If you're extremely tuned in to your body's rhythms, you may begin to suspect you're pregnant soon after conception. But most women won't experience any early pregnancy symptoms until the fertilised egg attaches itself to the uterine wall, several days after conception. Others may notice no signs of pregnancy for weeks and begin to wonder "Am I pregnant?" only when they miss a period. Below is a list of some of the first signs of impending motherhood. You may experience all, some, or none of these symptoms of pregnancy:
1. Food cravings. Yes, it's a cliché, but food cravings sometimes can be a sign of pregnancy. Don't rely on them as a sure symptom (it may be all in your head, or even a sign that your body is low on a particular nutrient), but if cravings are accompanied by some of the other symptoms on this list, start counting the days from your last period.
2. Darkening of your areolas. If the skin around your nipples gets darker, you may have successfully conceived, though this may also signal a hormonal imbalance unrelated to pregnancy or be a leftover effect from a previous pregnancy.
3. Implantation bleeding or cramping. About eight days after ovulation, you may experience implantation spotting, a slight staining of a pink or brown colour, as well as some cramping. This is caused by the egg burrowing into the endometrial lining. You might also see some spotting around the time you expect your period.
4. Frequent urination. Once the embryo implants and begins producing the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), you may find yourself going to the bathroom more often.
5. Fatigue. Feeling tired? No, make that exhausted. High levels of the hormone progesterone can make you feel as if you've run a marathon when all you've done is put in a day at the office. Fatigue is a hallmark of early pregnancy, though probably not a surefire symptom on its own.
6. Tender, swollen breasts. If you're pregnant, your breasts will probably become increasingly tender to the touch, similar to the way they feel before your period, only more so. Once your body grows accustomed to the hormone surge, the pain will subside.
7. Altered sense of taste. You may notice that your sense of taste changes. Some women say they have a metallic taste in their mouth, others that they cannot stand the taste of coffee, tea, or a food they usually like.
8. Morning sickness. If you're lucky, morning sickness won't hit you until a few weeks after conception. (A lucky few escape it altogether.) But as early as a couple of days following conception, you may begin feeling nauseated and queasy. And not just in the morning, either -- pregnancy-related nausea can be a problem morning, noon, or night.
9. A missed period. If you're usually pretty regular and your period is late, it's worth trying a pregnancy test. A missed period is the surest sign of pregnancy in a woman of childbearing age who usually has regular periods.
10. A positive home pregnancy test. If you've waited to test until at least the first day of a missed period and a blue line appears in the test window, you're most likely to be in the family way. Make an appointment with your doctor to confirm the good news, and head on over to our pregnancy area.