Pregnancy happens so differently for everyone. Some people plan for a lifetime, dreaming of the day they will become a mother. Some women just think, “Hey, if it happens, it happens.” Sometimes pregnancy can catch people by surprise, and sometimes it takes years for one to have their baby. According to TodaysParent.com, for "women under 37 years old with no known ... problems who got pregnant, about 45 percent of them will [be pregnant] within three months, 60 to 65 percent within six months, 85 percent within a year and 93 percent within 18 months.”
Whether or not a woman is actively trying to become pregnant, the first symptoms will start to surface within a few weeks. If a woman is actively trying to have a baby, she might start looking for some of the symptoms listed below. Even if a woman is not actively trying, some of these symptoms might make them a little suspicious that she might be in for a big life change.
Even before both lines would turn pink on the pregnancy test, there are a few things a woman can start keeping an eye out for to help indicate whether or not she may indeed be pregnant. From spotting, to fatigue, to an elevated temperature, and much more, below is a list of 20 symptoms moms experience in the first month of pregnancy. Apps such as Ovia Tracker, Period Tracker and more are available to assist women in tracking their monthly cycles. This is beneficial tool for both those who are actively trying, or actively not trying to conceive.
20 Vivid Dreams
Not only are pregnant women more tired, but their dreams when they do sleep become more vivid. It's a common symptom reported by many women all throughout their pregnancies. According to American Pregnancy, "One cause is due to an the increase in hormone production. You’ll find during pregnancy that your hormones may impact your emotions and your anxiety. They will also impact the way your brain processes information and emotions, possibly resulting in more vivid and frequent dreams while you are pregnant."
One of the very first pregnancy symptoms a lot of women experience is chest tenderness. It’s no secret that, for most people, your chest starts growing rapidly once you’re pregnant. All of that extra weight doesn’t come without consequence though, it’s really painful. WhatToExpect.com writes, “If your [chest is] growing (by the second!) during your pregnancy, they're also likely ultrasensitive and tender. (Look but don't touch, darling.) Chest tenderness is one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy, usually starting around week 4 to week 7 and lasting through the first trimester, though your [chest] will continue to change throughout your pregnancy…”
This symptom can not only be confusing, but also a source of stress. First trimester cramping feels really similar to period cramps. If you’re anything like me, you’ll spend much of those first few weeks sure you’re period is going to show up any moment, and then spend the weeks after the positive pregnancy test worrying about pregnancy complications, because, well, cramps. AmericanPregnancy.org states, “During the first trimester, cramping often results from normal changes that occur during your baby’s development. Cramps can generally be described as pulling sensations on one or both sides of your abdomen. Although not considered a symptom for detection of early pregnancy, it is a symptom that accompanies many pregnancies.” Though cramping is totally normal, it can sometimes be problematic, so be sure and make your Doctor aware of any of your symptoms and concerns.
Another confusing symptom of conception is spotting. Some women experience spotting, and some don’t. Some women experience implantation bleeding, which happens at the time of conception, and some people don’t. Each pregnancy and accompanying symptoms are so different. AmericanPregnancy.com states the following on the topic, “Spotting is a common concern that many pregnant women face. Approximately 20% of women report they experience spotting during their first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Bleeding that occurs early on in pregnancy is usually lighter in flow than a menstrual period. Also, the color often varies from pink to red to brown.” Again, it’s totally normal, but be sure and address any concerns with your Doctor.
Morning sickness, the one thing we hear about most. But don’t be fooled, it’s not just experienced in the morning. BabyCenter.com sums it up best, “"Morning sickness" is a misleading term. For some pregnant women, nausea is worse in the morning and eases up over the course of the day. But the condition can happen any time and, for many women, it lasts all day. The intensity of symptoms can also vary from woman to woman too. The medical term for morning sickness is "nausea and vomiting of pregnancy." Up to three-quarters of pregnant women have at least some nausea or vomiting during the first trimester, and about half have only vomiting.”
Perhaps the common pregnancy symptom of fatigue was created by mother nature to help expectant mothers stock up on their rest, because once baby comes, you’ll need all the stored energy you can get! BabyCenter.com suggests, “Yes, fatigue is especially common during the first trimester, and the condition tends to return in late pregnancy. No one knows for sure what causes fatigue in early pregnancy, but it's possible that hormonal changes – like the dramatic rise in progesterone – are at least partly responsible. For many women, exhaustion is one of the first signs of pregnancy, and they constantly feel tired even before they're showing or carrying any extra weight.”
