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If you are expecting a baby, one of your foremost concerns is how will you be able to know you are officially carrying someone else in your womb without taking a home pregnancy test or consulting a doctor. There is no definitive answer to this since every woman is different. Just like the menstrual cycle which is changing and varying, women’s experiences of pregnancy are not all the same. Hence, pregnancy is a unique experience for every mother.
So, aside from confirming your pregnancy using a home pregnancy test, paying attention to the following pregnancy symptoms may help you find the answer. It should be mentioned however that these early pregnancy symptoms are mostly not recognizable, thus it is important to heed to the signals that your body send.
• Delay in menstruation. If you recently had unprotected sex and your period is yet to come, you are probably conceiving. Delayed menstruation is an expected sign of pregnancy although stress and underlying medical conditions can influence menstrual cycle. Take a home pregnancy test at least 10 days after unprotected sex.
• Tender or swollen breasts. One of the earliest signs of pregnancy is breast tenderness. For a week or two, your breasts become swollen, tingly and tender to touch. This is (again) due to the rising hormones of pregnancy. To ease up breast tenderness, wear sport or maternity bra. Pregnant mothers might also notice their alveolars becoming larger and darker than they were in non-pregnant state.
• Vomiting and nausea. A classical sign of pregnancy, morning sickness nearly affects all pregnant mothers. The term, ‘morning sickness’ is somewhat a misnomer since nausea can strike any time of the day with or without vomiting. This feeling of queasiness during pregnancy is mainly caused by hormones. Avoid taking large meals in the morning; instead, take crackers along with peppermint tea which are the best remedies for morning sickness. Holding off fatty, oily and spicy foods and not wearing very tight clothing may also help alleviate nausea.
• Feeling sleepy or exhausted. Unexplained fatigue is a normal experience during pregnancy. Feeling sleepy or exhausted can be noticeable as early as a week after conception occurs. Fatigue during pregnancy is mainly caused by the progesterone hormone but it can also be due to other factors such as hypo-tension (low blood pressure) and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
• Frequent headaches. Headaches take toll on pregnant mothers as early as the second week of pregnancy. It is estimated that 1 out of 5 pregnant mothers suffer headache and migraine. There are many types of headaches but the most common one that nearly affects mothers is the tension headache which is characterized by squeezing pain felt on the sides of the head and sometimes, radiate on the back of the head. Headaches during pregnancy can be due to estrogen hormone, low blood sugar, caffeine withdrawal, lack of sleep, fatigue and stimulating environment (e.g too much light or noise). Pregnant mothers can safely take painkillers — acetaminophen only — under the supervision of the doctor.
• Backaches. Not only mothers at their 3rd trimesters experience backache, but also mothers during the first few weeks of pregnancy. Back pain during early pregnancy is caused by loosening ligaments which leads to misalignment of the back and pain in the area.
• Food cravings. When a woman is pregnant, it is pretty normal that she finds herself tune up her nose at particular foods. Scientists are not sure why food cravings and food aversions occur during pregnancy, but they theorize that food particularities are caused by hormonal shifts that impinge on their sense of smell and affect their food choices.
• Frequent urination. Frequent urination during the early weeks of pregnancy is due to the stretching of ligaments surrounding the uterus that is prepared for the development of the baby. But during the third trimester, frequent bathroom trips are expected sign as the enlarging fetus presses on the bladder of the mother.
The above signs are the earliest clinical manifestations of pregnancy. But as mentioned, they are experienced differently from one mother to another. These symptoms truly cause vexation and discomfort in expectant mothers but they are only lasting for a short while and go away at the end of the first trimester.