First symptoms of pregnancy
Trying to fall pregnant? If you have any of these common pregnancy symptoms it might be time for a pregnancy test!
Did you know that some of the first symptoms of pregnancy can occur before you’ve even missed your period? A lot of this is to do with changes in your levels of oestrogen and progesterone (two key pregnancy hormones).
Some women will have no symptoms at all, but if you do, this list of early pregnancy symptoms can give you a hint of what to expect when you’re expecting.
What the flavour?
According to some women, a heightened sense of smell and taste can be one of the first pregnancy symptoms. The exact reasons behind this are still being studied, but we know the body’s pregnancy hormones (particularly oestrogen) are involved.
“I get a metallic taste under my tongue. Three pregnancies and hits just over a week after the deed is done like clockwork!” says mum of three, Cassie.
Along with this strange taste in the mouth, you might also notice:
- that you crave new foods
- that you’ve lost interest in certain foods or drinks that you previously enjoyed
- that you’ve a more sensitive sense of smell than usual – for example, to the smell of food or cooking.
Some women may even develop a bizarre taste for non-food items, like paper. This is called ‘pica’ and may indicate a nutrient deficiency – so it’s important to speak to a doctor if this happens.
Changes in your mood can be a common pregnancy symptom for some women. Once more we can thank those pesky pregnancy hormones, this time affecting the chemicals in our brain, which can cause mood swings.
“With my second baby, I knew I was pregnant when Kermit singing ‘The Rainbow Connection’ on Sesame Street brought me to tears,” says mum, Kym.
Stress, anxiety, fear and tiredness also can play a factor in your mood.
Even though your baby is only as big as a couple of cells, you may find that your tummy starts to swell, and you have to pass more wind. This bloating can be an early first symptom of pregnancy, which can continue throughout your pregnancy. It’s due to higher levels of the pregnancy hormone, progesterone, which affects the muscles involved in your tummy.
“Second time around, I could not button up my favourite jeans by week two and was vomiting around the clock by week three. Oh, and my ankles start swelling nice and early,” tells mum of two, Em.
The bladder of joy
Pregnancy causes an increase in bodily fluids, and makes your kidneys work faster. The womb will start to swell too, and press against the bladder. As a result, most women start experiencing more frequent urination within the first few weeks of becoming pregnant.
Other signs of pregnancy you may notice are:
- an increased vaginal discharge, without any soreness or irritation.
Exhaustion is a common first pregnancy symptom that can last throughout your pregnancy, although it may not affect everyone as severely.
Making a human is incredibly hard work for your body. Your blood flow increases to carry nutrients to your growing baby, your blood sugars drop and your blood pressure may be lower. Increased progesterone may also make you sleepy.
“My first trimester was a joke. Every time I sat down I would fall asleep. I don’t think I made it past a 7.30pm bedtime once. I had much more energy by the second trimester though. I felt invincible!” tells mum of two, Danielle.
Sore breasts is one of the most common first symptoms of pregnancy. You may even confuse the tenderness for PMS, but as the weeks pass you will know this is no standard soreness.
“My boobs were so sore it hurt to shower,” says mum, Rebel.
Your breasts, including the nipples, will continue to grow and change throughout your pregnancy. This early pregnancy symptom is caused by hormonal changes and your body preparing your breasts for feeding your baby.
Morning sickness (that miss all day)
Around two thirds of all pregnant women will experience morning sickness to some degree, particularly in the first trimester. It can be as manageable as the occasional wave of nausea, or you may require hospitalisation when the morning sickness becomes extreme (hyperemesis).
“Basically I had morning sickness from conception with both of mine, which quickly developed into hyperemesis both times for the duration. Needless to say there will not be a third,” says mum of two, Kylie.
Some women find constant grazing and snacking can help ease the symptoms. Ensure you stay hydrated, and avoid foods that make your feel worse.
Even if you're not feeling different physically, surprisingly there's still a lot happening in those first few weeks as this infographic shows.
Light bleeding or spotting
This is a tricky early pregnancy symptom as you might mistake it for a period. Up to 20 per cent of women report they have light bleeding (spotting) in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Spotting may be different colour to your regular period. There is usually not much blood, barely enough to use a panty liner. This is usually an “implantation bleed”, which occurs when the embryo first attaches to itself to the lining of the womb.
A missed period
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This is when stuff gets real. You thought your were due and all of a sudden you realise - your period is late! This is the most common, and most telling, first pregnancy symptom.
Although you can also miss a period due many reasons, including stress, weight loss and grief, you’d better get yourself a pregnancy test as soon as possible once you realise you are late.
If you think you might be pregnant and are experiencing any of the symptoms on our list of early pregnancy symptoms, it’s important to speak to your doctor.