Could I be expectant? How do I know without taking a test? These are common questions that most women must ask themselves at some point in their lives.
Generally, there are certain symptoms of early pregnancy, which start as soon as you miss your monthly period. These are often warning signs, which will prove whether you are pregnant of not. Here are ten of the commonest signs:
Commonly known as morning sickness, this is the ultimate sign of pregnancy. More often than less, nausea results from an abnormal increase in your body’s hormonal levels. You might start experiencing morning sickness when your pregnancy is around six weeks old. This is the first trimester of a pregnancy.
You might find it uncomfortable at first. With time however, you are likely to get used to it. Morning sickness proves that your pregnancy is healthy. In as much as nothing can be done about it, stomach upsets can be controlled by sticking to plain food.
2. The Urge to Urinate Frequently
During pregnancy, the kidneys tend to produce excess urine as the uterus grows bigger. This often makes your bladder to get fuller at a faster rate. Ultimately, you are likely to make more trips to the washroom. No one enjoys waking up late at night to pee – but, as much as you might find this annoying, you are advised against rationing your water intake because this might affect the healthy development of your baby. In any case, you need to ensure that you are well hydrated.
If frequent urination bothers you, once you go for a pregnancy test, ask your gynecologist about the best way to counter the condition. You should however not mistake this among other similar pregnancy symptoms as a sign of bladder infection.
3. Tender and Sore Breasts
Fuller breasts are another warning sign that you might be pregnant. During the first trimester, most expectant women start having difficulties wearing bras due to the sensitivity that they cause. During this time, you are likely to notice that your areolas have darkened. The veins on your chest might also become more prominent. This confirms that your body is readying itself to produce milk. Tender breasts might make it impossible for you to have your bra on all day long.
4. Spotting or Mini Periods
More often than less, spotting shows that the fertilized egg has implanted itself on the wall of the uterus. This often lasts for a number of days. You should not confuse spotting with your normal menstrual cycle, more so if you have an unplanned pregnancy.
It is similarly important to note that not all women spot. You should therefore not consider your pregnancy to be abnormal in case it doesn’t happen to you. All pregnant women who spot miss their subsequent periods. This is a classic sign of expectancy.
5. Abnormal Food Distastes
During the course of your pregnancy, your sense of smell often heightens. This can cause you to develop an abnormal aversion towards certain kinds of foods that do not appeal to your sense of smell. This might even cause you to vomit frequently!
Foods and scents that were previously likeable suddenly become distasteful. Sensitivities towards certain types of scents is often attributed to a strange taste, which develops in the mouth. To avoid vomiting frequently, come up with a list of foods that are appealing to you and those that cause you to vomit. Stick to your safe foods for the duration of your pregnancy. (With your doctor’s approval, of course.)
6. Lightheadedness and Dizziness
This is often an early sign that you are expecting a baby. Depending on your hormonal composition, you might start experiencing fainting spells. Dizziness often causes frequent and persistent headaches, which causes discomfort. There are a number of lucky women who do not experience dizziness at all. If you belong to this group, ensure that your blood pressure is regularly monitored. Lightheadedness and dizzy spells tend to wear out once the first trimester ends.
7. Mood Swings and a Low Sex Drive
It is common to experience mood swings during the early stages of your pregnancy. This is often caused by hormonal alterations, which affect the chemical messengers found in your brain (neurotransmitters).
Different women respond differently to the alteration of the neurotransmitters. Your emotions might be heightened or depressed. Sometimes, you tend to feel good about yourself, your pregnancy and those around you. On the flipside, you might get depressed and anxious about your situation. This is normal.
Due to the mood swings and hormonal alterations, a number of women experience a low sex drive, particularly during the first three months of the pregnancy. You should not be surprised if your libido hits rock-bottom during this time. This is an expected symptom, which you can discuss with your partner to avoid any negative perceptions that might come up.
8. Backache and Fatigue
Backaches are normal, more so during the first trimester of a pregnancy. This is often caused by the loosening of the ligaments on your body to ease the growth and development of the baby. As the belly stretches, different parts of the upper body often start experiencing frequent aches. Sitting in a single position or standing for long becomes difficult and results in a backache. To avoid this, try to exercise regularly and stretch often. Frequent body massages can similarly go a long way in easing the pain.
Fatigue is common among pregnant women. Most tend to feel sleepy and sluggish all the time. This is common during the first and last trimester. Carrying more weight explains why pregnant women get sluggish. Your sleep patterns are likely to change because pregnancy makes it difficult to sleep soundly. High body temperature could also be sufficient proof that you are expectant.
9. Frequent Abdominal Bloating
Hormonal imbalances that are often experienced during the early stages of a pregnancy might leave you bloated. This feeling is similar to what women experience before their periods. Your clothes might start feeling more uncomfortable, especially around the waistline. If you notice that you are putting on weight yet you are eating and working out normally, you need to take a pregnancy test. During the first trimester, your body tends to swell, thus compromising the digestion process. The body also tries to consume a higher amount of nutrients than normal, which explains why you might experience bowel irregularity.
10. Abnormal Food Cravings
This is another warning sign of pregnancy. Even before you take a pregnancy test, you might notice that you crave certain types of foodstuff. You might develop a penchant for sugary things such as chocolate for instance. This is an expected symptom. You should, however, ensure that you control your cravings to avoid compromising your pregnancy. Extreme indulgence in the cravings for instance might cause you to gain excessive weight, which is unhealthy.
The aforementioned symptoms are only warning signs, which you should look out for in case you are suspecting that you are pregnant. In recent times, there has been a sporadic rise in cases of unwanted pregnancies. You should therefore ensure that you take a home pregnancy test to ascertain whether you are expectant or not. If the test turns out positive, plan your pregnancy well to ensure not only your wellbeing, but also that of the baby.