Am I Pregnant? 7 Early Pregnancy Signs & Symptoms
Wondering if you’re pregnant? The most accessible and best way to know is by taking a pregnancy test. Not knowing can be an exciting experience as you anticipate (or dread) the results. Let’s take a look at the effectiveness of pregnancy kits and other symptoms of early pregnancy.
Pregnancy Kit: How accurate is it?
A pregnancy test kit is 99% accurate and is rarely wrong. It detects the amount of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) in urine. Hence, the term ‘pee on a stick’. The placenta secretes hCG shortly after fertilisation and increases the hCG amount exponentially. First-morning pee is the ideal urine sample as that’s when your HCG levels will be the most concentrated and easily detected.
In the event of an inaccurate result, it’s much more likely to get a false-negative (test indicates negative, but you’re pregnant) than a false-positive (test indicates positive, but you’re not pregnant). If the pregnancy test is done too early, the amount of urine hCG might be too low for the test to detect. Wait a few days and do the test again.
There are also blood tests for hCG in clinics - the results take a long time but are more accurate and also measure the actual levels of the hormone. If you suspect you’re pregnant but have no access to pregnancy kits, here are some signs and symptoms to look out for.
Prominent signs and symptoms of early pregnancy
With changes in your hormonal levels, here are the 3 most prominent signs of early pregnancy most women experience.
1. Missed period
Typically the first indicator of possible pregnancy - missing your period. If your period is late by a week or more and you’re sexually active, chances are you may be pregnant. But keep in mind that this symptom can be misleading if you have an irregular menstrual cycle.
Morning sickness, ironically, can occur at any time of the day or night. Nausea may be accompanied by vomiting and often begins one to two months after you become pregnant. While some feel nausea earlier, a handful is lucky enough never to experience it.
3. Food cravings
Triggered by hormonal changes, pregnancy cravings create a nearly irresistible urge to eat particular foods. Common ones include sweet or savoury food and meats, to seemingly bizarre junk food combinations. You may also notice a sudden distaste for foods you used to love.
Other signs and symptoms
Women in their early pregnancy stages may also experience these 4 other symptoms below, but since it may be similar to Pre-Menstruation Syndrome (PMS).
Overwhelming tiredness, and in some instances, dizziness or fainting are most likely caused by the massive increase in the sex hormone progesterone in early pregnancy stages. Aim to get at least 8-10 hours of sleep, and rest more when you can during this early stage. Energy levels will likely increase around your 4th month of pregnancy when the placenta is well established.
Another cause of fatigue is anaemia, as a result of iron deficiency. Eat more iron-rich foods such as dark, leafy greens, meat, fish and eggs to alleviate this.
2. Light spotting
Also known as vaginal or implantation bleeding, this occurs in 25% of pregnant people during their first trimester. Spotting happens when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus (about 10 to 14 days after conception). As it’s easily confused with a light period, this symptom is commonly overlooked.
3. Frequent urination, and constipation
You may start feeling it around the 6th-8th week after conception as it’s due to increased levels of pregnancy hormones. Remember to have plenty of water, exercise, and eat plenty of high-fibre foods to minimize the issue.
4. Aches and dizziness
Headaches and back pain become a frequent occurrence, along with tender, swollen breasts due to pregnancy hormonal changes as your body becomes more sensitive and sore in the initial stages of pregnancy.
Am I really pregnant?
The tricky thing about figuring out if you are pregnant is that many signs are similar to PMS or a health issue. Hence it’s always best to take a pregnancy test and schedule a doctor or GP appointment for confirmation.
If you’re expecting, all the best on your parenthood journey! Next up, here are some pregnancy essentials or informative baby guides to get you started. Congratulations, you’re in for a hell of a ride but it’ll all be worth it.