Signs of Pregnancy

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For some women, early signs and symptoms of pregnancy begin in the first few weeks after conception. In addition to being similar to the symptoms occurring before and during menstruation, these symptoms may be caused by other things besides being pregnant.  A pregnant woman could have all of these symptoms, or only have one or two. The only way to confirm pregnancy is by taking a pregnancy test.


Tender, swollen breasts:

A week or two after conception, hormonal level changes – estrogen and progesterone, which may make the pregnant woman breasts and nipples tender, sensitive or sore. They also might feel fuller and heavier. The area around the nipples, called the areola, may also darken. It takes several weeks for many women to get used to the new levels of hormones after which breast tenderness should ease up, however all women are different.When breasts are tender using a sports bra can give more support.


Nausea with or without vomiting:

Morning sickness, which can strike at any time of the day or night, sometimes begins as early as three weeks after conception.  Additionally mainly increased levels of progesterone, causes the stomach to empty more slowly. Pregnant women may also find that smells that never bothered them before now cause nausea. Many women also develop a heightened sense of smell, making previously mild odors strong enough to be unpleasant and possibly cause vomiting. It is good to know that the nausea and vomiting will pass by 19 weeks for most women and that morning sickness indicates a growing pregnancy linked to rising levels of the beta-HCG hormone. To cope with the morning sickness it is advisable that the pregnant woman does not let her stomach get too empty, eats small and frequent meals and does not have her prenatal vitamins on an empty stomach. If the vomiting regular and affecting general health and nutritional needs, it is important to consult a health professional for further advice and in some cases medicationmay be used to ease the symptoms.


Increased urination:

Two to three weeks after conception, a pregnant woman might find herself urinating more often than usual. The pregnancy hormone HCG increases blood flow to the kidneys, helping them to more efficiently rid the body of waste. In addition the expecting woman’s growing uterus begins to put some pressure on her bladder, leaving less storage space for urine. Increased urination could be due to other reasons than pregnancy so if accompanied by an discomfort or fever consult your doctor.  



Fatigue is the most common sign of early pregnancy. A woman can start feeling unusually fatigued and sleepy as soon as one week after conceiving. This is because during early pregnancy levels of the hormone progesterone are higher, in addition to low levels of blood sugar and blood pressure, and a boost in blood production.  Additionally, a huge amount of energy goes into building the placenta which is the life-support system for the baby. If fatigue is due to pregnancy, it’s advised to get plenty of rest, and eat foods rich in protein and iron, while avoiding treating the fatigue by excessive caffeine intake. 


Food aversions or cravings:

Pregnant women may suddenly be averse to certain previously enjoyed foods or experiencing food cravings. These can be caused by rising levels of the beta-hCG hormone. There is nothing to do about the triggering foods or odors but staying away from them as much as possible. 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. Many cravings and aversions have a strange way of keeping the pregnant women away from the bad stuff while being drawn to the good stuff. Nausea, cravings, and food aversions may last for the entire pregnancy or lessen at about the 13th or 14th week of pregnancy.


Slight bleeding and cramping:

Around the 6th to the 12th day after conception, the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus causing a small amount of spotting or vaginal bleeding known as implantation bleeding. Implantation bleeding generally lasts for a short time and occurs around the date of a menstrual period. However, implantation bleeding is usually much lighter than menstrual bleeding. Some women also experience mild uterine cramping similar to menstrual cramps. Only a small percentage of women experience implantation bleeding or cramping. 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. This discharge can continue throughout pregnancy and is typically harmless unless it has a bad smell or is accompanied by a burning and itching sensation, which could signal a yeast or bacterial infection.


Mood swings:

The overflow of hormones in early pregnancy can make the pregnant woman unusually emotional and she may also experience mood swings.



Pregnancy makes blood vessels dilate which lowers the blood pressure and the blood sugar. As a result, a pregnant woman may feel lightheaded or dizzy and may also faint. 



During pregnancy, higher levels of the hormone progesterone slow down the digestive system which can lead to constipation in addition to a feeling of bloating. The problem may be eased by drinking plenty of water, exercising, and eating plenty of high-fiber foods.


Headaches and back pain:

Many pregnant women report frequent mild headaches, and others experience chronic back pain.


Shortness of Breath:

Some women experience mild shortness of breath in their early pregnancy or/and throughout their pregnancy. This is due to the extra need of oxygen for the growing embryo. 


Missed Period:

The most obvious early symptom of pregnancy is a missed period. There are reasons, besides pregnancy, for missing a period such as gaining or losing too much weight, hormonal problems, fatigue, or stress.


A home pregnancy test from your pharmacist or at test at your doctor’s office can confirm your pregnancy.

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