While the detection of hCG in the urine and ultrasound examination helps to confirm the pregnancy, there are some early signs that are suggestive of pregnancy. Most women know only some of them. However, it varies from woman to woman, some experience several symptoms, the other way have no early signs at all.
- Cramps that remind menstrual cramping
A woman may feel cramping in the abdomen during the 1-4 week of pregnancy.
- Light bleeding/spotting
The implantation of the zygote (the fertilized oocyte) in the endometrium of the uterus may be accompanied by the light bleeding. This happens from 6th to 12th day after the conception and lasts usually up to three days. Sometimes women consider this bleeding as a menstrual period.
- Missed period
The missed period is probably the one sign common in all pregnancies as long as menstruation is absent during pregnancy.
- Milky vaginal discharge
On the first week of pregnancy a woman may detect a thick, white vaginal discharge associated with the thickening of the vaginal walls.
- Fatigue and tiredness
Elevated progesterone level in the body may cause fatigue and tiredness, a woman feels sleepy during the first weeks of pregnancy.
- Fainting and dizziness
Progesterone affects the muscular lining of the vessels and typically relaxes them (dilatation of the vessels), causing slightly decreased blood pressure. This results in dizziness, weakness and fainting, especially when a woman stands up quickly.
- Sensitivity to odors
It is known that pregnant women, especially early in pregnancy are more sensitive to different smells and this feeling may trigger the nausea and vomiting as well as changes in taste.
- Changes in tastes, food cravings
A pregnant woman may feel a strange metallic taste in the mouth and crave for unusual foods.
- Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy/morning sickness (in severe cases – hyperemesis gravidarum)
It is believed that round 70% of all pregnant women experience vomiting and nausea during the first weeks of pregnancy and may occur occasionally up to the 13th-14th week of gestation. Despite its name “morning sickness” it may develop at any time and sometimes lasts for the whole day.
- Breast tenderness and swelling
A woman may experience a tenderness, soreness or a tingling in the breasts. These changes usually develop between the 4th and the 6th week of pregnancy.
- Frequent urination
During the pregnancy kidneys produce more urine so a woman feels the need to urinate more frequently and even experience urine leaking. This sign develops between 4-6 weeks of pregnancy.
- Bloating and constipation
Hormones may also affect the motility of the digestive tract and cause constipation and bloating between 4th and 6th week of pregnancy.
- Motion sickness
A woman may feel dizzy with motions or movements.
- Mood swings
Mood changes are fairly common in the first trimester of the pregnancy due to hormone disbalance and usually are detected after the 6th week of gestation. A pregnant woman may be depressed or anxious, irritable or very emotional.
A woman may suffer from headaches due to the changes of the hormone concentrations in the body.
- Back pain
Backache is associated with late pregnancy. However, some women report to have low back pain early in the pregnancy.
- Temperature changes, increased basal body temperature is typical during pregnancy.
- Changes of the areola color
The area around the nipple called the areola of the breast usually appears darkened at about the 11th week of the pregnancy.
- Increased heart rate
During pregnancy the body of a woman nourishes the fetus. Therefore the heart contracts faster, causing tachycardia.
Hormone changes may lead to the acne which appears approximately during the 11th week of the pregnancy.
- Unexplained weight gain
Weight gain typically becomes obvious until the end of the first trimester (the 11th-12th week of pregnancy).
- Pregnancy glow
Hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy result in the increased secretion of the oil by the glands of the skin. The skin appears more smooth and shiny. These skin changes are known as a pregnancy glow which are appreciated by the woman.