Are you or is someone you love considering having a baby? There's a lot to expect when you’re expecting! Pregnancy is a major transition period that brings significant physical and emotional changes for the person carrying the pregnancy and their entire family. These changes can significantly affect a pregnant person’s daily life, even if it’s a relatively easy pregnancy.
Knowing which pregnancy symptoms are normal and which are cause for concern is important. It’s also a good idea to be aware of these symptoms as they can be the first signs of an undetected pregnancy. Keep reading to find out about the most common signs of pregnancy and in which stage you can expect to experience them.
When Do the First Signs of Pregnancy Begin?
According to Planned Parenthood, one of the largest non-profit sexual and reproductive health organizations in the United States, signs of pregnancy can start as early as the first week. Others don’t experience the symptoms until much later. This is because every body is different and each pregnancy has its own unique characteristics.
It’s worth mentioning that medically speaking, the beginning of pregnancy isn’t marked by the act of unprotected sex. The start of a pregnancy is defined as the moment the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterine walls. This process can occur up to two or three weeks after having unprotected sex. Symptoms can appear before this takes place.
Pregnancy Symptoms at Week 1
As soon as the spermatozoid fertilizes the egg in the fallopian tube, a pregnant person will begin experiencing physical and hormonal changes that can transform and alter processes in their body. The following are the most common signs of pregnancy seven days out:
Reddish or pink vaginal discharge
Vaginal discharge that’s pink in color is due to small amounts of blood caused by implantation bleeding. This is one of the first signs of pregnancy and is due to the shedding of a bit of uterine lining when the fertilized egg implants itself into the uterus. Generally speaking, this symptom is completely normal during the first trimester and can start as early as the first week of pregnancy.
Thick vaginal discharge
Thick vaginal discharge is another change you may notice during your first week of pregnancy. This is known as leukorrhea. Leukorrhea is your body’s way of maintaining the appropriate vaginal acidity and preventing pathogens from entering your vagina. This viscous fluid can be whitish and shouldn’t have a strong unpleasant odor. If your discharge looks yellowish or has a strong odor, see a doctor. This can be a sign of infection.
Stomach cramps and swelling
Cramps are one of the most common signs of pregnancy, and they can last throughout the entire gestation period. When they happen during the first week, they’re normally caused either by the fertilized egg implanting in the uterus or by the physiological changes that your abdominal and pelvic area undergo in order to accommodate the growing fetus.
Swelling or abdominal bloating is another common sign of pregnancy. This condition often takes place during the first two weeks of pregnancy. Swelling is caused by physiological changes that hormones trigger in your abdomen. Luckily there are plenty of different home remedies that you can use to alleviate this symptom.
Signs of Pregnancy at Week 2
Every pregnancy is unique and results in different symptoms. Unfortunately there's no crystal ball to predict if or when you’ll experience these symptoms. We can, however, identify a few that tend to start during the second week of pregnancy.
Breast tenderness and swelling
Biologically speaking, the function of the breast is to produce milk to feed infants. During pregnancy, physical changes can occur to prepare for this, including: sensitivity, swelling, and even pain. Hormones can also affect your breasts from early on in your pregnancy. Luckily these symptoms tend to be fleeting and often subside once your body adjusts to these new hormone levels.
A darker areola color (the area surrounding your nipple) is another visible change in your breasts caused by pregnancy. You can see this change very early on. This is caused by greater blood flow to the area and the hormones that trigger an increase in melanin production. Melanin is the pigment that gives your skin its color.
Keep in mind: Researchers think that darker areolas are an evolutionary mechanism designed to help the baby identify their food source more easily. Since a newborn’s vision is blurry, a darker color can make it easier for infants to latch and feed.
Exhaustion and fatigue
It goes without saying that growing a human inside of you is an extremely demanding physical job. It’s normal to feel extra tired and require more rest during pregnancy. Feeling exhausted normally starts during the second week of pregnancy. The fatigue and exhaustion are due to the high amount of energy required for the fetus to develop as well as the body’s increased progesterone levels during the gestational period.
Most pregnant people experience shortness of breath during pregnancy. This isn’t harmful and doesn’t affect the amount of oxygen that the fetus receives. At the start of pregnancy, this shortness of breath is caused by progesterone, the same hormone that causes exhaustion. This happens because increased respiratory frequency is one of progesterone’s effects. As a result, it can feel like it’s hard to catch your breath. The increased blood flow toward your uterus reduces circulation to the rest of your organs. Since blood flow is the mechanism that carries oxygen through your body, this can also result in a shortness of breath.
