The first symptoms of pregnancy can be so subtle that only a few women are able to notice them, and they go unnoticed in most cases. However, knowing the symptoms that may appear is a great way for a woman to be more aware of her own body and be able to identify a possible pregnancy faster.
These symptoms should be taken into account especially after menstrual delay, because in some cases they can also arise due to other situations, such as PMS.
Symptoms of the first 7 days
The typical symptoms of the first days of pregnancy are the most difficult to perceive, is usually identified by women who can notice very subtle differences in their own bodies:
1. Pink vaginal discharge
When the egg is fertilized, there may be a slight pink discharge, which is actually the normal discharge a woman experiences monthly, but with traces of blood that may have been caused by the implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus.
This discharge can appear a few minutes after intercourse or up to 3 days later. Sometimes this discharge is only seen when the woman is going to clean herself after urinating.
2. Thicker discharge
Due to the large hormonal changes that occur from the moment of conception, it is normal for some women to have a thicker than normal vaginal discharge. This discharge does not need to be pink and, in most cases, it even has a slightly whitish color.
When this discharge is accompanied by a bad smell or symptoms such as pain or itching, it is very important to consult a gynecologist, as it may also indicate a vaginal infection, especially thrush.
3. Colic and abdominal bloating
Abdominal bloating is also one of the first symptoms of pregnancy, most often appearing in the first 7 days to 2 weeks. Increased blood flow and adaptation to uterine growth are the main causes of this abdominal bloating, which can be confused with mild to medium intensity menstrual cramps. In addition, the woman may still have a little blood loss, similar to menstruation, but less.
Symptoms of the first 2 weeks
The symptoms that start to appear around the 2nd week are some of the most typical of pregnancy:
4. Easy tiredness and excessive sleep
Tiredness is one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy that can be present throughout pregnancy, beginning around the 2nd week. It is normal for this tiredness to increase during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, as the body adapts its entire metabolism to provide the energy needed for the baby’s development.
The woman begins to feel that the tasks she used to do are becoming too exhausting and that she needs to sleep more than 10 hours a night to replenish the energy she used during the day.
5. Sensitive breasts and areola darkening
In the first two weeks of pregnancy, the woman may feel that the breasts are more sensitive and this is due to the action of hormones that stimulate the mammary glands preparing the woman for breastfeeding. There is also an increase in breast volume, which starts to have more developed mammary glands to support the baby’s needs after birth.
In addition to the increase and sensitivity of the breasts, the woman may also notice changes in the areolas, which tend to be darker than normal due to increased blood flow in the region.
6. Delay or lack of menstruation
Missing menstruation is often the most obvious symptom of pregnancy, as during pregnancy a woman does not have a menstrual period to allow the fetus to develop properly in the uterus.
This sign is due to increased production of the hormone beta hCG, which prevents the ovaries from continuing to release mature eggs. Missing periods can happen up to 4 weeks after conception and is more easily identified in women with regular periods.
7. Lower back pain
Although back pain is almost always considered a frequent symptom in the last weeks of pregnancy, some women can develop this type of pain early in pregnancy, and it is related to the changes that take place in the woman’s body to receive the baby.
In some cases, back pain can be confused with abdominal cramps and, therefore, some women may think that menstruation is coming, however, with the lack of period they begin to realize that it is, in fact, pain in the lower back, not related to menstruation.
8. Aversion to strong smells
It is very common that in early pregnancy a woman has an aversion to strong smells, even if they are apparently pleasant, such as perfume. Most pregnant women may even vomit after smelling a strong smell, such as gasoline, cigarettes, or cleaning products, for example.
In addition, as the smell is altered, some women may also report that there is an alteration in the taste of the food, which becomes more intense and nauseating.
9. Mood swings
In the first two weeks of pregnancy, the woman may notice some mood swings, with no apparent cause. It is very common for a pregnant woman to cry for situations that would not make her cry before being pregnant and this symptom should remain throughout the pregnancy.
This is because the strong hormonal changes, normal in pregnancy, can cause an imbalance in neurotransmitter levels, making the mood more unstable.
