“Am I pregnant?” If that’s a question you’re asking yourself, there is really only one way to know for sure: by taking a pregnancy test. However, your body could be telling you might in fact be pregnant, so pay close attention.
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I Think I Might Be Pregnant
Nothing is more likely to make you feel like you’re in limbo than suspecting that you’re pregnant but not knowing for sure. Sure, it can cause you undue stress, worry, and anxiety, but it can also make you feel hopeful and excited.
Early warning signs and symptoms can give you a “heads up” that you may be pregnant. Just keep in mind that they are not to be taken as sure signs of pregnancy, but rather indicators instead. You’ll want to take a pregnancy test to know for sure.
Not all women experience pregnancy the same, nor do they experience the same early pregnancy symptoms. While many do experience early pregnancy symptoms, they may be different for you than they are for your colleague or best friend.
What’s more, if you’ve been pregnant before, the early symptoms you experience this time around may not be the same as your last pregnancy. Keep in mind, that many of these symptoms mimic menstruation symptoms — before you get your period and after — so you might be pregnant and not even realize it.
Below are some of the common early pregnancy signs and symptoms. However, it’s important to know that these symptoms could be due to other things going on with your body other than pregnancy. Therefore, you’re not necessarily pregnant if you notice any of the symptoms below. Again, as it bears repeating, the only way to know for sure if you’re pregnant is to take a pregnancy test.
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What Are Early Signs of Pregnancy?
Your symptoms likely won’t begin until your fourth week. This is when you may experience mild blood spotting and cramping and when you can expect to miss your period. But, if you are asking yourself, “How do I know if I’m pregnant,” see if you can relate to any of these early indications:
1. Missed Period
According to an American Pregnancy Association survey, approximately 29 percent of women claimed their first sign of pregnancy was a missed period. Missing your period is a common symptom of pregnancy and it often leads women to do a pregnancy test. You may notice some bleeding even if you’re pregnant, but it will usually be lighter and shorter than your normal menstrual period.
2. Urinating Frequently
A couple weeks after you conceive, you may have to urinate more. This is because of your pregnancy hormone hCG. This hormone causes an increase in blood flow to your kidneys, which helps them eliminate waste from your body more efficiently. As your uterus is growing more quickly the pressure on your bladder is greater. The amount of urine storage space you have decreases which causes you to urinate more often.
3. Swollen, Tender Breasts
The same American Pregnancy Association poll showed that 17 percent of the women surveyed said their first sign of pregnancy was breast changes. When you’re pregnant, you’ll go through some hormonal changes early on that will cause your breasts to be sore and sensitive. They will also feel heavier and fuller as they swell with blood when hCG and progesterone start increasing in your body after the egg is fertilized. This is because your breasts are highly hormone-sensitive. After several weeks, however, this discomfort typically decreases as your body begins adjusting to these hormonal changes.
4. Nausea and Sometimes Vomiting
Nausea was the first pregnancy indication 25 percent of women experienced. Although morning sickness doesn’t usually hit women until around a month of becoming pregnant, nausea is often felt earlier. It’s thought that your pregnancy hormones are what cause nausea, but it isn’t quite clear.
Many but not all women notice a small amount of spotting that takes place during implantation, or when the fertilized egg implants itself into the uterus wall.
6. Fatigue and Tiredness
You may start feeling tired or fatigued due to the extra progesterone your body produces when pregnant. This may increase your need for naps early on, but it tends to lessen by the time your second trimester starts.
7. Abdominal Bloating
This rise in pregnancy progesterone may also cause you to experience abdominal bloating. You won’t gain much weight during this time, but you may begin feeling bloated, which causes you to think you are gaining weight.
The process of implantation can cause this symptom, but you may think the cramps are an early sign of your period. If you’re pregnant, in addition to implantation, this cramping is when your uterus begins to stretch in preparation for the growing baby over the course of the next nine months.
9. Nipple Darkening
Nipple darkening is another early symptom of pregnancy. It’s caused by your pregnancy hormones affecting the cells or melanocytes in your nipples that controls the color. Your nipples may also grow larger and be more pronounced during this time too.
