Most Common Early Signs of Pregnancy
Think the stork may be planning to pay you a visit? From sore boobs to bloating and food cravings, here are the top 10 pregnancy signs.
1. Sore Boobs
Tender breasts and nipples are often the first pregnancy sign (like when you get your period, only worse). Sore boobs are the result of pregnancy-related hormonal changes.
Why it happens?: The increased blood flow (caused by surging hormones, what else?) to your chest is probably making your boobs swollen and sensitive to the touch.
Is it common?: Don't worry, you're not the only one dealing with chest pain. For some it lasts just a week but for others it could happen throughout your entire first trimester.
What should you do?: Get a supportive bra. Talk to a professional who can help you with fittings -- and be sure to leave a little extra room (in case they keep growing!).
2. Darkening Areolas
Darkening areolas (the area around the nipples) can appear as early as a week or two after conception, like so many early pregnancy symptoms, this one is also a result of hormonal surges.
Why it happens?: The darkening of the area around your nipples happens because of your surging pregnancy hormones. Your body is preparing your breasts to feed your baby (which is a good thing!).
Is it common?: Darker areolas will be one of the first changes you'll notice, and it's extremely common. Some women even notice bumps (that look like goose-bumps) called Montogomery tubercles that help lupricate your nipples (you'll love this when you're nursing!). For better (and worse), your areolas may grow and the color may deepen as your pregnancy progresses. Sometimes the changes are forever and other times, they're not.
What should you do?: Before you call your doctor, the deepening color of your nipples shouldn't be a cause for concern. It's common and harmless but if you're really worried, your doctor should have a look.
Light bleeding may occur five to 10 days after conception; this is called "implantation bleeding" and it is a sign that the embryo has implanted itself in the uterine wall (home for the next nine months!).
Why it happens?: It means you've got a baby on the way! A few days after conception, the fertilized egg will start digging into the walls of your uterus (but don't worry, it's not painful). This is a good thing: It means baby's getting ready to grow.
Is it common?: Spotting might not happen for every mom-to-be, but that doesn't mean you should ring the alarm if it happens to you.
What should you do?: If you notice you're spotting, call your doctor and schedule a pregnancy test. Spotting should only happen five to 10 days after you've conceived, so if it continues, you'll definitely want to be checked to make sure everything is okay.
4. Frequent Urination
Peeing a lot more than usual starts about two to three weeks after conception. After the embryo has implanted in your uterus, your body produces a hormone known as hCG, which leads to frequent urination.
Why it happens?: Once baby has implanted in your uterus, the hCG hormone is released, which can make you feel like you've got to use the restroom every five minutes. hCG (known as human chorionic gonadotropin) releases estrogen and progesterone, which are hormones you need to sustain your pregnancy. Another cool fact? Heighted hCG levels in your pee also detect pregnancy, which is how you'll get a positive on your home pregnancy test.
Is it common?: Every woman will have increased hCG levels, but not every woman will have to pee as much as you do. There's no cause for concern, though, since hCG levels are a good thing. The further along you go in your pregnancy, the bigger baby gets, so you might as well get used to making trips to the bathroom to pee.
What should you do?: If you're excusing yourself to visit the ladies' room all night, pick up a pregnancy test and call your doctor. Chances are you probably have a baby-on-board!
5. Fatigue (we’re talking total exhaustion)
Loss of energy sets in thanks to hormones and your body’s efforts to nurture baby's development. Get tips on how to cope with first trimester fatigue.
Why it happens?: Your body is working overtime to make sure baby has everything she needs to grow for the next nine months.
Is it common?: Oh, yeah! If you think you're tired now, just wait until you're chasing around after a toddler all day.
What should you do?: Don't be afraid to press snooze or take that early evening nap you've been daydreaming about. The better you feel, the better baby will too.
6. No Aunt Flo
Missed your your period? You might want to invest in a pregnancy test. Find out when is the best time to take a pregnancy test to get the most accurate result.
Why it happens?: You get your period every month because that means your egg wasn't fertilized. If you're skipping a month, that means there's a baby on board!
