If you've been trying to conceive, or even if you haven't but you've been feeling a bit 'off', you could be in the very early stages of pregnancy.
You can generally know if you’re pregnant as soon as one week after you’ve missed a period
You will need to take a pregnancy test to be sure, but even before you've missed a period there are early signs of pregnancy to look out for.
Common early signs and symptoms
The most common early signs and symptoms of pregnancy might include:
- Missed period: If your period is late by a week or more, you could be pregnant. But this symptom can be misleading if you have an irregular cycle.
- Fatigue: There is no tiredness quite like the fatigue that gets you in the first trimester. And this fatigue strikes again in the third trimester. It's thought that the rapid rise in the levels of progesterone during early pregnancy contributes to fatigue.
- Tender, tingling, swollen breasts: One of the tell-tale signs of early pregnancy, hormonal changes might make your breasts sensitive and sore.
- Nausea with or without vomiting: Morning sickness, ironically named since it can occur at any time of the day or night, often begins one to two months after you become pregnant. But it's important to remember that some women feel very nauseous but never actually vomit, while others get no sickness at all.
- Increased appetite: You may feel ravenous and suddenly craving foods you wouldn't usually eat.
Increased urination: The amount of blood in your body increases during pregnancy, causing your kidneys to process extra fluid that ends up in your bladder. And this makes you pee more.
Other signs and symptoms of early pregnancy
Less common signs and symptoms of early pregnancy include:
- Moodiness: The flood of hormones in your body in early pregnancy can make you uncharacteristically emotional and weepy. Mood swings also are common.
- Light spotting: Known as implantation bleeding, it happens when the fertilised egg attaches to the lining of the uterus — about 10 to 14 days after conception. It can sometimes last only a few hours, but not all women have it.
- Cramping: Some women experience mild cramping early in pregnancy.
- Food aversions: Pregnant women become very sensitive to certain smells and your sense of taste might change. Your favourite foods might suddenly become unbearable, while regular smells can leave you gagging.
- Constipation: Hormonal changes cause your digestive system to slow down, which can lead to constipation. This can cause bloating, which can also be a sign of early pregnancy.
- Higher heart rate: Palpitations and arrhythmias are common in pregnancy. Around weeks eight to 10, your heart may begin pumping faster and harder. This is normally due to hormones.
- Nasal congestion: Increasing hormone levels and blood production can cause the mucous membranes in your nose to swell, dry out and bleed easily. This might cause you to have a stuffy or runny nose.