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Symptoms of pregnancy: What happens right away
Other symptoms of pregnancy
Sometimes symptoms of pregnancy are less familiar or obvious. If you're pregnant, you might experience:
- Slight bleeding or cramping. Sometimes a small amount of spotting or vaginal bleeding is one of the first symptoms of pregnancy. Known as implantation bleeding, it happens when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus — about 10 to 14 days after fertilization. This type of bleeding is usually a bit earlier, spottier and lighter in color than a normal period and doesn't last as long. Some women also experience abdominal cramping — similar to menstrual cramping — early in pregnancy.
- Mood swings. The flood of hormones in your body in early pregnancy can make you unusually emotional and weepy. Mood swings also are common, especially in the first trimester.
- Dizziness. As your blood vessels dilate and your blood pressure drops, you might feel lightheaded or dizzy. Early in pregnancy, faintness also can be triggered by low blood sugar.
- Constipation. An increase in progesterone causes food to pass more slowly through the intestines, which can lead to constipation early in pregnancy. Constipation can be aggravated by prenatal vitamins containing iron.
In addition, your basal body temperature — your oral temperature when you first wake up in the morning — might provide an early clue about pregnancy. Basal body temperature increases slightly soon after ovulation and remains at that level until your next period. If you've been charting your basal body temperature to determine when you ovulate, its continued elevation for more than two weeks could mean that you're pregnant.
Are you really pregnant?
Unfortunately, these signs and symptoms aren't unique to pregnancy. Some can indicate that you're getting sick or that your period is about to start. Likewise, you can be pregnant without experiencing any of these signs and symptoms.
Still, if you miss a period or notice any of the tip-offs on these lists, you might want to take a home pregnancy test — especially if you're not keeping track of your menstrual cycle or if it varies widely from one month to the next. If your home pregnancy test is positive, make an appointment with your health care provider. The sooner your pregnancy is confirmed, the sooner you can begin prenatal care.Previous page
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- Norwitz ER, et al. Overview of the etiology and evaluation of vaginal bleeding in pregnant women. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Oct. 25, 2010.
- Jennings VH, et al. Fertility awareness-based methods. In: Hatcher RA, et al. Contraceptive Technology. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: Contraceptive Technology Communications, Inc.; 2007:346.
- Smith JA, et al. Treatment of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy (hyperemesis gravidarum and morning sickness). http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Oct. 25, 2010.