It is not easy to know when to expect your period if your cycles are irregular or if you are not in the habit of keeping track of your menstrual cycle. But if you feel you haven’t bled for a significant period of time, it may imply you are pregnant. It is, therefore, important to know, understand and recognize the first signs of pregnancy, some of which are described below.
You are a woman in your reproductive age and have your periods duly every month but suddenly you notice that your period has skipped its expected date. It is highly probable that you are pregnant. Missed period or amenorrhea, as it is medically known, is one of the most popular symptoms of pregnancy.
As the fertilized egg gets attached to the inner walls of your uterus, the body starts producing several hormones. Under the influence of these, menstrual cycle comes to a halt and menstruation does not occur. In the meanwhile, the uterus grows in order to nurture the little one developing inside it.
Some women may not experience complete absence of periods after she conceives. There may be mild bleeding or spotting in the initial 2 months of pregnancy. This will lead to delayed detection of pregnancy, as amenorrhea serves as a definitive symptom for it.
In the first 8-12 weeks of pregnancy, your breasts will undergo notable changes. In response to the developing pregnancy, your body produces two principal hormones, estrogen and progesterone abundantly. Interplay of these two leads to several changes in breast.
Breast changes are more prominent in a first time mother. There is observable increase in size of the breasts as the tissues start preparing themselves for milk production for proper nursing of the future baby. This is usually accompanied by tenderness as the nerve endings become more sensitive.
Your obstetrician will perhaps rely on a more prominent change in the breast following pregnancy like the darkening of areola. Areola is the dark pigmented area surrounding your nipples. In the first trimester (that is the initial 3 months of pregnancy) areola becomes more prominent and darker, thus serving as an important clinical finding for diagnosis of pregnancy.
If your frequency of using the washroom has suddenly increased in the past few days, it may be an indication towards your pregnancy. Increased urge to relieve yourself is a positive symptom appearing in the early 5-6 weeks into pregnancy.
You may be wondering why your bladder gets under pressure when your uterus is the one concerned. The answer to this lies in the fact that there is almost 50% increase in the mother’s blood volume during pregnancy to support the growing fetus. As a result, more blood gets filtered through the kidneys leading to more urine.
With progress in pregnancy, the uterus grows in size and pushes the bladder in front of it and the rectum behind it. This also contributes to increased urge to urinate as well as to defecate. There is a strong belief that following second trimester, this symptom lessens as the uterus grows upwards into the abdomen, but practically it is not seen.
Symptoms of nausea and vomiting, collectively known as morning sickness, are common in the early weeks of pregnancy. This is more prevalent within 4-16th week.
Home remedies like ginger or tea can help nausea, but severe vomiting may require additional medical management. Drugs like Diclegis (pyridoxine and doxylamine) can be used to treat such symptoms.
Severe cases of morning sickness present with excessive vomiting throughout the day leading to dehydration. They are needed to be hospitalized and treated according to symptoms.
Sudden feeling of exhaustion, day after day may point towards pregnancy. Raised levels of progesterone may increase your drowsiness. This, coupled with whole day of nausea and frequent urination, aggravates your exhaustion.
Lack of appetite can also be a reason of tiredness in the later months of pregnancy.
It is completely normal, during this time, to feel a sudden craving for foods that you previously used to dislike, or to feel an avulsion towards your favorite desserts. Increased craving for certain foods may ruin your diet; so it’s important to keep a tab on your food habits. Taking food in small proportions frequently will help you maintain a balanced nutrition.
Other signs include a high basal body temperature and frequent mood swings. The only way to confirm pregnancy is to undergo a pregnancy test at home and follow it up with a sonogram.