Am I pregnant? Early signs and symptoms | Pregnancy articles & support
If you’ve not done a test yet but you suspect you could be pregnant, here are the signs that could spill the beans.
When you think you could be pregnant, it’s natural to obsess over signs. Do you normally have that much discharge? Is that nausea really because of how much spag bol you devoured?
What are the early pregnancy signs and symptoms?
Here are the pregnancy signs that could give the game away:
Changes of appetite
Feeling of sickness, nausea and vomiting
Strange taste in your mouth
Needing to wee more often
Cramps. (Healthline 2018)
This video looks at the early pregnancy symptoms and signs:
"The best way to confirm though is to pick up a pregnancy test".
Changes of appetite
In the early stages of being pregnant, you may crave certain foods or go off others (Patient, 2017; NHS Choices, 2016).
The morning cuppa that you used to love might seem repulsive now, while you’re pining for Marmite despite previously being a hater (NHS Choices, 2016).
Things should settle back to normal in your second trimester. So as long as you’re getting a reasonable amount of nutrition, it won’t harm you to go with your new (and sometimes quirky) preferences (American Pregnancy Association, 2018).
Sickness, nausea and vomiting
If you’re sitting in meetings fighting the urge to vomit, you’re definitely not alone. About 50% to 80% of pregnant women will throw up or feel nauseous (Koren et al, 2002). That can start happening any time from two to eight weeks after you conceive your baby.
The most likely cause is fluctuating levels of pregnancy hormones (Fantasia, 2014).
Oh, and the term morning sickness is a bit misleading too. Nausea or vomiting can happen at any time during the day (American Pregnancy Association, 2018).
A small number of women might find themselves with a severe form of nausea and vomiting called hyperemis gravadarum (HG). HG can lead to pregnancy complications like dehydration, weight loss and electrolyte imbalance so you might need to be admitted to hospital (Fantasia, 2014; RCOG, 2016).
Strange taste in your mouth
Some women get a strange metallic taste in their mouth when they’re pregnant (NHS Choices, 2016; Patient, 2017), which can be an early sign.
Sensitivity to smells
You might also notice that you’re more sensitive to the smell of food or cooking (NHS Choices, 2016; Healthline, 2018). This can make you a little queasy and might put you off some foods.
In a lot of women, being pregnant can lead to constipation and bloating (Li et al, 2015). This could be because you’re producing a large amount of progesterone so your digestive system slows down (Li et al, 2015; Mayo Clinic, 2017). For more on how to prevent constipation in pregnancy, see here.
Going to the toilet a lot
When you’re pregnant, the urge to wee will come over you often, sometimes even leaking out before you get there.
This happens as your body pumps more blood than normal when you’re pregnant. That means the kidney processes more fluid than usual, leading to more fluid in your bladder (Healthline, 2018).
In the later stages of pregnancy, you’ll run to the loo even more often because of the increased pressure of your baby’s head (Mayo Clinic, 2017; Patient, 2017).
One of your earliest pregnancy symptoms can be headaches, which might be down to rising hormone levels. It could also be because of increased blood flow (American Pregnancy Association, 2018).
Speak to your midwife if you’re suffering as in some cases, they can be a sign of something more worrying. Your midwife will also advise you on what you can and can’t use to treat your headaches when you’re pregnant (Negro et al, 2017).
Because of the changes in – you guessed it – hormone levels, changes in your boobs can be one of the earliest pregnancy symptoms. You might find your breasts change between four and six weeks of pregnancy.
These changes can include:
breasts getting bigger (see our article about bras for pregnancy if your old bras are getting too tight)
breasts feeling tender
veins becoming more visible
areola (area around your breast) darkening. (NHS Choices, 2016; Healthline, 2018)
Anyone fancy a nap? Yep, tiredness and fatigue are some of the most common symptoms in early pregnancy. Try to make sure you get as much rest as you can.
Your sleepiness is caused by increased levels of progesterone (NHS Choices, 2016; Mayo Clinic, 2017; Patient 2017; Healthline, 2018). But if you're struggling to get a good night's sleep, see our article about how to sleep better during pregnancy.
Changes in your hormone levels during pregnancy can make you feel irritable and moody (Patient, 2017; Healthline 2018). So yes, you do have an excuse. Because your oestrogen and progesterone levels are up, you might feel more emotional or feel depressed, anxious and even euphoric (Healthline, 2018).
In early pregnancy, some women get a small amount of blood or spotting, known as implantation bleeding (Mayo Clinic, 2017; American Pregnancy Association, 2018).
