A missed period is definitely the most obvious sign of pregnancy. But it isn’t the only one. An egg fertilises and implants in the uterus wall well before you miss your period. You are pregnant the moment the implantation happens. When you have crossed a few days or weeks into pregnancy, the body certainly begins to give indications about pregnancy even before the menstrual date. Symptoms of conceiving generally appear during the first week of conception. However, excited and anxious expectant mothers fail to notice them. Is there a way to know that you are pregnant even before you miss your period? Read on to find out.
Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy before a Missed Period
A pregnancy test is undoubtedly the most accurate way to assess if you are pregnant. However, experiencing a few common symptoms could reveal those first signs of pregnancy before a missed period. Here is a list of some early symptoms of pregnancy which could help gauge if you are pregnant, prior to the agonizing wait, to take the tests.
1. Implantation, Bleeding and Cramps
Menstrual cramps, light bleeding, and spotting generally termed as implantation bleeding are a few early and evident signs of pregnancy. The fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterus wall resulting in implantation. If you have a regular menstrual cycle, then signs of implantation bleeding will occur a week or so before the missed period. It may last for a few hours or even a few days. It may appear as few traces of blood on the undergarment or while wiping the vagina. However, watch out for signs of heavy bleeding, which could either be a miscarriage or a period.
2. Elevated Basal Body Temperature
Often more accurate than the rest of the symptoms, basal body temperature should be monitored for months to figure out a noticeable change. Prior to ovulation, the body temperature increases and comes back to normal after your period cycle. But during pregnancy, the basal body temperature tends to stay elevated all throughout. With implantation in place, the body is getting itself ready to accommodate a new life in the system, which results in a higher temperature. The immune system is just re-aligning itself to sail through the gestation period. If your body temperature has been on the rise for over 20 days post-ovulation, then it marks the onset of a new journey.
3. Sore, Tender and Heavy Breasts
Sore, tender, heavy breasts or darker areolas are noticeable pregnancy symptoms a week before missed period. With rising oestrogen levels after conception, women feel sore, full and experience acute pain in the breasts. Nipples begin to look darker and feel itchy, tingly or prickly. Then again, these symptoms are not very different from pre-menstrual breast signs but will last after you have missed your period too.
4. Exhaustion and Fatigue
Hormonal changes leave you feeling tired and fatigued all the time. Exhaustions and sleepiness are early signs of being pregnant. It is extremely normal to feel tired after doing small chores. Progesterone levels are to be blamed for an increased tendency to sleep and will last through the entire first trimester. The body also starts to produce more blood to support the growing foetus which results in increased exhaustion. This can be countered with a healthy diet rich in minerals, vitamins, iron and plenty of fluids.
Nausea or vomiting, a very common symptom, often called “morning sickness” is a prominent symptom and could indicate that you are pregnant. Within a few days of conception, you might start to feel uneasy and experience nausea. Due to a rise in the levels of oestrogen and progesterone, you could wake up every day and feel the need to vomit. Nausea need not necessarily happen in the morning, it could appear anytime and last all through the day and stick around through all trimesters. About 80% of pregnant women are afflicted with nausea in the initial weeks before a missed period. The severity of morning sickness or nausea symptoms vary in different women but 50% of pregnant women feel nauseated within six weeks of pregnancy or even earlier.
6. Food Cravings, Aversions and Sensitivity to Smells
Pregnancy hormones play a major role in making you crave your favourite food and may also cause an aversion to certain smells. Sudden and heightened sensitivity to smells, pungent tastes and food aversions occur during the initial weeks after conception and may or may not last through the entire pregnancy. Some mothers-to-be even lose their appetite before they miss their periods.
7. Bloating and a Feeling of Tightness
One of the most commonly experienced symptoms of pregnancy before the missed period is bloating or stomach twinges and pulls. These are a result of an increase in progesterone. The increased level of hormones impedes digestion, trapping gas in the intestines. A protruding stomach could tighten clothes around the waistline and result in discomfort. Bloating could lead to unpleasant farts and burps. Healthy eating and controlled portions of food intake could help in dealing with any discomfort.
8. Urge To Urinate
The frequent urge to urinate is another prominent sign. This tendency will only increase through your pregnancy when the growing uterus starts pushing the bladder. With hormonal changes and extra production of blood, frequent urination is a common symptom that will last through the entire pregnancy. Kidneys work overtime to filter blood, thereby causing an urge to urinate often. Almost all pregnant women experience this urge which is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. It starts to occur closer to when your periods are due.
9. Mood Swings
Changes in hormones make you either feel upbeat or very low. Another early sign before you miss your period, mood swings work in mysterious ways, and will have you sobbing over the smallest or trivial issues. The imbalance in hormones affects the neurotransmitters in the brain, causing enhanced spells of emotions ranging from anger to sudden emotional outbursts. Take some time to relax and rest if you don’t feel normal.
Dizziness and feeling of light headedness is an early symptom of pregnancy which occurs in several expecting mothers. Blood vessels dilate, thereby causing a reduction in blood pressure which leads to a feeling of dizziness and imbalance. The symptom lasts during the first trimester and gradually decreases in the other phases. However, if dizziness is accompanied by vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain, you should immediately consult a doctor.
The progesterone hormone tends to constipate bowels and if you find yourself unable to poop, then it could be an early sign of pregnancy. Bowel movements harden due to the spurt in hormones and reduce the pace at which food passes through the digestive system. If you feel constipated for over a week after you have missed a period, you should consider taking a pregnancy test.
Headaches are the most common pre-menstrual symptoms, however with conception, oestrogen and progesterone hormones work overtime to prepare the uterus for the baby. The hormones cause a dip in blood sugar levels causing headaches as the brain cells struggle to keep pace with low levels of sugar supply.
13. Aches and Pains
Hormones do the task of making space for the new life inside you and this impacts the ligaments which need to stretch. Stretching of ligaments and joints could result in pain in the spinal area before you miss your period.
14. Strange Taste in the Mouth
Hormones could play strange games and you may find yourself feeling a strange awkward taste in your mouth. You could feel like you have swallowed some unsavoury metal. This metallic taste could well be an early sign to tell you that you have started your journey to motherhood. The symptom generally disappears after the first trimester but could last longer in some women.
15. Excessive Thirst or Ravenous Pecking Tendencies
Don’t be surprised if you see yourself downing gallons of water. An increase in the blood volume could make you feel excessively thirsty even before you miss your period. You may also tend to feel hungry and peckish all the time with the surge in hormones.
16. Cervical Mucus Change
An increase in cervical mucus, is an early detector of pregnancy. After conception, the cervical mucus will appear thicker and creamier and will stay that way till you have missed your period. You may also experience a stinging feeling when you pee or itchiness and soreness around your vagina.
17. Short Breath
Shortness of breath could be an early sign of pregnancy since the body starts requiring more oxygen and blood to breathe for two lives. This continues throughout all trimesters with the growing baby and the need for more oxygen and nutrition.
18. Drooling or Salivating
Although not a very common symptom, some women do produce excess saliva before they miss their period. This condition primarily known as ptyalis gradidarum is related to morning sickness and heartburn. Nausea pangs build up extra liquid in the mouth resulting in drooling.
19. Hot Flushes
A very common occurrence when your periods are due or even when menopause sets in, hot flushes could also be an early indication of pregnancy. If you find yourself warped in a surge of a heat wave grappling your organs, there may be a good chance of you being pregnant.
20. Spots, Acnes and Bumps
An occasional occurrence of pimples and zits is common during the pre-menstrual phase. Sudden sprouts could be the result of an incre