Pregnancy is a beautiful, fulfilling, and extremely challenging time in a woman’s life. It is one of nature’s highest callings, but it’s also one that comes at a cost. Not only will her body take on extra water and weight to carry her child to term, but it will also stretch and pull her skin super tight, cause her feet to swell — as well her belly, of course — and bring on intense, and sometimes insane-sounding cravings.
But what about those first few symptoms that stop potential moms in their tracks? The ones that make possible moms-to-be reach for their keys and drive to their nearest drug store? What kind of symptoms cause women to drop everything and hit the personal-care aisles, looking for a box of at-home pregnancy kits? If you’re currently questioning whether you should do just that –- may it be a planned pregnancy or a surprise — you’re likely wondering what symptoms to look for before jumping in your car and hitting your local pharmacy.
This symptom is often the first one women look for as pregnancy’s unofficial “calling card.” It’s also one of the most misdiagnosed symptoms, as well. Nausea of any kind can be very uncomfortable, especially when experienced the very moment your feet touch the floor in the morning. While nausea and vomiting are not uncommon in many quickly passing illnesses, consistent bouts of morning sickness can be the first sign that a woman may want to grab a box of home pregnancy kits.
If you have been suffering with clockwork-style trips to the bathroom for more than a few days, it could be a good idea to pick up a package of them.
Food or smell aversion
Have you ever smelled something so bad that your stomach lurches, sending you into a gagging fit — or possibly even running to the bathroom? Many will agree it has happened to them a time or two. What’s interesting about this pregnancy symptom is that a food or smell aversion usually applies to meals or smells that did not bother you in the past — things such as your favorite takeout or candle scent. If you find yourself avoiding a specific product or item that was not an issue previously, a pregnancy kit may be in order.
Intensely sore breasts
As women’s bodies change and develop after conception, hormone levels in their bloodstream begin to raise, causing the body to react and deploy mechanisms to prepare them for carrying the baby for nine months. Because of their key importance of feeding the baby post-birth, women’s breasts change early on in a pregnancy, swelling to produce colostrum and breastmilk for nursing. It’s because of this, women who are early in their stages of pregnancy may notice the elevated tenderness in them, giving cause and reason to head to the bathroom and home-test.
Missed menstrual cycle
While this may seem like a “gimmie,” not all women think of cycles in the same way. When thinking about their bodies it’s important for women to keep track of their cycle and understand their body’s monthly rhythm. Life happens, as it sometimes does, possibly causing them to become confused or even miscalculate their cycle. If you’re not sure when your last period was, or if you suspect you missed it, try not to stress, as this can prolong its absence. Instead, grab a test and clear the air.
Frequent trips to the bathroom
We’ve all been there: Four coffee cups full and needing to use the bathroom like you’ve never needed to before. Now imagine that every time you need to go. If this is something you’ve been struggling with recently, it could be time to home-test. The growing and expanding uterus pressing against an untrained bladder forces new moms into the bathroom at the drop of a hat most times, and if you’ve been finding yourself spending a lot more time on the porcelain throne, odds could be pointing toward a bun in your oven.
Have you ever been happy and smiling one minute, and then intensely sad the next? Now imagine living that way, daily, for nine months! Mood swings are the effects of hormonal changes in the body. For pregnant women who are balancing hormone levels for two, the ability to keep stable for both herself and her baby is extremely difficult to do. This can be why women can seem to burst into tears or fly into a fit of rage quicker and more easily than those with more equalized levels.
It’s important to note that a good portion of early pregnancy symptoms often mimic menstrual or hormonal symptoms, further blurring the line between being pregnant and not. However, what’s important to keep in mind is: If any of these symptoms develop and are out of the ordinary for your regular monthly cycles, the chances of pregnancy can be much greater.
These symptoms are also not definitive ones, and it’s always best to check with your OB-GYN if you suspect you may be pregnant. They can quickly rule out pregnancy during an office visit, so do be sure to get in to see them in any regard.
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