OB ABCs

Are you pregnant?

The signs and symptoms of pregnancy.

No two women experience the exact same pregnancy symptoms. In fact, symptoms vary not only from woman to woman, but also from pregnancy to pregnancy. Some women will experience the first symptoms of pregnancy just a week or two after conception. Others may not notice any differences for much longer. However, eventually, all pregnant women experience at least one or more of the following symptoms.

Missed period
The most significant and well-known symptom of pregnancy is a missed or delayed menstrual cycle. If you miss a period, it’s advisable to take a home pregnancy test. Missed periods don’t always mean pregnancy – particularly if you aren’t keeping track of your cycle, or if yours varies significantly from month to month. If you take a home test and the result is positive, the next step is to make an appointment with your OB/GYN doctor.

Frequent bathroom trips
For some women, the need to urinate more frequently is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. This is caused by the changes in hormone levels produced by implantation of the embryo. Some women even experience this symptom before a missed period.

Fatigue
It’s quite common for newly pregnant women to feel more tired than usual. This is due to a rise in the levels of a hormone called progesterone. Additionally, low blood sugar levels and increased blood production also contribute to energy loss.

Morning (noon and night) sickness
Morning sickness can occur any time – morning, noon or night. For some women, the feelings of nausea start as early as two weeks after conception. Additionally, pregnant women may experience a heightened sense of smell, and certain odors may cause nausea during the first weeks of pregnancy – or even later.

Changes and/or soreness in breasts
Early in pregnancy, it’s not uncommon for women to experience tenderness in their breasts or nipples. Typically, these feelings will dissipate as the body grows accustomed to the hormone changes it’s undergoing. The dark area around the nipples – the areolas – may become darker, and the small bumps on the areolas may increase in size.

Other symptoms
There are various other symptoms a woman may experience shortly after becoming pregnant. Cramping in the uterus, constipation, food aversions or cravings, unexplained headaches, unusual mood swings, feelings of faintness or dizziness, and an increase in body temperature may all occur in women who have recently become pregnant. If you a think you’re pregnant, take an over-the-counter pregnancy test. If the results are positive, schedule an appointment with your OB/GYN doctor.