Symptoms of the 1st month of pregnancy
After the first month of pregnancy, after menstruation delay, many women begin to have other characteristic symptoms, such as:
10. Morning sickness and vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are common, especially in the morning, and these are some of the most well-known pregnancy symptoms, which usually appear after the 6th week of pregnancy and can last throughout the entire pregnancy.
However, nausea does not always need to be accompanied by vomiting, and it is even more frequent for nausea to come and go without the woman vomiting, especially in the morning.
11. Craving for strange foods
The typical pregnancy cravings can start in the first month of pregnancy and continue throughout the pregnancy, it is common for some women to feel like eating strange foods, trying different mixtures, or even wanting to eat foods they have never tasted before.
In some cases, these cravings can be related to nutritional deficiencies in some type of mineral or vitamin, especially if they are for something very different from what the woman usually eats. In these situations, it is recommended to consult a doctor to understand what the cause may be.
12. Dizziness and headache
Dizziness is a symptom that occurs because of low blood pressure, low blood glucose, and poor diet due to frequent nausea and vomiting. They appear as early as the first 5 weeks of pregnancy but tend to decrease after the 20th week of pregnancy.
Headache is also common during pregnancy due to hormonal changes, but it is usually mild, although persistent, and often the woman may not even associate this discomfort with pregnancy.
13. Increased urge to urinate
As the pregnancy progresses, the pregnant woman’s body needs to produce various hormones, such as progesterone, to ensure that the baby develops in a healthy way. When this happens, the bladder muscles are more relaxed and therefore it is more difficult to completely empty the urine that is inside the bladder and, therefore, the woman may feel a more frequent urge to go to the bathroom to urinate.
14. Pimples and oily skin
Hormonal changes can lead to the appearance or worsening of blackheads and pimples, scientifically called acne, and, therefore, after the first month of pregnancy, the woman may notice an increase in skin oils, which can be controlled with the use of Appropriate skin cleansers and personal care products.
What to do if pregnancy is suspected
If pregnancy is suspected, the woman is advised to take a drugstore pregnancy test, which can be done from the first day of the missed period. If the result is negative, you can wait another 3 to 5 days, and if your period is still late, you can take a new pregnancy test.
If the result is negative again, you can evaluate the possibility of doing a blood test for pregnancy, as this is more reliable and shows the amount of the hormone Beta HCG, which is only produced during pregnancy. This exam also helps to inform you at how many weeks of pregnancy you are:
- 7 days after fertilization: up to 25 mIU/mL
- 4 weeks after the Last Menstruation Date: 1,000 mIU/mL
- 5 weeks after the Last Menstruation Date: 3,000 mIU/mL
- 6 weeks after the Last Menstruation Date: 6,000 mIU/mL
- 7 weeks after the Last Menstruation Date: 20,000 mIU/mL
- 8 to 10 weeks after the Last Menstruation Date: 100,000 mIU/mL
However, if even 10 days after the missed period the pharmacy pregnancy test is negative, the woman should not be pregnant but should make an appointment with a gynecologist to see the cause of the missed period.
In the case of psychological pregnancy, all these symptoms can be present and the only way to prove that there is no fetus developing is through exams.
What to do if the pharmacy test is positive
After confirmation of pregnancy through the pharmacy urine test, it is advised to consult the gynecologist for a pregnancy blood test, as this test indicates the amount of Beta HCG hormones and is more reliable.
When to do the ultrasound
From 5 weeks of pregnancy, the doctor can perform a transvaginal ultrasound to observe the gestational sac and check if the pregnancy is developing inside the uterus, because in some cases, ectopic pregnancy can occur, which is when, despite the woman being pregnant the baby is developing in the fallopian tubes, which is very serious and puts the woman’s life at risk.
If the doctor has not done the ultrasound before, between 8 and 13 weeks of gestation, he should order this test to also confirm the gestational age and when the baby should turn 40 weeks, which should be the expected date of delivery.
In this exam the baby is still very small and little can be seen, but it is usually very exciting for the parents. It’s still too early to know the baby’s gender, but if the doctor suspects it’s a boy, it probably is, but it still needs to be confirmed in the next ultrasound, in the second trimester of pregnancy, around 20 weeks.