Early Pregnancy Symptoms, Signs, And Pregnancy Tests | Karine Wong, Pharm.D. | RxEconsult
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Am I Pregnant? Early Pregnancy Symptoms, Signs, And Pregnancy Tests Category: Women's Health by - May 27, 2015 | Views: 10456 | Likes: 1 | Comment: 0  

Pregnancy symptoms and signs

Am I Pregnant? Every woman will ask this question at some point in her life. It happens whenever our period is late by a few days or completely missing for the month. We know our bodies very well and when there is a sudden change, well, it can take us for a surprise. Like “Surprise, you’re having a baby!”

How do you really know if you are pregnant? Generally, early telltale pregnancy symptoms tend to appear suddenly rather than slowly. At times, it may be difficult to distinguish these symptoms if you are currently experiencing similar symptoms from other conditions, such as heartburn or depression, that are not pregnancy related. Let’s review the most common pregnancy symptoms and signs.

Missed period

If you are sexually active and missed your period, it could be a sign that you may be pregnant. A missed period or amenorrhea may also be caused by stress, oral contraceptives, medications (antipsychotics, antidepressants and chemotherapy), low body weight, excessive exercise and hormonal imbalance.

Nausea

Nausea upon awakening is the most common symptom of pregnancy. For many women, they usually report an overwhelming and sudden urge to vomit and feeling sick in the stomach. It is believed that elevated estrogen levels from the pregnancy may stimulate nausea. Nausea can persist throughout the day and can be triggered by odors and foods. Severe nausea can lead to dry heaving and intractable vomiting. Intractable vomiting is persistent vomiting unrelieved with medical treatment.

Fatigue

You will feel tired and so fatigued that if you haven’t taken naps before, you’ll start doing that now. You’ll sleep longer at night, going to bed earlier and waking up later. You can blame that on the rising levels of progesterone, another hormone that supports the pregnancy.

Breast tenderness

You may notice that your breasts are a bit fuller and tender or slightly painful to the touch.

Constipation and abdominal bloating

Pregnancy-related bloating is similar to bloating from your period. Progesterone slows down the food traveling through your gut. Since food is not moving along as quickly, constipation and accumulation of gas will occur. Gas will ultimately lead to burping, flatulence and bloating. You might notice that your lower abdominal area is round and soft. That is not the baby. It is gas that makes the area round and soft.

Frequent urination

Typically two weeks after fertilization, you’ll notice that you’re going to urinate much more often. This is caused by increased blood flow to the kidneys by another pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). It is too early for the baby to be squishing your bladder to cause this problem.

Pregnancy symptoms are non-specific which means that they could be related to pregnancy or something else. If you are missing your period and have at least 1 symptom, consider a pregnancy test, which can provide a more definitive answer.

Pregnancy urine tests are available over-the-counter and can be easily done at home. Product instructions may vary. Generally, the test will instruct you to use the first morning urine to test. Uncap the test area and place the white stick in your urine stream. Leave the stick on a flat surface for 3 minutes. A positive pregnancy result will display when the test area detects enough hCG in your urine, a sign that you have sufficient levels of hCG suggestive of a pregnancy.

Newer pregnancy urine tests such as ClearBlue Digital and First Response allow you to test as early as 5 days before your anticipated period. Be aware that early testing can result in a false negative result. You might be pregnant but didn’t produce enough hCG for the pregnancy test to detect. If you don’t get your period within 7 days, take a new pregnancy test.

Also Read

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Plan B Morning after Pill Emergency Contraception for All Ages

Plan B (morning after pill) Uses, Side Effects, Dosage 

New FDA Pregnancy and Lactation Labeling Rule for Prescription Drugs and Biologic Products 

Reducing Birth Brain Injuries with EFM Pattern Monitoring 

About the author

Dr. Karine Wong has over 12 years of clinical experience as a clinical hospital pharmacist, manager and lecturer. Currently, she is the chief operating officer and co-founder of Pro-Gummies. Pro-Gummies are protein-rich fiber gummy snacks that are more delicious than protein bars and healthier than any candy. She is also the author of Call Me Doctor, her first fiction novel, and a children's book called Don't Sit on Her.


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