How wonderful it would be to have clear pregnancy symptoms before the period is missed! However, although it is one of the most frequent searches on Google, there are very few signs that could indicate that we are expecting a baby before the absence of menstruation.
Pregnancy symptoms before a missed period
The clearest sign of pregnancy, when we all go for a test, be it home or blood in a laboratory, is the absence of menstruation. But, can I tell you something? The woman’s body begins to prepare itself from the moment of conception.
They are subtle symptoms, most of the time unnoticed, and can be confused with premenstrual symptoms or other external factors. According to Susana Haquet Santana, an academic from the Department of Embryology and Genetics of the Faculty of Medicine, UNAM, the symptoms of pregnancy before the period is absent are very few: “It could be a little pain or tension in the mammary glands. Perhaps a slight nausea”, explains the expert.
Do you notice something different in your breasts? Are they more sensitive, even hurtful?
“From the beginning, there is a greater secretion of hormones that affects the breasts. Estrogen and progesterone cause the mammary glands to mature; they begin to prepare so that when the baby is born, milk production can occur”.
“This begins from the moment the embryo is implanted, breasts begin to increase in size, you can also feel the painful and sensitive mammary glands. This change can be noticed by women from the beginning”, explains the gynecologist.
A little bleeding
Implantation bleeding, usually defined as staining or light bleeding that occurs 10 to 14 days after conception, is normal and can appear before you even expect your period.
Yvonne Butler Tobah, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic explains: “It occurs when the fertilized egg attaches to the wall of the uterus. Implantation bleeding usually occurs around the time you would expect to have your period, a little earlier. This bleeding is lighter than the one that occurs when menstruating”. But beware, some women do not have implantation bleeding, and in others it goes unnoticed. It is also possible to confuse it with a light menstruation. If this happens, you may not realize you’re pregnant, which can lead to confusion when determining your baby’s due date.
A classic that you see in the movies to refer to pregnancy before the period is missed is nausea. Dr. Mary Marnach, also from the Mayo Clinic, explains that nausea and vomiting during pregnancy are due to the effects of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). “Pregnant women begin to produce HCG soon after the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus”.
Dr. Susana Haquet, from UNAM, adds, “Nausea occurs before there is a menstrual delay and during the first three months. Especially there is a peak between week 10 and 12″.
But despite the hype in movies, many women never experience nausea. In addition, it is very common to believe that it is because some food has made them sick, which is why the vast majority of women do not perceive them or relate them as such.
Other possible symptoms of pregnancy before the missed period
In the article Symptoms of pregnancy, what comes first, Mayo Clinic explains some other signs at the beginning of pregnancy, but they are not exclusive to this stage either. Most are due to hormonal changes:
Increased urination: The amount of blood in the body increases during pregnancy, causing the kidneys to process extra fluid that ends up in the bladder.
Fatigue: It is also one of the first symptoms. During the early stages, levels of the hormone progesterone rise, making you feel drowsy.
Mood swings: The rush of hormones can make you feel unusually emotional and tearful.
Bloating: Hormonal changes in early pregnancy can make you feel bloated like you would feel at the beginning of your menstrual period.
Cramps: Some women experience uterine cramps (stinging pain in the lower abdomen).
Constipation: Hormonal changes can cause the digestive system to slow down.
Food aversions (disgust): You may become more sensitive to smells and your sense of taste may change.
Nasal congestion: Also, due to the increase in hormones, it is possible for the mucous membranes of the nose to swell and it can make your nose feel “stuffy”.
Am I really pregnant if I have any of these symptoms?
Here we go again, unfortunately all these signs and symptoms are NOT exclusive to pregnancy, so do not hallucinate, otherwise your doubts and stress may increase.
If you have doubts, the best thing to do is to take a pregnancy test and make an appointment with your doctor to confirm it, rule it out or, in any case, find out the causes of your weird symptoms.
Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver Manrique de Lara
Spanish version: Here
Symptoms of pregnancy before a missed period