Many early pregnancy symptoms can appear similar to your regular premenstrual discomforts. Could you be pregnant, but it's a bit too early for a home pregnancy test?
For me, I took a pregnancy test eight weeks AFTER my gynecologist had confirmed my first pregnancy. I guess I found it hard to believe that this was really happening. I wanted to make sure I hadn’t dreamt the whole thing up!
So, what are the signs to look for that tell us it’s time to go and pee on a stick (or IKEA catalogue) or book that blood test?
1. You haven’t seen ‘Aunt Flo’ for a while
If you’re like me, a combo of irregularity and an intense work schedule meant that I didn’t necessarily notice when I was ‘late’. However, for those with a physiology on the neat-freak end of the scale, you’ll know within a matter of days (and for some, hours!) that something’s going down.
2. You notice breast changes
An increase of blood flow through breast tissue makes them fuller and rounder than they’ve ever been. They’ll be super impressive but most likely so tender that they’ll be entirely off-limits!
3. You feel chucky
Amazingly, other people will attribute your sprint to the toilet as pregnancy before you do. You may well be wracking your brain for an excuse as to why those four ham sandwich you ate were ‘on the turn’….. they weren’t.
Spoiler alert: This is morning sickness and it is not confined to the description of its name. Experienced keenly morning, noon and night, this little kill-joy will accompany most pregnancies up to the 14-week mark. Worse yet, for some, it will play chaperone right throughout pregnancy. You can thank your rising levels of estrogen for this one, ladies!
4. You develop a bionic sense of smell
Occasionally in the middle of the night, I would wake my husband and make him brush his teeth. Because in the few hours since he last brushed his teeth, he had developed a mild case of bad-breath which awakened my supernatural pregnancy sense of smell.
5. You notice a little ‘spotting’
10-14 days after fertilisation, you may experience some ‘spotting’ (light bleeding). This is the fertilised egg nuzzling into the wall of your womb - nawww cute - but usually accompanied by some tummy cramps… similar to menstrual pain… but of course, not.
6. You lose your waistline / aka ‘my pants have shrunk’
After my first baby was born, I was determined to get back ‘in shape’. I started doing 100 crunches a night (how the mighty have fallen). After about week six, I remember saying frustratedly to my husband ‘My tummy is NOT improving!’.
Later that night it dawned on me that I had a bunch of familiar indicators and my suspicions were pricked…. seven months later we welcomed our second child.
7. You have sudden food aversions and cravings
Foods previously loved - perhaps coffee and chocolate… might now send your gastric juices hurling. Other foods, perhaps potato chips or gherkins you won't get enough of.
Obscure food preferences can be put down to hormonal changes and will be noticed most in your first trimester, when hormone movements are at their peak.
On occasion, I would send my husband out on a late run to the closest servo for a pack of cheese Twisties. I was quite convinced that I would not survive the night without them. I’ve heard of other women who end up with some truly peculiar cravings - eating charcoal was a bit on the extreme side and probably not normal.
8. You burst into tears and feel the world is plotting against you
If you’re wiping tears whilst watching a Telstra commercial right now, or are convinced the human race hates you, chances are you’re pregnant… or menopausal.
Stress, tiredness and heightened hormone levels are just some of the reasons why you might be feeling like the village crazy lady. This is usually at its peak between weeks 6 and 10, and then comes back to spook you in your third trimester.
The notion that you’re pregnant may fill you with joy one minute and a ‘what the hell..’ the next. It’s perfectly normal to feel just a little kooky.
9. Your skin clears up / gets ugly
If you quickly recover from chronic skin problems or return back to your former pubescent self, we can hazard a guess that this might be pregnancy hormones going wild!
10. You feel faint/dizzy
This can be a common one early in pregnancy, as blood pressure drops and blood vessels dilate.
If you’re feeling light-headed, get your head lower than your heart. Get a glass of water and perhaps something to eat too… and do take it easy.
11. You feel hot and sweaty and it ain't that hot
Basal body temperature is the body’s temperature upon waking.
If you’ve been trying to fall pregnant, and have been charting your temperature each morning, you will notice that soon after you ovulate, your temperature rises a fraction until your next period. If you’re pregnant, this temperature will remain raised (and you’ll feel it!).
12. You feel super tired and a bit lousy
As progesterone levels soar, body sugar levels decline and blood production grows, so you may be feeling a little tired and lack-lustre. Add to that, some tossing and turning and a hormonally-charged dream life and it’s no wonder you’re not feeling too perky.
13. You start getting headaches
With the increase of blood circulation, headaches might be more frequent than you’d like.
14. Your bowls have the go-slows
An increase in progesterone can be responsible for constipation as food starts passing through the intestines real slowww.
I realize some of these changes don’t sound overly fun, but your body is such a beautifully designed instrument and knows what it needs to do.
When you fall pregnant your body needs to change some of its functions for a while so it can begin the momentous task of manufacturing and nurture the world’s most precious cargo - I know you’ll agree!
Start experiencing some (or all) of the above and your body might be telling you to get ready for something absolutely amazing! I’m excited for you.