Pregnancy is one of the most joyous and exciting stages of a woman’s life. Her happiness is unparalleled by anything else when she finds out that she has conceived a child. The next months of the gestational period will be a time for her to forge a bond with her baby. A mother-child bond cannot be compared to any other relationship because the mother carries the child within her womb for nine whole months and then goes on to provide nourishment through her breast milk.
With the advent of modern technology, women have the option of finding out the status of their pregnancy as early as 3 weeks after the actual conception. In earlier times, the pregnancy would be confirmed only after 2 or more menstrual cycles were skipped. As recently as 30 years ago, pregnancies could only be confirmed with the help of a HCG urine test.
Some doctors would also perform a physical examination of the cervix to rule out any chance of a false alarm. But what we in the modern world do not realize is that the female body is a very precise and highly evolved thing. When a woman becomes pregnant, the functions and processes change so drastically that they cannot be compared to any other normal person. The woman’s organs alter the way they perform their functions in order to adapt to the growing life in the womb.
Such changes and alterations in the body will also manifest themselves into visible and discernable signs and symptoms. A woman can tell whether she is pregnant or not merely by looking out for such signs. With a normal home pregnancy test, pregnancy can only be confirmed after the menstrual cycle has been missed.
It is only after this that HCG levels are high enough to show up on the test readings. But the body itself starts changing within hours of actual conception. You will be able to recognize signs of pregnancy as early as a week after conception. It is therefore very important for women to be aware of early signs of pregnancy that show up within the first month of gestation.
Earliest Signs of Pregnancy
Here is a list of the earliest signs of pregnancy that are common to almost women.
1. Breast Changes
One of the first things that happen to a woman after she becomes pregnant is that her breasts start to visibly change. This can be in terms of appearance and general feeling. The breasts may feel swollen or engorged and start feeling heavier. This is because the breasts start gearing up for feeding the baby when it is born. You may also notice heightened sensitivity and tenderness in the breasts and the area surrounding them. Some women are not even able to wear very tight underclothes because the breasts start feeling uncomfortable. It is a good idea to get your bra size checked at this time and change the size of your garments.
2. Areola And Nipple Changes
As the breasts start changing, so do the nipples and the area around them (known as areolas in scientific terms). The nipples may seem more outward or protruding than normal and seem to stand erect all the time. The areolas also seem to become larger and more spread out. They may also seem to look darker in color.
3. Increase In Frequency Of Urination
Frequent urination is another common complaint during the period of early pregnancy. This is because the body becomes very efficient in the elimination of toxins due to the sudden gush of pregnancy hormones. The kidneys work much better during this time and produce urine more quickly. Another reason for this is that the uterus starts expanding to make room for the growing fetus and presses against the bladder. This in turn reduces the capacity of the bladder to hold urine. This is why a pregnant woman needs to urinate very often and the problem is aggravated at night while sleeping.
4. Nipple Discharge
Some women also notice that there is a yellowish and thick discharge from the nipples. This discharge is a sign that the milk ducts within the breasts are opening up to produce milk later. The thick yellow discharge is not actually breast milk but a substance called colostrums. This is the main food for a baby in the first two or three days after birth and is supposed to highly nutritious. It is also known to be very rich in fat and antibodies.
Nausea is a very common complaint of pregnant women. Generally morning sickness or nausea starts only after the sixth week of pregnancy and lasts up to the twelfth week. But some women may experience it as early as the second week. Nausea occurs due to hormonal changes in the body and is a perfectly natural symptom of pregnancy. It may or may not be accompanied by vomiting and loose motions. Many women also experience vertigo and dizziness along with this.
6. Cravings and Aversions
Another sign of early pregnancy is the sudden and unexplained craving or aversion to certain foods. Many women start longing for food that they normally do not like or find their favorite foods to be disgusting. Some smells like that of milk and poultry are also known to be very off-putting for many women. Chicken, fish, cabbage, eggs and milk are the most common aversions during pregnancy. Ginger, fried foods and ice cream are usually liked by pregnant women.
Many women do not realize that they are pregnant because they mistake spotting for an actual period. The fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tubes and enters the uterus. It then implants itself into the walls of the uterus and starts growing. This is known as implantation and can sometimes cause very light bleeding.
The implantation usually occurs after 8 to 10 days of conception. This means that the spotting also happens in the second or third week of pregnancy. The spotting usually does not last more than a day or two and may be accompanied by dull abdominal pain.