Is it common?: Most women skip their period when they're expecting (does the phrase 'I'm late' sound familiar?), but it doesn't mean that every woman will miss a period when she's newly pregnant.
What should you do?: If you're regular, skipping a period is one of the first ways to know you're expecting, so try taking a pregnancy test (or calling your doctor) to confirm. If your periods are irregular, you could be pregnant, but you should definitely check-in with your doctor first.
7. Morning Sickness
The one-two punch of nausea and vomiting strike some women very early in their pregnancy but for most sufferers the fun begins around week six. Get morning sickness tips for minimizing nausea and vomiting.
Why it happens?: There’s no clear answer as to why nausea occurs during pregnancy, although it’s believed that it’s due to hormonal changes (that seems to be the answer to everything these days).
Is it common?: Experts think anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of pregnant women get morning sickness.
What should you do?: In most cases, the nausea isn’t too overwhelming, so listen to your body and try to stay calm. Yvonne Bohn, MD, co-author of The Mommy Docs’ Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy and Birth says to "Eat frequent small meals, nibble on some crackers before getting out of bed, take vitamin B6 or B12, and take ginger tablets, tea or ginger ale." But if you’re losing significant weight or can’t keep anything down, those may be signs of a more serious problem (like Hyperemesis Gravidarum), so talk to your doctor.
8. Sensitive Snout
Your newly increased powers of smell can make your favorite dish smell like dead fish. Find out what causes a heightened sense of smell and get tips for coping with it.
Why it happens?: There's no scientific research to back it up, but many women report increased powers of smell when they become pregnant.
Is it common?: It won't happen to everyone, but that doesn't mean something's wrong if you're getting wiffs of everything from cheese to your cubicle-mate's lunch.
What should you do?: If it's really bothering you, try to stay way from those strong smelling odors. You can also try doing an extra load of laundry. Washing your clothes often (since odors cling to fibers) and switching to unscented cleaners and toiletries may be enough to curb those unpleasant smells.
Studies show that about 90 percent of pregnant women experience food cravings, especially in their first trimester. Get ideas for healthier alternatives for feeding unhealthy pregnancy cravings.
Why it happens?: Experts aren’t sure why, but some think that your cravings are just your body's way of telling you what it needs. So, if you're craving pickles that could mean that your body wants something salty. You can blame raging hormones (again!) for messing with your senses of taste and smell.
Is it common?: More than 90 percent of moms-to-be crave something when they're pregnant, so if you've got the urge for Thai one minute and then Italian the next, it's totally normal.
What should you do?: Moderate indulgence is fine (and totally inevitable), but watch your intake of empty calories, especially if they start to replace important nutrients. There are easy (healthy!) ways to give your body the nutrients it needs without downing three quarts of ice cream.
A boost in progesterone and estrogen cause many women to swell up early in pregnancy. Try these expert tips for reducing bloat.
These pregnancy symptoms can be uncomfortable but they usually settle down after the first trimester and will all seem worth it when your holding your new baby in your arms.
Why it happens?: Progesterone (one of those pregnancy hormones) is relaxing smooth muscle tissue all over your body, including in your gastrointestinal tract. This makes your gut work slower, giving your body more time to snatch up nutrients from your food and take them to baby... and that translates into gas for you.
Is it common?: Consider this par for the course (sorry). The March of Dimes reports that nearly every mom-to-be will feel bloated at some point during her pregnancy (even if she doesn't feel it right at the beginning).
What should you do?: Eat small, regular meals and stay away from foods that tend to give you gas, like fried foods, sweets, cabbage and beans. Eating and drinking slowly will keep you from swallowing excess air (you'll later use this technique when feeding baby!), and loose clothing will keep you comfy. Yoga classes can also help settle things down. But if your gas is really intense, talk to your doctor before taking medication.
Plus, more from The Bump:
Am I Pregnant? Take Our Quiz to Find Out!
Best Pregnancy Takes to Take at Home
When Should I Take a Pregnancy Test?
See More: 1st Trimester , Pregnancy Symptoms
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Reminder: Medical info on The Bump is FYI only and doesn't replace a visit to a medical professional.