Any woman who is trying to conceive goes through a monthly waiting period generally referred to as the Two Week Wait.
This refers to 14 days in a woman’s menstrual cycle, between ovulation and a missed period. During this time, many women tend to do symptom spotting – acute awareness of every twinge and movement in their reproductive system and linking it to possible pregnancy.
Because every woman is different, pregnant women mention a huge variety of symptoms they regard to be signs that they are pregnant.
1. Aches and pains
If you are in the early stages of pregnancy, you may or may not experience the following aches and pains:
• Cramping (often accompanied by spotting) – This is often linked to implantation of the embryo to the wall of the uterus and usually happens around 6 - 10 days after ovulation. Shortly after implantation, you can do a pregnancy test, and depending on your hormone levels, it may be positive.
• Tender or sensitive breasts – Changes in your hormone levels to accommodate the pregnancy and also preparation for lactation (breastfeeding) can bring about sensitivity and mild to severe breast tenderness. Some women also experience tingling, swelling or darkening nipples, and increased visibility of the veins in the breasts.
• Headaches – Your hormones may cause hormonal headaches at any stage of pregnancy.
• Back pain – Lower back pain can occur as early as 3 weeks gestation and last throughout the pregnancy. Getting regular massages may help relieve the pain.
• Abdominal pain (similar to menstrual cramps) – Even very early in pregnancy, our reproductive system and uterus is preparing to accommodate a baby. Your round ligaments will begin to stretch and your organs may begin to shift slightly to make room, and this will likely cause some abdominal pain.
2. Bathroom habits
Another possible sign of early pregnancy is a change in your bathroom habits, mostly due to hormonal changes and shifting of organs to make room for a baby. Possible changes may be:
• Frequent urination
Along with possible diarrhoea or constipation, one of the most prominent signs of pregnancy is nausea (also referred to as morning sickness).
Pregnancy nausea is called morning sickness as most women experience nausea in the morning after waking, due to an empty stomach, but many women also experience nausea at other times of the day or even all day long.
If you are experiencing severe diarrhoea, constipation or nausea, it is best to contact your healthcare provider.
Taking vitamin B6 can also ease pregnancy related nausea.
Most women experience extreme fatigue during the first 3 months of pregnancy, or even throughout pregnancy. This is the result of your body working much harder than usual to create your little miracle.
5. Mood swings
Hormonal changes may cause you to have unexplained and radical mood swings at any given time throughout your entire pregnancy. Warn those around you of this to prevent conflict.
6. Dizziness and fainting
Because you are accommodating and supplying blood and nutrients to another little body inside you, your blood pressure may drop or you may develop deficiencies during pregnancy, which may cause you to feel dizzy or faint. Always make sure to take a vitamin and/or iron supplement if you suspect you may be pregnant.
7. Eating habits
A change in your eating habits may be a tell-tale sign of early pregnancy. You may experience:
• Extreme and unusual cravings
• Food aversions (which may cause nausea)
8. Sense of smell
A change in the sensitivity of your sense of smell may be one of your first pregnancy symptoms. Many pregnant women swear that they can smell everything – and that, due to this, unpleasant smells often cause nausea. Some pregnant women also become congested, causing their sense of smell to diminish.
9. Sense of taste
You may notice a metallic or sour taste in your mouth, which may be the result of early pregnancy. As with many symptoms of pregnancy, this is caused by increased hormones – in this case, particularly oestrogen.
10. Hot flashes
Hormones are to blame for this very common pregnancy sign, which can last throughout your pregnancy and will also cause your overall basal body temperature to rise.
Some women allege that they intuitively “knew’ that they were pregnant, even without experiencing any other symptoms related to pregnancy. This goes to show that your womanly intuition can sometimes surpass scientific proof.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you might be pregnant! If not, there’s always next time. This is an exciting time of your life that you should cherish every moment!
GetSavvi Health offers full maternity cover of R20 000 for a normal birth and R30 000 for a caesarean delivery (C-Section). Our maternity cover also includes visits to the gynaecologist and ultrasound scans. Read more by clicking here.