Implantation happens when the fertilised egg attaches to the lining of the uterus 10 to 14 days after you conceived your baby. The spotting will probably last for less than three days (Healthline, 2018). For more information, see our articles on discharge during pregnancy and bleeding or spotting during pregnancy.
You might get light stomach cramps or pain if you have implantation bleeding (Healthline, 2018). Some women get mild cramping in their uterus in early pregnancy too (Mayo Clinic, 2017).
This page was last reviewed in September 2018
Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby and general enquiries for parents, members and volunteers: 0300 330 0700.
We also offer antenatal courses which are a great way to find out more about birth, labour and life with a new child.
The HER Foundation provides information about hyperemesis gravidarum (HG).
American Pregnancy Association. (2018) Pregnancy symptoms – early signs of pregnancy. Available from: http://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/early-pregnancy-symptoms/ [Accessed 24th September 2018]
Fantasia HC. (2014) A new pharmacologic treatment for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Nursing for women’s health 18(1). Available from: https://www. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24548499 [Accessed 24th September 2018]
Healthline. (2018) Early pregnancy symptoms. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/early-symptoms-timeline [Accessed 24th September 2018]
Hyperemis RCOG. (2016) The management of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy and hyperemesis gravidarum. The Green Top Guideline No. 69. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23863612 [Accessed 24th September 2018]
Koren G, Boskovic R, Hard M, Maltepe C, Navioz Y, Einarson A. Motherisk- PUQE (pregnancy-unique quantification or emesis and nausea) scoring system for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. (2002) American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 186(5). Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12011891 [Accessed 24th September 2018]
Li Z, Pergolizzi JV, Huttner RP, Zampogna G, Breve F, Raffa RB. (2015) Management of opioid-induced constipation in pregnancy: a concise review with emphasis on the PAMORAs. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeautics. 40: 615-619. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26573866 [Accessed 24th September 2018]
Mayo Clinic. (2017) Getting pregnant. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/symptoms-of-pregnancy/art-20043853 [Accessed 24th September 2018]
Negro A, Delaruelle Z, Ivanova TA, Khan S, Ornello R, Raffaelli B, Terrin A, Reuter U, Mitsikostas DD. (2017) Headache and pregnancy: a systematic review. J Headache Pain. 18(1):106. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29052046 [Accessed 24th September 2018]
NHS Choices. (2016) Signs and symptoms of pregnancy. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/signs-and-symptoms-pregnancy/#strange-tastes-smells-and-cravings [Accessed 24th September 2018]
Patient. (2017) Early pregnancy signs and symptoms. Available from: https://patient.info/health/early-pregnancy-signs-and-symptoms [Accessed 24th September 2018]
Gartland D, Brown S, Donath S, Perlen S. (2010) Women’s health in early pregnancy: Findings from an Australian nulliparous cohort study. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 50 (5). Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21039372 [Accessed 24th September 2018]
9 Early Pregnancy Signs (That You’re Not Imagining)
Women. Wisdom. Wellness.
Aug 30, 2018
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If you’re trying to conceive, taking a pregnancy test at the right time is always your best bet to determine whether or not you’re pregnant.
But even before it’s time to take a pregnancy test, you might notice symptoms. That’s because, even in early pregnancy, hormonal and physical changes can take place in your body.
With all of the hormones rushing through a pregnant woman’s body, it’s no wonder that headaches are another common early sign of pregnancy.
Common Early Signs of Pregnancy
Missed period. First and foremost, the most obvious sign of pregnancy is a missed period. For many women, that’s the first symptom they notice. A missed period occurs two weeks after conception.
Extreme tiredness. Have you been feeling exhausted lately? Many women feel tired in early pregnancy. That’s because the pregnant body is working overtime to maintain the pregnancy and develop milk-producing glands in the breasts. Some pregnant women notice this fatigue even as early as one week after conception, making this one of the first noticeable signs of pregnancy.
Sore, swollen breasts. If you’ve noticed that your breasts feel full, heavy or even tingly, you may want to consider the fact that you might be pregnant. This symptom may show up even as early as one or two weeks after conception.
Nausea and/or vomiting. Feeling sick to your stomach? Pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting can start two to eight weeks after conception and continue throughout pregnancy.
Frequent urination. Early on in pregnancy, women might feel that they’ve “gotta go” frequently. As the pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) flows through the pregnant body, more blood flow enters the pelvic region, which then causes more frequent urination.
