DHAKA: While studies show that an egg is usually fertilised within 12 hours of ovulation (and no longer than 24 hours as it starts to die), you wont start noticing pregnancy symptoms and/or be able to detect pregnancy until after implantation, which occurs from around 7-10 days post ovulation. If you have conceived, the embryo starts to produce hCG after implantation and not before, so it is not possible to detect pregnancy or have pregnancy symptoms before this time. So the longer you wait to test after ovulation, the more accurate the result will be, and the darker the potential positive test line may be. Pregnancy testing should ideally be done from the day your period would have been due.
Below is a list of pregnancy symptoms which you may find signal pregnancy for your own body. Remember, every woman and every pregnancy is different, so there’s no need to panic if you don’t have all of the listed pregnancy symptoms. I had absolutely no noticeable symptoms (apart from not having a period) with my second pregnancy until 11 weeks.
Early Pregnancy Sign #1: High BBT (Basal Body Temperature)
If you regularly chart your cycle and take your temperatures, you will notice that your BBT will remain high throughout your luteal phase. Progesterone causes your BBT to rise upon ovulation and stay elevated should you be pregnant. If you are not pregnant, your BBT will drop right down and you’ll get your period as normal.
Early Pregnancy Sign #2: Missed / No Period
One of the first pregnancy symptoms you may notice is that your period does not arrive. While this symptom is one we most commonly associate with pregnancy, there may be other reasons why a period hasn’t arrived, for example high levels of stress, major illness or surgery. On the other hand, it’s possible to continue to have your periods during pregnancy. Some women may bleed for just a few months or even their whole pregnancy. (See our topic on Bleeding in Pregnancy for more information).
Early Pregnancy Sign #3: Morning Sickness
Another well known pregnancy symptom is morning sickness. Don’t let it’s name fool you – morning sickness can pay you a visit any time of day, so make sure you eat enough and avoid letting your blood sugar levels drop. Ginger is a great natural remedy for nausea so it’s worth a try, although some women find that nothing seems to help their morning sickness, which normally hangs around for the first trimester before getting better or if you are unlucky, the second trimester or even whole pregnancy. (See our topic on Common Pregnancy Ailments for more information).
Early Pregnancy Sign #4: Breast Changes
From very early on in pregnancy a symptom you may notice is changes in your breasts, including:
* Nipples may be tender and sensitive – some women describe their nipples to be irritatingly sensitive!
* Breast may be sore and / or lumpy
* Nipples may deepen in colour
* Veins may become more noticeable and enlarged in the breast area
* Areolas may darken (circles around your nipples)
* The little ‘bumps’ on your areolas (Montgomery’s Tubercles) may increase and / or enlarge
Early Pregnancy Sign #5: Increased Cervical Mucus
A surge in progesterone often results in a surge of creamy cervical mucus production. Some women may notice a little, and some notice much more.
Early Pregnancy Sign #6: Fatigue
When you first become pregnant, your metabolism steps up a few gears in order to support your developing baby as well as your own body, which creates one big workload! You may become so immensely tired that you feel that you need to sleep more than usual. Not only that, but the hormone progesterone which is required in high levels during pregnancy has a sedating effect. No wonder you feel so very tired! If you need to rest or sleep, don’t fight your body – it needs it!
Early Pregnancy Sign #7: Frequent Urination
As soon as a week after conception, you may notice yourself dashing off to the toilet more often, only to find that you’re urinating small amounts! This happens because the embryo starts to secrete the pregnancy hormone hCG, which signals for the blood supply to increase in the pelvic area. This results in the bladder becoming irritable and it passes even small amounts of urine. You may find you will wake in the night to urinate more often than usual.
Early Pregnancy Sign #8: Cramping
This symptom of early pregnancy can also be an unnerving one for parents-to-be, as often there is a fear of miscarriage. However even when not pregnant, your uterus is continually contracting. When pregnant, the foetus grows and pushes against the walls of your uterus, which causes it to contract – this is very normal.
If the cramping is accompanied by bleeding, see your doctor who can assess the situation to see if you may be having a miscarriage. However do not panic as bleeding is also common in pregnancy – see our article on ‘Bleeding in Pregnancy’ for more information. Women can have both cramping and bleeding in pregnancy and be able to continue on with a healthy pregnancy.
Early Pregnancy Sign #9: Spotting
At around 8-10 days after ovulation (just before you would normally get your period) you may notice light spotting, which is caused from the implantation of the embryo into your uterus lining. The spotting is usually pinkish in colour and not red like a normal period.
Early Pregnancy Sign #10: Constipation & Wind
It just keeps getting better doesn’t it?! Increased hormones have an effect on your intestines, making them more relaxed – this helps with making more space for the baby as your uterus expands. As a result you may get constipated. Luckily there are some constipation remedies available over the counter from your pharmacist that are safe for pregnancy – do check with the pharmacist first though.
Early Pregnancy Sign #11: Sense of Smell
No it’s not just because your partner hasn’t washed his socks for a week – pregnancy can heighten your sense of smell! Smells which never bothered you before may become intolerable, causing nausea. Food and cooking smells are usually the culprit, however every woman is different and may dislike all sorts of smells.
Early Pregnancy Sign #12: Nasal Stuffiness / Colds
A foetus is very clever, even at an early age. In a healthy pregnancy, your immune system is suppressed and prevented from attacking and rejecting the foetus as if it were an foreign object by hormones and antibodies the foetus produces. The antibodies also take part in the growth and development of the placenta. As a result of these hormonal changes to your immune system, you are more susceptible to colds and flu. Nasal stuffiness is also very common in pregnancy due to the hormonal effects on the nasal passages.
Early Pregnancy Sign #13: Pimples / Acne
You may find that even if you don’t usually get pimples or acne, you may get them in early pregnancy. It will most likely settle down fairly quickly after your hormone levels stabilise, however make sure that you do not pick or squeeze pimples which may leave scars and/or spread bacteria.
Early Pregnancy Sign #14: Cravings / Changes in Taste
The rising hormone levels in your blood can reflect in your saliva. You may notice a metallic taste in your mouth which alters the taste of foods you usually enjoy or the feeling of food in your mouth. Some women will not eat meat and some women gag when brushing their teeth from their toothpaste!
You may have heard stories of women craving strange things which are not foods at all, some of these cravings include dirt, clay or chalk. This is a condition called Pica.
No-one really knows why pregnant women have cravings, it is believed from some evidence that the body is craving vitamins and minerals it is deficient in. If you have a craving, there is nothing wrong with giving in to them, however if you are craving high fat foods or food with little nutritional value, see if you can find a substitute. If you are not yet taking pregnancy multivitamins, it might be a good time to start. You might like to consider taking some In-Liven
Early Pregnancy Sign #15: Change in Colour of Your Vagina
Due to the increased level of blood in the pelvic region, you may find your vagina will appear more purplish than normal.
BDST: 1158 HRS, JUNE 11, 2012
Edited by: Sharmina Islam
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