness: Along with feeling nauseous from food or certain smells you may be prone to motion sickness more than usual.
These symptoms are very common in weeks four through six. The next stage includes symptoms six and beyond. However, any symptoms from earlier may stick around through a lot of your pregnancy.
The last stage of the early signs of pregnancy includes some of the most noticeable symptoms.
Week 6-12: These are when more of the bodily changes and feels will occur. Moodiness, hot temperatures, etc., will be apparent as hormone levels continue to increase.
Here are the additions you can expect to the previous six weeks:
- Nausea: Some women get sick and end up throwing up or not being able to smell or eat certain foods.
- Moodiness: Mood swings are very common with pregnant women because of the hormone levels combined with all the symptoms and effects of your pregnancy.
- Hot Flashes: Night sweats and hot flashes occur in at least one-third of women in early pregnancy. In general, the body temperature increases.
- Heartburn and More Fatigue: You may experience even more fatigue than in the previous weeks. It’s normal if you feel like you’ve just run a marathon. You may also experience frequent heartburn.
- Increased Heart Rate: Because more blood begins flowing to the fetus your heart starts to work harder and have an increased heart rate or arrhythmias can be common.
- Breast Changes: This is when your breasts will start to get swollen and even more tender. It is also likely and possible that your areola may grow darker and larger.
- Weight Gain: You are now feeding for two! Around this time it may become more noticeable that you have put on some baby weight.
- Acne: Some women tend to have acne breakouts around their faces or other areas like their backs.
The Glow! – Around week 12 is when you start to experience that pregnancy glow everyone talks about. This is when your skin naturally has a little more oil because of increased blood flow
Difference Between Early Pregnancy Symptoms and PMS
Truth be told the difference between early pregnancy symptoms and PMS is not much. Besides trying to follow along with implantation bleeding and the schedule, it is really easy to mistake a headache, or moodiness with not feeling well due to PMS.
The earlier it is in your pregnancy the harder it is going to be for you to distinguish between the two. Having said that there are a few things you can try to pinpoint.
- Breast tenderness and swelling are symptoms of both PMS and pregnancy. If you are going to be nit-picky, your breasts may feel fuller with pregnancy rather than just a dull ache or tenderness during PMS.
- Spotting is one of the few things that you may be able to use to tell if you have your period. As we talked about with implantation bleeding the timing is one of the biggest signs you can look out for when it comes to pregnancy. Implantation bleeding is on and off spotting that may last up to three days and have a light pink color. Period spotting may be more consistent, longer, and appear to be a bright red.
- Moodiness is something you will see in both. Being irritable during PMS is completely normal and often expected in women. With pregnancy, your mood changes can last the entire time you’re pregnant and not just pre -period.
- Stomach issues are another area of crossover between the two. Cramping and feeling sick to your stomach is normal. If you are experiencing more nausea than normal then this could be a sign.
Early Signs of Pregnancy FAQs
Even when we try to put on our detective goggles and look for early signs of pregnancy it can be difficult. It can even raise more concerns and questions due to stress and anxiety. This is normal and while sometimes less is more, knowing some of the important things and having answers can put a woman’s mind at ease.
That’s why these Frequently Asked Questions may be of use to you.
What Is A Healthy Amount Of Weight To Gain During Pregnancy?
Because one of the early symptoms of pregnancy is good cravings, it is both normal and healthy to gain weight during your pregnancy. You are now feeding for two people so eating extra is encouraged. However, some women don’t know what a normal healthy weight should be. It is possible to be underweight and overweight that could pose risks and complications for yourself or the baby down the road.
There is a CDC chart BMI Guideline that states:
- If you were underweight pre-pregnancy, you should gain 28-40 pounds
- If you were normal weight pre-pregnancy, you should gain 25-35 pounds
- If you were overweight pre-pregnancy, you should gain 15-25 pounds
- If you were obese pre-pregnancy, you should gain 11-20 pounds
Keep in mind that your healthcare provider will know what’s best for you as each woman's experience is different due to health and medical history.
When and What Prenatal Vitamins Should I Take?
You should start taking prenatal vitamins in either of the two events.
- You are trying to get pregnant.
- You have discovered you are pregnant.
This is because prenatal vitamins are such an important source of nutrients to help your baby grow and keep you feeling good and healthy.
The prenatal vitamins you want to be taking should have the following key ingredients that are essential for you and your baby’s health.
- Folic Acid: Vitamin B is responsible for the health of your baby’s brain.
- Iron: This supplies the fetus with blood and oxygen.
- Calcium: For the baby to not steal any calcium from the bones this supports their growing teeth and bodies.
There are other great nutrients in prenatal vitamins but these are the ones you want to look out for.
Are There Specific Immunizations That I Should Take?
Your doctor is ultimately going to be the person to tell you what you should and shouldn’t take. Most of the time the flu shot and now the COVID vaccines are recommended because it protects you from getting sick while being pregnant and also protects the baby. But before scheduling any of these vaccines you need to check in with your doctor.
If you have a reactive history or any medical things that could complicate getting any vaccinations they will know and ultimately decide if it is safe for you to take.
Let Your Body Do The Speaking
How exciting or sometimes frustrating it can be to try and track down any of the early pregnancy symptoms. The best thing you can do is if you're actively trying is to make a checklist and the more things you check off your list, the more encouraged you should be to get a pregnancy test.
Sometimes pregnancy tests don’t accurately tell you if it is too soon. That’s why paying attention to implantation bleeding and its timing can be particularly useful. However, this can be commonly confused with spotting for an irregular period.
That’s why when the other symptoms start to show it can be a good sign that you may be in the earliest stages of pregnancy. It’s never too early to start taking prenatal vitamins if you know you will be trying for a baby and your doctor can be the one to recommend what brands may be the best fit for you.
In general, planning with your doctor when it comes to getting pregnant can be particularly useful and they can help guide you through some of the early stages all the way to the end.