- Maybe your period’s just a day overdue.
- Maybe it’s going on three weeks late.
- Maybe your period isn’t even slated to arrive yet, but you’ve got a gut feeling (literally, in your gut) that something’s cooking—like a brand-new bun in your oven!
- Maybe the only heads-up your body’s given you so far is that missed period.
- Maybe you’ve already developed every conceivable symptom of conception.
- Maybe you’ve been giving baby making everything you’ve got for six months or longer.
- Maybe that hot night two weeks ago was your very first contraceptive-free encounter.
- Maybe you have been actively trying it at all.
No matter what the circumstances are that have brought you to this article, you’re bound to be wondering; Am I pregnant? Well read on to find out.
What you may be wondering about…
EARLY PREGNANCY SIGNS
“A friend of mine said she knew she was pregnant even before she took a pregnancy test. Is there any way to figure out whether or not I’m pregnant that early on?”
The only way to be positively positive that you’re pregnant, at least this early, is to produce that positive pregnancy test. But that doesn’t mean your body is staying mum on whether you’re about to become a mom. In fact, it may be offering up plenty of conception clues. Though many women never feel any early pregnancy symptoms at all (or don’t feel them until weeks into pregnancy), others get lots of hints that there is a baby in the making.
Experiencing any of these symptoms or noticing any of these signs may be just the excuse you need to run to the store for a home pregnancy test:
TENDER BREASTS AND NIPPLES
You know that tender, achy feeling you get in your breasts before your period arrives?That’s nothing compared to the breast tenderness you might be feeling post-conception.Tender, full, swollen, tingly, sensitive, and even painful-to-the-touch breasts are some of the first signs many (but not all) women notice after sperm meets egg.
Not only might your breasts be tender, but your areolas (the circles around your nipples) may be changing colors. It’s perfectly normal for the areola to darken in hue during pregnancy and even to increase in diameter somewhat in the weeks after conception. You can thank the pregnancy hormones already surging through your body for these and other skin color changes (much more about those hormones in the coming months).
Well, not really, but early in pregnancy you may notice an increase and enlargement in the tiny bumps on the areola (called Montgomery’s tubercles)—bumps you may have never noticed before. They’ll resemble goose bumps but are actually glands that produce oils to lubricate your nipple and areola—lubrication that’ll certainly be welcome when your baby starts sucking on you nipples if you’re nursing. Another sign your body is planning ahead.
Some (but certainly not all) women experience spotting when the embryo implants in the uterus. Such so-called implantation bleeding will likely arrive earlier than your expected monthly flow (usually around five to ten days after conception) and will probably appear light to medium pink in color (rarely red, like a period).
- Has the toilet become your seat of choice lately? Appearing on the pregnancy scene fairly early (usually about two to three weeks after conception) may be the need to pee with frightening frequency. Curious why? Here are some reasons why you go to pee nonstop:
- Hormones trigger not only an increase in blood flow bit in urine flow, too.
- During pregnancy the efficiency of the kidneys improves, helping your body rid itself of waste products more quickly (including baby’s, which means you’ll be peeing for two).
- Your growing uterus is pressing on your bladder now, leaving less storage space in the holding tank for urine and triggering that “gotta go” feeling.
- Leaning forward when you urinate will help ensure that you empty your bladder completely, as can making it good to the last drop by double voiding (pee, then when you’re done, squeeze out some more). Both tactics may reduce trips to the bathroom.
- Extreme fatigue.
- Make that exhaustion.
- Complete lack of energy.
- Super sluggishness.
- Whatever you call it, it’s a drag-literally. And as your body starts cranking up that baby-making machine, it’ll only get more draining.
For one thing, it’s manufacturing your baby’s life-support system, the placenta, which won’t be completed until the end of the first trimester.
For another, your body’s hormone level have increased significantly, you’re producing more blood, your heart rate is up, your blood sugar is down, your metabolism is burning energy overtime (even when you’re lying down), and you’re using up more nutrients and water.
Here are the tips:
Baby yourself. If you’re a first-time mother, enjoy what will probably be your last chance for a long while to focus on taking care of yourself without feeling guilty.
Let others baby you. You’re doing enough heavy lifting these days, so make sure your spouse is doing his fair share (right now, that should be more than half) of household chores, including laundry and grocery shopping.
Chill out more. Exhausted once the day’s over? Spend evenings chilling out (preferably with your feet up) instead of stepping out. And don’t wait until nightfall to take it easy. If you can squeeze in an afternoon nap, by all means go for it. If you can’t sleep, lie down with a good book.
Be a slacker mom. Have other kids? Fatigue may be more pronounced, for obvious reasons (you have less time to rest, more demands on your body). Or it may be less noticeable, since you’re already accustomed to exhaustion or too busy to pay attention to it.
Get some more sleep. It may be stating the obvious, but just in case: Getting even an hour more sleep at night can pick you up come morning. Skip the Late Show and turn in earlier; ask your spouse to fix breakfast so you can turn out later. But don’t overdo. Too many z’s can actually leave you feeling even more exhausted.
Eat well. To keep you energy up, you need a steady supply of premium fuel. Make sure you’re getting enough calories each day (which may be easier said than done if morning sickness has you down but is definitely worth the effort), and focus on long-lasting energy boosters, such as protein, complex carbohydrates and iron-rich foods.
Eat often. Like so many other pregnancy symptoms, fatigue responds well to the Six-Meal solution (the six times to eat short meals a day). Keeping your blood sugar on an even keel will help keep your energy steady too, so resist meal skipping, and opt for frequent mini meals and snacks (the sustaining kind, comprised of protein and complex carbs).
Take a hike. Or a slow jog. Or a stroll to the grocery store. Or do a pregnancy exercise or yoga routine. Sure, the couch has never looked more inviting, but paradoxically, too much rest and not enough activity can heighten fatigue. Even a little exercise can be more rejuvenating than a sofa break. Just don’t overdo it.
Morning sickness, like a craving for pickles and ice cream, is one of those truisms about pregnancy that isn’t necessarily true. Studies show that nearly three quarters of all women experience the nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness, which means that a little more than 25% of moms-to-be don’t.
What causes morning sickness?
No one knows for sure, but there’s no shortage of theories, among them the high level of pregnancy hormone hCG in the blood in the first trimester, elevated estrogen level, gastroesophageal reflux (GER), the relative relaxation of muscle tissue in the digestive tract (which makes digestion less efficient), and the enhanced sense of smell that pregnant women develop.
Here are several reasons for these variations:
- Hormone levels
- First-time pregnancy status
No matter the cause, the effect of morning sickness is the same: pure misery. Though there is no sure cure for the queasies but the passing of time, there are ways of minimizing the misery while you’re waiting for a less nauseous day to dawn:
- Eat early.
- Eat late.
- Eat light.
- Eat often.
- Eat well.
- Eat what you can.
- Drink up.
- Get chilly.
- Smell no evil. (bad odor)
- Go slow-mo.
- Minimize stress.
- Treat your mouth well.
So your mouth tastes like loose change? Believe it or not, that metal mouth taste is a fairly common, though not often talked about, side effect of pregnancy, and one more you can chalk up to hormones.