In popular media, like movies and TV shows, the first sign that a woman is pregnant is usually a missed period. And while late menstruation and a positive pregnancy test can be signs of conception, there are several other early indicators that you could be pregnant. Here is a breakdown of common signs and symptoms of pregnancy and if experienced, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor for confirmation.
6 Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy to Consider:
- Your Period is Late
It may seem like common sense, but a late period is, in fact, the chief indicator of pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, 29% of women surveyed reported that their first indication of pregnancy was a late period. However, a late period does not always mean you are pregnant.
Some women experience oligomenorrhea, the term for infrequent, light periods. Other women, particularly those of low weight, may not have any appreciable periods at all. For these individuals, irregular or seemingly absent menstrual cycles are the norms, and they may not readily notice a late period.
Nausea is not a universal symptom of pregnancy, but 25% of women in the American Pregnancy Association survey reported nausea as their first pregnancy sign. Typically, nausea occurs between the second and fourteenth weeks after conception.
Despite the common name, “morning sickness,” nausea during pregnancy is not limited to any certain time of day. You also will not necessarily vomit during nausea episodes. Nausea, if present at all, also varies in severity from woman to woman. Certain smells, tastes, and even thoughts can provoke nausea during early pregnancy.
- Changes in Your Breasts
Breast changes are another early sign of possible pregnancy. As your hormone levels change and your body prepares itself to carry a baby and produce milk, your breasts are likely to become swollen and tender. You may also notice a darkening of your nipples or areolas.
Transformations in your breasts usually begin rather early in pregnancy, approximately one to two weeks after conception. However, you typically should not experience any discharge until much later, about 14 weeks into your pregnancy.
Pregnancy takes a toll on a woman’s body. Even the initial hormonal changes can cause fatigue and tiredness. At first, you may notice this symptom only after a long, busy day or a workout, but many pregnant women eventually report having less energy and needing more sleep than usual.
While increased fatigue does not always indicate pregnancy by itself, it is something to consider if you believe there is a possibility that you are pregnant. When fatigue is coupled with other symptoms, like breast changes or a late period, you should raise your suspicions for pregnancy.
- Strange Food Cravings
Cravings for weird foods are another cliché pregnancy symptom, but they do happen. It is unlikely that you’ll suddenly desire sushi topped with chocolate sauce, however, it is more common that women will show an interest in everyday foods that are not their typical favorites. For example, if you don’t normally like bananas, you may develop a craving for the fruit.
These cravings go hand in hand with food aversions. As mentioned above, you may suddenly find that your favorite food makes you nauseous during your pregnancy. Even food odors can trigger nausea and vomiting.
- Aches and Pains
Although more typical in later pregnancy, aches and pains can appear as early as the first few weeks after conception. The head and back are most prone to discomfort, with headaches likely caused by increased blood flow. If you suspect you may be pregnant, consult with your OB-GYN or primary care provider before taking any pain-relieving medication.
You should know that the signs above, while common in early pregnancy, do not guarantee that you are pregnant. However, these symptoms should be investigated by a medical professional. When you go for a visit, tell your healthcare provider if there is any possibility that you could be pregnant.
Your doctor can confirm pregnancy through a blood or urine pregnancy test or ultrasound imaging. If you are pregnant, they will also likely be able to tell you how far along you are and your estimated due date.
If you have any questions about conception or any signs and symptoms of pregnancy that you are experiencing, feel free to contact us for more information and to discuss your particular situation. You can also download the guide, “Prenatal Care Visits – From Pre-Conception to Labor & Delivery.
About the Connecticut OBGYN Practice
Dr. John Garofalo, M.D., is a CT OBGYN based in Fairfield County, providing care for Norwalk, Darien, New Canaan, Weston, Rowaytan and the surrounding areas. He has more than 20 years of practice and surgical experience covering many facets of obstetrics and gynecology.
Laury Berkwitt, APRN, is a nurse practitioner specializing in women’s health in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Laury has a passion for providing quality women’s health care in a safe and comfortable manner by creating a trusting patient-practitioner relationship. She has been in practice for more than 10 years, caring for women of all ages.
For more information about the practice or the signs and symptoms of pregnancy, go to www.garofaloobgyn.com. John Garofalo, MD, and Laury Berkwitt, APRN, can be reached for personal consultations by calling 203.803.1098.