I was thinking about this very subject this morning.
I am one of those people who gets symptoms very early as I seem to be sensitive to the hormone hcg. Good thing about this I know fairly quickly when I am pregnant. Having said that I do seem to have symptoms that I associate with being pregnant when I am pre-menstrual to so this can be confusing.
Here are some common symptoms of early pregnancy. You may have some of them, all of them or none of them. The important thing to remember is we are all different. I have met a girl who honestly did not know she was pregnant until she was in labour. Now while I find that hard to imagine as I get multiple symptoms all the way though pregnancy, some of us fly through the whole thing with very few symptoms.
Most of the very early pregnancy symptoms are due to increasing levels of hcg (human chorionic gonadotrophin) in early pregnancy following implantation, and can be mistaken for a severe dose of PMT. When I was pregnant with my first pregnancy I did not realise straight away and thought I was pre-menstrual.
Often for many the first thing they notice is the missed period. I am just going to cover the most common symptoms and those that I experienced.
Common early pregnancy Symptoms:
Nausea & vomiting (although nausea alone is probably more common)
This varies greatly from person to person, some getting little , while others get quite severe symptoms. Interestingly nausea and vomiting is often worse in twin pregnancy due to higher levels of hcg.
This often improves from about 12-16 weeks gestation. I was very lucky and never vomited although the nausea was fairly unpleasant
By 16 weeks I had very little nausea and could enjoy my pregnancy more. My friend was not so lucky and had quite severe nausea and vomiting all the way through her pregnancies. Occaisonly for some women this can be so severe that it necessitates hospitalisation (this is called hyperemesis gravidum I think)
Heightened sense of smell & taste
This is an interesting one. For me it meant that I went off large numbers of food groups. I found Thta I only wanted bland foods like mashed potatoe and roast chicken. I also went off coffee completely (which I love normally-even the thought of it made me feel sick and I could not enter a coffee shop nwithout feeling sick from the smell.
I alsio found the smell of my partner made me feel nauseous. Now he is not a smelly guy, but my sense of smell was so acute he had to shower as soon as he came in from work or I could not go near him. He also had to stop using his favourite after shaves as these made me feel ill. I still associate one particular mens perfume with that time of heightened sense of smell and nausea. I know how my dog must feel now !
There is a theory that this heightened sense of smell is protective during pregnancy to try and prevent us eating rotten food or toxins and making ourselves & are developing baby ill. It is interesting that many of the foods that I went off have since been found to be best avoided during pregnancy-there is non way I could have eaten stinky blue cheese for example.
This is a common experience & is one that is really confusing for me as I get this exact symptom with PMT. It is important to wear a well fitted supportive bra as this seems to help with the symptoms. Make sure your bra is big enough for you-most women are wearing the wrong bra size and a ill fitiing bra can dig in to your breast tissue and harm it as well as hurting .
For me tiredness was pretty extreme in early pregnancy and started from about 5 weeks and got progressively worse up to about 10 weeks . It then improved and was ok until about 26 weeks when I found I had to sleep in the day most afternoons-which was tricky with working full time-lol. That first 12 weeks for me was long due to the extreme tiredness. Everyone is affected differently. I am usually a pretty energetic person so for me it was very hard to deal with
Faintness and Dizziness
For me this started around the same time as the tiredness. Having low blood pressure I am very prone to faintness at the best of times ( for exampole if I stand up too quickly or get up out of a hot bath), and have fainted on many occaisons when I am really hungry or been standing for too long.
Mood swings & irritability
This is fairly common in early pregnancy and in fact through most of pregnancy. In the early stages it feels just like PMT.
Later on you find you get tearful at the smallest provocations, watching a sad film, seeing small children singing, anything to do with small children or babies in fact. I found it impossible to watch the news without bursting into tears during pregnancy (although I do cry in sad films-by the way have you seen ‘ps I love you’-I blubbed all the way through)
Changes in your skin on your face
OMG for me this was greasy skin & spots. I have always been prone to spots pre-menstrually but in early pregnancy I got more spotty. Good news is that by about 16 weeks they had all cleared up and I was glowing with not a spot in site for the rest of the pregnancy-phew
This is fairly common . I have never beeen prone to this normally as I eat a fairly high fibre diet, but during pregnancy this was an issue for me. I simply upped my fibre intake with a high fibre breakfast cereal and tried to eat even more fruit and veg-quite tricky when your feeling sick but needs must. if it is a problem and you can’t deal with it by diet alone it is worth mentioning to your doctor or midwife. Last thing we want is piles caused by constipation !!
Some women experience heartburn due to acid reflux .I was lucky and did not experience this. If you do it is worth talking to your GP or midwife for advise on how to relieve it. In early pregnancy I think it may be caused by the relaxing effect the pregnancy hormones have on the muscles in the gullet, allowing the acid to come up. In later pregnancy everything is displaced by the bump so heartburn can be quite common then to.
Phew this was long-apologies for going on so much. I was hoping to cover signs of early pregnancy as well but I think this is enough for today. I am getting repetive strain from typing so much