Early Signs of Pregnancy - Could you be expecting?
Aliza Carr is a midwife and mental health specialist, who founded the online platform Bumpnbub to educate, support and connect new parents.
Here are some common early indications of a bun in the oven – AKA pregnancy! Some women experience symptoms as early as one week after conception, while others may only experience these after a few weeks, or even months! It's important that you know what to look out for. If you are trying, you may be hyper-aware of everything in your body. If this baby is a surprise, you may only notice once symptoms start!
Pregnancy fatigue is so real - and it can be tough to manage when you need to go about your day-to-day life. Generally speaking, most women tend to feel completely exhausted all the time during the first trimester. Your body is working in overdrive to develop and nurture your baby - what a job! Did you know that in the first trimester, all your baby's essential organs are formed? No wonder you're feeling tired, mama!
Tip: If you're able to take a 10-minute timeout, take some deep breaths and sip on a hydrating drink - coconut water is excellent!
A missed period is generally one of the very first signs you might be pregnant. Your period won't return during your pregnancy, as when a woman is pregnant, she does not continue to ovulate. For some women with irregular cycles, they might be used to experiencing delayed and infrequent periods which can make this symptom a bit tricky to identify. We recommend that if this is the case, it might be time to pull out that pregnancy test!
Your breasts may feel extremely tender or even bruised and painful. Why are my breasts so sore? It's because when you become pregnant, your body produces higher levels of oestrogen and progesterone, the hormones that help make your pregnancy possible. These hormones prepare your breasts for nursing – and they can also make them sore and sensitive, just as they are around your period.
Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, or morning sickness (actually all-day sickness) can be a terrible experience for many expectant mothers. 1-3% of women face excessive vomiting and nausea, often leading to hospitalisation. This is called hyperemesis gravidarum - the most severe form of morning sickness.
For mothers with regular morning sickness, here are some popular tips that women find to be effective:
- Ginger (even the smell can help with nausea)
- Peppermint (tea/sweets)
- Bedside water and crackers (to eat as soon as you wake, as often having an empty tummy causes nausea to worsen)
- Lemons (a squeeze in water)
- Breathing exercises
- Take prenatal vitamins with food
- Eat frequent small meals (keeping food in the stomach throughout the day can assist with reducing nausea)
- Prescribed medications (if you cannot keep food and fluids down, please seek medical help)
Another indicator of pregnancy is cramping that seems to come and go, which is unusual at this point in your cycle. This could be implantation cramping - an early sign of pregnancy. This generally occurs 12-16 days after ovulation and might be coupled with light spotting ranging in colour from peach to pink, to red. This is known as implantation spotting. It happens when the egg and sperm, which have conjoined into a blastocyst, burrow deep into the uterine lining to prepare for that sweet baby to grow. Some women can mistake spotting as their period coming, so this is an important symptom to remember.
Are you feeling up and down emotionally? This is very normal and is due to the hormonal fluctuations occurring in your body. It's a very common sign of early pregnancy - be kind to yourself during this time!
This one may affect you more later on in pregnancy. An old wives' tale says that if you crave sweets, like chocolate, it is said you will have a girl. If you are more inclined to salty flavours, it is believed you will have a boy. Ooh, what's bub going to be, mama?
You may find some smells that you used to love - like your favourite perfume - all of a sudden makes you feel nauseous.
Pregnancy has all sorts of symptoms and signs, but our bodies are incredible in the way that they tell us something is different. If you think you might be pregnant, the best thing to do is take an early pregnancy test and/or pay a visit to your midwife or doctor to arrange for a blood screening to confirm pregnancy. Early care is so important, so be sure not to wait!