Pregnancy

What Are the Signs of Pregnancy?

What Are the Signs of Pregnancy?

Key Takeaways

  • Women can experiences symptoms of pregnancy even before they can test positive for a pregnancy test.
  • Some early signs of pregnancy include fatigue, food aversions, sensitivity to smell, and nausea.

Some of the signs of pregnancy may start early even when it is too soon to take a pregnancy test at home. Some of the first signs of pregnancy include breast tenderness, frequent urination, and fatigue. These may not be enough to tell that a person is pregnant or not, and a pregnancy test or doctor’s checkup may be required to confirm it.

According to Xavier Pombar, MD, an obstetrician at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, it is always better to know about pregnancy earlier so that the future mother can receive prenatal care. Once you know that you are pregnant, it is easy to follow some important lifestyle changes, like limiting the amount of alcohol, nicotine, and sushi. If these changes are not followed immediately, it is always better to take prenatal vitamins. 

Some of the early signs of pregnancy which one can look out for include:

  • Fatigue – Gil Gross, MD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, says that one of the most common early signs of pregnancy is extreme fatigue, which cannot be explained. She adds that this fatigue should not be treated with excess caffeine if you are pregnant. Instead, one should rest, and take it easy.
  • Food aversions – If some foods make you wince and nauseous, there is a good chance that you are pregnant. Most women report food aversions as one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. One of the causes for this aversion is the rising levels of beta-hCG hormone, says Moore. The best way to overcome this feeling is to avoid the food.
  • Sensitivity to smell – If some of the very common scents that you normally like makes you wince and nauseous, it may be an early sign of pregnancy. It can be cigarette smoke or your colleague’s cologne. This change is due to the changes in the levels of the hormone. 
  • Nausea and vomiting – Rising levels of hormone may also cause nausea and vomiting as one of the early signs of pregnancy. There is always a reassurance that this feeling may pass within 12 weeks, says Moore. Morning sickness also is a good indicator of growing pregnancy. One of the most important things to take care during morning sickness is to avoid keeping the stomach too empty. It is always better to have few crackers before getting up from the bed in the morning. In some cases, prenatal vitamins may also cause nausea. Avoid taking vitamins in an empty stomach. According to Moore a lot of women feel better when they have the vitamin during the night or with dinner.
  • Breast tenderness and swelling – According to Gross, tenderness in the breasts is another sign of pregnancy and one can overcome the uncomfortable feeling by using a better bra.
  • Frequent urination – As the fetus grows inside the uterus, it pushes the bladder causing the urgent and frequent feeling to urinate. This sensation goes away by the second semester but returns by the third as the head of the growing fetus applies pressure on the bladder. It may be difficult to avoid this feeling and it better to relieve the bladder before sleeping as it may help to have better sleep. According to Pombar, one may need to go to the wash room at least once in the night.
  • Shortness of breath – In some cases, woman may have slight shortness of breath as one of the early signs of pregnancy. This is because of the need for extra oxygen for the growing fetus. If there is a sudden feeling of shortness of breath which is not due to exercise and if there is pain, which increases when you lie down, it is better to discuss the same with the doctor as they may be signs of something more serious.
  • Physical changes – Changes in the vaginal color and softness of cervix are the major physical signs which a doctor can identify during a pelvic exam.