Are you trying to conceive or concerned about unintended pregnancy, evaluating the early symptoms of pregnancy can be confusing in such situations. Some early symptoms of pregnancy may show up around the time you've missed your first period. But if you are not keeping track of your monthly cycle or if it varies month-to-month due to hormonal changes, you may not be sure about your period's date. If you start to feel some pregnancy symptoms, you may be pregnant. But the only way to know for sure is to take a pregnancy test at home.
Read on to find symptoms that you could see in the early stages of pregnancy:
Assessing Changes in Your Monthly Cycle:
1. Determine whether you have missed your period: Missing a period is one of the most common signs of pregnancy. However, all missed or delayed periods are not the result of pregnancy. Some women may experience mild bleeding during pregnancy, in that case contact your doctor immediately. If you have missed your period, evaluate whether it may be due to non-pregnancy issues like gaining or losing weight, hormonal issues, stress, fatigue or breastfeeding.
2. Assess any cramping or spotting you may be experiencing: Following 10 to 14 days after conception, the fertilized egg attaches itself to the wall of uterus. This process may cause some cramping and spotting in the early days. This is called implantation bleeding and sometimes mistaken with premenstrual symptoms. Keep track of these symptoms to determine whether you are pregnant.
3. Changes in vaginal discharge: Many women experience increased volume of milky vaginal discharge immediately after conception. This harmless discharge is due to increase in the growth of cells attached to the vagina and these pregnancy symptoms may continue throughout the pregnancy. Women experience varying levels of discharge depending on their normal menstruation cycle. If you notice these changes in your vaginal discharge, you may be pregnant. If this discharge is accompanied by a burning sensation or itching, contact your doctor as these are the signs of bacterial infection.
4. Track your body temperature: If you are charting your body temperature, one of the early pregnancy symptoms is a higher than normal basal temperature during first month.
Evaluating Physical Changes in the Body:
1. Notice changes in your breast: Hormonal changes in the body during pregnancy may cause swollen and sore breasts during first two weeks of pregnancy. You may feel heavier or fuller, tender breasts while touching. The area around the nipples may also get darkened and grow in size.
2. Determine whether you are feeling nausea: Nausea affects 70 to 80 percent of pregnant women and is generally termed as "Morning Sickness". It can occur anytime in the day, though morning is the most common time. Pregnancy hormones play an important role in causing this symptom. You may feel sensitive to some smells or find yourself craving for certain foods. Some women experience these symptoms up to 13 to 14th week of pregnancy but some experience nausea throughout the pregnancy period. You may get some relief from these symptoms by making some changes like:
(i) Eat small and frequent meals
(ii) Rest as much as you can
(iii) Drink Ginger Tea
(iv) Choose foods without smells
3. Note down the increased fatigue: Pregnancy may make you feel tired very soon after conception. Pregnancy hormones increase the blood flow in your body so that you can provide it for you and your baby. This may lower the blood pressure and sugar levels that leave you feeling exhausted.
4. Evaluate if you are urinating frequently: Your kidney works harder during pregnancy. As increased blood volume means they have to filter extra fluid. As a result, it causes frequent urination and you may have to make some extra trips to bathroom.
5. Constipation: Pregnancy hormones may slow down your digestion cycle so that extra nutrition can reach to the baby. This may cause constipation during pregnancy.
6. Mood swings: Over the first trimester, pregnancy hormones can cause mood swings. You may feel mood swings due to physical changes and for some emotional reasons. Consult your doctor if these changes are damaging your ability to cope with daily routine. Mood swings is one of the common symptoms of being pregnant.
7. Trouble in sleeping: Hormonal changes during pregnancy may lead to both sleepiness and sleeplessness.
Take a Pregnancy Test:
1. Understand the Pregnancy Test: Pregnancy tests examine urine or blood to detect HCG hormone. This hormone is produced by placenta shortly after an embryo attaches to the uterine lining. HCG builds up in body quickly after a few days of conception but sometimes testing too can give negative results. If you are experiencing symptoms for pregnancy but the test is negative, you should go for a re-test.
2. Purchase a urine-test kit for home: Home pregnancy kits detect pregnant symptoms by testing urine. These kits require some drops of urine to be dropped into a special container or a stick. Result may vary, so follow the instructions written on the test kit carefully.
i. Most urine test kits have control indicator or symbols that show results. Make sure this indicator is working while performing test.
ii. Check the expiry date of test kit to ensure it will give you exact results.
iii. Before taking the exam, wait at least for the first day of missed period. This will take about two weeks to give exact results after conception. If your test is negative but you are detecting symptoms of being pregnant, re-test after a few days.
iv. 95 per cent of urine tests are accurate when performed correctly.
3. Contact your doctor to take a Blood Test: Blood tests are performed in two ways: Qualitative Blood Test is more accurate than Urine Test. These tests will also tell you the exact quantity of HCG levels in the blood. These tests can be useful to track potential problems during pregnancy. These tests detect pregnancy after 7 to 10 days of conception.
If your pregnancy is good news, talk to your partner immediately about your test results and make this period more enjoyable. Manage your pregnancy period with healthy diet, yoga and medical care.