When trying to get pregnant, some women can hardly wait for a few weeks after ovulation to buy a pregnancy test and see if they have a bump in the oven. The wait might turn out to be brutal for some of them, so it's a good idea to learn what first symptoms can convey whether implantation took place or not. And since some of these signs manifest as early as one or two weeks after conception, they can tell us a lot before we even need to pee on a stick.
Some of these symptoms are more obvious than they might initially seem: For example, we can't help but notice a certain kind of discharge before our flow would normally begin, and we definitely pay at least some attention to the abdominal cramps and bloating. But other early signs of pregnancy seem to be something very different.
Like, who would have thought that metallic taste in the mouth, increased thirst, stuffy nose, and sore gums could mean that a woman is expecting a baby? But these and many other subtle symptoms are actually caused by the surge of pregnancy hormones known as estrogen and progesterone.
So let's take a look at some of the most common (and subtlest) pregnancy symptoms we can notice at the earliest stages to know if it's time to go to a drugstore or schedule an appointment with the ob/gyn soon.
20 Light Bleeding Or Spotting
Shortly before you realize that you've missed your expected visit from Aunt Flo, you might see some weird light colorization on your undies. Also known as spotting and implantation bleeding in scientific language, it happens after the fertilized egg becomes attached to the wall of your uterus.
In different women, spotting may happen differently. The bleeding can last for a few hours or a few days in some cases, while in others it can be just a few traces of color on the panties.
How to tell implantation bleeding from an ordinary flow's start? Simple – it's much, much lighter. And also keep in mind that it usually happens about a week before your period should have started.
19 Period-Like Cramps
Getting some of the early signs of pregnancy is tricky because they are quite similar to those of PMS. For example, the cramps some women tend to experience before their period begins can also signify that they're not going to have this period.
Cramps at the early stage of pregnancy, that are commonly described as a stretching or tugging feeling, are caused by the hormonal changes in your body. Besides, when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall, your uterus starts growing and preparing to stretch even more in the following months. This is another reason why you might be feeling cramps, as well as back pain.
18 Increased Basal Body Temperature
Some women who are trying to get pregnant measure their oral temperature first thing in the morning, and if it's increased by half a degree or more they understand that they are ovulating. But as soon as ovulation is over, the temperature usually goes back to normal, unless implantation took place and the body started working on creating a new life. So if you keep on measuring your basal body temperature after ovulation and it remains elevated for about 20 days, it might mean that you have a bun in the oven.
FYI: To measure your basal body temperature more precisely, try a special digital basal thermometer instead of a usual fever-measuring one.
17 Mood Swings
You don't only become emotional and prone to "baby blues" after your baby is born. The hormonal changes can make you moody and emotional at the earliest stages of pregnancy, as well. So if at one moment you find yourself sobbing over something trivial, like the recent episode of your favorite show or a spilled cup of tea, and then you suddenly get excited over a cute puppy playing with its tail, know that these freaking hormones are to blame.
To feel better about yourself, take time to relax and get some rest. Try spending more time with the people you love, as well as walking and meditating. It'll help you regain control over yourself and decrease your mood swings.
16 "Number 1" Toilet Trips Become More Frequent
Frequent urination is a common symptom in the late stages of pregnancy that occurs due to the fetus creating pressure on your bladder. But the same symptom is normal for the earliest stages, as well, and it happens for a similar reason. Your uterus starts growing and this swelling puts pressure on your bladder and also your kidneys start working harder, which leads to an increased production of urine.
There's nothing wrong with frequent urination, if you keep two things in mind. First, make sure that you drink enough water. And second, talk to your doctor if it causes you troubles, such as burning or any signs of infection.
15 But "Number 2" Might Keep You Waiting
On the other hand, another unexpected symptom of pregnancy is constipation. This issue is caused by hormones, just like all other pregnancy-related signs.
The production of progesterone slows down your digestive process and reduces the pace of food passing through your tract. So if you know that your period is likely to begin soon (but it doesn't) and you feel constipated for a week or so, consider that it can be high time to buy a pregnancy test or visit your specialist.
