Pregnancy signs vary from woman to woman. One woman may be able to tell she is pregnant shortly after conception, while another woman may not realize she is pregnant until she has missed several periods. In fact, identifying a pregnancy can be quite challenging at times. You may have a lot of textbook signs or you may not have any signs at all. In some cases, you may continue to have bleeding that looks similar to your monthly menstrual period and chalk up your signs to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or influenza (flu). If you are unsure if you are actually pregnant then this article can help you recognize the signs of pregnancy.
The followings signs may indicate that you are pregnant:
- Changes in Vaginal Discharge
Although one of the most common pregnancy signs is a missed period, it is possible for you to mistake light vaginal bleeding or implantation bleeding as a menstrual period. Implantation bleeding can occur approximately 6 to 12 days after ovulation. In addition, you may also experience a slight increase and/or change in the smell of color of your vaginal discharge. If you start to have an unpleasant smelling or bloody discharge, it is important that you contact your obstetrician as soon as possible.
- Elevated Basal Body Temperature
Another sign that may signal a pregnancy is an elevated basal body temperature. Once you have ovulated, you will experience a slight rise in temperature. This rise will persist until you start your period. If you miss your period and you have an elevated body basal temperature for approximately 18 days then you may be pregnant.
- Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting, also referred to as morning sickness, are also common during pregnancy. Morning sickness typically occurs between your 6th and 8th week of pregnancy.
- Cravings and Aversions
If you start to have intense cravings and/or aversions, you may be pregnant. An increase in the pregnancy hormone (HCG) can cause you to crave certain foods. That same pregnancy hormone can also cause you to avoid certain foods because they nauseate you. If you start to crave non-edible materials (dirt, starch, clay, etc.) you should contact your gynecologist.
Water Retention and Frequent Urination
Increasing pregnancy hormones can cause you to retain water. When you have excess fluid in your body it can collect in your tissues and cause you to feel bloated. If you are pregnancy you may retain water and experience frequent urination during your 1st and 3rd trimesters. In other words, you find yourself running to the bathroom multiple times a day. Frequent urination may also occur as you baby grows and pressure is placed on your bladder.
- Abdominal Weight Gain and Stretch Marks
It is not uncommon to experience an abdominal weight and stretch marks during pregnancy. As your baby grows, you may notice that your mid-section (abdominal area) is rapidly expanding. If you do not know you are pregnant, you may attribute this weight gain to PMS-related bloating. In addition, your expanding stomach may cause you to develop stretch marks. Stretch marks occur when the skin on your stomach, buttocks and breasts is stretched.
When you are pregnant, you may experience facial, shoulders and/or back acne. Pregnancy-related hormonal changes can cause acne to develop or aggravate acne if you already have it.
- Changes in Taste
You may also notice a change in taste when you are pregnant. In fact, you may notice a metallic taste in your mouth after consuming certain foods. It is important to note that once this sign occurs, it may continue throughout your pregnancy.
Do you feel lightheaded? If so, then you may be pregnant. This sign occurs as your body pumps extra blood to your uterus, placenta and growing baby. The loss of blood in various parts of your body can cause you to feel dizzy.
- Sensitive Breasts
Another really common pregnancy sign is sensitive breasts. As your pregnancy hormones double or triple, you may experience tender, sore and/or swollen breasts. Pregnancy hormones prepare your breasts for breastfeeding by altering the size and shape of them. When this occurs you may experience tender breasts, sensitive nipples, purple/blue “roadmap” veins and white pimple-like bumps around your areolas.
Allred, J. (2011). Pregnancy symptoms [Kindle DX version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com
McCarthy, M. (2012). Pregnancy week by week: Signs and symptoms of pregnancy through each trimester [Kindle DX version]. Retrieved from Amazon.com