Intense cravings/aversions. Feeling especially hungry for a particular food? Can’t stand the sight of foods you usually enjoy? Food cravings or aversions are common throughout pregnancy.
Breast changes. Even at the very early stages of a pregnancy, some women notice a darkening of skin around their nipples.
Headaches. With all of the hormones rushing through a pregnant woman’s body, it’s no wonder that headaches are another common early sign of pregnancy.
Mood swings. Yelled at anyone lately? Mood swings are common for newly expectant mothers. That’s because hormonal changes can affect neurotransmitters in the brain. Pregnancy can cause women to feel extreme highs and lows. If you’re feeling stressed, try these stress-busting tips for pregnant mothers.
What Else Could Be Going On?
Keep in mind that many of these symptoms can also be the signs of other conditions, such as your period being ready to start or a hormonal imbalance. They also can result from stress or occur when you change birth control pills, so they don’t always mean that you’re pregnant. Be sure to see your doctor if you suspect that you’re pregnant.
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See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.
Source: American Pregnancy Association; National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
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Migraine during pregnancy: what to do
Migraine is a benign disease, it does not affect the course of pregnancy and fetal development. However, migraine and pregnancy is a combination that requires a responsible attitude. Especially with frequent migraines (more than 2 times a week) and migraines with aura, because:
medicines approved for use, few,
and the approach to the treatment and prevention of migraine during this period is extremely individual: it depends on the frequency, severity and duration of headache, the degree of impact on life.
Our neurologist Darya Korobkova conducted a live broadcast on the clinic's Instagram account, where she told how migraine and pregnancy are connected, why attacks become more frequent or disappear, and answered subscribers' questions. The ether was saved, see “Air recording: migraine during pregnancy and GV.
We will tell about migraine during breastfeeding separately.
The statistics of clinical observations of migraine during pregnancy looks like this:
In 60-70% of pregnant women with migraine, headache attacks become less frequent, milder, or even completely disappear in the second and third trimesters. This is due to the stabilization of estrogen levels. By the beginning of the second trimester, it rises 6 times and its fluctuations stop.
In other women, migraines during pregnancy either remain unchanged or worsen. But as the duration of pregnancy increases, the proportion of such women gradually decreases:
If at the end of the first trimester the frequency and intensity of attacks persist, then it is most likely that migraine will disturb the woman throughout the entire period of pregnancy and after childbirth too.
How to manage migraine during pregnancy?
The main thing here is to learn how to control seizures and, if necessary, seek medical help.
Follow lifestyle advice:
get enough sleep;
drink enough fluids;
eat fractionally and without long breaks;
avoid stressful situations. This is one of the main provocateurs of migraine. Psychotherapy, relaxation and stress management are here to help you.
Keep a headache diary. This will help you take control of migraine triggers.
Yes, these simple recommendations are sometimes enough to make seizures less frequent! Pregnancy is a special state of a woman. If in other periods of life we do not take such recommendations so seriously, then in this situation it is worth trying to change the philosophy of life and attitude towards ourselves =)
How to relieve an attack?
Favor non-drug methods. Sometimes, in order to relieve an attack, it is enough to eliminate an unfavorable factor:
dry biscuits, ginger, or applesauce may help with nausea;
for dehydration - diluted juice or other liquid;
sleep, walking or breathing exercises can also help to cope;
If the attacks are severe, interfere with your life, then under the supervision of a specialist, you can resort to drug therapy.
PARACETAMOL is considered the safest and can be taken throughout pregnancy.
All other drugs have nuances. For example:
ibuprofen can be taken in the second trimester, and in the first trimester it is better to limit, in the third trimester the drug is contraindicated for use;
aspirin is prohibited in the 3rd trimester and is undesirable for taking in the first two, as it can cause extremely undesirable consequences;
It is strictly forbidden to use ergotamine and opioid analgesics;
triptans are not officially approved for use during pregnancy as no controlled studies have been conducted. However, clinical observations of women around the world who took them on their own showed no adverse effects on the fetus. We discussed this issue in more detail on the air.
!Other than paracetamol, we do not recommend the use of any drug without a doctor's prescription.
When to see a doctor:
migraine occurred for the first time during pregnancy;
if migraine attacks suddenly become more frequent and stronger;
if the aura became longer or appeared for the first time;
if the headache is rapidly increasing and has an unusual character;
if the pressure rises during the headache.
