Are your boobs getting extra sensitive or period late and think you are pregnant? What is the next step? The following is our complete guide to help you establish whether for sure you are pregnant, the early signs of pregnancy, and important things you should do first.
Common early signs of pregnancy
Early signs of pregnancy may be noticed from as early as 1 week of conception. However, many are those who get early signs within the first 4-5 weeks of conception and include the following:
- Nausea/ Morning sickness for most women: Medical experts refer to morning sickness as vomiting, nausea, and general tiredness. It is one of the commonest signs with over 75% of pregnant mothers experiencing it at some point. It is caused by elevated levels of hormones in the body as the system starts adjusting to host the unborn baby for the subsequent 40 weeks. Note that though it is common in the morning, it can take place any other part of the day and/or night.
- Regular urination: The elevated level of pregnancy hormones makes most body organs like heart, lungs, skin, liver and others to operate extra hard. To supply enough oxygen, refurbish the placenta, and everything necessary for early development of the embryo, the blood must work extra hard. This means it keeps going to the kidney more times for cleaning which means faster filling of the bladder and need to urinate regularly.
- Headaches: A sudden rise in hormones may result in mild headaches as the body tries to adjust. While you are busy going about with other things, the brain has to follow the embryo development so that all hormones and growths are triggered at the right time.
- Darkening of the skin around areolas/nipples: The area around your nipples may become darker, nipples more erect, and bumps near the nipples more pronounced.
- Food aversions or craving: This is very common with those who experience morning sickness. Because of hormonal changes, you might get put off by specific foods or develop deep craving for others. This may extend to smells in different people.
- Nasal congestion: As blood keeps running to collect more oxygen for the intensified body and embryo development activities, the lung and nasal membranes cells may swell and release extra mucous causing runny or stuffy nose.
- Light spotting: This is commonly referred as implantation bleeding that takes place when the fertilized egg attaches onto the uterus. It is mainly experienced about 10 to 14 days after conception after the fertilized egg has moved all the down from the fallopian tubes to the uterus. This has made some people think that they are still having periods even though they have already conceived. However, it is prudent to have it checked by a medical professional to ensure that it is not a major problem.
- Vaginal discharge: While this is common during the menstrual cycle, a different discharge that is white-milky might be an indication that you have conceived. The discharge comes from enhanced thickening of the uterus and vagina walls following conception.
- Fatigue: Ever felt tired even when waking up from a deep sleep? Well, you might be pregnant. Because of the enhanced activities in the body, your system will easily get tired even when resting. Besides, you may also get tired very fast and find it difficult to complete small tasks or others you are used to.
- Upset stomach: If you find the problem of upset stomach cropping up regularly with some instances of indigestion, you might be pregnant.
Carry out a home pregnancy test
When you note any of the outlined signs, the first thing to do is carrying out a pregnancy test. Simply check into the local chemist or get one from the nearest medical facility. From the moment you conceive, human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) commonly known as the pregnancy hormone will take about 14 days to be detected in the urine. Therefore, it is advisable not to be rush because the first test may have negative results before 14 days are over. Therefore, take the test and repeat it after a couple of days for confirmation.
Got positive results from the home test? Visit a doctor immediately
If the home test confirms that you are pregnant or gives mixed results, it is important to visit a doctor for a check-up. This is critical for several reasons;
- The doctor will carry a more comprehensive test to confirm your home test or clear your imagination.
- You can be registered with the right maternity services in your area.
- Provide you with loads of useful information on what to expect and do during pregnancy.
Emotions about early signs of pregnancy
When you establish that you are pregnant, the results can bring a lot of emotions. The first news might bring a lot of joy that fades within a short while. The main reason for this is that your mind is not just pondering about the news only, but also dealing with very many hormones that the body requires to produce for proper development of the embryo. Well, these emotional changes are okay and will go away after some time.
Three critical things to do after pregnancy confirmation
- Start taking folic acid immediately: Immediately after conception, the first parts of a baby to be formed are brain and spinal cord. These require a lot of folic acids. You must, therefore, start taking folic acid until about 12 weeks. In fact, if you were planning to get pregnant, it is recommended that you take up to 400 mcg before conception.
- Take your time before breaking the news to everybody: That moment when the doctor confirms that, yes, you are pregnant can be so ecstatic. The sheer thrill of knowing that you will have a baby makes you want to call everybody you know and even shout about it on social media. However, it is advisable to play it safe by waiting until you are about 12 weeks when the first scan can be done.
- Keep off alcohol: When you take alcohol, there is a great risk of miscarriage because alcohol passes easily from the blood to placenta. If it does not cause miscarriage, the development of the embryo is greatly compromised. It is advisable to keep off alcohol completely when trying to conceive and even after falling pregnant.