Pregnancy Signs

Identifying the early signs of pregnancy

Since conception can occur up to three weeks before your next menstrual period, there are several signs of pregnancy that occur in many women before a missed period. If you're experiencing emotional disturbances or physical changes, your body may be responding to a new hormone; knowing about common early pregnancy symptoms can help you know when to take a pregnancy test.

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Emotional Early Pregnancy Signs

Before any distinct physical changes appear, many women simply have a hunch that they are pregnant. Of course, every woman will experience a different degree of insight – although this intuition is surprisingly accurate for many, some women go a month or more without suspecting that they are pregnant. The release of HCG, also known as the pregnancy hormone, begins only 8 to 10 days after conception, when it can begin to spark some mood swings, and by the time of your next period your mood could be alternating between high spirits and unexplained sadness. Pay close attention to the natural peaks and valleys of your emotions to help you identify an early pregnancy.

Some women report that their dreams become intense, vivid and perceptive during pregnancy, and dreams of pregnancy can occur even before faint physical or emotional signs present themselves. You may want to keep a dream diary to track your patterns. Some of the earliest signs of pregnancy are emotional or intuitive signs, and the earlier you can recognize a pregnancy, the sooner you can choose to commit to a healthy pregnancy diet and lifestyle.

Physical Early Pregnancy Symptoms

Physical signs of pregnancy can be as mild as emotional signs or intense enough to cause discomfort. Again, the severity of symptoms will vary for each woman, but there are some common things to watch out for. First, most women will feel more tired than usual, because the metabolic processes that begin with the release of the HCG hormone consume quite a bit of energy. More uncomfortable symptoms such as morning sickness and odd food cravings typically begin around two to four weeks into the pregnancy, and will often continue through the first trimester.

Most women will experience sore breasts around the same time as the fatigue sets in, but you may notice swollen breasts and darkening of the nipples even earlier, as the breasts begin to prepare themselves for breastfeeding. However, breast soreness often occurs around the time of menstruation for many women, as does fatigue and emotional volatility; if your symptoms are familiar to you, you may want to wait until you miss your period before you take a pregnancy test.