Common Symptoms of Early Pregnancy
There are several signs of early pregnancy that can affect you in the first weeks. The HOPE Center offers FREE pregnancy testing for women!
Early pregnancy signs and symptoms can be similar to the symptoms of PMS. We recommend a urine pregnancy test performed by a medical professional to help you know for sure. If you are experiencing any of the pregnancy symptoms listed below, just call for your free appointment!
- Missed Period:
- A period is one part of a woman’s menstrual cycle. The period usually occurs once every 21 to 35 days and lasts for about 2 to 7 days. Every month, about halfway through your menstrual cycle, your body prepares for pregnancy as one ovary releases an egg, also known as ovulation. If the egg is not fertilized, pregnancy does not occur. The uterus then sheds its lining, resulting in a period. If you become pregnant, a period does not occur because the lining of the uterus is instead supporting and nourishing the newly attached embryo. Therefore, a missed period is typically the first sign of pregnancy.
- Slight Bleeding or Spotting:
- Spotting or a small amount of bleeding may occur in early pregnancy, and can be confused with an irregular period. Spotting around the time you’d expect your period results from the embryo attaching itself to the uterine lining, and may be referred to as implantation bleeding. This usually lasts a much shorter time than your regular period, and does not typically result in enough blood to soak a pad or tampon. If you are experiencing a moderate amount of bleeding which lasts for longer than 2 days around the time you’d expect your period, this is most likely your period and not implantation bleeding.
- Increased Discharge:
- You may notice that you have increased vaginal discharge. This is your body’s way of protecting against infection during pregnancy, and is a result in the change of hormones. If there is an unusual odor or color associated with the discharge, contact your OBGYN to make sure you do not have a yeast infection (common during pregnancy) or an STD.
- If you are pregnant, you may notice a difference in your energy level. You might feel extremely tired, even in the middle of the day. This is caused by the hormone progesterone, which rises quickly during the early weeks of pregnancy. You may be unable to exercise as much as you did before, as the added blood volume during pregnancy increases your heart rate and causes your heart to work harder. Additionally, some women have low levels of iron during pregnancy. This can contribute to the feeling of fatigue. For most women, fatigue subsides after the first trimester, and returns at the end of their pregnancy.
- Morning Sickness:
- Up to 70 percent of pregnant women experience nausea and/or vomiting in the first few months of pregnancy. This is often referred to as morning sickness, but it can linger throughout the day for some women. Nausea appears to be linked to the rise of Human Gonadotropic Hormone (HCG) in early pregnancy, and typically begins around week 6. As difficult and uncomfortable as nausea can be, it is often regarded as a sign of a healthy pregnancy. For the majority of women, nausea and vomiting taper off at the end of the first trimester.
- Change in Taste and Smell:
- Pregnancy hormones can cause you to be extremely sensitive to smell. This is thought to be another cause of the nausea and vomiting that occurs in early pregnancy. Additionally, your sense of taste can be affected. You may not want to consume strong foods or drinks that you previously loved, such as garlic bread or your morning coffee. This is normal and will usually subside as your pregnancy progresses. Some women also complain of a metallic or sour taste in their mouth in early pregnancy.
- Abdominal Bloating:
- You may experience bloating and abdominal discomfort in the first few weeks of pregnancy, due to the hormone progesterone slowing down your digestion by relaxing the smooth muscle in your intestines. If you are not drinking enough water, which is sometimes difficult with nausea and vomiting, you can become constipated, further adding to the bloated feeling. Unfortunately, slower digestion means an increase in the production of gas, which also contributes to abdominal bloating in early pregnancy.
- Tender or Swollen Breasts:
- Breast soreness is one of the most common signs of early pregnancy. It usually starts around week 4 and gradually subsides at the end of the first trimester. The tenderness is due to an increase in blood flow as well as an increase in progesterone and estrogen. Other breast changes may include larger, darkened areolas, sensitive nipples, and the appearance of veins below the skin.
- Higher Body Temperature:
- Hormones cause your body temperature to rise slightly after ovulation, and stay elevated throughout early pregnancy. Many women may not notice the small change in their temperature, but some will feel warmer or realize they are perspiring more. You may also experience unpredictable hot flashes.
- Frequent Urination:
- It is a common sign to have an increased urge to urinate during the first weeks of pregnancy, even as soon as week 4. This is caused by the growing size of the uterus, which puts pressure on the bladder. Fortunately, as the uterus expands into the abdominal cavity, you should experience some relief in the second trimester. Also to blame is the pregnancy hormone hCG, which causes increased blood flow to the pelvic area and kidneys, increasing the production of urine. Late in pregnancy, frequent urination will most likely return, as the baby presses up against your bladder.
- Like most of the other signs and symptoms of early pregnancy, headaches and backaches are also common with pre-menstrual symptoms. Headaches during early pregnancy can be caused by multiple reasons. Like the other symptoms, pregnancy hormones are a common cause. An increase in blood volume, stress, changes in sleep patterns, dehydration, low blood sugar, and even caffeine withdrawal can all contribute to headaches experienced in early pregnancy. Back pain is generally more common later in pregnancy, but some women may experience it beginning in the first few months. This is typically due to changes in hormones, which soften ligaments and loosen joints in preparation for childbirth. This, in turn, can cause back pain by putting more strain and pressure on the muscles that support the growing uterus.
Common Questions About Pregnancy Tests:
Is this test accurate?
Yes, their accuracy rate is 99%. We use the same testing method as doctor’s offices and we have medical personnel on staff to assist us. We offer pregnancy testing in a medical office setting, FREE of charge.
Can I get a second test if my period doesn’t start later on?
Yes, you can call our office for a second appointment. Our facility does not charge for pregnancy tests. This is a service that The HOPE Center provides to the community.
My periods are irregular, and I can’t be sure of the test results. What should I do?
If you are unsure of your pregnancy status after your pregnancy test results, you are encouraged to seek a second opinion. We are unable to prescribe medication for irregular periods.
What do I bring to my appointment at The HOPE Center?
We only need a valid Photo ID to administer the test. There is no charge for our services, and you will get your results during your visit. You are free to bring visitors, and they can wait in our lobby while we do the test. You can share your results with them as soon as you know!