The earliest symptoms of pregnancy can appear in the first few weeks after conception for some women. Since some symptoms of PMS are very similar to early signs of pregnancy, how can you tell if you’re really pregnant? Although symptoms can vary from woman to woman and from pregnancy to pregnancy in the same woman, there are some symptoms that are commonly experienced by most women, sometimes even before a missed period.
- Swollen or tender breasts. As soon as two weeks after conception, hormonal changes may cause your breasts to become tender, sore, or heavy and full. This can be one of the first noticeable symptoms of pregnancy.
- Fatigue. During the early stages of your pregnancy, your progesterone levels will rise. This hormone can make you feel extremely tired, and in high enough doses may put you to sleep. Lower blood sugar levels, decreased blood pressure, and increased blood production that all occur during this same time frame may combine to drain your energy reserves, causing fatigue.
- Missed period. A missed cycle is perhaps the most obvious early symptom of pregnancy. This is often what causes women to take a home pregnancy test or see their doctor to verify their pregnancy.
- Slight cramping and/or bleeding. Some women may experience a small amount of spotting or vaginal bleeding as one of the first symptoms of their pregnancy. Cramping is similar to menstrual cramps, and bleeding is lighter than a normal period, occurring approximately 10 to 14 days after fertilization, when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining.
- Nausea and/or vomiting. A classic symptom of pregnancy, queasiness can begin as early as two weeks after conception. Fast rising levels of estrogen can cause your stomach to empty more slowly, and since a heightened sense of smell comes along with pregnancy for many women, certain odors such as cooking food, cigar, pipe, or cigarette smoke, and some perfumes may cause nausea.
- Constipation. Just as an increase in progesterone can cause fatigue in early pregnancy, it also causes food to pass more slowly through the intestines, which can cause constipation in some women.
- Food cravings. At the same time that certain odors may have you fighting nausea, you may experience food cravings. These cravings can also be attributed to dramatic hormonal changes that occur in the first trimester of your pregnancy.
- Mood swings. If you find yourself become more emotionally sensitive, prone to periods of weepiness, or drastic, rapid mood changes, you can once again blame an increase in your hormonal levels.
- Headaches. An increase in blood circulation caused by the hormonal changes that occur during your first trimester may also trigger frequent, mild headaches. These often subside during the second trimester, when your hormone levels become more stable.
- Dizziness. If you feel faint or dizzy early in your pregnancy, the cause could be low blood sugar. Maintaining a healthy diet and keeping snacks on hand can help keep your blood sugar levels steady. A drop-in blood pressure could also cause you to feel lightheaded or dizzy.
Although every woman and every pregnancy is different, any symptoms that become severe should be reported to your doctor immediately. These include:
- Heavy cramping and/or bleeding
- Abdominal pain
- Extreme shortness of breath
- Severe dizziness
- Extreme nausea/vomiting or inability to eat
- Weight loss
- Persistent severe headaches/migraines
- Flu-like symptoms
- Visual changes
- Leaking fluid from vagina
It is important to be under a doctor’s care during your pregnancy, so that any unusual or severe symptoms you may experience can be monitored and your doctor can advise you on how to best handle the changes your body is going through. At Colorado Obstetrics and Women’s Health in Colorado Springs, we offer complete obstetrical and prenatal care, for both routine and high-risk pregnancies.
We care for women at every stage of life, from the child bearing years through menopause and beyond. If you are looking for caring OB/GYNs who will work with you to achieve and maintain your best possible health, give us a call today at (719) 634-8800 to schedule an appointment with one of our friendly women’s health professionals. We look forward to meeting you.