Recognizing Early Pregnancy Symptoms

My Aunt Lucy KNOWS when women are pregnant. We call her the “Pregnancy Whisperer.” She knew I was pregnant with my first son before I had any symptoms, and a week before I confirmed it. She can see a cousin across a dinner table and just know. Aunt Linda can’t explain what she sees-she just says “Pregnancy shows.”

Not everyone has that gift, or knows someone who does. Although everyone (and every pregnancy!) is different, there are some physical signs that are commonly associated with pregnancy. If you are wondering if you may be pregnant, either unexpectedly, or after trying to conceive, here is a checklist of possible symptoms:

<> Missed period. This is, of course, the most common, but if can be weeks before even a regular cycle reveals this. Plus, there have been pregnant women who did not stop spotting monthly, and it is very common for women to spot when implantation of the fertilized egg happens. A light vaginal discharge instead of a period is also a possible indicator.

<> Breast changes. In the first few weeks after conception, women’s breast may be affected by the surge in hormones. It is very common for breasts to be tender, feel heavy, and the aureoles may darken or look flushed. These symptoms can appear to a lesser degree during PMS, though, so it can be confusing.

<> Queasiness/Nausea/Morning Sickness. This usually starts a week or two after pregnancy because of hormone adjustments. Bouts of queasiness can last for a few weeks in most, though some women experience this throughout their pregnancy.

<> Sensitivity to Light, Touch and Odors: Many women say that this was one of their first identifiable pregnancy symptoms. Especially in the morning, this aversion to strong smells can evolve into morning sickness.

<> Headaches, Migraines, Dizziness: The hormone surge can make some women feel ill.

<> Fatigue/Tiredness/Body Aches/Cramps: Similarly, the shift in hormones can make women feel under the weather.

All of the symptoms are related to the pregnant woman’s body undergoing an ocean of changes. They also serve as ways for our bodies to ask us to slow down and cut down on activities-which is nature’s way of protecting the growing fetus. Although unpleasant, symptoms can been seen as a blessing in that they get our attention and encourage us to confirm whether or not we are pregnant as well and motivating us to make a medical appointment. Paying attention to the cues given to you by your body can help you identify a pregnancy early in the game-especially if you don’t happen to know a “Pregnancy Whisperer” like my Auntie Lucy.