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Early signs and symptoms of pregnancy

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What are early pregnancy symptoms?

For women with a regular menstrual cycle, the first sign of pregnancy is a missed or late period. However some women may notice that their period is very light and that is resembles spotting rather than the periods they are used to. Pregnancy symptoms can differ from woman to woman, you may not even have any noticeable signals until further along in your baby’s development or you might be aware right away that your body has changed.

Other signs and symptoms of pregnancy include:

  • Morning sickness – feeling nauseous and vomiting is very common. Most women experience morning sickness around six weeks after their last period. Some women may find acupressure bands can help with morning sickness symptoms.
  • Fatigue – many women will feel tired or exhausted during the first 12 weeks of their pregnancy, and this is completely normal
  • Tender breasts – your breast may become larger and feel sore, like they would do before your period.
  • Urinating frequently – you may feel the need to wee more than usual during the day and night.
  • Bloating - You may also notice that you are constipated or have heartburn.
  • Vaginal discharge – you may have more discharge than normal and a small amount of spotting. If you are concerned about the amount you are bleeding you should visit your GP.
  • Heightened senses – you might find that food and drinks you usually loved are now revolting to you. Many women crave new foods, lose interest in food, have a strange taste in their mouth and become more sensitive to smells.

How soon can you get symptoms of pregnancy?

The symptoms of you being pregnant can begin in the first six weeks, you may feel nauseous or vomit more often, this is known as morning sickness. However the earliest signs that you are pregnant include a missed period or feeling overly tired.

How soon can I take a home pregnancy test?

The results of your pregnancy test are most reliable from the first day of your missed period, although there are some tests available that can be used as early as four days before your period is due. Certain pregnancy tests can be used as early as eight days after conception, however make sure to check the packaging and product description of the test you’re using to see how early it can be used.

If you have a regular menstrual cycle and periods you will be able to tell when your next period is due and you’ll also know if it arrives late. If you’re not sure when you’re period is due, perhaps because you have irregular periods, it’s best to take a test at least 21 days after you last had unprotected sex. You can complete a pregnancy test at any time of day; you do not need to test your first urination in the morning.

What changes can I expect to my body now I am pregnant?

It’s important to remember that every woman is different and every women’s pregnancy is different too, you may experience things differently to the other pregnant women that you know. The pregnancy hormones progesterone affects everything from your skin to your hair.

Your body is going through a major change and you could notice stretch marks starting to appear, that you get more headaches than usual or that your hair is growing faster. Find out more about health changes during pregnancy.

What else can cause pregnancy symptoms?

One of the first signs that you are pregnant is that you have missed your period; however there are many reasons why you have missed a period or it is late, ranging from your diet to stress levels. To find out more about why your period is late click here. Many symptoms of pregnancy are also symptoms of PMS, the two share similar qualities such as tender breasts, constipation and bloating. Your symptoms could be because your period is due rather than you being pregnant.

How can you tell if you're pregnant after one week?

The first signs of pregnancy won’t appear right away, many women won’t miss their period until week four of their pregnancy. However you may notice that you feel tired, your breasts are tender or you feel sick, although you could feel no different. A pregnancy test will be able to tell you whether you are pregnant or not, you can either complete one at home or visit your GP.

How long does it take to know if you are pregnant?

Again this depends if you have had any symptoms that you are pregnant, some women feel the first twinges of pregnancy the week or two after conceiving, while others don’t feel any for a few months – it all depends on your own individual body. However many women start to notice symptoms at five, six or eight weeks.