Is there a possibility that you might be pregnant? Not knowing for sure can drive you around the bend. While the only way to be certain is by taking a pregnancy test, there are some symptoms of pregnancy which can indicate that you should take a test.
Every woman’s body is different and every woman has a slightly different experience of pregnancy. In early pregnancy especially, symptoms vary considerably and some women begin to feel the effects of pregnancy earlier than others. You’ll usually need to wait until the day after the date of your missed period to test, but pregnancy symptoms can begin as soon as days after conception.
What follows is a description of some of the most common early signs of pregnancy. Noticing some of these symptoms doesn’t mean you are pregnant, just that it might be a good idea to take the test.
Spotting and cramping, also known as implantation bleeding, is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. It can happen just days after conception when the fertilised egg attaches itself to the wall of the uterus. Some women mistake the cramps and bleeding for the start of their period.
Breast swelling or tenderness is another very early sign of pregnancy. After conception, a woman's hormone levels change rapidly making her breasts swell or become sore. The area around the nipples, called the areola, may also darken. Again, breast swelling can be a normal symptom of menstruation, so it's not an absolute indicator. If pregnant, your breast tenderness may be more exaggerated than it would if you were menstruating.
Along with a missed period and breast enlargement and tenderness, frequent urination is another of the most common symptoms of pregnancy. In the early weeks of pregnancy, the need to pee often is caused by extra blood and fluid used in pregnancy that is excreted through your kidneys. This pregnancy symptom can start in early pregnancy and continue through the third trimester. Many women will notice the increased need to pee, even before other pregnancy signs.
Lack of energy and feeling tired all the time happens in early pregnancy but may be difficult to distinguish if you are particularly low on energy anyway. Feeling tired is caused by hormonal changes, which usually disappear as the body adjusts to new hormone levels.
Finally, nausea is a very common early indicator of pregnancy, and can occur about three to five weeks after conception. You might experience this as a sudden repulsion to certain foods and drinks, particularly curry, fatty foods and coffee (the foods which women develop an aversion to vary from person to person).
Thanks to modern technology, you don't have to wonder if you're pregnant for very long. Clearblue home pregnancy test kits can determine if you are pregnant at about the time that you miss your first period. These kits measure human chorionic gonadotropin levels (hCG) in the urine, which increase very rapidly during early pregnancy. The tests are generally accurate, provided that you follow the instructions carefully.