Will All Women Experience Early Signs of Pregnancy?
Every woman has their own experience with pregnancy, just as every woman experiences different symptoms of pregnancy before a missed period. You may not even realize you are pregnant right away due to early signs of pregnancy before a missed period being so similar to women’s experiences before and during menstruation. At University Park OBGYN, we put the care of our patients first, and part of our care is providing education about what we do. Here are some pregnancy symptoms before a missed period to look out for if you suspect you may be pregnant.
One of the most well-known early signs of pregnancy is a missed period, and it is often the sign that leads a woman to take a pregnancy test. However, it is important to remember that periods can be late or missed without pregnancy as well. Stress, weight gain or loss, hormonal fluctuations, and fatigue are all additional possibilities contributing to a missed period. If pregnancy is a possibility for you and your period is late, we recommend taking a pregnancy test.
One of the earliest signs of pregnancy before missed period is spotting. The fertilized egg attaches to the wall of the uterus upon conception, which causes spotting. This spotting is called implantation bleeding. Implantation bleeding can occur between six to twelve days after an egg is fertilized.
In addition to spotting, you may notice a milky white discharge coming from the vagina, another one of the pregnancy symptoms before missed period. Right after conception, the vaginal walls begin to thicken, and the elevated growth of these cells lining your vagina causes the white discharge. This cervical mucus may continue throughout the entirety of your pregnancy, which is normal and healthy. If you begin to notice any discharge with a foul smell or discharge that comes with discomfort, notify your healthcare provider. You will need to rule out a bacterial or yeast infection.
Another sign of pregnancy before your period is cramping. Similar to menstrual cramps, cramping from pregnancy may cause some discomfort, so many women mistake these cramps and the implantation bleeding as the beginning of their period.
Changes in the Breasts
Breast changes are among the most common early signs of pregnancy. Because our hormones change rapidly after conception, this will cause breasts to feel full and become sore, swollen, tingly, and tender not long afterward. In addition to this symptom of pregnancy before period, your areolas, which is the area around the nipple, may get darker. Little bumps may appear on the areolas as well, signifying the glands that will lubricate your nipples for nursing. Many factors play into breast changes, but know that if these changes are caused by early pregnancy, it will take some time to adjust to the changes in your hormone levels.
Not every pregnant woman experiences morning sickness, although it is one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy before missed period. The fluctuation in hormones is most likely the main contributing factor in morning sickness and nausea during pregnancy. You may find yourself craving food you had never liked and also find yourself disgusted by something that might have been your favorite food to eat. You may even find yourself especially sensitive to smell. This is normal! Pregnancy symptoms before a missed period, such as morning sickness, could potentially stick around throughout the pregnancy, but most women find their symptoms alleviated within fourteen weeks. It is helpful to consult your doctor or a nutritionist to establish a healthy routine throughout your pregnancy.
Elevated Basal Body Temperature
An elevation in your body temperature, also known as your basal body temperature, can be an early signifier of pregnancy as well. Typically, the basal body temperature rises around ovulation as progesterone hormone levels rise and then drops when you begin your period. After conception, your basal body temperature will stay elevated from ovulation and throughout your pregnancy. If it has been over two weeks of consecutive days with a high temperature, you could be pregnant. Taking an at-home pregnancy test will best determine this.
It is normal to feel extremely tired in your pregnancy from the start, as early as a week after conception. You may ask, why is this one of the early signs of pregnancy before missed period? The fatigue is caused by many factors, such as an increase in progesterone hormone levels, low blood sugar and pressure, and more. If you are pregnant and are experiencing fatigue, it is vital to get enough rest and sleep. You can help ease fatigue through diet by eating food that is plentiful in iron and protein.
Mood swings are another one of those familiar pregnancy symptoms before a missed period caused by the drastic fluctuation in hormones. Mood swings are especially common during the first trimester.
Around two weeks after conception, you will experience the urge to urinate more frequently due to significant changes in your hormone levels. The kidneys start preparing themselves to filter out leftover waste in the blood from the baby as well. Your uterus begins to grow and pushes on the bladder, and coupled with rising progesterone levels, and it causes frequent urination.
The high levels of progesterone and imbalance in hormones can lead to constipation and bloating, trapping gas and stool in your intestines. This hormone slows down how your body and colon processes foods. With lifestyle alterations such as plenty of hydration, exercise, and a healthy, fiber-rich diet, you can resolve most cases of constipation quickly on your own.
Dizziness and Fainting
When you are pregnant, your blood pressure and blood sugar levels may lower, causing dizziness and sometimes fainting. Hormones released during pregnancy relax the blood vessels, which in turn pump too little blood to the brain. Be sure to stay hydrated and maintain a healthy, nutrient-rich diet to assist with these symptoms. In addition to this, you can maintain better circulation by not standing for prolonged periods and practice getting up slowly from reclined or sitting positions.
Back Pain and Headaches
Pregnant women have historically reported back pain and headaches, though this varies from person to person. The spine can become misaligned during pregnancy due to the increase in weight, and poor posture and pelvic changes can contribute to low back pain and headaches. Reducing stress, stretching the low back, using a warm compress, and correcting postural changes can prevent pain during your pregnancy.
When Should I Take a Pregnancy Test?
For the most accurate results, it is best to wait two weeks after ovulation to take an at-home pregnancy test, even though you may feel early signs of pregnancy before your missed period. Home pregnancy tests measure hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). You can use an at-home test when the test can measure the hCG in your urine, which is usually not high enough to show up on a test until you are expecting your period. False negatives are common with at-home pregnancy tests, so check with your healthcare provider if your period still has yet to arrive. A blood test will be administered to confirm pregnancy results.
On a Final Note
There is no way for certain to know you are expecting without a positive pregnancy test or blood test. We hope this list of early signs of pregnancy was informative, helpful, and addressed any concerns or questions you may have had about symptoms of pregnancy before your period. At University Park OBGYN, we are here to help guide you through your gynecological, prenatal, obstetric, and postpartum care. Visit our website today to book your first appointment!