Symptoms

Before you even suspect you are pregnant, your body will have switched on changes to support the developing embryo. Surges of pregnancy hormones such as oestrogen, progesterone and Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (HCG), all help to create a nourishing environment for the newly fertilised and implanted egg.

Pregnancy hormones cause early pregnancy symptoms, so consider them your friends!

Most women don t experience early pregnancy symptoms until around week 6 of their pregnancy. Though some are so acutely tuned into their bodies that they suspect earlier that they're pregnant. Women who've been trying to conceive or having fertility assistance can be particularly mindful of pregnancy symptoms. Nausea and vomiting especially, can be some of the first symptoms of pregnancy.

But I don t feel any different!

Don t worry if you don t experience any early signs of pregnancy. Some women sail through the early stages with no change to how they usually feel. The first symptoms of pregnancy can be different for every woman.

Physical changes

Increased blood flow to cervix, uterus, vagina and vulva

These tissues take on a distinctive blue or purplish colour in early pregnancy. Most women are unaware of this early sign of pregnancy themselves.

Feeling almost overwhelmed with hunger

An empty, gnawing sensation may hang around inside your tummy for hours. Eating something may only offer temporary relief.

Needing to wee more often

When you do empty your bladder there may not be as much volume as usual. Just be aware that burning or scalding could mean a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Nausea and vomiting

You might feel you want to vomit or have your head in a bucket for much of the day. Some researchers believe that vomiting, as an early pregnancy symptom, can be a positive sign for less chance of pregnancy loss.

Sore, heavy and tender breasts

Your nipples may become extra sensitive and your areolas become darker and larger. Your breasts could feel similar to how they do just prior to your period, but more uncomfortable.

Light vaginal blood loss

Light spotting is one of the common early signs of pregnancy. An implantation bleed happens when the newly fertilised ovum burrows into the thickened wall of the uterus.

Missing a period

Menstrual cycles can vary between women, though the average length is around 28 days. A missed period is one of the first symptoms of pregnancy.

A strange, metallic or acidic taste in the mouth

Dysgeusia is very difficult to describe, but one accurate description is metal mouth . Brushing your teeth and using strongly flavoured toothpaste may help. See your dentist to rule out any other causes for dysgeusia.

Generalised backache

Even if you've never experienced backache before, this can be an early sign of pregnancy.

Heightened sense of smell

Odours which don t usually bother you could make you feel nauseous. Raw meat especially, can cause waves of biliousness.

Being turned off by foods you usually like

Coffee, alcohol, fried or fatty foods could make you feel physically sick. Even watching someone else eating these foods could make you feel nauseated.

Food cravings

Foods with vinegar such as pickles or relishes may suddenly take on a whole new appeal. And odd combinations of foods suddenly seem delicious.

A heavy, full feeling in the gut and more wind

You could question yourself about those food combinations and make a silent pledge to go a little easy. The particular cause for this wind is not influenced by diet.

Feelings of overwhelming tiredness

This could be to the point of wondering how you can get through the day. This may be worse if you have other children to care for.

Emotional Changes

Just feeling a little different

This early sign of pregnancy can be hard to describe. Put simply, it's often described as a sense of not feeling the same, or as stable as usual.

Feeling a little more emotional

You could find yourself overwhelmed at times and wonder just what has happened to your even tempered self.

It is perfectly normal to feel a little different as you physically and mentally adjust to early pregnancy. However, if at any stage you feel that things are beginning to overwhelm you, or are just finding it difficult to manage from day to day, visit here for tips to help.

As your pregnancy progresses, there will be different symptoms and changes within your body. Some will be more pronounced and obvious, and others, quite subtle. Remember, no two pregnancies are exactly the same. Even if you have had a baby before, be prepared for a different experience each time.

FAQ

When can I do a home pregnancy test?

Most women wait until their period is late but for others, this seems too long. It is possible to have a false negative pregnancy test, especially if it is done before the levels of hCG can be detected in a woman's urine.

I don t feel any different, is that OK?

Some women don t have any early signs of pregnancy and feel just the same as they always do. Try not to worry, pregnancy is a different experience for every woman. Check with your healthcare practitioner if you're concerned.

Written and reviewed by Jane Barry, midwife and child health nurse on 19/01/20.

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