The signs of pregnancy are the changes a woman experiences in the days and weeks after conception. Listed below are the most common symptoms of pregnancy and their other possible causes. If you have five or more of these symptoms, you may be pregnant. However, some pregnant women experience only a few of these symptoms, while others experience all of them.
Amenorrhea. Absence of your monthly period. Other possible causes: weight gain or loss, hormonal problems, tension, stress, breast-feeding, discontinuing birth control pills or birth control injections.
Morning sickness. Nausea and queasiness usually experienced in the morning, but sometimes during the entire day. Thought to be caused by a high level of the pregnancy hormone human chronic gonadotropin (HCG) in the blood, rapid stretching of the uterine muscles, excess acid in the stomach, and an enhanced sense of smell. Morning sickness usually starts two to eight weeks after conception. Other possible causes: food poisoning, tension, infection, gall bladder disease, other diseases.
Tender, swollen breasts. Caused by an increased amount of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. This is rarely accompanied by nipple discharge (galactorrhea). Breast tenderness usually begins a few days after conception. Other possible causes: birth control pills, beginning of period, fibrocystic breast condition.
Darkening of the areolas, the skin around the nipples. The bumps on areolas (called Montgomery’s tubercles) may look more prominent. These changes happen gradually during the first few weeks of pregnancy, as your breasts prepare to produce milk. Other possible causes: hormonal imbalance, prior pregnancy, tanning, the physical changes of puberty.
Frequent urination. Caused by an increased volume of body fluids and pressure from the growing uterus. This usually starts six to eight weeks after conception. Other possible causes: urinary tract infection, diuretics, tension, diabetes, drinking excess fluid.
Fatigue. Caused by high levels of the hormone progesterone and the body’s increased use of energy as the fetus develops. This usually appears during the first trimester. Other possible causes: tension, stress, depression, poor diet, flu, lack of exercise, poor sleep or lack of sleep.
Bleeding. Spotting of blood that’s pink or brown in color, sometimes accompanied by stomach cramps. Caused by the egg implanting itself in the endometrial lining. Usually occurs about a week after ovulation. Other possible causes: beginning of period, breakthrough bleeding from the pill.