Have you started to notice changes to your daily life and health? Does something feel slightly off, but you just can’t quite put your finger on what it may be? Has the thought crossed your mind that you may have gotten pregnant? Below we’ve listed some of the early signs of pregnancy to help you determine what could be causing your symptoms.
Becoming a parent can be extremely exciting, and it is undeniable that parenthood is a life-changing experience. Some people see motherhood or parenthood as a rite of passage or an important step on the natural path of life. While most of us are familiar with the concept of what pregnancy brings later in life, what does it look like in the beginning?
Identifying the early signs of pregnancy can seem difficult. How do you know for sure if it is just a stomach bug or something more? So what if your period was a little later or lighter last month? While the process of identifying early signs of pregnancy within yourself may seem daunting, it can be easier than you may think. It does require a level of self-awareness and understanding of your personal health and daily wellness. Make sure to pay close attention to your normal health patterns so you are more easily able to note changes or irregularities.
If you think you may be pregnant or are interested in learning more about how you can identify early signs of pregnancy, here are some important changes to watch for.
Noticeable Changes to Your Menstrual Cycle
One of the first indicators people think of when it comes to pregnancy is a late or missed period. However, many women still experience lighter or shorter periods at the beginning of the gestational period. If you notice a major change to your menstrual cycle, purchasing an at-home pregnancy test from the drugstore or pharmacy may be a good idea.
If you have irregular periods or regularly use birth control, this may be a difficult way to indicate a pregnancy. In today’s day and age, there are a variety of smartphone apps available to help you track your periods and monitor the data. Recording this information may provide key information regarding your personal health. However, if your periods are consistently irregular, it is important to share your experiences with a medical professional.
Extreme Fatigue or Drowsiness
Think about when you are sick. Your body is very tired and worn-down as it is working hard to get you healthy. A similar idea can be said for pregnancy as your body has begun going through a major change – growing another human!
Do not write off these feelings of fatigue. It is important to allow yourself plenty of time to relax and rest. If you are concerned you may be pregnant, limit your caffeine intake as much as possible. It is best to rely on adequate sleep as the best remedy for your exhaustion.
Certain Foods Sound Unappealing or Even Disgusting
Have your favorite foods started to sound unappetizing or even downright awful? Food aversions are extremely common at the beginning of a pregnancy! Rising and shifting hormone levels may be affecting your appetite, making food aversions one of the most common early signs of pregnancy. If certain foods have started to sound bad, it is best to avoid them in full as much as possible.
Sensitivity to Smells
A blessing and a curse of pregnancy is often a heightened sense of smell. Pregnancy causes drastic changes in your body’s hormone levels. This can make a woman extremely sensitive to smells as the sense of smell is heightened.
While this change may seem okay as you are better able to smell pleasant things, such as flowers or freshly baked desserts, it is not a perfect change. This makes your body more sensitive to dangerous smells, such as cigarette smoke. If you are concerned you may be pregnant and you smoke, it is important to stop smoking as soon as possible and limit the amount of secondhand smoke you are exposed to.
Frequent Nausea or Vomiting
Morning sickness is one of the most common side effects we think of when it comes to pregnancy. Most women experience morning sickness during the first trimester of their pregnancy. The first trimester lasts for approximately 14 weeks.
The nausea and vomiting are also related to shifting hormone levels. These hormonal changes make a significant impact on your sensitivities and appetite. Certain foods may become triggers, and it is important to be proactive in trying to manage or reduce nausea.
Snacking on small meals instead of eating a few large meals can help combat this frustrating side effect. By “grazing” or consistently eating in small amounts, this helps make sure your stomach is never empty. Being consistently full, even if it is with just some food, can help keep nauseous feelings at bay. Also, it is a good idea to keep bland snacks on hand in case of emergencies.
Breasts Becoming Swollen or Tender
Changes to breasts are often early signs of pregnancy. Pregnancy often causes breasts to become swollen and tender.
As these changes happen, you may need to shop for new bras. Give yourself and your breasts a break by choosing bras that are supportive. However, it is best to choose comfortable bras. Skip choosing bras with underwires. Sports bras, bralettes, or similar compressive brassiere styles may be your best option.
Frequent Trips to the Restroom
Frequent urination is often associated with pregnancy, especially later in the gestational period. However, did you know it is also one of the early signs of pregnancy?
Urination increases as the fetus begins to develop, putting pressure on the bladder. You may constantly feel the need to run to the restroom, and this may also disrupt your sleep. Try to make sure you go to the restroom before going to bed.
Although it may feel like all you are doing is running to the restroom, it is important to not cut back on how much water you drink. In fact, it may be more important than ever to give your water intake a boost! Make sure you are consistently hydrated.
Needing to Catch Your Breath
While we all have times where we feel out of shape or winded, shortness of breath occurs because your body needs more oxygen. It may be struggling to take in all of the oxygen it needs.
When you become pregnant, your body needs more oxygen to provide oxygen to the growing fetus. However, the changes may cause a shortness of breath as your body adapts to the changes. If you are experiencing pain alongside the changes to your breathing pattern, make a note of the experiences and speak with a medical professional as this may indicate a larger concern.
Physical Changes to Your Body
Pregnancy obviously leads to many changes to your body. While you may think of the clear external changes like weight gain and swollen ankles, the intimate area of your body also goes through changes.
Although practicing safe sex and using contraception is important, it does not always happen. Whether it was an intentional choice in hopes of pregnancy or an honest mistake, it is important to make an appointment with a doctor after unprotected sex.
By performing a pelvic exam, a doctor is able to identify some of the anatomical changes that may indicate pregnancy. Pregnancy often causes changes to the color of the vagina as well as softens the cervix.
What Should I Do Next?
It is important to remember everyone will experience pregnancy differently. Along these lines, everyone experiences the early signs of pregnancy differently. Some of these indicators may be more prominent for you than others, but they may all add up to pregnancy.
Purchasing an at-home pregnancy test can help provide you with a better idea as to what you may be experiencing. While these may provide some insight, it is important to remember they are not universally accurate or reliable, especially if the test is taken too early.
Seeking the care of a doctor should be next on your to-do list. While you may not need to rush to the doctor with every pregnancy scare or possibility, it is important when you are experiencing some, many, or all of the early signs of pregnancy. It is especially important once you have tried an at-home pregnancy test, particularly if the test is positive!
How Can a Doctor Help Me Interpret Early Signs of Pregnancy?
Even if the thought of being pregnant has not crossed your mind, it is important to take a proactive approach to your health care. If you have started to notice changes to your everyday health and wellness, speak with a medical professional as soon as possible.
When you seek the care of a medical professional, their pregnancy tests often begin with urine testing, just like at-home testing. However, blood work may also be done, and a sonogram is often performed. This more comprehensive approach allows for an accurate diagnosis.
It is important you come to your appointment prepared. Just as you tell your OBGYN about your last period during your annual well woman visit, it is important to know the details of your most recent period as well as your missed period. This can help calculate your due date.
Think You May Be Pregnant?
Do you think you are experiencing early signs of pregnancy? Are you still unsure if all of your experiences align and point to being pregnant? The compassionate staff at South Lake OB/GYN are here to help. Our qualified professionals are here to support you and understand this major change in your life. We can help provide you with the knowledge you need to prepare for your pregnancy. We are conveniently located in Clermont, FL. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!