13 Subtle… and sometimes not-so-subtle… signs of pregnancy

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Pregnancy timelines are based on the date of your last period, even though at that stage you haven’t ovulated and the egg hasn’t even been fertilised. Health professionals agree that pregnancy begins when a fertilised egg implants into the uterine wall, but the pregnancy test won’t show a positive result until another week after implantation. The reason that the first day of your last pregnancy counts as day one of your pregnancy is because most of us cannot be 100% sure when we conceived.

Ovulation occurs approximately 14 days after your last period.

Fast fact: An egg can survive for just 24 hours after ovulation (unless fertilised). Sperm, on the other hand, can survive in your reproductive tract for up to five days.

Pregnancy signs

There are around 23 signs of pregnancy, according to Philip Druce, founder of Ovulation Calculator. Here are the 13 most common symptoms of pregnancy:

See Also: 5 Common skin changes during pregnancy and how to treat them

Tender breasts

Your body is starting to get your breasts ready for breastfeeding after birth, which involves high levels of progesterone, oestrogen, growth hormone and prolactin. The breast tissue and ductal swelling can cause sensitivity and tenderness.

Increased discharge

Cervical fluid starts flowing during ovulation, and if you fall pregnant, this white, milky discharge drastically increases – so this may be one of your big tip-offs you are pregnant.

Spotting and cramping

Known as implantation bleeding, this is when a small amount of blood is discharged, sometimes accompanied by mild cramping or slight pain in the lower abdominal area. This can occur around nine days after ovulation. Basically, when the fertilised egg implants into the uterine wall, it destroys a part of the wall in order to penetrate and start forming the placenta. This can be a confusing symptom, so look for other pregnancy signs to accompany this.

Tiredness

Your body is growing another human being. Cells are constantly dividing and growing, which uses a large amount of energy and nutrients. Hormones, such as cortisol and thyroid hormone T3 cause the breakdown in fat, glycogen and protein stores. There is also increased demand on your cardiovascular and respiratory systems, plus there is pressure on your iron stores. All of these can cause fatigue and tiredness.

Morning sickness

Nausea, particularly in the mornings, is considered a stereotypical sign. This is most common throughout the first trimester, and sometimes can be all-day sickness, depending on the severity. You may find that your senses, particularly smell, are also heightened. Certain foods, drinks or substances can smell or taste different, or can bring on a strong aversion.

See Also: Here’s everything Meghan Markle has said about her unborn baby, pregnancy

Constipation and bloating

Again, this is related to hormonal changes. Increased hormones relax the intestines to make more room for your growing baby, which in turn can result in you feeling constipated and bloated.

Mood swings

Your endocrine system undergoes a massive transformation during pregnancy, which results in an intense influx of hormones which can result in rapid mood shifts, more intense emotions and high irritability levels. This influx of hormones can mean that you may be crying one minute and smiling the next.

Dizziness

This can be due to low blood sugar or dehydration as your body works overtime. Make sure you stay hydrated and eat small meals, particularly if you are also experiencing nausea.

Faster nail growth

A good side effect of pregnancy hormones is that your nails may grow more quickly.

Acne

Again, those pesky hormones are to blame. Your skin produces more oil which can cause your pores to become blocked from the dead skin cells and more oil, which in turn can increase breakouts. Around one-third of women will experience breakouts during pregnancy.

Headaches

Of course, headaches can have a long list of possible causes, but some women experience more headaches when pregnant. Hormones can result in the blood vessels relaxing in your brain, which can cause pain. Interestingly, those who usually experience migraines may find that these lessen, due to less fluctuation of oestrogen and progesterone compared to your normal menstrual cycle.

Missed period

The development of the placenta causes the release of a hormone, hCG, that results in a higher progesterone release. These high levels of progesterone are what “shut off” your normal menstrual cycle hormones.

A positive home pregnancy test

This is the easiest way to predict pregnancy, as the test measures the hCG levels in your urine, which can be detected around two weeks after conception. This time frame is based on how sensitive the home test is.

 

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