We know that the two-week wait between when you ovulate, and your next period can feel like a lifetime. Often, we analyse every feeling wondering if it’s a pregnancy symptom and refer to Dr Google for answers. There is no question about it, the most accurate way of knowing if you are pregnant or not is to take a pregnancy test, but before you can take one, there are a few symptoms you can be looking out for.
During the very early days of pregnancy, any symptoms may be easily confused for your normal period symptoms; cramping, tiredness, breast tenderness or swelling. The difference being that these symptoms may last longer.
How it feels: Now this isn’t your usual day to day tiredness, this is the type of tiredness where you feel you could sleep for a week! You may find yourself wanting a powernap mid-afternoon even though your day has been relatively light.
Our top tips: Listen to your body and give yourself a break. You may not look pregnant at this point, but your body is working overtime to create that new life and it’s not only a physically but emotionally draining time. Don’t overfill your social calendar and take the time to get rest where you can.
How it feels: Very similar to breast changes you may experience during your period, in early pregnancy your breasts could become larger and feel more tender, dull or achy. Breast pains can change throughout your pregnancy. They may tingle before your period. The veins may also be more prominent.
Our top tips: It goes without saying, a supportive and comfortable bra is a must. You may find going wireless more comfortable too. If pain is preventing you from sleeping, you may find wearing your bra to bed, a different position and some well-placed pillows can make drifting off much easier.
One of the most well known pregnancy symptoms is misleadingly called morning sickness which, despite the name, can affect you at any time of day. It affects as many as 8 out of 10 women at some point in their pregnancy but, for most, it reduces or completely goes by week 16-20. It can make you feel more sensitive to smells and some women even say they have a metallic taste in their mouth or too much saliva.
How it feels: Morning sickness can be feeling nauseous and queasy or it can be physically being sick. Some women have mild symptoms that pass, but for others it can be a symptom that stays with them throughout their pregnancy.
Our top tips: As much as you may not feel like eating, often hunger can make the nausea worse, so think small meals, little and often. Ginger has long been used as a natural remedy for sickness and nausea, some women drink ginger tea or eat ginger biscuits to quell their symptoms.
Although eating for two is a myth, it is important that you keep yourself well fed and hydrated. If nausea and vomiting is preventing you from keeping any food or fluids down, then you must speak to your midwife or doctor.
How it feels: You may feel like you need to wee a lot more often and some people may feel constipated and bloated.
Our top tips: If you do become affected by constipation, try increasing your fibre intake and keep your fluids up.
How it feels: Being pregnant is not just a physical process, it affects you emotionally and mentally. The prospect of becoming a mother, mixed with hormone surges and day to day responsibilities can sometimes be a little too much to handle and the result is mood swings. You may find yourself going from giggling with your friend to crying over an advert for bread (true story!). Don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. However, if your anxious or depressive moments become more than just moments and start to take over your days, then speak to your doctor or midwife about how you are feeling.
Our top tips: Explain to your nearest and dearest that your moods might be a bit all over the place and ask that they support you when you need it and give you space when you need that too. Make sure you get as much rest as you can and eat a good balanced diet as tiredness and hunger can worsen those moods.
Can I have some bleeding if I am pregnant?
When your period is due, most people expect that a missed period indicates that they are pregnant. It is possible, however, for some women to have a little spotting and cramps around the time of their expected period, this is known as implantation bleeding when the fertilised egg implants into your womb lining.
Is it too early to take a pregnancy test?
There are many different pregnancy tests available but, essentially, they all work in the same way by testing for the pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin).
Some early detection pregnancy tests can detect low levels of the pregnancy hormone as early as 10 days before your period is due. It’s important to remember that the tests are more accurate when tested on the day that your period is due.
A little about the author…
Jo Carey is a pharmacist, medical writer and mother of 2 young boys. Jo has years of experience writing for patients and healthcare professionals. Drawing from personal experiences in her own journey to motherhood she is able to empathise with many couples on their fertility journey and is driven to ensure that all people starting a family feel supported and knowledgeable.
- NHS [Online content accessed 06.01.20] nhttps://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/severe-vomiting-in-pregnancy-hyperemesis-gravidarum/
- NCT [Online content accessed 06.01.20] https://www.nct.org.uk/pregnancy?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIiuPV4Ijv5gIVibPtCh2nwgo9EAAYASAAEgIKaPD_BwE
- NHS [Online content accessed 06.01.20] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/signs-and-symptoms-pregnancy/