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Headache during pregnancy: where does it come from and how to get rid of it
When to call an ambulance
Urgently dial 103 or 112 if you have Clinical guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of tension headache the following symptoms:
sudden and severe headache;
consciousness Preeclampsia becomes confused or lost altogether;
pain worsens over 5 minutes;
flies, spots flash in the eyes;
throbbing and noisy in the ears;
speech has become slurred, words are drawn out;
arms and legs weaken, convulsions set in;
severe neck stiffness Meningitis, chin cannot reach chest;
fever ALGORITHMS for providing emergency medical care outside a medical organization 39°C and above;
increased heart rate at rest;
severe shortness of breath;
the child pushes without stopping or stops abruptly;
leaking High blood pressure and pregnancy: Know the facts of water or blood;
lower abdomen hurts, as if contractions had begun.
Why pregnant women can get headaches
Pregnancy headaches are not always life threatening. But the doctor needs to be told about it in any case. If the symptom appeared for the first time and does not hurt much, postpone the conversation until a scheduled visit. If your headache is recurring or gets worse, it's best to make an appointment as soon as possible. The gynecologist will decide what needs to be done or refer you to another doctor.
There are many causes of headaches. Scientists have found Characteristics and diagnoses of acute headache in pregnant women — a retrospective cross‑sectional study that in pregnant women in 57% of cases it is primary, that is, not associated with other diseases. The most common are migraines and tension headaches.
Everything else is a secondary headache caused by various pathologies. Usually it is high blood pressure and infections. But there are also more dangerous reasons.
1. Stress and fatigue
A pregnant woman's body experiences increased stress, because it has to work for two. If at the same time the expectant mother is exposed to stress, strong feelings or sleeps little, she gets Clinical guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of tension headache tension headache.
Discomfort lasts from 30 minutes to several days. The head hurts in the forehead, occiput, both temples. But there is no feeling that they put on a tight hoop or helmet. The pain does not get worse when bending over, walking, or climbing stairs, bright lights, or sounds.
What to do
Tension headache can go away on its own: enough Clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of tension headache get some fresh air or sleep. Sometimes pleasant emotions help, which distract from experiences.
If the pain persists for 2-3 consecutive days, see a doctor. He will select painkillers that are safe for the child.
Any medicine that enters the stomach or bloodstream can cause headaches even if the dosage is correct. In pregnant women, this often occurs due to drugs for high blood pressure, heart disease, antibiotics, anticonvulsants.
Long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for headaches may cause Clinical guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of tension-type headache the opposite effect: the pills do not remove, but provoke symptoms.
What to do
If your head hurts a few hours after taking the medicine, you need to see a doctor to change the medicine. Do not drink non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for more than 3-5 days. If they do not help, you need to tell the doctor about it.
3. Love or avoidance of coffee
Headache during pregnancy may be caused by coffee Drug-induced headache: management. Unpleasant symptoms occur if you drink more than 3-4 cups a day.
Abrupt refusal of coffee is also harmful. It is worth finding out about pregnancy and stop brewing a fragrant drink, and after 1-2 days Caffeine-withdrawal headache will appear in the temples and the back of the head. The Vågå study of headache epidemiology aching pain.
What to do
Coffee is better Caffeine and adaptive changes in the circulatory system during pregnancy stop during pregnancy. If a headache occurs a day after this, you can drink a small cup of the drink and wait a day again. Gradually, the dependence on coffee will pass.
Coffee drinkers can Caffeine reduce their drink intake to 1-2 cups per day.
4. Infection with fever
Acute viral (usually ARVI) or bacterial (eg, streptococcal tonsillitis) infections cause fever and headache. This is a normal reaction to foreign microorganisms.
But any infection is dangerous for pregnant women The role of infection in miscarriage. It can cause fetal defects, growth retardation and even miscarriage. And with meningitis, especially listeriosis, there is a threat to the life of the mother.
What to do
If you have a headache with fever, call your doctor. He will prescribe safe medications or give you a referral to the hospital if a serious infection is suspected. In this case, Meningitis needs strong antibiotics, drips to maintain the body and sometimes hormones.
5. Preeclampsia and preeclampsia
After 20 weeks, preeclampsia may develop in pregnant women. This disease is GESTOSIS: THEORY AND PRACTICE, in which one of three symptoms or a combination of them may appear: high blood pressure, edema and protein in the urine.
