You may experience all or the first signs of early pregnancy, grow hopeful that you are pregnant, and still not be. Or you may have hardly any symptoms and be definitely pregnant. The truth is pregnancy signs and symptoms are mere clues. Do not ignore them but at the same time don't bank on them either. Further confirmation with a visit to your clinic is very necessary if you suspect a baby is on the way! Here are three categories of first signs of pregnancy which translate to you being possibly or probably or positively pregnant!
The Possible signs
These are signs that are experienced by the woman herself but because these are feelings as reported by the woman which are not confirmed by medical evidence, they cannot be considered definite indicators of pregnancy
Absence of or missed menses (amenorrhea) When: Soon after conceptionOther causes of a no-period situation include hidden fear of an unwanted pregnancy, fatigue, stress, hormone problems, illness such as thyroid gland disturbances, extreme weight gain or loss, recent childbirth, breastfeeding, going off the pill and travel
Morning sickness at any part of the day with or without the vomitWhen: as early as 2-3 weeks after the LMPOther causes are infection, food poisoning, emotional distress and a host of other illnesses
Frequent pee When: as early as the first day of a missed period Other causes are UTI, diabetes, stress, diuretics
Tender, swollen breasts When: as early as few days after conceivingOther causes include impending menstruation, birth control pills
Nipple changes (areola darkens and the tiny glands look more visible)When: first trimesterOther causes are hormonal imbalance, the effects of a previous pregnancy
Food cravings When: first trimesterOther causes include poor eating habits, upcoming period and stress
Fatigue and sleepiness When: early weeks after conceptionOther causes are overwork, late nights, and a lack in certain nutrients
Loss in appetite When: early weeks after conceptionOther causes include stress, constipation, and a lack of sleep
The Probable Signs
These are signs felt by the mother which can be documented when she is physically examined by a doctor i.e. growth of the uterus
Color change in the tissues of the vagina and cervix to purplish blue When: first trimesterThe other cause can be pegged to your impending periods
Softening of cervix and uterus When: 6 weeksThe other cause can be because of the delay in your periods which are due any day now
Uterus and abdomen size (becomes bigger) When: 2-3 months after conceptionThe other cause can be because of other growths such as fibroids, tumor instead of a fetus
Fluttering in the lower abdomen When: 16-22 weeks Other causes are gas, bowel contractions
Pregnancy tests When: preferably about 10 days after conceptionBlood and urine testing are not 100% full-proof in determining pregnancy. (In the recent past, these tests have proven to be 99% accurate in detecting hCG, a hormone produced by the blastocyst [a clump of cells result when the sperm and egg fuse] and later by the placenta.) Hence a positive result following the test is considered as a probable sign and not a positive one. It is advisable to follow up with a visit to the doctor's office. The most striking changes affected by pregnancy occur in the reproductive organs so the results from a check of these organs can convert a probable pregnancy to a positive one.
The Positive Signs
These signs are a direct consequence of an embryo growing inside the mother. Changes in the cervix, vagina and uterus can still be due to other reasons. However the presence of the fetal heart rate and ultrasound images of a live embryo will ascertain a pregnancy and rule out all other possibilities.
Visualization of embryo or gestational sac through ultrasoundWhen: one to one and a half months following conception
Fetal heartbeat When: 9th - 12th week using a Doppler16th - 20th week using a fetoscope
Fetal Movement (quickening)When: 20th week of pregnancy felt by a third party (doctor)
A special note: There are instances where it can be very confusing for the overly-anxious woman: she may be pregnant and yet 'menstruate' in the early months. These menstrual periods differ from the usual in that they are shorter and scantier in flow. A woman may bleed for 3 days instead of the normal 5 at the time when her period is due. It doesn't stop there for some. In the following month she may bleed for half a day and maybe for an hour in the month after that. Alternatively, a woman may experience menses-like cramps without bleeding at the time of her period. This discomfort may last for 3-4 days then stops with no sign of bleeding. It is best to put your mind at rest by visiting your doctor or with a home pregnancy test first before a visit to the clinic, whichever convenient. A visit to the doctor at the earliest is necessary for the health of mother and baby.