Top 10 Signs of Pregnancy

If you've had a baby, more than likely, you've had a symptom or two during pregnancy. Whether you found out about your pregnancy early on or you found out about it much later, by the end of it, you've felt something, be it tender breasts, exhaustion, or even ravenous hunger. These symptoms are often similar to period or PMS symptoms, just way more intense.

Some of these symptoms seem to fade as things progress, others seem to stick around. While these symptoms are normal, keep in mind that some things should result in speaking to your doctor, such as extreme vomiting and nausea, extreme fatigue, heavy bleeding, and uncontrollable mood swings that do not get better. Your doctor or midwife will know best how to help you with your severe symptoms and will be able to do something for you.

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10 Swollen Breasts

Is your bra suddenly too tight? Do your cups runneth over? Mine certainly did, and that's honestly how my other half noticed I was pregnant before the thought had even crossed my mind. Well, that sudden increase in bust that men seem to enjoy, can be a definite sign of pregnancy. With pregnancy, comes an increase in progesterone, which is to blame for quite a few of the issues we see in early pregnancy.

Also, your body retains more water during pregnancy, which can also play a part in that bloated feeling you have. You may see the nipple darken and the aureola get larger and darker as well. To help ease the soreness and tenderness that comes with pregnancy breasts, wear a supportive bra, and maybe even a baggy shirt if fabric on your skin bothers you.  

9 Fatigue

Chalk another one to progesterone, because this little hormone is mostly what's responsible for you needing that cat nap in the day now. You can't focus on work or even housework, because you just want to curl up and get some rest. I was exhausted for the majority of my pregnancies, and it started when I first got pregnant.

And it's not just the hormones. Even at this stage of pregnancy, the baby is using your calories to grow, which is understandably going to tire you out. Generally speaking, you'll see an energy boost in the second trimester, but when you're close to the end, expect that exhaustion to come crawling back up on you. Get as much sleep as you can.

Sleep later if you can, go to bed earlier, and try and nap or at least put your feet up and relax during the day. Sometimes a nap can make you feel much better and get you through the rest of the day. That said, if your exhaustion becomes too severe, don't hesitate to call your doctor.

8 Hunger

It's 3 am, and you're in bed asleep, when all of a sudden, a roar wakes you up. You sit up, looking around, when you hear it again... it's your stomach, and it says '"I NEED FOOD!" As your body uses more and more energy to grow your little baby, your body needs more energy, which leads to an increase in hunger.

During the time where you're feeling nauseous at the smells of some foods, you may also be extraordinarily hungry for a food you have become obsessed with over the last few weeks. Remember, however, that you can't live off BBQ potato chips and chili fries for nine months just because you can hold it down easier. While it's ok to eat a bit more than usual, you should still monitor your intake and eat a healthy, balanced diet. A healthy diet is important to fetal development.

7 Cravings

So you're minding your own business, when suddenly you're hit with the overwhelming craving for a huge steak... You can't fight it, so, some way or another, you get a steak. Those cravings can be brutal, but they often mean that your body is after a particular nutrient, such as protein or iron in the case of craving red meat.

Sometimes these cravings can last the whole pregnancy. That said, they are not an excuse to eat super unhealthy all the time... you still have to eat healthy during pregnancy. Everything in moderation. Indulging is ok, as long as it's not all the time.

6 Bloating

HcG and progesterone can make your uterine lining thicken and can slow digestion, so don't be surprised if your pants suddenly get a bit too snug. Bloating can be a very obnoxious symptom of pregnancy, and it can make you look further along than you actually are.

While very common, this is an annoying symptom, especially if that bloat is messing with your wardrobe and you have to go out and buy new clothes early on. That puffy, ate-too-much feeling in your midsection can be easily mistaken for pre-period bloat.

However, pregnancy symptoms that are similar to period symptoms are often far more intense. There's really not much to do about it, but there are some tricks to extend the amount of time you can wear your favorite clothes, such as the hair tie to extend your pants waistband trick. 

5 Dizziness

You stand up to get a drink, and bam... you feel like you've been hit by a ton of bricks. You have to sit, because you feel like your next step is the floor. Believe me, I know from personal experience how badly dizziness can hit and be debilitating, especially if the baby is on a nerve later on in pregnancy.

