Uncommon Early Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms
For many women, the two weeks (or so) between ovulation and their expected period are very stressful. If you are trying to conceive and hoping that your Aunt Flo will stay away for the next year or so, or if you are sexually active and hoping to not become pregnant, this time period can put you on edge. Sometimes it seems as though every twinge is a symptom of something bigger, probably pregnancy. If you're like me, you could buy a stock of pregnancy tests, which sit waiting until the day of testing. You might keep a calendar or a chart. You're on the edge of your seat, maybe even biting your nails. You ask yourself if you're pregnant time and time again. Until you can pee on that little stick, there really doesn't seem to be a solid answer.
I have been pregnant four times, and I can honestly state that the truth of the matter is that most pregnancy symptoms are also signs that your Aunt Flo is going to show up any day. This can be confusing and disconcerting for most women. The only cure is to pee on a stick and/or get a blood test done by your doctor.
I will, however, guide you through some of the most significant signs that you might be pregnant. Keep in mind that some symptoms are less frequent than others.
Potential Early Pregnancy Symptoms
The following symptoms apply to those who are casually trying to conceive as well as to those who are using fertility charting.
Please keep in mind that pregnancy doesn't begin until implantation and that your hormones won't be rising enough to produce symptoms until your fertilized egg has implanted on the uterine wall. Implantation usually occurs roughly 6-12 days after ovulation. If you don't know when you ovulated, you will find it much more difficult to follow your symptoms! Charting is always a good idea, even if you are trying to prevent pregnancy!
Is a Stuffy Nose an Early Sign of Pregnancy?
Most women don't know that a stuffy nose is a symptom of pregnancy, but it can be! According to the Association of Otolaryngologists of India, the rise of hormones can lead to an increase in blood supply, which leads to the swelling of the nasal passages. It also increases the thickness of mucus. Nasal discharge and blockage worsens during the third trimester due to an increase in plasma and fluid moving to extravascular spaces. Keep in mind, however, that a stuffy nose can also be a sign of allergies or illness and needs to be considered in conjunction with other symptoms.
What Is Pregnancy Rhinitis?
The condition of nasal congestion during pregnancy actually has a name. Pregnancy rhinitis is the result of estrogen causing the lining of nasal passages to swell. It also causes the blood vessels in your nose to swell, resulting in more congestion. According to Healthline, the condition is fairly common as it can affect up to 42% of pregnant women. It can start early in the first trimester and usually gets worse as the pregnancy progresses. It will eventually disappear after giving birth.
Do I Have Pregnancy Rhinitis or Something Else?
You probably have pregnancy rhinitis if you are only suffering from a congested or running nose and sneezing. If you are coughing, have a sore throat, or have a fever, you may likely be suffering from a cold or sinus infection. An infection is more common during pregnancy, so be sure to contact your doctor if you have these symptoms.
If you have watery mucus or itchy eyes, you may have allergies. According to BabyCenter, allergies during pregnancy are unpredictable. Your typical reactions to previous allergies may get better or worse. You may even become allergic to things that never bothered you before.
Treatments for Stuffy Nose During Pregnancy
- Use saline nose drops or spray.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Avoid irritants like cigarette smoke or chemical fumes.
- Use a humidifier in your bedroom.
- Take warm showers. Steams can offer temporary relief for congestion.
- As tempting as it may be, it is recommended that you avoid medication during the first trimester. Be sure to consult your doctor for any medication you wish to take during pregnancy.
Is Dry Mouth an Early Sign of Pregnancy?
Dry mouth, with a metallic taste, can be a symptom of pregnancy. Here are some potential causes for it.
- According to PregMed, it is caused by hormonal changes that cause a reduction in the flow of saliva.
- Pregnancy will also raise your metabolic rates, which will create more demand for fluids. A higher metabolism can also cause you to sweat more, leading to more fluid loss.
- Some medications may have dry mouth as a side effect.
- Dry mouth may be a symptom of gestational diabetes. This is a condition that could lead to other complications with the baby. A glucose test can be done during the second trimester to see if you have gestational diabetes.
Many expecting mothers may not be hydrating as much as they need. In most cases where I have known a woman to have dry mouth, she had later tested positive for pregnancy!
How Do I Treat Dry Mouth?
- Avoid sugary and salty foods. These can irritate a dry mouth.
- Avoid beverages with caffeine. These can dry out your mouth more.
- According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless hard candy could stimulate the flow of saliva. Sucking on ice is effective as well.
- Stay hydrated. Sip on water throughout the day. Adding citrus can help stimulate saliva.
- Using a humidifier can keep moisture in the air and help alleviate dry mouth.
Other Early Symptoms
Dark Blue Veins in the Breasts
Consider your breasts. Are there dark blue veins? Most of the time these veins will be prominent and puffy if you are pregnant, but this can also be a symptom of your menstrual period, so please be aware of your cycles! According to What to Expect, veins become more visible during pregnancy due to increased blood volume that is delivering blood supply and nutrients to your baby.
Increased Sensitivity to Odors
Your sense of smell may increase when you are pregnant! While the medical reason for this is unclear, Dr. Yvonne Bohn believes the sensitivity to odors may be due to hormonal changes in the body.