14 Missed Period
Perhaps the most obvious sign of pregnancy is a missed period. For women who have extremely regular cycles, this may be a total giveaway. But if you’re anything like me, with a period cycle all over the place, it might not be that big of a giveaway for you. However, if you miss a period, and suspect pregnancy could be why, then it’s best to take a test. Healthline.com explains why you miss your period once you conceive, “Once implantation is complete, your body will begin producing human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone helps the body maintain the pregnancy. It also tells the ovaries to stop releasing mature eggs each month.”
13 Mood Swings
A not so obvious early pregnancy symptom is mood swings. If you’re expecting a period, you might just attribute this change in your temperament to that. But it could possibly be those pesky little pregnancy hormones at play. AmericanPregnancy.com writes, “Mood changes during pregnancy can be caused by physical stresses, fatigue, changes in your metabolism, or by the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Significant changes in your hormone levels can affect your level of neurotransmitters, which are brain chemicals that regulate mood. Mood swings are mostly experienced during the first trimester between 6 to 10 weeks and then again in the third trimester as your body prepares for birth.”
“Headaches are one of the most common discomforts experienced during pregnancy. Headaches may occur at any time during your pregnancy, but they tend to be most common during the first and third trimesters,” writes AmericanPregnancy.com. First trimester headaches are in part thanks to those familiar hormonal changes, in addition to an increased blood flow in the body. You will want to be careful on how you treat your headache, because many medications are not safe for pregnant mothers to take. If you are suffering from headaches while pregnant, be sure and consult your Doctor. Tip: Staying hydrated can help ward off pregnancy headaches.
11 Accelerated Heart Rate
Ever hear that story of the woman who found out she was pregnant thanks to her FitBit? Turns out there was a reason her heart rate was reading so high. It’s totally true, and was actually an indicator for myself as well. Parenting.FirstCry.com explains, “The normal heart rate per minute for a healthy person is between 60 to 80. However, during pregnancy, it is quite common for this rate to increase up to 100. An increased heart rate is called tachycardia and is a common occurrence during pregnancy. Your body is constantly working hard to help nourish your growing baby. As your pregnancy progresses, the amount of blood required by your baby increases and to suffice this requirement, your heart also beats faster to pump more blood into the system.”
Finding out your pregnant comes with a lot of emotions. Add those pregnancy hormones (they’re everywhere, I know!) to the mix and it’s a recipe for emotional disaster. WhatToExpect.com explains that some anxiety is to be expected but you should stay in tune with your feelings to ensure you’re not experiencing something worse. “But there’s a difference between normal worrying and all-consuming anxiety during pregnancy, also known as antenatal anxiety. It’s time to talk to a healthcare provider if you’re unable to concentrate on your day-to-day life; have trouble functioning at work or home; experience a frequent sense of panic, fear or restlessness; have obsessive thoughts; or don’t enjoy things that used to make you happy. Other signs of a more serious anxiety disorder can be physical, including heart palpitations and muscle tension. This level of anxiety isn’t normal or healthy — but treatment can help.”
9 Elevated Temperature
There’s a lot your basal body temperature can tell you about your monthly cycle, including whether or not you’re pregnant. But keep in mind, you would have had to have been charting your temperature from the beginning of your cycle for this to be an indicator. BabyCenter.co.uk explains, Basal body temperature (BBT) is your temperature when you first wake up in the morning, or after at least three hours of uninterrupted sleep. To record your BBT, you need to use a basal thermometer. This has a finer scale than a normal thermometer and lets you record tiny changes in your body temperature.”
8 Appetite Changes
Another frequently talked about symptom of pregnancy is the change in your appetite. The first trimester can vary between women. Some women have huge appetites while others experience lack of appetite during the first trimester. Both are totally normal, and if you experience the later, hopefully it passes along with the first trimester. BabiesOnline.com gives us the scoop on how many extra calories you actually need while pregnant, “A pregnant woman should eat extra calories during her pregnancy, but contrary to popular belief, she should not “eat for 2” or double the amount of calories that she normally takes in. A woman only needs an extra 300-500 calories a day to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, and most experts say these extra calories aren’t needed until after the first trimester.”
