A pregnancy test detects the hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) hormone in your urine. The presence of this hormone confirms your pregnancy status. Many times, an hCG test proves to be negative even if you are pregnant. This is because hCG enters the bloodstream 8-10 days after the fertilization (before a missed period).
The detectable levels of hCG in urine occur only 1-2 weeks after missing your period. Thus, tests conducted before this time are likely to show negative results.
Pregnancy signs may differ from one woman to another. Also, it is not necessary that your second pregnancy will have the same signs as your first. While some women may not have any troublesome symptoms, pregnancy for some may prove to be a very difficult phase.
Another point to be noted is that not all women will observe any unusual signs before missing a period, whereas, signs may be very prominent in some women. Therefore, the best way to confirm pregnancy is by taking a pregnancy test.
Signs of Conceiving Before a Missed Period
The following are the symptoms that you may observe before missing your period. Some of these symptoms may be similar to those that are experienced around the time of your menstrual cycle, which may cause confusion.
Bloating of the Abdomen
Most of the women experience this symptom in the early phase of pregnancy. The hormonal changes taking place in the body causes a bloated stomach. However, a point to be noted is that many women also experience abdominal bloating around the due date of their period. Therefore, if you know that your date is far, but your pants are getting tighter around the waist, it may be an early pregnancy sign.
Implantation dip is a term used for a decrease in the basal temperature (the temperature that is taken when the body is at rest) during the time of implantation. Implantation is when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterus lining. This usually happens within 6-12 days post ovulation. Ovulation is when mature eggs are released from your ovaries into the oviduct so that they can be fertilized by a sperm.
A few women actually notice a one-day dip in their basal body temperature after ovulation. Thus, if you maintain a basal body temperature (BBT) chart, it may be easy for you to track the pattern of its increase and decrease. However, this sign may also occur in women who are not pregnant.
Elevated Basal Temperature
After implantation occurs, the basal body temperature may rise up to about 1º F. Thus, if you find your basal temperature to be high for over 18 days continuously, without any apparent illness, you may be pregnant. A fertilized egg is implanted in the womb about 6 to 12 days after ovulation. This means it happens about 2 to 3 weeks before you miss a period. If this is what you experience, there are chances of you being pregnant.
Tender Breasts and Darker Areolas
The earliest sign of pregnancy is tenderness and swelling in the breasts. The soreness of the breasts is similar to that experienced before the beginning of your menstrual cycle; in pregnancy, it is more prominent. Hormonal changes tend to increase the blood flow to the breasts, making them sensitive. The nipple area becomes darker, the areolas become wider, and the bumps on the areolas become more prominent. This may be observed within a week or two after conceiving.
Nausea and Vomiting
The increased levels of hormones in the body cause nausea. It can occur anytime during the day or night. However, nausea is not always accompanied by vomiting. You may also develop an increased sense of smell, making you feel nauseous towards certain food items. This sign may appear within 2-8 weeks after conception. Though, not all women may experience it. If the nausea is extreme and followed by vomiting, it is important to drink plenty of water and other healthy fluids to prevent dehydration.
Constipation or Diarrhea
The intestines tend to become more relaxed due to the hormonal changes leading to constipation. If you suddenly start experiencing less than three bowel movements a week, blame it on your pregnancy hormones. Reportedly, some women also experience the opposite of constipation - diarrhea, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy, though it is not a common occurrence.
Fatigue or Sleepiness
Increase in hormone progesterone will cause the body to feel excessively tired. The change in hormonal levels may make you feel exhausted and sleepy. The new development occurring within your body causes a complete burnout of energy. Thus, if you haven't been doing extra work lately, and yet feeling tired, it may be due to pregnancy.
Light Spotting Due to Implantation Bleeding
Implantation bleeding occurs when the fertilized egg burrows through the uterus lining that is rich in blood. The spotting is very light with red, pinkish, or reddish-brown staining. You may observe it for a day or so, a few days before the time of your period. Though, some women may just experience these signs for a few hours. If this spotting is followed by pain, speak to the doctor to rule out the chances of ectopic pregnancy. Implantation bleeding may occur within 6-12 days after conceiving.
The blood supply and other fluids in your body increase during pregnancy. This extra fluid is processed by the kidneys eventually filling up your bladder more frequently. The changes due to hCG hormone also cause frequent urination. Another reason for frequent urination during pregnancy is the growth of the uterus which pushes the bladder. This causes the bladder to fill faster, making you take frequent trips to the bathroom. An increased thirstiness may also be observed due to this symptom.
Aches and Abdominal Cramps
The sudden increase in the hormonal levels in your body may cause headaches and backaches during the initial stages of pregnancy. Cramping may also occur due to the changes taking place in the uterus.
Most women crave for certain food items before their period, and in the later stages of pregnancy. However, some women may experience food cravings even during the early stages, mistaking it as a PMS symptom. On the other hand, food aversions are most commonly noticed during the initial stages of pregnancy, especially towards dairy products, fish, and fried food items.
Some women also experience symptoms like shortness of breath, mood swings, and hot flashes after conceiving. As mentioned earlier, these symptoms mimic PMS symptoms to a great extent. Therefore, the only way to confirm pregnancy is through pregnancy test kits, which are likely to show a positive result only after you have missed your period. Some women may show a positive result even 3-4 weeks after missing their period. So, the results vary from one woman to another.
Get a home pregnancy test at least one week after missing your period. A positive result means you have conceived. If the results are negative, try the test again in the next week. Take an appointment with your doctor and get your pregnancy confirmed. Maintain a healthy diet during your pregnancy and abstain from smoking and alcohol. Follow your doctor's advice and take care of yourself and the new life that is budding inside you.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.