When you’re a teenager, sexual education classes stress the importance of using contraception to prevent pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted infections. What they don’t tell you is how difficult it can be to get pregnant when you’re intentionally trying to conceive.
It can be hard not to read into every little symptom causing you to nervously head to the bathroom with yet another stick in hand. After all, those tests can be expensive. But what are the early signs of pregnancy you should really be on the lookout for?
1. Sore Breasts
Sore breasts and nipples are often one of the first early signs of pregnancy that women experience. Many women also experience these symptoms as a normal part of their monthly menstrual cycle, so it can be difficult to tell if it’s an early sign of pregnancy instead. Unlike when it’s associated with PMS, this tenderness doesn’t go away quickly and often tends to worsen with time. Around the end of the first trimester, the discomfort should subside.
Another one of the most common early signs of pregnancy, many women will experience mild cramping due to the increased blood flow to the uterus. If the cramping becomes severe and interferes with your normal daily life, you should contact your doctor.
Light pink or brown spotting a week or so before your normal period can be an early pregnancy sign known as implantation bleeding. When a fertilized egg attaches to the lining of your uterus, it can cause irritation and light bleeding that may be mistaken for your period.
There’s something about growing and nurturing a baby that just zaps the energy right out of you. Your body is working hard to produce more blood to grow your baby, while your blood sugar and blood pressure levels are lower. Combine that with higher than normal levels of hormones and you may find yourself taking afternoon naps as often as you can or hitting the sack much earlier than normal. But don’t worry, most women will regain their energy in the second trimester.
5. Morning Sickness
Despite its name, morning sickness can strike any time of day. Attributed to the rising in hormone levels, more than 50% of women experience some degree of nausea and vomiting during early pregnancy. A much smaller percentage may experience a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum, or extreme morning sickness.
6. Missed Period
Obvious as it may seem, we still wanted to mention it because a missed period is a tell-tale sign that you may be pregnant.
7. Food Cravings and/or Aversions
Many women will begin to experience food cravings and/or food aversions during the first trimester of pregnancy. These may be foods you normally don’t eat or you might suddenly find yourself running for the nearest trash can at the sight of your favorite food. While it’s certainly okay to indulge a little bit, make sure you’re eating a nutritious, balanced diet.
Most women (59%) experienced an onset of pregnancy symptoms by their fifth or sixth week, while 71% reported symptoms by the end of week six and 89 percent by week eight. If you’re pregnant or think you might be, call Kernodle OB/GYN at (336) 538-2367 to schedule an appointment at one of our two convenient locations.