Some women swear by their pregnancies from the moment they occur, while others may not realize they are pregnant until much later. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that most women will not have symptoms until between the second and fourth weeks of pregnancy. If a woman suspects she is pregnant, she should make an appointment with an obstetrician or midwife immediately for confirmation by blood test.
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A missed period may be an early sign of pregnancy, particularly for those women who have regular, dependable menstrual cycles. Occasionally a woman will think she has a period when she actually has implantation bleeding. If bleeding is much lighter or shorter than usual, she could still suspect pregnancy.
High Basal Temperatures
Toni Weschler, MPH, popularized the Fertility Awareness Method in her bestselling "Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health." According to Weschler, “Fertility charting involves recording your basal body temperature when you first wake up and the changes that occur in your cervical fluid throughout your cycle.” Women who practice the Fertility Awareness Method may suspect pregnancy on day 14 of high basal body temperatures.
Positive Pregnancy Test
A positive home pregnancy test is a quick and easy way to confirm a pregnancy. While many brands claim to be 99 percent accurate, the ACOG says this is not the case. For best results, the ACOG advises women to wait until at least a week after their missed period to take a home pregnancy test. It is not uncommon for a woman to test negative on the day she misses her period but test positive one week later.
Hormone levels dramatically increase in the first few weeks of pregnancy. This causes tender, sore breasts in some women. The discomfort usually subsides within several weeks.
While breast discomfort is temporary, darkened areolas are not. Most women who notice this symptom early in pregnancy have it until the birth.
The same hormones that cause tender breasts can cause an intense fatigue that may last throughout the entire first trimester. Women report varying levels of exhaustion, but most women will experience the symptom to some degree in early pregnancy.
As soon as a woman is pregnant, the fluids in her body increase. She will likely experience the urge to urinate with much greater frequency than before the pregnancy. This symptom comes and goes throughout the entire pregnancy.
Fluctuating hormones bring mood swings. This symptom can start early in pregnancy and continue into the postpartum period.
Nausea can strike morning, noon or night—the term “morning sickness” is a misnomer. While nausea is a common first-trimester complaint, rarely does a woman report the symptom within the first month of the pregnancy, according to both Babycenter and the ACOG. It is more common between weeks four and 14. Nausea does not always involve vomiting, but it frequently involves a heightened sensitivity to odors.
Some women report food cravings early in pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association reports that these cravings can continue until birth. Possible culprits are not only changing hormones but also a poor diet or stress.