Earliest Pregnancy Symptoms

My very first pregnancy symptoms were not those I could reliably find on line. Some women would report the crazy sense of smell I had, or the sudden aversion to food I loved, or worse, the craving for food I’d sworn off! To become pregnant is to nearly become a different woman. Your body is suddenly not your own.

Very typically, before a period is even expected, the body is so rapidly changing that more subtle observations can be detected. While difficult to separate from the routine emotions prior to menstruation, early pregnancy also carried the possibility of wildly varying mood swings, irritability, or just a general funk. From the second conception occurs, the Human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG hormone is doubling every couple of days, in order to support the new pregnancy. It takes up to two weeks from conception, and often a few days more, for the presence of HCG to be indicated by a urine test. However, blood, or pregnancy serum, tests can reveal the levels of HCG as early as seven days post conception. Until these test can be accurate, your body can give you some very definite, while nearly imperceptible, indicators.

One of the more difficult to scrutinize is the gradual deepening of the blue veins around the breast, and even up the neck and shoulders. I spend hours trying to decide if these veins were, indeed, more blue than the day, or the week before. And these veins may be covering breasts that are increasingly tender, sore or swollen. Or not. This is a symptom I only experienced the very first pregnancy, but subsequently. The nipples, also, can radically change. From smallish pink buttons, to what my husband affectionally referred to as “Husky pencil erasures”. Thanks, hon. Along with this nipple change, tiny nodules may arise around the areola, called Montgomery’s tubercles. It seems that these pimple-like bumps produce a lubricating substance that alters the skin’s pH, and helps to discourage bacterial production. A very good thing for the tiny little mouth who will likely be spending much time there!

Much more vague, but possible to detect, are two changes in and of the vagina itself. Apparently, the inner folds of the labia itself shift in color to a dusky lavender-purple. Now unless you’ve been looking at those inner folds regularly, like an OB or midwife, I don’t know HOW IN BLUE HEAVEN you’re going to be able to figure this out. I’m pretty familiar with myself, and at the risk of serious embarrassment, no amount of looking helped me determine this very subtle shift. Although, I’m sure the picture of trying is good for a laugh. The other symptom is a bit less mysterious, and involves the discharge from the vagina. Between conception and missing your period, the discharge become somewhat milky-white, and thicker. A bit mucous-y. Here, the body is beginning to form the mucous plug that will protect the inner uterus at the cervix, at the top of the birth canal, until, ideally, the time comes to lose that thing and get a baby out. But you will likely be able to see this discharge, as you wipe, or in your undies, if you know what to look for.

If you’ve been tracking your basal temperature, there would be a slight dip if your period was about to begin, probably on the very day it should. If pregnant, however, this temp does not dip, but remains high. I knew the first time we were pregnant because of this sign, even though about 32 home pregnancy test gave big fat negatives. Those tests are not always accurate. But your body knows.

As early as it may yet be, prior to even missing that period, the fatigue may very well be beginning to set in. While again, this fatigue may be difficult to discern from PMS tiredness, in time, it will be painfully obvious. Pregnancy tired is a tired like no other. And certainly women experience this varying degrees, just like the associated nausea, with the misnomer “morning sickness”. A blessed few will have no queasy tendencies, some will only feel a bit “dizzy”, or lightheaded, others stick to the more typical at-certain-times-of-day, and others will be nearly debilitated by it. I know very few moms-to-be that were only ill in the morning. And some, like myself, were eventually diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum, a potentially dangerous, near constant state of nausea and vomiting for the entire duration of the pregnancy. HG usually requires medical intervention, but is hard to diagnose early on, as sickness is so common in the first trimester. Other gastrointestinal distresses are also common, such as heartburn and constipation. Before you know if you’re pregnant, be aware to read labels for medications you’d take to relieve these. If you can’t get your doctor, a pharmacist is a valuable source of information.

Before your baby is even the size of a grain of rice, the uterus is expanding and contracting, causing pressure on the bladder long before the pregnancy will become noticeable. It has never ceased to amaze me that within days of conceiving, the number of times necessary to urinate daily jumps off the charts. Other women, though, may not experience this early.

My earliest symptoms, and those of many other early pregnant women, tend to be the wildly fluctuating aversion to certain smells and foods. One morning about four days after our third baby was conceived, I couldn’t stand a kiss from my husband because he had had peanut butter toast for breakfast. And he had brushed his teeth following! With our fourth, before the first week of waiting was up, the roasted chicken I picked up for dinner was inexplicably unappetizing once set out on the table. And the extreme opposite of this is wanting certain foods you’d never have considered before. With our third baby, we’d been vegetarians for more than a year, and the mere thought of a burger from a fast food joint would make me gag. And out of the blue one day, I’m putting the two toddlers in the car for a Wendy’s double cheese. And did so for the next six days in a row.

About the time you may be suspecting you are truly pregnant, shortly before or after your period would start, you may get light pink to brown spotting, and be convinced you are now NOT pregnant. This is often implantation spotting, and is precisely as it sounds. Sometime 3-7 days or so, and this can vary depending on ovulation and fertilization, the brand new zygote makes its way down the fallopian tube and settles in a cushy spot in the uterus. It literally implants, and prepares for a nice, long stay. Its calls to room service are what make you start feeling pregnant! As long as the spotting is minimal, not bright red, and not associate with painful cramping, it is probably just this occurrence. But certainly contact your doctor if you are concerned.

Most women would say their bloating and muscle stretching was noticeable following a positive pregnancy test, but after my first time, I knew my belly looked fuller, rounder and felt different, before the two week wait was up. It may depend on your body stature, and self awareness, but for some, this is obvious.

Waiting from the probable time of conception until the probably time of menstruation to arrive is one of the most harrowing, patience testing seasons. While only approximately two weeks, it seems to stretch on for decades. Potentially, while you may not be able to “confirm” with a test ( I went in and demanded serum tests before the 10th day for three of our pregnancies, all positive, that’s how impatient I am), perhaps determining, or eliminating, enough of these signs in yourself will help give you a sense of peace. One way, or the other.