Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Think You May be Pregnant? Check Out This List of the Top Early Pregnancy Symptoms from the Baby-Making Experts

Before you even pass the test (the home pregnancy test, that is) and know for sure that you've got a baby on board, you may get a heads-up in the form of early pregnancy symptoms. If you've been trying to conceive (or... SURPISE!) and you've got some (or all) of these symptoms, it may be time to pull out a home pregnancy test. But first, check your early pregnancy symptoms based on these baby-making authorities that I gathered all in one place - What To Expect, Clearblue Easy (makers of the Clearblue® Advanced Pregnancy Test with Weeks Estimator) and WebMD:

What to Expect - Early Signs You May Be Expecting
  • Tender, swollen breasts: That tingly, sore, and/or full feeling in your breasts that makes you want to wear a "Look, but don't touch!" billboard on your chest is one of the first signs of pregnancy. The dazzling hormonal duo — estrogen and progesterone — deserves most of the credit (or the blame) for this breast (and nipple) tenderness. It's pain with a gain, though, since they're preparing your body for the milk-making mania to come.

  • Fatigue: Imagine running a daily marathon (without training) or climbing a mountain (ditto) while carrying a backpack that weighs a little more every day. That's pregnancy in a nutshell. In other words, it's hard work! During early pregnancy, a huge amount of energy goes into building a life-support system for your baby (aka the placenta). And all that baby building can zap you of your usual get-up-and-go right from the get-go.

  • Bleeding and cramping: Light spotting or implantation bleeding before you'd expect your period (around five to ten days after conception) is sometimes a sign that an embryo has implanted itself into the uterine wall. Some women also experience abdominal cramping in the first few weeks of pregnancy, similar to menstrual cramps. Only a small percentage of women experience implantation bleeding or cramping, however, so you can miss these symptoms and still be pregnant.

  • Nausea and heightened sense of smell: That tell-tale queasy feeling in your stomach, also known as morning sickness, can hit you anytime of day beginning just a few short weeks into your pregnancy. Hormones mainly increased levels of progesterone, which causes the stomach to empty more slowly — are, again, largely to blame (though estrogen and hCG can also take some credit for your nausea). You may also develop a heightened sense of smell, making previously mild odors strong (and unappealing) enough to make you run for the nearest bathroom to puke!

  • Food aversions and cravings: Almost all expectant mothers experience cravings, and most experience at least one aversion as well (thanks, again, to hormones). And that's not a bad thing: Many cravings and aversions have an uncanny way of keeping you away from the bad stuff (coffee and alcohol, for example) and drawing you to the good stuff (like rocky road ice cream — it's loaded with calcium, really!).

  • Frequent urination: Two to three weeks after conception you may notice an increased need to pee. This new gotta-go feeling is due to the pregnancy hormone hCG, which increases blood flow to your kidneys, helping them to more efficiently rid your body (and eventually, your baby's body) of waste. Your growing uterus (yes, it's starting to grow already!) is also beginning to put some pressure on your bladder, leaving less storage space for urine and making you head for the toilet more frequently.

  • Bloating: Having trouble buttoning your jeans? Early pregnancy bloating is hard to distinguish from pre-period bloat, but it's definitely something you'll feel early on (for most women, that is). You can't blame that   puffy ate-too-much feeling on your baby yet, but you can blame it on the hormone progesterone, which helps slow down digestion, giving the nutrients from foods you eat more time to enter your bloodstream and reach your baby.
ClearBlue Easy Pregnancy Tests - Signs You May Be Pregnant:
There are various pregnancy symptoms that can indicate you might be pregnant. They differ from woman to woman, and from pregnancy to pregnancy. If you’re pregnant, you may notice one or more of these symptoms. Don’t worry; you’re unlikely to get them all at once. Equally, you shouldn’t worry if you don’t experience any of them. It’s perfectly possible to be pregnant without noticing any of the ‘classic’ signs of pregnancy listed below.

  • Missed period. This is the earliest and most reliable sign if you have a regular monthly cycle. Though it is possible to have a little light bleeding or spotting around the time you expected your period, even if you’re pregnant. If you don’t have a regular cycle, you may notice some of the other pregnancy symptoms before you notice a missed period.
  • Feeling tired. You may feel unusually tired in the first few weeks of pregnancy. This is probably due to rising levels of the hormone progesterone.
  • Feeling sick. You may start feeling sick, and even vomit, between about the 2nd and 8th week of pregnancy. Although this is often called ‘morning sickness’ it can happen to you at any time of the day or night.
  • Changes in your breasts. You may notice your breasts getting larger, feeling tender, or tingling (the way some women’s breasts do just before they get their period) in the early weeks of pregnancy. In addition, the veins on your breasts may show up more and your nipples may get darker.
  • Going to the bathroom more often. About 6-8 weeks after conception you may find that you have to get up in the night to go to the bathroom. Some pregnant women also find that they ‘leak’ a bit when they cough, laugh or sneeze.
  • Mood swings and stress. You may feel rapid changes in mood in the early stages of pregnancy, and even start to cry sometimes, without knowing why. This is probably because of the changes in hormone levels taking place in your body.
  • Changing tastes in food. You may find you go off certain things like tea, coffee or fatty food. Some women also feel cravings for types of food they don’t usually like.

