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Many women have typed the same words into Google that you just did: early pregnancy symptoms.
We are either excitedly looking for a list of symptoms that will make all our hopes and dreams of becoming a mother finally true….or we are real nervous about what we might find when we take a pregnancy test.
Either way, we’re scouring the internet and hoping the web gods will tell us what the heck is going on.
Well, other than a missed period, there are actually a lot of other pregnancy symptoms you can be on the look out for! Some of them are pretty weird, really, so you might not expect they are there to tell you that you have a bun in the oven.
I personally experienced most of these symptoms at some point and in some way throughout one or all of my four pregnancies.
Light spotting and cramping
This is known as implantation bleeding and can be one of your first signs that your pregnancy has started. This can feel concerning because of the fact that bleeding when pregnant is usually not a great sign. However, when this happens in your first 1 to 4 weeks, it’s normal. Also, the key word here is light.
Tender, tingling, swollen breasts
Tingling? Yep, you read that right. And if you’ve experienced it, you’ll know what I mean. It’s a pretty odd sensation, but it happens. And if you don’t feel the tingles, you may still feel a tenderness or notice some swelling in your breasts. It’s just your new hormones…they are going to do some pretty funny things to your body over the year (including pregnancy and postpartum). Your breasts, however, will likely feel a bit less tender, tingly and/or swollen after a few weeks. (source)
Nausea (with or without vomiting)
This one is no bueno. More so if you are throwing up regularly. Either way, feeling nauseous is not something anyone enjoys. However, your body has a lot of newly raging hormones that are serving the important purpose of growing your little person (though the exact link between pregnancy and feeling nauseous in the beginning is still a bit under investigation). So, you just have to keep telling yourself this nausea is a good sign that your baby is there and growing!
And even if you tell yourself that, you may want to take a break from the nausea. Some great remedies include:
Ginger tea or chews
Peppermint essential oil
A note about essential oils: it is important to do your research and only use what you understand to be high quality oils. I personally trust this brand from the research I have done. It is affordable and high quality.
Increased need to pee
Once again, hormones are the culprit here. Upon becoming pregnant, the blood flow to the kidneys increases a lot! This increase causes a pregnant woman’s kidneys to produce up to 25% more urine after conception. (source) The greatest need to urinate starts around 4-6 weeks and peaks between 9 and 16 weeks. Then this usually calms down for a little bit…until baby grows large enough to compress your bladder and you are running for the toilet several times a day all over again.
Bloating and gassy
This is one of those lovely pregnancy symptoms that aren’t all that flattering. However, it is what it is! Think of your body as a beautiful, perfectly prepared place to make and grow your baby. Even though there may be some interesting noises coming out, it’s just your body’s hormones doing their job. Your bloating may feel sneakily like just before you start your period (this happens to occur around the 4-6 week mark of pregnancy)…so this once can sometimes lead one to believe menstruation is about to commence. But if you are late on your period and feeling bloated…you may want to think that you are about to take a nice long break from your period.
Well, another slightly unpleasant experience in early pregnancy is heartburn. This happens as hormones cause the valve between your stomach and esophaguses to weaken, which allows stomach acid to leak. (source) Do yourself a favor by smaller portions, not laying down right after eating and avoiding the spice!
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Wowza. There is nothing quite like first trimester fatigue to show you what the definition of fatigue is. And while it is one that occurs again at the end of pregnancy often, it shows up first around 4-5 weeks of pregnancy. This is the time there is a big increase in progesterone. To help combat this fatigue as best you can ( you’re growing a human, so you’ll not be totally unphased by the fatigue despite your best efforts), eat protein rich foods and get lots of rest.
Food cravings and aversions
Speaking of food, another pregnancy symptom you may experience is craving certain foods. Or doing your best not to vomit at the mere thought of others. Either way, this is a sign you could be pregnant!
If motion sickness isn’t something you normally experience but do all of the sudden, Kimberly Holland of Healthline Parenthood suggests you might just be pregnant! Once again, pregnancy can do some very funny things to our bodies. This one is definitely a lesser known pregnancy symptom, but could effect you nonetheless.
Change in body temperature
An increase in your basal body temperature may be a pregnancy symptom you are on the look out for. I have several friends who have used this signal as a natural indication that they are pregnant.
So, you’ll be heading to the bathroom to pee more often, but you may not be heading there to do anything else any time soon. Constipation can be a pregnancy symptom in the early weeks, again due to hormones. These hormonal changes can end up slowing down your digestion, which ends up leaving you constipated. So, if you are usually very regular but find yourself uncomfortable, you might be pregnant!
If you have noticed that your emotions have been all over the place and you are more easily irritated, this could be because you are pregnant. Again, you’ve got hormones swirling around in your newly pregnant body that are giving you a bit of a hard time. Be patient with yourself and just know that these emotions and moods, though they usually kick in around 6 weeks, they will be with you for some time.
This funny little pregnancy symptom is the result of (you guessed it) increased hormone levels and increased blood production teaming up with your body’s mucous to cause swelling and dryness in your nose. You may also get nose bleeds or just a runny, stuffy nose. So, if you find yourself sniffling without a cold, you may be pregnant.
Headaches and backaches
An early pregnancy sign you may experience are some aches and pains. They won’t be your last when it comes to growing, birthing and feeding a baby. But if you start to notice head or back aches without a cause or more often than your norm, it could be pregnancy related!
Dizziness and fainting
Many women have experienced dizziness and/or fainting as an early pregnancy symptom. Either situation can happen due to the blood vessels that dilate upon conception. Other pregnancy related situations that can lead to feeling dizzy or fainting can include lower blood pressure and low blood sugar. So, if you find yourself feeling these symptoms unexpectedly, you might want to grab yo self a pregnancy test.
Increased heart rate
Around 8-10 weeks of pregnancy, you may experience an increased heart rate. Your heart might beat faster than normal and you may even experience heart palpitations. All of this is normally due to hormones, your new best friend.
Breast and nipple changes
Another interesting thing you may take note of around 11 weeks pregnant, is changes to your breasts and nipples. Your breasts may continue to grow, though some women don’t experience significant growth. Nipples may also get darker and areolas may get larger. This happens at the end of the first trimester, so most women know they are pregnant by this time. But, it can still be an early sign for women who have irregular periods and therefore have no suspicion based on a missed period.
Acne and weight gain
Around the same time as the last couple symptoms, you may notice an increase in acne. Thanks to your ever raging hormones, 11 weeks pregnant and back to your teenage break outs!
You may also notice some weight gain by this point….that’s right. All good news. Right!? Well, the good news about this is that you’ll really only experience a few pounds of weight gain in the first several weeks.
That pregnancy glow
I’m finishing off this list with the the age old compliment pregnant women get…but it’s actually scientifically true. Due to the combo of increased hormones and higher blood flow, a newly pregnant mama’s oil glands are working overtime. This results in the glowing appearance that gets so many comments.
Well, there ya go soon-to-be mama! I’m sure you’ve gotten a pretty big and realistic picture of what you might experience once you figure out your world is about to be rocked in the sweetest of ways. I wish you a happy and healthy pregnancy! I’m super excited for you!
Don’t forget to snag my sleep course so you’ll be ready to help your little love to sleep from day one!