When you know, you know
Every mother experiences the beginning of pregnancy differently. Some mothers report being struck down by morning sickness just 1 week after conception, and some mothers just sail through to birth without a single symptom (lucky ducks!). Many women say that they just knew something was different, they just knew they were pregnant. When you’ve never been pregnant before, this advice is way too vague! Usually, they’re referring to looking back over the previous weeks, leading up to their positive pregnancy test, that they think “oh yeah there were definitely some signs!”. This Reddit thread has some great first-symptom stories. We’re gonna go through some true signs that you should be aware of. Remember, if you’re suspicious, always take a test to be safe.
We’re not talking about being tired because you were up until 2 am bingeing on Netflix. We’re talking about feeling exhausted even though you got lots of sleep and all you’ve done so far is make your breakfast. Well, you think you haven’t done much today, but your womb is having a super busy day. It’s bringing a whole new level of meaning to “productive day”. The fatigue usually starts to improve when you get to the second trimester, so give yourself a free pass for a few weeks of laziness. Try incorporating naps into your daily routine and eating foods rich in protein and iron. Also, don’t be tempted to relieve your tiredness with multiple cups of coffee. Doctors recommend less than 200mg of caffeine per day, to be on the safe side.
In the very early weeks of pregnancy, your boobs can start to feel the effects of the drastic hormonal changes. They may feel heavier, swollen, painful or the nipple may appear darker. This is all part of the boobs revving up and preparing to produce milk, they’re very eager, it’s their time to shine! When your body gets used to the new hormone levels your breasts should start to feel better. During this time, you may feel more comfortable wearing cotton bralettes with no underwires. Your boobs are going through enough without being imprisoned in your favourite M&S balcony bra all day.
During the first weeks of pregnancy, all of your organs are getting ready to have an increased workload, especially your kidneys. Up to 60% more blood flows to the kidneys in the first few weeks of pregnancy to prepare for the task of filtering the blood of two bodies, rather than just one. This results in your bladder filling up much more frequently and your brain saying “seriously, again?!” as you reluctantly go to pee again. Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do to reduce the frequency of our bathroom trips. Doctors recommend examining your caffeine levels, maybe you’re getting caffeine from an unexpected source, such as paracetamol with added caffeine which could be making you need to pee even more frequently. Once you’re sure you’ve eliminated any diuretics from your diet, that’s all you can do. The urine is removing waste from yours and the baby’s blood, so better out than in!
Probably the most infamous of all the symptoms, the morning sickness. Well, it can also be afternoon/evening/night sickness, just to annoy us. Doctors aren’t really sure why pregnant women feel nauseous, but they know it’s caused by the influx of hormones and their effect on our digestive system. You may feel sick just thinking about certain foods, or be really sensitive to smells. This is caused by an evolutionary defence mechanism which wants to protect us and our baby from food that may be high risk. You may feel disgusted by meat, poultry or eggs because they carry a higher risk of being contaminated with harmful bacteria.
Speaking of digestive disturbance, you may also feel constipated and bloated. This is because you suddenly have a lot of the hormone progesterone, which slows down your digestive system. You can help get things moving by increasing the number of fruits, vegetables and beans in your diet. If dietary changes don’t help, talk to your doctor about other options.
We’ve all heard of some weird cravings experienced by pregnant women. Also, the husband who is sent out at 11 pm to get ice-cream, only to be shunned when he returns with the wrong flavour. Doctors have many theories about why we experience intense food cravings. The most commonly accepted theory is that pregnant women have a biological urge to maximise calorie intake to support their growing baby, so 1500 calorie pizza seems like a pretty efficient meal, according to the part of our brain which is designed to prevent us from starving. However, it’s important not to over-indulge. Unhealthy eating habits during pregnancy can have lasting effects on your baby’s metabolism throughout their life.
Cramping and Spotting
Many women experience cramps, similar to menstrual cramps, in the first weeks of pregnancy. This may also be accompanied by light bleeding. This is caused by the embryo implanting into the uterus. The bleeding usually lasts between 1-3 days, much lighter than a period and might be pink or brown. Many women mistake implantation bleeding for a short period, so they may not suspect that they are pregnant until their next expected period is missed.
This is the biggest sign for most women, and it’s the hardest to ignore. Many pregnancy tests claim to show reliable results from the day of your missed period. If Aunt Flo’s visits are usually regular, and now you’re a week late, you should take a test to be sure. A missed period is not always a definite indicator of pregnancy. Sometimes a missed period could be caused by weight changes, high-stress levels or another hormonal change. Whether you’re pregnant or not, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor about a missed period.
How many of the above symptoms sound familiar to you? If you think you might be pregnant, take a test to be sure. If you know the date of your last period, you can use our due date calculator to work out some important dates for you, such as estimated conception, due date and when your pregnancy test will be most accurate.
If you are pregnant, congratulations! At UltraScan we offer Early Pregnancy Scans from just 8 weeks. This baby scan gives you important insights such as the presence of a heartbeat, number of fetuses and gestational sacs, baby’s size and estimated due date based on baby’s size. Many women say that their pregnancy does not feel like a reality until the first scan, and public maternity hospital appointments can be as late as 15 weeks. Why wait to start bonding with your little one? Let UltraScan introduce you to your new family member in our peaceful state-of-the-art clinic. You’ll receive all of your images immediately through Whatsapp or Email, you’ll receive 5 glossy black & white prints and 2 professionally printed photos.