Pregnancy symptoms vary from one woman to another. Women could have none of the symptoms but can still go on to have a perfectly healthy pregnancy. Usually missing a period after conception is considered a sign of pregnancy. However, there are few other symptoms that indicate pregnancy:
- Implantation bleeding: A woman may experience implantation bleeding, or light spotting or bleeding, about 10-14 days after conception. Implantation bleeding usually occurs about a week before the expected period. The bleeding will be a lot lighter than the usual period. It will stop after one to three days. Implantation bleeding is considered the most common symptom of pregnancy.
- Sore or sensitive breasts: One of the earliest changes women may notice during pregnancy is sore or aching breasts. Breasts may also feel tender to the touch or fuller or heavier than normal. This is due to rising progesterone levels in the body. Breasts are often the first body part to get the message when the sperm meets the egg. Some women’s breasts may feel tingly after a few days of conception.
- Darkening areolas: Women may also notice areolas (the area around your nipples) darken. This can happen as early as one to two weeks after conception and is often a first sign of pregnancy. Women may also spot tiny goose bump-like bumps on the areolas (glands that will eventually lubricate your nursing nipples). However, not all women may notice them.
- Frequent urination: Usually, two weeks after conception (during menstrual period time), the kidneys start gearing up to filter out the extra waste in the blood from the baby on board. The growing uterus also starts pushing the bladder, which coupled with increasing progesterone levels results in a frequent (or constant) need to pee during pregnancy that may be an early indication of pregnancy.
- Nausea: Few days after conception, women may start to have morning sickness due to a rush of new pregnancy hormones. Although severe nausea may usually start four or six weeks later. Again, not everyone gets nauseous; it could also be a sign of PMS, a stomach bug, or food poisoning. However, a feeling of sickness or vomiting early morning may be an early symptom of pregnancy.
- Bloating: If a woman's stomach feels bloated after a few days of conception, it may be an early symptom of pregnancy. Usually, the digestive system can slow down because of hormonal changes. This can cause bloating, constipation, or gas.
- Tiredness or frequent spell of sleepiness: Fatigue or tiredness is common during the first months of pregnancy. This is due to hormonal changes. Blood sugar and blood pressure levels are lower during this time, causing frequent spell of tiredness and sleep.
- Sensitivity to smell: Some newly pregnant women report a heightened sense of smell early on due to increased levels of estrogen.
- Basal body temperature (BBT): It is the temperature when we are fully at rest. It’s usually taken when we first wake up in the morning. A rise in BBT for 18 days following ovulation may be an early symptom of pregnancy. This method works best if a woman has been tracking BBT for a while.
- Change in vaginal discharge/Cervical mucus: Women may notice change or increase in vaginal discharge in early pregnancy. During the first trimester, women may secrete sticky, white, or pale yellow mucus. This is because of increased hormones and vaginal blood flow. This may continue throughout the pregnancy as the cervix softens.
What is the best way to confirm pregnancy?
Pregnancy symptoms vary for everyone and are easy to confuse with a menstrual period. That’s why it’s impossible to tell whether a woman is pregnant based on symptoms alone. Alternatively, women can take a home pregnancy test or see a doctor if they suspect pregnancy. Home pregnancy tests are fairly reliable but may occasionally be a false-positive. This can occur for several reasons, including having an ectopic pregnancy (when the fertilized egg grows outside the womb) or even taking certain medications. Following a positive home pregnancy test with a doctor’s visit for a urine or blood test to confirm the pregnancy is the best way to confirm a pregnancy.