This dizziness in early pregnancy is caused by hormones and the heart beating faster to pump more blood, causing a gradual drop in blood pressure. Because of this, many women experience dizziness. If you feel dizzy, the best thing to do is to sit, and relax. Sometimes it helps to close your eyes when dizziness is happening, to prevent nausea.

You can also experience dizziness due to low blood sugar, so sometimes a snack can also help. If it gets to be too much or happens frequently, a trip to the doctor may be in order.

4 Spotting

So, you wake up one morning, expecting your period, and there's a whole lot of nothing. You get antsy, and worry, but then all of a sudden, there it is... but it isn't. It's lighter than usual, much lighter. Well, this is called implantation bleeding, and it can happen when your period is due or even up to a week before then.

Only a small amount of women experience this bleeding, so you can miss it or not have this, and still be pregnant. While this is a sign of pregnancy, it's easily mistaken for something that it isn't, so this is one symptom that is not 100%. By the 6th or 7th week, which is how long spotting can sometimes last, the doctor can do an ultrasound to determine if the baby is developing normally. 

3 Frequent Urination

Are you visiting the restroom far more than usual? You're not alone. Frequent urination is a common pregnancy symptom. When the egg implants into the uterus, the hormone HcG is released. You may recognize that as the hormone that makes your pregnancy tests come up positive.

This hormone releases estrogen and progesterone, and these hormones can make you feel like you need to spend the next few weeks in and out of the bathroom. Also, your kidneys are working overtime, because your body is producing more urine. If you're concerned about this happening, don't be, it's actually really common.

I personally spent a good chunk of my pregnancy having to pee. Oh, and this is one symptom that, sadly, won't get better. As the baby gets bigger, it increases pressure on the bladder, so while the hormonal reaction that makes you need to go may get better, you'll have another reason to be visiting the bathroom all the time. And while getting up all the time to pee may be obnoxious, don't cut down on your intake. Your body needs it's fluids.

2 Nausea

Ugh, the ultimate smack in the face... the foods you've been eating for, well, years, can now all of a sudden make you want to vomit. Not to mention that you're just feeling nauseated off and on all day... You know what we call it: Morning Sickness. But don't let the name fool you, this thing can hit any time of the day or night, and it takes no prisoners.

Generally speaking, this starts at 6 weeks pregnant, but it can start earlier for some. There are ways to help bite back the waves of nausea, but none are guaranteed to work, and if they do not and you cannot hold food or water, you need to see a doctor to prevent dehydration.

You can, in the meantime, try ginger ale and crackers, you can try Preggie Pops, and various juices. Also, sometimes simply staying hydrated can make all the difference in your nausea. If nothing helps, the doctor can prescribe Zofran or something else to help you hold your food down. 

1 Mood Swings

Unfortunately, we don't get a break from this common PMS symptom during pregnancy. The hormones that make you have those mood swings when it's time for your period, well, they stick around for early pregnancy as well. Hunger and fatigue can play a huge role in this, because let's face it, if you're hungry, you're likely to be more cranky.

Not only that, but the stress of finding out about your impending parenthood can make anyone a bit more frazzled. The most you can really do about this is to wait it out. By 14-16 weeks, you should see some improvement in this area. If not, then you may want to speak to your doctor to figure out what kind of support system you may need.

Every woman's mood will be different, keep that in mind. What happens for you may not happen for others, and others may be much worse off than you were. Some women experience severe anxiety and depression, and if you ever feel severe hopelessness or have suicidal thoughts, do not hesitate to call your doctor or go into an ER for help.

Finally, NONE of these signs of pregnancy can trump a missed period. If you miss a period, it's always good to get that checked out by your OB, and definitely take a pregnancy test. If you're irregular when it comes to your period, then you may not be pregnant, but it's always better to be seen and cleared by an OB before you do anything else. Remember that the only definitive proof of pregnancy can come from a confirmed pregnancy test by your doctor. So, take a pregnancy test, see your doctor, and good luck! What has been or was your worst pregnancy symptom?

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