10. Sensitivity to Smell
Your sense of smell may be heightened, making previously mild smells unappealing and strong. If you notice your sensitivity to smells is heightened and you are offended by certain smells you normally don’t mind, this could be an early sign that you are pregnant.
11. Raised Temperature
Your temperature also rises during pregnancy, and you can track it with a basal body thermometer. This is not always a sure-fire indicator that you’re pregnant since your temperature can rise for other reasons, but it could be giving you an advanced clue that you may be expecting.
12. Increased Gas
Increased gas is also another early indication of pregnancy. It is very common in your first few weeks of being pregnant and can continue throughout your entire pregnancy. If you are not usually “gassy,” you might want to give this not-so-eloquent sign your attention.
Another early pregnancy symptom of pregnancy may be a change in your digestion, like heartburn. If you start feeling heartburn or a burning sensation in your chest after eating lunch at your favorite deli, it might not be that they changed up their recipe. It could be heartburn that is pregnancy-related. A good way to tell if it is heartburn due to pregnancy is that this burning feeling may worsen when you lie down or bend over. Also, if you’re not usually prone to getting heartburn, you may want to investigate.
14. Your Eating Habits Are Changing
If you notice that you’re suddenly hungry all the time or you are now wrinkling your nose to that once heavenly coffee aroma, it could be an early pregnancy sign. Many OBGYNs believe that changes in the appetite or food aversions are caused by your body’s pregnancy hormones. So whether your appetite has increased significantly or you find certain food scents to be nauseating or extra delicious, you may want to take that pregnancy test.
15. Feeling Full
Feeling full all the time is a common sensation women experience early on in pregnan
cy. This full feeling may come on before you miss your period. If you’ve never been pregnant before, you may actually miss this feeling. But, if you have been pregnant before and are actually trying to conceive, you may pick up on this sign right away. So, if you have experienced this fullness in another pregnancy and are starting to experience that same feeling now, you might just be pregnant.
16. Melasma — Your Skin Gets Darker
During your early weeks of pregnancy, you may develop what is known as the “mask of pregnancy.” This mask is so-called because your skin darkens around your upper lip, bridge of your nose, forehead or cheeks. Melasma usually presents itself on both sides of your face and is more common in women who are darker-skinned, however, it can also be a sign of other conditions, so a pregnancy test will be your only true way of actually knowing if it’s pregnancy-related.
Some women claim to experience headaches during the early stages of their pregnancy. Pregnancy-related headaches are due to hormone level changes. They don’t change your vision and tend to affect only one side of your head.
18. Mood Swings
You may be a little moodier than normal in the first stages of pregnancy. You’re hungry, sore and tired and don’t know if you really are pregnant or not. Meanwhile, your hormones are going crazy, and that can wreak havoc on your mood.
While these are good clues as to whether or not you are pregnant, one thing to note is that many of these symptoms above are not only symptoms of pregnancy. They could be indications you are about to start your period or maybe you are coming down with something — or it could be that you are indeed pregnant.
How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?
If you have a pregnancy test done at the doctor’s office, it basically lets the doctor know if your blood or urine contains hCG, which is a hormone known as human chorionic gonadotropin. This particular hormone is made immediately after you have a fertilized egg attach itself to your uterus wall, typically happening around five or six days after it’s been fertilized.
You’ll have a rapid rise in hCG levels if you’re pregnant. Your hCG levels will typically double approximately every 72 hours early on in your pregnancy. There are two different types of pregnancy tests that will give you the same answer. These are blood and urine tests.
The staff at your local Carlisle, Harrisburg and Mechanicsburg urgent care centers realize that it can be an exciting time starting a family, but the uncertainty in the beginning surrounding pregnancy tests can be nerve-wracking. Many women don’t even consider going to an urgent care center to have a pregnancy test done and often rely on a home test instead.
The problem with this is these types of tests can give you a false-negative or false-positive, which can really add on to this uncertainty. There are a number of reasons why home tests give you false results. Some reasons include:
- Home pregnancy tests generally can’t detect your hCG levels in your urine if you take the test too soon after you have missed your period.
- These tests take some time before they display the true answer, so if you look too soon at the results, you may not be getting the right one.
- If you drink too many fluids before you take the test, your diluted urine can cause the test to read a false result.
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