8 Early Signs of Pregnancy
Nivin Todd, MD, FACOG
Wondering if you're pregnant? A pregnancy test is the way to know for sure. But what if it's too soon for accurate results? You may notice some subtle signs of pregnancy -- fatigue, nausea, frequent urination, and breast tenderness. Here's some expert advice on how to respond to these symptoms if you're trying to get pregnant.
"Extreme, unexplainable fatigue is probably the most common sign of early pregnancy," says Gil Gross, MD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
"Don't treat fatigue with excessive caffeine if there is a chance you may be pregnant." Instead, "listen to your body, take it easy, and try to keep well-rested," says Donnica Moore, MD, a women's health expert in Far Hills, N.J.
2. Food Aversions
If opening the refrigerator makes you wince and you can't even walk past the local Chinese restaurant without gagging, you could be pregnant. Many women report that such intense food aversions are one of the first signs of early pregnancy. These can be caused by rising levels of beta-hCG hormone, Moore says. The best thing you can do to help yourself through this is to steer clear of triggers.
3. Sensitivity to Smells
Scents that were never pleasant (like cigarette smoke) and even ones that were pleasing (like your partner's cologne) can make you queasy during pregnancy's early stages. "For some women, this can be a tip-off that they are expecting," Moore says. This is likely a result of rising hormone levels. Unfortunately, "there is really nothing you can do except avoid them when you can," she says, "especially cigarette smoke, which is not good for you or the baby."
4. Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting can be some of the first indications that you're pregnant. Blame it on rising hormones levels in early pregnancy.
One of the things that can help expectant moms get through their first trimester is the reassurance that the nausea and vomiting will likely pass by 19 weeks. "It also helps to know that morning sickness can be a good thing," Moore says, because rising levels of the beta-HCG hormone, which may cause morning sickness, indicate a growing pregnancy.
When you eat may make a difference, too. "The key is not to let your stomach get too empty," Moore says. "Keep crackers by your bedside and have them before you get out of bed in the morning." It is also a good idea to eat small, more frequent meals throughout the day and a snack just before bed. Lemon and peppermint flavored candies can also ease queasiness.
Prenatal vitamins can also trigger nausea for some expectant moms. "Don't take your vitamins on an empty stomach," Moore says. "A lot of women feel better if they take them at nighttime or with dinner."
If you are vomiting often, speak with your doctor about medication options.