Whether a woman is trying to get pregnant or dreading an unwanted pregnancy, all women are anxious to find out the answer to the question: “Am I pregnant?” Some women just “have a feeling”, while others need to be reassured by various methods.
Most experts agree that there are about 10 pregnancy signs that a woman can check for to find out if she’s pregnant. The signs will vary from woman to woman, and some women may not even experience any of the 10 pregnancy signs.
1. Missing your period. This is most often the first of the 10 signs of pregnancy. Many women have very irregular menstrual cycles, so it may take longer for them to realize whether or not they’ve actually missed their period; for women who are regular, though, a missed period is a very potent sign indicating pregnancy.
2. Fatigue. Often, a woman will feel extremely tired the first 8-10 weeks of pregnancy, due to all the changes her body is going through to accommodate a growing baby.
3. Tender breasts/nipples. This usually starts occurring about three weeks after conception.
4. Nausea and vomiting. This usually occurs as early as one week after conception.
5. Constipation. One of the effects of the high levels of various hormones released during pregnancy is to relax the intestines; this makes them less efficient.
6. Light spotting and/or Cramping. Around 8 to 10 days after ovulation, if you are pregnant, the embryo will attach to the uterine lining; at this point, light pink spotting can occur, which is easily differentiated from menstrual blood. Cramping can also occur while the uterus stars assuming its proper position for pregnancy.
7. Elevated basal body temperature. If basal body temperature remains raised past the time menstruation is due and does not decrease to levels typical of the period of time before ovulation, this is a sign of pregnancy.
8. Darkening areolas. A change in the areas that ring the nipples (areola) is one of the 10 pregnancy signs. Around the time you would expect your period if you were not pregnant, you may notice that your areolas darken and get larger; also, the tiny bumps scattered around the areola may enlarge and increase in number.
9. Frequent urination. Because of changes in blood vessel dilation, pressure, and hormones, the blood flow to a woman’s kidney increases by up to 35% to 60%; this causes her to product more urine. Furthermore, the growing uterus exerts pressure on the bladder, causing the feeling of needing to urinate more frequently.
10. Positive pregnancy test. When your period is at least a day late, you can take a urine pregnancy test, which can be accurate as early as 10 to 14 days after fertilization. The most accurate of the 10 pregnancy signs, a blood pregnancy test does not require waiting for a missed period; this type of test is more accurate, giving relatively reliable results as early as 8 to 10 days after fertilization.