Much of pregnancy is anything but glamorous, and this symptom is at the top of unflattering pregnancy symptoms. Gas is the next symptom on the list of early pregnancy symptoms. This annoying side effect is sure to strike at the most inconvenient of times, like your fitness class. Don’t worry, though, it’s totally normal. Parenting.com explains the cause, “The intestines are sluggish during pregnancy, thanks to all that progesterone circulating in your body.” And additionally suggests how to deal, “Theoretically, treating constipation should minimize your gas and bloating, too. It's not always that simple, however. Watch your intake of the usual suspects, such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, onions and carbonated beverages. If the problem persists or gets worse, talk to your health care provider.”
6 Frequent Bathroom Visits
“Your baby is still pretty small, but your uterus is growing and it's putting pressure on your bladder. As a result, you may feel like you constantly have to go to the bathroom. Don't stop drinking fluids -- your body needs them -- but do cut down on caffeine (which stimulates the bladder), especially before bedtime. When nature calls, answer it as soon as you can. Don't hold it in,” writes WebMD.com. This commonly discussed and advertised pregnancy symptom will rear its face early in your pregnancy and it will likely keep you up until the very end of pregnancy. Just another joy of pregnancy!
5 Metallic Taste
I myself am guilty of Googling this one early on in my pregnancy with my daughter. If you think you are the only one with an odd taste in your mouth, think again! That metallic taste during pregnancy actually has a scientific name, Dysgeusia. WhatToExpect.com explains, “That metallic taste in your mouth is a common pregnancy symptom in the first trimester. One study found that a whopping 93 percent of pregnant women reported some change in taste during pregnancy, so you're in very good company if you're experiencing it.” Guess what causes it? “Dysgeusia is caused by changes in your hormone levels during pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones, in particular estrogen, seem to play a role in controlling and moderating our sense of taste. And when you're pregnant, estrogen levels — and hence your taste buds — may fluctuate widely,” explains WhatToExpect.com.
If you have never experienced heartburn before, pregnancy is sure to show you what you have been missing out on. And though there’s not much you can do prevent it or control it when it does strike, TheBump.com has some tips on how to manage it. “You can reduce the risk and severity of heartburn by avoiding triggers like chocolate, coffee, tea, citrus, tomato sauces, spicy stuff and fried foods. It also helps to sleep with your head slightly elevated and to consume minimal fluids with meals—just be sure to drink plenty of water an hour before and an hour after meals so you don’t get dehydrated.” If you’re experiencing heartburn, hopefully the old wives tale holds true and your baby will be born with a head full of hair!
“Aw, how cute, I’m already showing,” you might think to yourself at four weeks pregnant as you inspect your belly in the mirror. Actually, you are probably just experiencing first trimester bloating. “It almost seems as though your jeans start to feel snug as soon as the pregnancy test comes back positive — and you can thank the hormone progesterone for that puffy phenomenon,” explains WhatToExpect.com. WhatToExpect also suggests the following on controlling the bloat; drink plenty of water, eat fiber, eat slowly, relax and cut back on foods that cause gas, like beans, onions, cabbage and fried foods.
2 Heightened Sense Of Smell
You are never more aware of your co-workers leftover fish heating up in the microwave than when you are pregnant. Heightened sense of smell, or hyperosmia, is a more uncommonly discussed side effect of pregnancy, but it’s one that will pop up early on. TheBump.com writes, “Before you even know you're pregnant, your nose might give you away. Why? Because as strange as it might sound, moms-to-be are known to have an uncanny sense of smell—in fact, it's often one of the first signs of pregnancy. So if you're suddenly gagging at the scent of garlic or ground beef (or can't even stomach a simple stroll through the grocery store), you might just be expecting.”
Perhaps the most delightful symptom you will experience during your first month of pregnancy is the excitement. Whether this is your first pregnancy, or fifth, there’s no feeling quite like the excitement and anticipation of a growing life in your belly. From telling your partner, to picking our maternity clothes and baby item shopping, there’s a lot to be excited about! BellyBelly.com.au writes that one of the most exciting things about pregnancy is perhaps the fact that you are now encouraged to nap. Yay! “Finally… Finally, Naps Are Not Only Socially Acceptable, But Encouraged By health professionals no less! And you don’t want to argue with them, not in your condition… night night.” Nap on, Mama!
References: americanpregnancy.org, www.todaysparent.com, www.americanpregnancy.org, www.whattoexpect.com, www.babycenter.com, www.healthline.com, www.parenting.firstcry.com, www.babycenter.co.uk, www.babiesonline.com, www.webmd.com, www.parenting.com, www.thebump.com, www.bellybelly.com.au,