Please keep in mind that, unfortunately, constipation is one of the symptoms that's likely to remain throughout the pregnancy period. To ease it, drink plenty of water and stock up on fiber and magnesium-rich foods.
14 Sore Gums
Sounds unexpected, huh? I mean, how can your sore gums be related to pregnancy? Well, in fact, they can very well be related because they're also a part of your body that gets affected by the increased level of same old progesterone.
Due to this pregnancy hormone, the circulatory flow to your gums increases and it makes them more sensitive. As a result, they become swollen and sore and they can easily bleed even if you slightly touch them with your toothbrush.
So be more careful while brushing your teeth and consult your dentist if you think that you need to do something to decrease the bleeding.
13 Cold-Like Symptoms
Who could ever think that stuffy nose might actually mean that you're pregnant? Nevertheless, according to Nathaniel DeNicola, M.D., an ob-gyn at the University of Pennsylvania Health System, in Philadelphia, nasal congestion is actually one of the most common symptoms. It happens due to the elevated circulatory volume that puts pressure on delicate vessels, like those in your nose. And, of course, hormone production is also to blame. For example, estrogen can make your vessels dilate, which leads to swelling of the mucous membranes in the nose.
Don't worry about this side effect of pregnancy, because it can be easily beaten by a simple saline spray.
12 Increased Fatigue
During the first weeks of pregnancy, your body is doing tremendous work, although you don't even notice it. But you'll definitely notice the results of this work that manifest as increased tiredness.
This kind of tiredness is normal. Karen Perkins, M.D., an OB-GYN with A Woman’s Choice at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, explains that it's caused by the extra progesterone your body produces. This hormone increased your basal body temperature, which contributes to the drop in energy level. Besides, since extra oxygen needs to be delivered to your uterus, your heart pumps faster, which also makes you feel more tired than usual.
The best thing to do during this period is to take vitamins, stay hydrated, and take more rest. Your body needs it.
11 You're Always Thirsty
The desire to drink water by gallons is another not-so-obvious sign of pregnancy. As natural infertility expert Kristin N. Burris states on Bustle, "Patients will report that no matter how much water they drink, they simply can't get hydrated."
This symptom is commonly caused by the increase of volume in circulation. Besides, it may also be related to the more frequent urge to pee we've discussed before. Your body needs more water, after all, so it might be demanding it. Keep it in mind that you should always have a bottle of water with you at this stage to keep yourself hydrated and avoid feeling as if you've just returned from a walk in the desert.
10 Headache (And Other Kinds Of Pain)
In the first few weeks of pregnancy, some women may experience tension headaches as a result of the increased circulatory volume and, probably, insufficient fluid intake. But you shouldn't think that headaches will follow you till your baby's born. They actually tend to decrease at later stages of pregnancy. Richard Gersh, M.D., an assistant professor of OB-GYN, explains that "Fluctuating hormones tend to make headaches worse, and estrogen levels are more stable during pregnancy." In other words, as soon as your hormones stabilize, headaches are likely to go away.
Other kinds of pain you can experience at the early stages of pregnancy are back pain, as well as aches in joints and ligaments.
9 Skin Changes
Your skin can undergo quite a few changes at the initial stages of pregnancy, as well, and they can be very, very different.
According to Gerardo Bustillo, M.D., OB/GYN, the possible skin changes that might occur during the first few weeks "include redness of the palms (palmar erythema), increased pigmentation of the face, darkening of the linea alba (line on the front of the abdomen running through the belly button to the pubic area), and darkening of the nipples."
Besides, an occasional appearance of zits and pimples is common at this stage too. And the opposite can also happen, meaning that your skin might suddenly become clean and clear.
8 You Can Feel Unsteady
Do you feel a little bit unsteady while going up the stairs or does your head start spinning when you're standing up? It can actually be another early sign of pregnancy. According to Mother and Baby, progesterone "makes your ... vessels relax and widen to increase ... flow around the body, causing low [BP]" and, in its turn, it leads to the feeling of imbalance.
