If you think you might be pregnant, you’re probably looking early for pregnancy symptoms. This can be an anxious time for those possibly experiencing unplanned pregnancy, but the first step is to take a few steps back and try to relax. Sometimes, stressing out too much or looking for specific symptoms can trick your body into actually having those symptoms, even if you’re not pregnant. Before evaluating these early signs, give yourself a reasonable amount of time to evaluate your normal body changes and any other events going on in your life.
Listed below are common early symptoms of pregnancy, when you are likely to experience them, and at what point you should take a pregnancy test.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms
Listed below are early pregnancy symptoms. Keep in mind that there are several other factors in your body and life, like stress, change in appetite, PMS and illness that can cause you to experience these same symptoms. It’s important to take into consideration your normal body changes during these occasions and to what extent you usually experience them.
- Spotting or light bleeding: Usually associated with implantation, when the baby starts development and attaches to the uterine wall, starts six to 12 days after conception. Some women experience this with cramping, and some women do not experience it at all.
- Missed period: This is the most common sign of pregnancy and occurs more often than not. If you are pregnant, your next period should be missed. However, some women still experience periods or light bleeding during the early stages of pregnancy. This can be traced back to implantation or if conception happened very close to your next period.
- Frequent urination: This occurs early in the first trimester for women who experience this. As the baby develops, your body produces more blood to support the two of you, causing more frequent urination.
- Swollen Breasts: You may feel swollen or tender breasts as an early sign of pregnancy. You can usually start to feel this symptom within a week or two after conception.
- Headaches: This is a common side effect that happens early on in pregnancy due to the hormonal changes and increased blood circulation in your body. You can expect mild and frequent headaches.
- Fatigue: This is another common early sign of pregnancy. In the early stages, when your body is going through hormonal changes, you’ll likely react to the change with a feeling of tiredness. One hormone, progesterone, in high enough doses, will cause extreme tiredness.
- Nausea: This can start as early as one week after conception. Again, this can be due to a change in hormones in your body, but this is also the time pregnant women also begin to feel heightened senses, like smells. If you happen to smell something that seems too strong, or makes you feel ill, this is likely because of the heightened senses.
What is conception?
Conception is the process of the sperm and egg meeting and a new, unique life is created. Conception occurs after intercourse, usually a few days after ovulation, which is about 14 days after the first day of your period. At this point, a woman is technically pregnant even though the baby is not implanted and attached to the uterus
What is implantation?
As noted above, some early pregnancy symptoms include spotting, cramping or light bleeding. One of the reasons for this can be the process of implantation, where the baby starts development and attaches to the uterus. Implantation usually happens about nine days after ovulation (ovulation is when the ovaries release eggs, usually in the middle of your cycle, around day 14). Because of this, implantation is often mistaken for a period.
When to take a pregnancy test
Before any pregnancy test, you should wait until you’ve missed your period. This eliminates any possibility that the early signs of pregnancy you might have are not actually tied to something other than being pregnant. Also, think back to your previous cycles: if you’re extremely regular, you can tell when a period is missed. If your period start date usually changes every month, give yourself a couple days before taking a test.
In addition, at-home pregnancy tests are most effective a few days after your missed period. So, if you don’t have a regular cycle and are giving yourself a couple extra days to verify, add a couple more days before taking the pregnancy test. This way, you can be sure that the test is as accurate as it can be.
It is also possible that you can receive a false-negative, meaning that the test will come back negative even though you actually are pregnant. False-negatives usually occur because a woman does not have enough pregnancy hormones yet to show up on the test that should indicate she’s pregnant. Rather than spending money on another pregnancy test, visit a local pregnancy resource center, like Palm Beach Women’s Clinic, to receive a free and confidential lab-quality pregnancy test.
If the pregnancy test comes back positive, it is very likely that you are pregnant. False-positives are extremely rare. At this point, it’s important to stay calm and understand what to do next. First, to verify the pregnancy, you’ll need an ultrasound before anything else. Most pregnancy resource centers, like Palm Beach Women’s Clinic, offer free and confidential limited-obstetric ultrasounds. After the pregnancy is verified, a friendly and professional staff member will talk with you and answer any questions you may have about your options.
If you are experiencing pregnancy symptoms, we’re here for you. Palm Beach Women’s Clinic offers free lab-quality pregnancy testing, ultrasounds and other additional resources to serve you. Contact Palm Beach Women’s Clinic to learn more about our services and to make your appointment.