Aversion to strong smells
A heightened sense of smell and an aversion to certain odors are some of the earliest signs of pregnancy. These symptoms are linked to increased progesterone levels. These higher levels can cause certain smells that were once pleasant or tolerable to become unbearable.
This is probably the most well-known and clear sign of pregnancy. When a person is pregnant, their body releases a hormone called hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin.) HCG stops ovulation and prevents menstruation in order for the fetus to develop correctly. Keep in mind that a late period can have different root causes. This means that a late period isn’t necessarily a surefire sign of pregnancy. That said, it’s a good idea to take a pregnancy test if you’ve missed a period when you’re normally regular.
Symptoms of Pregnancy After the First Month
After the first month of pregnancy, you may notice a series of symptoms that last throughout your entire pregnancy. A few of the most common symptoms that start after the first month are:
Nausea is one of the most common signs of pregnancy. Almost everyone who gets pregnant suffers from it at least once throughout their pregnancy. Nausea can cause vomiting, though this only occurs in 32.5% of pregnant people. The cause of this condition isn’t completely understood by scientists, but they believe hormone fluctuations are a contributing factor. Luckily, this symptom rarely affects the baby’s health and is only cause for concern when there's a considerable amount of weight loss due to frequent vomiting.
Sometimes referred to as sialorrhea, excessive salivation is another sign of pregnancy that’s often associated with nausea. Just like the other symptoms on this list, it’s caused by hormonal changes. Despite being a bit bothersome, it doesn’t put your or the fetus’ health at risk.
A lot of pregnant people develop strong cravings for certain foods or even combinations that might seem strange or unorthodox (pickles and ice cream, perhaps?). Cravings for certain foods are normal. Just remember that eating too much can be harmful for your health both during and after your pregnancy. While it’s a good idea to increase your caloric intake during pregnancy, you should only increase it by 300 calories a day to ensure proper fetal development.
Headaches and dizziness
Headaches and dizziness are relatively common pregnancy symptoms. As soon as a pregnancy starts to develop, hormonal levels change to increase the body’s overall blood flow. This helps the fetus develop in the uterus. The increased blood flow can decrease your blood pressure, sometimes referred to as hypotension. This condition is the cause of most headaches during pregnancy. It can also cause you to feel dizzy, especially when you sit or lie down.
A frequent urge to pee
Frequent urination affects most pregnant people at some point. Sometimes it starts very early in the pregnancy, then it decreases a bit during the second trimester, and increases once again during the third trimester. This increase is due to hormonal changes, greater liquid intake, and pressure put on your bladder by the growing fetus.
Can I be Pregnant Even if I Don’t Have Any Symptoms?
It’s not exactly common for someone to be pregnant and not show any symptoms, but it is possible. There's no way to predict what symptoms you’ll experience during pregnancy or if there will be any symptoms at all. Some people experience morning sickness throughout the day, while others only feel nauseous in the morning. Some don’t even get nauseous at all! Some pregnant people feel exhausted from the start of their pregnancy, while others don’t feel tired until they’re further along in their pregnancy.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Will My Urine Change if I’m Pregnant?
Your urine will be slightly darker than normal. If your urine is yellow, no need to worry. If it’s brown or pink, consult your doctor as this could be a sign of an illness.
Where Will I Feel Pain During Pregnancy?
Pregnant people tend to feel pain in their lower abdomen and breasts starting in their first trimester. It’s also common to experience back pain in the third trimester due to the weight of their belly.
When Can I Take a Pregnancy Test?
There are two types of pregnancy tests: urine and blood tests. You can buy a home test at your local drugstore. Home pregnancy test kits work by testing for a hormone found in urine during pregnancy. All you have to do is pee on the test’s absorbent tip and it will return either a positive or negative result. You can take these tests as soon as you’re late for your period. Blood tests are much more precise and can be done fifteen days after having unprotected sex. These can be ordered in a clinical analysis lab.
Your Health Comes First!
Whether you’re looking for information because you’re either looking to start or expand your family or experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, we hope we’ve answered questions about potential symptoms associated with this process. Your health comes first, and no matter your circumstances, it’s always important to visit your doctor for the most comprehensive information.
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