Pregnancy symptoms vary from woman to woman so there really is no master list of what you should expect to feel. Some women start to experience basic pregnancy symptoms almost right away. Other women don’t start wondering if they’re pregnant until they miss their first period. To make things even more complicated, some women continue to get their period throughout their pregnancy (although this is extremely rare) and really won’t experience many symptoms at all. If you think you might be pregnant, though, there are some basic common pregnancy symptoms you can look for.
Before I get into talking more about specific symptoms, I want to take a moment to talk about something I feel is incredibly important that can sometimes be overlooked when discussing this topic – what else the symptoms could mean. If you’re experiencing enough symptoms off this to think you’re pregnant but later learn you’re not, you should consult with your doctor about the symptoms anyway. Those symptoms are still there even though the pregnancy isn’t and some of the symptoms on this list can also be indicative of other medical conditions your doctor may be able to help you with. Okay, with that said, let’s talk about the symptoms and how much they say about whether or not you’re pregnant.
Abdominal cramping can be caused by a great number of things. The cramps many women report having in early pregnancy feel a lot like normal period cramps so this one can definitely be misleading. Pay attention to the timing of the cramps and how long they last. If you have a fairly regular menstruation schedule and your next period is still a little ways off, you may be pregnant.
Aversions for Specific Foods
This one goes above and beyond a normal aversion to a specific type of food in that the mere sight of said food could make your stomach turn. The worst part about this particular symptom is that it could turn a favorite food into something you can no longer stand. This can be blamed on changes in your sense of taste.
Changes in your Breasts
Aside from a missed period, changes in your breasts are one of the biggest tell tale pregnancy symptoms. If your breasts are sore, tender or swollen or your areolas (the areas around your nipples) are darkened, there’s a very good chance you’re pregnant.
Changes in your Skin
Some women have increased acne breakouts even if they normally have clear skin. Other women will develop specific skin conditions affecting the face, stomach, back and legs. If you notice you suddenly have a rosy red rash on your face, you may be with child. If the skin rash is especially severe, you doctor can likely give you suggestions on how to either remedy it or at least reduce the severity.
Constipation can be a tricky one like abdominal cramps as a whole host of things can cause constipation. Constipation could be caused by something you ate, stress or a medical condition. If you’re a fairly regular person and haven’t changed your diet in any dramatic way, constipation could be a sign of pregnancy.
Cravings for Certain Foods
The old cliché about pickles and ice cream is an old cliché for a reason. A lot of women really do crave those things during pregnancy. A good friend of mine craved nothing but McDonald’s chicken nuggets. Another friend craved olives. The crazy thing about pregnancy cravings is that they can be foods you didn’t care for before you became pregnant. Have a mad craving for kiwi fruit even though you hate it? Pretty good chance you’re pregnant.
Frequent urination is a symptom you’ll really only be able to recognize if you’re experiencing it. It can really be classed as anything beyond what you consider normal. If you’re running to the bathroom more often than usual yet you haven’t been drinking more fluids, you might be pregnant. If it turns out you aren’t, make sure you mention in the increase in urination to your doctor as you may have an infection.
A good friend of mine had never in her life had heartburn until she got pregnant. Once she was with child, heartburn became a near constant issue for her. After she gave birth to her daughter, the chronic heartburn that troubled her during her pregnancy went away but she still struggles with it on occasion.
Increased Sensitivity to Odors
Scents trouble some women naturally. If you are one of those women, you’re likely going to have a hard time with smells throughout your pregnancy. Headaches and upset stomachs can be an unfortunate side effect of this increased sensitivity. Other women may suddenly find they have a problem with scents whereas they didn’t before they got pregnant.
Irritability or Uncharacteristic Mood Swings
This one is almost a cliché at this point but it’s legitimately a symptom of pregnancy. Your body is going through a lot of changes while you’re carrying a child. It’s only natural that your mood is going to be effected. Add to that normal pregnancy worried, the stress of preparing for a baby and the less pleasant symptoms that sometimes accompany pregnancy and it’s no wonder women can be a bit moody when with child.
Lower Back Aches
Back aches are a very common pregnancy symptom in later months but for some women, those back pains are a problem right from the start. Pregnancy back aches tend to focus on the lower back and can be moderate to severe. As with many other symptoms on this list, don’t go by the lower back pain alone. This pain can be caused by a lot of other thing but this combined with some of the other symptoms can definitely indicate pregnancy.
Missed or Late Period
This is the big one. If you’re late for your period or if you’ve skipped a month entirely, there’s a very good chance you’re pregnant. There are other things that can cause a missed period but regardless, missing periods is a good reason to pay your doctor a visit. It could be diet, stress or a medical condition but the big reason for missing a period is a bun in the over.
If you’re feeling sick or throwing up and can’t seem to find a cause for it, you might want to consider a pregnancy test. It’s also worth mentioning that ‘morning sickness’ is kind of a misnomer for some women. There are some mothers-to-be that report morning sickness that lasts all day long. The extent of the nausea will vary from woman to woman. You may get a little bit of an upset tummy. You may be ready to toss your cookies all day long. You might not get an upset stomach at all. It really depends on how your body reacts to the pregnancy. There are some mothers with more than one child who have morning sickness with one but not with the other. This one is a bit of a wild card but in general, tends to be a pretty good indication you’re pregnant.
Weight gain mainly comes later in the pregnancy, but some women find they feel or look bloated right from the start. Again, every woman is different. If you notice you’re putting on a little weight in your tummy and your pants just don’t seem to fit right anymore, you might want to consider a pregnancy test.
If you’ve read this list and nodded to many of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with your doctor right away. It’s important to remember than home pregnancy tests are not always accurate so although you can use one to get an idea as to whether or not you’re pregnant, nothing will be more accurate than the tests your doctor can do.