It may seem like the answer to the question, “How do I know if I’m pregnant?” is pretty straightforward. Just head down to the pharmacy to pick up a simple home pregnancy test, then wait to see if the little line turns pink or blue. However, for many women, determining whether or not they’re pregnant isn’t that simple. Pregnancy tests aren’t 100% accurate (especially if you’re testing immediately after conception), while some women may not have access to them, due to age, family or religious reasons. Therefore, it may be helpful to consider some of the following early symptoms of pregnancy.
Once the fertilized egg is implanted in the uterine wall, a woman will stop menstruating until after the pregnancy. For many women, a missed period or two is the first clue to an impending pregnancy. However, for many others, it isn’t that simple. For example, many women’s cycles do not conform to a standard month – they may be anywhere from two to eight weeks apart, making it difficult to know if they’re actually missed or not. In addition, stress can also cause a woman to skip her cycle, so a missed period isn’t conclusive proof of a pregnancy for all women.
Having trouble staying awake or feeling unable to complete your regular responsibilities can be another early sign of pregnancy. During the first few weeks of pregnancy, your body is undergoing some tremendous changes to prepare to nurture a human life for the next nine months. Consequently, some of your normal energy reserves are being redirected from your normal activities, causing you to feel more fatigued than usual.
An increased appetite goes hand-in-hand with fatigue as an early warning sign of pregnancy. As your body undergoes its first-trimester transformations, it requires extra energy, which you may experience as an added demand for food. After all, as the saying goes, you’re eating for two now. You may find that you need to eat more frequent snacks or larger meals to keep up with your body’s new energy demands.
Swelling of the Breasts
Upon conception, one of the many changes that occurs in your body is the activation of the milk glands in your breasts. Normally dormant, these glands now engage to begin preparing milk for your child’s birth. Therefore, you might notice that your breasts feel larger or more swollen than normal as an early sign of pregnancy.
Although morning sickness is most common between the sixth and twelfth weeks of your pregnancy, it’s not uncommon for women to begin experiencing these symptoms immediately upon conception, due to the fluctuating levels of hormones that accompanies it. You can distinguish morning sickness from more common flu bugs if you tend to feel fine most of the time but experience sudden, inexplicable bouts of nausea and queasiness.
Change in Tastes
Finally, many women describe strange new cravings during their pregnancies, so pay attention to any changes in tastes you experience – they could be early signs of a pregnancy. For example, many women find themselves seeking out spicier foods than normal, while others find that foods they formerly loved now repulse them. If you’re tastes in food have changed at all, it may be time to visit your doctor for a professional pregnancy test.