Am I pregnant, getting my period, or do I have another health condition? For many women experiencing certain physical symptoms, that is the ultimate question.
There are a wide range of health conditions, including just your normal period, with symptoms that can mimic signs of early pregnancy. The more of these symptoms you experience at the same time though, the more likely it is that you’re actually pregnant. It’s important that you determine whether you’re pregnant or not as soon as possible, so you can either get started with planning and prenatal care or look into alternative options if you’re not ready to have a child.
So, what early signs of a bun in the oven should you be on the lookout for?
Cramping & Spotting
Sometimes, when a fertilized egg plants in your uterine wall, it can cause period-like cramping and light bleeding. In fact, many women mistake implantation bleeding for a light period. You can usually tell if you’re spotting vs. menstruating by the volume and flow of blood. When spotting, you’re more likely to only find blood when wiping that may even look like just small drops of brownish discharge. Period blood flow is heavier and more continuous, in most cases.
Are you suddenly feeling exhausted all of the time? Even though your sleep and activity patterns haven’t changed much? Pregnancy fatigue can begin as early as the first week after conception. This is a result of the higher level of progesterone levels your body is producing. If you’re more tired than normal and experiencing any other signs of early pregnancy, you should take a test.
The hormonal changes that occur when you first get pregnant can not only make you more tired, but also make your breasts more tender and sore as your body adjusts to these new hormone levels. Your breasts may also swell, be painful to the touch, ache, or even tingle. It is also common for areolas (around your nipple) to darken or grow during pregnancy. Breast tenderness can happen with your normal menstrual cycle, but if it sticks around after your period then there’s a good chance you’re actually pregnant.
Nausea & Bloating
Nausea is a well-known pregnancy symptom, for which you have those hormones to thank again. Morning sickness usually doesn’t begin until you’re about 4-6 weeks along. However, you may also experience a brief bout of nausea within days of conception as a surge of new pregnancy hormones rushes through your body. Your digestive system also begins to slow when you get pregnant, so bloating is common as gas builds up and constipation is not uncommon either, for the same reason.
Headaches & Dizziness
In the first few weeks of pregnancy, your blood volume and flow increase in order to get more nutrients and oxygen to your new little embryo (and eventually fetus). This typically causes a drop in blood pressure as your blood vessels expand with the extra flow. As a result, you may feel lightheaded, dizzy, or experience headaches.
Food Cravings & Aversions
Hormones can throw a lot of things in your body out of whack during early pregnancy, including your senses. Pregnant women are often more sensitive to odor and taste, making the thought of certain foods repulsive. At the same time, these hormonal changes and constant hunger (you’re eating for two, after all) can make you crave certain other foods, even ones you wouldn’t normally pick out of a snack lineup. Food cravings or aversions accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea, can be an early indicator of pregnancy.
Have you been experiencing any of the above symptoms and wondering if you could be pregnant? Make an appointment at South Avenue Women’s Services in Rochester!
Our medical professionals can perform pregnancy testing, pregnancy dating, and ultrasound services to confirm your pregnancy and pinpoint exactly how far along you are. If your pregnancy is unplanned and you’re searching for alternative solutions, we can also provide you with information about abortion and perform the procedure in our clinic if you decide it’s right for you.
Call us today at 585-271-3850 to schedule your appointment!