WebMD - Am I Pregnant?

Every woman is different. So are her experiences of pregnancy. Not every woman has the same symptoms or even the same symptoms from one pregnancy to the next. Also, because the early symptoms of pregnancy are often like what happens right before and during menstruation, those symptoms aren't always recognized. What follows is a description of some of the most common early symptoms of pregnancy. You should know that these symptoms may be caused by other things besides being pregnant. So the fact that you notice some of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you are pregnant. The only way to tell for sure is with a pregnancy test.
  • Spotting and Cramping: A few days after conception, the fertilized egg attaches itself to wall of the uterus. This can cause one of the earliest signs of pregnancy -- spotting and, sometimes, cramping. That's called implantation bleeding. It occurs anywhere from six to 12 days after the egg is fertilized. The cramps resemble menstrual cramps, so some women mistake them and the bleeding for the start of their period. The bleeding and cramps, however, are slight. Besides bleeding, a woman  may notice a white, milky discharge from her vagina. That's related to the thickening of the vagina's walls, which starts almost immediately after conception. The increased growth of cells lining the vagina causes the discharge. This discharge, which can continue throughout pregnancy, is typically harmless and doesn't require treatment. But if there is a bad smell related to the discharge or a burning and itching sensation, tell your doctor so they can check on whether you have a yeast or bacterial infection.
  • Breast Changes: Breast changes are another very early sign of pregnancy. A woman's hormone levels rapidly change after conception. Because of the changes, her breasts may become swollen, sore, or tingly a week or two later. Or they may feel heavier or fuller or feel tender to the touch. The area around the nipples, called the areola, may also darken. Other things could cause breast changes. But if the changes are an early symptom of pregnancy, keep in mind that it is going to take several weeks to get used to the new levels of hormones. But when it does, breast pain should ease up.

  • Fatigue: Feeling very tired is normal in pregnancy, starting early on. A woman can start feeling unusually  fatigued as soon as one week after conceiving. Why? It's often related to a high level of a hormone called progesterone, although other things -- such as lower levels of blood sugar, lower blood pressure, and a boost in blood production -- can all contribute. If fatigue is related to pregnancy, it's important to get plenty of rest. Eating foods that are rich in protein and iron can help offset it.
  • Nausea (Morning Sickness): Morning sickness is a famous symptom of pregnancy. But not every pregnant woman gets it. Here's why it happens. A pregnant woman's hormone levels can slow the emptying of her stomach. That contributes to nausea, often called morning sickness, though it can happen at any time during the day. Also, some women crave, or can't stand, certain foods when they become pregnant. That's also related to hormonal changes. The effect can be so strong that even the thought of what used to be a favorite food can turn a pregnant woman's stomach. It's possible that the nausea, cravings, and food aversions can last for the entire pregnancy. Fortunately, the symptoms lessen for many women at about the 13th or 14th week of their pregnancy. In the meantime, be sure to eat a healthy diet so that you and your developing baby get essential nutrients. You can talk to your doctor for advice on that.
  • Missed Period: The most obvious early symptom of pregnancy -- and the one that prompts most women to get a pregnancy test -- is a missed period. But not all missed or delayed periods are caused by pregnancy. Also, women can experience some bleeding during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, ask your doctor what you should be aware of with bleeding. For example, when is bleeding normal and when is it a sign of an emergency? There are reasons, besides pregnancy, for missing a period. it might be that you gained or lost too much weight. Hormonal problems, fatigue, or stress are other possibilities. Some women miss their period when they stop taking birth control pills. But if a period is late and pregnancy is a possibility, you may want to get a pregnancy test.
  • Other Early Symptoms of Pregnancy: Pregnancy brings changes in your hormonal balance. And that can cause other symptoms..
    • Frequent urination. For many women, this starts around the sixth or eighth week after conception. Although this could be caused by a urinary tract infection, diabetes, or overusing diuretics, if you're pregnant, it's most likely due to hormonal levels.
    • Constipation. During pregnancy, higher levels of the hormone progesterone can make you constipated. Progesterone causes food to pass more slowly through your intestines.  To ease the problem, drink plenty of water, exercise, and eat plenty of high-fiber foods.
    • Mood swings. These are common, especially during the first trimester. These are also related to changes in hormones.
    • Headaches and back pain. Many pregnant women report frequent mild headaches, and others experience chronic back pain.
    • Dizziness and fainting. These may be related to dilating blood vessels, lower blood pressure, and lower blood sugar.