Implantation Cramping and/or Bleeding
This is the result of a fertilized egg attaching to the lining of the uterus. You can typically see light spotting but the cramping can be quite painful. According to Medical News Today, implantation can occur about a week or two after fertilization. This also sets it at about a week after ovulation and a few days before an expected menstrual cycle. This can cause some confusion where implantation bleeding can be mistaken for a regular period. Bleeding occurs for a day or two when the egg implants. Be sure to read this article for more information on implantation bleeding.
Headaches are very common in early pregnancy. They are the result of increased blood flow and hormone levels. However, they can also be a sign of illness, stress, or a coming menstrual period. If you suspect you might be pregnant, please do not take aspirin or NSAIDs for your pain! You should consult your doctor for any medication you may take.
Fatigue is very common early on in a pregnancy as well as during the third trimester. If you are frequently feeling very tired, then you could be pregnant! According to the American Pregnancy Association, hormonal increases, such as progesterone in particular, are responsible for making you feel tired.
If you find yourself becoming sick to your stomach, this can also be a sign of pregnancy. This symptom can show itself as early as the day of implantation! Remember that feeling sick could also be a sign of illness. Nausea is caused by all the physical changes going on in your body. You can check out this article for details on natural methods to alleviate morning sickness.
A Missed Menstrual Period
In most cases, a missed period is an indication that you are pregnant. The rise of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin tells your ovaries to stop releasing eggs. However, there are other aspects that can affect this, including stress and simply getting older. According to Dr. Cheryl Deets, women in their 30s tend to experience shorter cycles and can have longer gaps between periods. It is also possible to have an occasional anovulatory cycle (which means you might need to have your period jump-started medically).
This is the excessive production of saliva. It can be caused by hormonal changes, nausea, heartburn, or vomiting. "Increase in saliva is the body’s response to neutralize stomach acids that enter the esophagus with heartburn and vomiting," says Dr Tami Prince, an OBGYN at US HealthWorks in Marietta, Georgia. "These acids can irrritate the esophagus and, if persistent, can begin to erode the esophageal lining, causing strictures which can make swallowing difficult." Relief can come from eating small and frequent meals throughout the day, avoiding acidic foods and coffee, and staying hydrated.
This is skin hyperpigmentation caused by an increase in hormones. It is also known as the mask of pregnancy. "Hormones stimulate an increase in melanin production," says Dr. Prince. "Dark patches usually appear around the forehead, nose, cheeks, and upper lips (in the form of a mask) but can also occur anywhere on the body, especially on sun-exposed areas. Body parts that are already hyperpigmented such as the nipples, genitals, and linea alba (line running down the belly) may become even darker." This condition will generally resolve itself after pregnancy, although some hyperpigmentation may never resolve.
For Those Who Are Charting
If you have been charting your cycles while trying to conceive, you will have further indications of your fertility and your possible pregnancy. If you are serious about becoming (or not becoming) pregnant, you should consider purchasing a basal body thermometer (BBT) and taking your temperature every morning at the same time. Your basal temperature is taken when you are at rest and have been sleeping for at least three hours. Your temperature should be taken before you speak or rise in the morning. Temperatures can be taken either orally or vaginally.
If you have been charting your fertility, you probably have a good idea of how basal temperature taking works, but I will cover the subject in brief:
- During your menstrual period and the follicular phase of your cycle (while your follicles are developing and preparing to release an egg), your temperature remains fairly low and, if you are healthy, stable.
- A few days prior to ovulation, you will begin to see some egg white cervical mucus. This is a sign that you are fertile and could become pregnant.
- When you ovulate, your temperature will most likely drop and then rise sharply. If you are using a charting program like Fertility Friend, you will notice that after two or three days, you will see red cross-hairs, indicating the date on which you ovulated.
- After you have ovulated, your temperature will usually continue to rise for several days.
- If an egg has been fertilized, it will implant. When the egg implants on the uterine wall, you will usually see a profound drop in your temperature that will last for only one day.
- After the drop, you should see your temperature rise and continue to do so if you are pregnant.
- If you are not pregnant, your temperature will drop below your cover line and your period will show up, beginning your next cycle.
Did This Article Help You Know If You Were Pregnant?
If you showed all the signs in this hub, and then took a home pregnancy test, was it positive?
- Alfieri, K. (2014, August 19). Early Signs Of Pregnancy: Heightened Sense Of Smell, from The Bump.
- Brusie, C. (2016, April 7). Rhinitis of Pregnancy: Natural Treatments, from Healthline.
- Deets, C. (2016, June 12). Is this normal? Your period in your 20s, 30s and 40s. From Allina Health.
- Dry Mouth. From National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
- Dry Mouth During Pregnancy. (2015, June 27). From PregMed.
- Fatigue During Pregnancy. (2017, February 21). From American Pregnancy Association.
- Johnson, J. Implantation bleeding: Causes and symptoms, from Medical News Today.
- Sherlie, V. Shiny, and Ashish Varghese. “ENT Changes of Pregnancy and Its Management.” Indian Journal of Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery, vol. 66, no. S1, 2012, pp. 6–9.
- Stuffy nose during pregnancy. (2017, December 18). From BabyCenter.
- Visible Veins During Pregnancy. (2015, January 06). From What to Expect.