Without proper treatment, gestosis turns into preeclampsia Preeclampsia. The pressure rises sharply, the head and lower abdomen hurt unbearably, the baby pushes unusually hard or, on the contrary, suddenly subsides Placental abruption. Preeclampsia can lead to placental abruption, damage to the liver and other organs, bleeding, and even seizures. Without urgent medical care, the fetus and mother die.
What to do
When the first signs of preeclampsia appear, the pregnant woman is hospitalized to find treatment. After that, she is discharged home under the supervision of her gynecologist.
But if her health worsens, the doctor again sends the woman to the Preeclampsia hospital, where she is prescribed drugs to reduce pressure, special drips to keep her body functioning. If improvement does not occur within a day, a caesarean section is performed.
One of the causes of migraine Migraine is a change in estrogen levels. But the disease very rarely appears due to pregnancy. On the contrary, in 70% of women the symptoms subside dramatically Migraine and pregnancy: a particular example of the course of the disease after conception. And yet migraine torments Migraine many.
It may begin with an aura: flashes of light, spots before the eyes, tingling in the hands or numbness of half of the face, sometimes tinnitus. Each symptom can last from 20 minutes to an hour.
A migraine attack develops after the aura. In this case, one side of the head hurts and throbs, nausea or vomiting appears. A woman is irritated by bright lights, loud noises, smells. They make the pain worse.
Seizures last from a few hours to a week or more. After a migraine, there is a feeling of severe fatigue, exhaustion, and an awkward turn of the head can return the pain.
What to do
Any medication for migraine during pregnancy must be prescribed by a doctor. In some cases drugs are used Headache in Pregnancy and the Puerperium from the group of beta-blockers.
Studies have shown Migraine and pregnancy: a particular example of the course of the disease, that often migraine in pregnant women is associated with a lack of magnesium. The doctor will help you choose the appropriate type of vitamin and mineral complex and its dosage.
7. Cerebrovascular disease
Hormone problems in some pregnant women increase blood clotting, which increases the risk of Headache and pregnancy: a systematic review of thrombosis, stroke, or meningeal hemorrhage. These conditions are very dangerous: a woman can die within a few minutes or remain disabled.
Vascular involvement is always accompanied by several symptoms:
severe headache on one side;
nausea and vomiting;
loss of consciousness;
What to do
Urgently call an ambulance. The pregnant woman must be laid or seated so that she does not hit when she falls. You can't give medicine! You can only open the window so that there is more air in the room.
What treatment will prescribe Headache and pregnancy: a systematic review by a physician, depends on the specific disease. These can be drugs that reduce blood clotting and dissolve blood clots. In some cases, urgent surgery is needed.
8. Brain Tumors
Studies show that progesterone and estrogen during pregnancy may cause or accelerate the growth of neoplasms in the brain. Symptoms of the disease appear slowly, over several months, and depend on the size and location of the tumor.
Headache may gradually increase Brain tumor, then vision, speech, hearing deteriorate, limbs go numb and convulsions appear. Sometimes it is difficult for a woman to keep her balance.
What to do
If a pregnant woman often has a headache or she forgets what she wanted to buy in the store and how to cook her favorite borscht, confuses her way home, you need to go to a neurologist. First, he will prescribe standard treatment, simple and safe medicines, rest, good sleep.
If this does not help, the symptoms do not disappear or worsen, a deep examination is needed Brain tumor. The pregnant woman will be sent for an MRI of the brain. This procedure is safe for the fetus. If the diagnosis is confirmed, surgery may be required.
What to do if the doctor cannot find the cause of the pain
If you have been examined and the doctor cannot tell you why your head hurts and diagnoses you with vascular dystonia, this is a reason to be wary. There is no such disease.
Look for another doctor. Perhaps he uses new diagnostic methods that will help to deal with the problem and choose a treatment.
How to avoid headaches during pregnancy
Experts recommend What can I do about headaches during pregnancy? I'd rather not take medication. next:
Avoid triggers. For example, if you notice that certain foods, smells, or situations cause headaches, try not to encounter them.
Protect yourself from stress, do not worry about trifles.
Move more. During pregnancy, walk every day in the fresh air and do special exercises for expectant mothers.
Correct Pregnancy nutrition: Healthy‑eating basics to eat. Try to eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, dairy products, drink at least 2.4 liters of liquid. Every day, the menu should include fish, poultry or lean meat. And it is better not to buy sweet, fast food and other junk food.
Observe Working during pregnancy: Do’s and don’ts daily routine. You need to sleep at least 8 hours a day and go to bed no later than 22-23 hours in order for melatonin to be produced normally.