Besides, low a sugar level in your system can also make you lightheaded and dizzy. Normally, this symptom endures during the first trimester of pregnancy and decreases over the later phases. In case this dizziness worries you too much, don't hesitate to talk to your doctor about it.
7 Weird Taste In The Mouth
Feeling a weird metallic taste in your mouth is another common early symptom of pregnancy. This taste is usually persistent and it remains in the mouth even after eating a savory meal. Probably one of the strangest signs, it even has its own name – it's called dysgeusia – and it's caused by the production of estrogen.
Sure, the name of this condition is bizarre, but you don't have to memorize it. This symptom is likely to fade away after the first trimester (only some women report that it persists throughout their pregnancy period) because the hormonal situation in your body will probably stabilize by then.
6 You Might Be Drooling Like Crazy
Before missing your period, you might notice that you've begun drooling like Pavlov's dog. This condition has a very weird scientific name ptyalis gradidarum and it's actually related to the beginning of morning sickness, heartburn or acid reflux.
According to Mama Natural, "Progesterone relaxes the muscles in our body, which can cause the valve that closes the esophagus off from the stomach to stay slightly ajar. As a result, stomach acid can make its way north, leading to heartburn or acid reflux."
To keep your saliva at bay and help your digestion (which is also helpful at this stage), buy a bottle of apple cider vinegar and take a teaspoon of it in 1/2 cup of water before eating.
5 Vivid Dreams
During the first weeks of pregnancy and even before you have missed your period, you might start seeing bizarre dreams. Although science can't tell anything about it as of now, a lot of women claim that they had strange dreams about one or two weeks after conception, so we can trust that it's actually one of the symptoms you should pay attention to.
Probably, like all other early signs, these dreams are caused by the surge of hormones that suddenly become prevalent in your body. After all, they might work in an unexpected way and cause more consequences than you can even imagine!
4 Girls Get Heavier
Watch out for the girls, because they can become sore, swollen, tender, or heavy as early as two weeks after conception. Jasbir Singh, M.D., an OB-GYN at Baylor Medical Center at Waxahachie in Texas states on Parents, "You’re making so much estrogen and progesterone in early pregnancy that the glands in the [area] start growing."
These hormones are known for causing fluid retention in your milk-makers, which makes them more sensitive than they usually become before your period begins. However, the difference is very subtle, so you need to be very attentive to notice it.
Besides, pay attention to your areolas and nipples, because they might become darker.
3 Let The Cravings Begin!
Yes, this is how early cravings may begin, although they can be slightly different to wanting nothing but the famous "pickle and ice cream" combination. For example, it's likely that you'll want to eat more carbs. According to Parents, "Your overtired body may demand extra carbs now because they're easily metabolized, which helps keep energy levels up." So if you want pasta, potatoes, or bagels real bad, indulge yourself. But don't overdo and remember to eat healthily.
On the other hand, you can also experience food aversions, even to your favorite foods. For some reason, the most common is egg aversion, but it's possible that you might start hating any other kinds of food at this stage.
2 Shortness Of Breath
If you feel short of breath after doing your usual exercise routine or just walking one or two flights up the stairs, it might mean that you should buy a pregnancy test soon. The thing is, the increase of progesterone level in your body results in the expansion of your lung capacity. It means that you're going to have to take more breaths and until you get used to it, you might feel short of breath.
Besides, shortness of breath is explained by your body's need for more oxygen. After all, for nine months it'll have to supply oxygen and nutrition for two human beings at once.
1 Pants Become Too Tight
If you suddenly can't zip up your favorite jeans, perhaps you should be getting ready for a new member of your family, because bloating (as well as increased wind) is one of the common early signs of pregnancy.
The bloating is caused by the increased levels of progesterone and slowed down the digestive process. A similar thing tends to happen right before your period due to the same hormone. However, it usually fades away as soon as menstruation begins. In case it doesn't go away and your period doesn't start, maybe it's time to buy a pregnancy test or make the first prenatal visit to your gyno.