Pregnancy Information Symptoms

Are you pregnant? Or do you just think you might be? Wondering if that nausea a week after a missed period means morning sickness? Or do you have a gut feeling that something is different? Are all the signs pointing to pregnancy?

The signs of pregnancy can be subtle or obvious, ranging from a missed period to feeling the fetus move. You may be pregnant if you experience some of the symptoms listed below.

Initial Signs of Pregnancy

The most obvious initial pregnancy symptom is amenorrhea, a sudden stop in menstruation. Missing a period is often the first indication of pregnancy. However, many women experience mild bleeding, or spotting, in the initial stages of pregnancy. Spotting may be mistaken for a light period.

If spotting occurs during pregnancy, tell your doctor. Tests may be required to determine the cause of bleeding. If you’re missing periods and pregnancy tests are negative, your doctor will help determine if another underlying medical issue is the cause of your amenorrhea .

Early signs of pregnancy may include breast tenderness and morning sickness. Nausea and vomiting affect many pregnant women.

Quickening: The First Fetal Movements

Quickening occurs sixteen weeks into the pregnancy. One of the most dramatic signs of pregnancy, quickening is the first time the pregnant woman feels fetal movement. The first fetal movements a pregnant woman feels are often described as “fluttering.” Most pregnant women have had their pregnancy confirmed long before quickening.

Conditions that Mimic Pregnancy Symptoms

While amenorrhea and morning sickness may seem obvious signs of pregnancy, they do not confirm that a woman is pregnant. Illness, dietary changes, physical conditions and even stress can mimic almost all pregnancy symptoms.

Other Pregnancy Symptoms

Over time, a pregnant woman experiences additional symptoms. Physical signs of pregnancy include a blue tint to cervical and vaginal tissue due to increased blood flow. By four weeks, doctors can already detect a softening of the cervix in pregnant women. By six weeks a pregnant woman’s uterus begins to swell.

Other signs of pregnancy may include:

  • “feeling pregnant”
  • “mask” of pregnancy (brown blotches on the face)
  • breast swelling
  • fatigue
  • food aversions
  • food cravings
  • increased salivation
  • increased urination
  • leaking colostrum (a milky fluid) from breasts
  • leg and ankle swelling, usually late in the pregnancy
  • linea nigra , a dark line that extends down from the navel in some pregnant women
  • red palms.

Talk With Your Doctor

If you’re at all concerned about any of the symptoms you’re experiencing, call your doctor right away. Being overly cautious helps ensure your health and the health of your baby.

Confirming You’re Pregnant

If you experience any of the signs of pregnancy, home pregnancy tests are very accurate, but a doctor still must confirm you’re pregnant. Signs of a viable pregnancy are confirmed clinically by blood tests and the presence of a fetal heartbeat on ultrasound.

Morning Sickness and More

Most pregnant women complain of morning sickness. But don’t let the name fool you: The symptoms of morning sickness (nausea with or without vomiting) may occur in the morning, afternoon, evening or all day long. For most women morning sickness resolves sometime during the fourth month of pregnancy; an unfortunate few experience these symptoms throughout their pregnancy.

Many women also experience heartburn that may or may not be associated with particular foods, constipation, dizziness, back pain and sciatica.

Learn more about morning sickness and these other pregnancy symptoms.

Resources

Amazing Pregnancy. (nd). Signs of pregnancy.

Beers, M. H.