Making Babies: Weird Early Symptoms of Pregnancy
The nervous Two Week Wait before we can take a pregnancy test is a rite of passage for us girls. Whether you're praying for a positive or crossing your fingers that it's just really bad PMS, read on and entertain or torture yourself with these weird, early symptoms that sometimes mean pregnancy (and sometimes don't...)
What Should I Avoid in The Wait?
If you suspect you may be pregnant here are some things to hold off on until you can test and find out for sure.
- Consuming Alcohol This should be pretty obvious but it's also been highly (and hotly) debated as to whether this "rule" is really necessary. Suffice to say, most doctors advise against consuming alcohol during pregnancy as doing so can harm a growing fetus.
- Smoking If it's not good for you, it's certainly not good for a wee one!
- Caffeine Some doctors will okay a small intake every day (like a small morning cup) but caffeine can also cause unpleasant reactions in a pregnant woman like dizziness, sweating, and lightheadedness.
- Aspirin and Ibuprofen Neither are considered safe during pregnancy unless recommended by a doctor.
- Deli Meats and Soft Cheeses Though contracting listeriosis--a food borne infection--isn't necessarily life-threatening in a healthy person, it can cause miscarriage because fetuses are much more vulnerable to illness and infection than healthy adults. Lunchmeat and soft cheeses (like feta and blue cheese) can carry listeria, the bacteria that causes listeriosis.
- Scooping Cat Litter Besides the smell of the ammonia in cat-urine being totally gross, cat feces contain the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis--another disease that can prove fatal to a growing baby. If you can't get out of this chore just make sure to wash your hands really good afterward (hey you should be doing that anyway!)
- Saunas, Hot Tubs, and Hot Baths Excessive heat can cause a growing baby to develop birth defects because baby can't regulate his/her own body temperature. So while you can cool down quickly, baby can't. A good way to judge your water temp is to make sure that your skin isn't turning pink. It's also a good idea to let your limbs drape out of the tub.
Coming Down With a Cold...?
Reaching for the tissues in June? Early pregnancy (annnnd, well, the whole pregnancy) can cause rhinitis of pregnancy which is basically a stuffed up, runny nose that can also lead to a scratchy throat. Why? The extra estrogen that surges during pregnancy can cause an increase in congestion and the extra blood flow (yep, pregnancy creates more blood!) also contributes to swelling in the sinuses.
Later, the drippity drop of mucous may also make morning sickness and nausea worse. Yay...
Everything Tastes Weird
Suddenly it tastes like everything's been seasoned with an entire shaker of salt and your tongue is on fire after eating licorice. Why does this happen? It's probably safe to chalk it up to rapidly changing-hormones but no one really knows for sure. The good news is that this symptom usually disappears in the second trimester.
Oh Hey, You're Gagging!
Thank a combination of a heightened sense of smell and the lovely nasal drainage that accompanies pregnancy for this unpleasant symptom.
Shortness of Breath
Huffing and puffing walking up the steps to your apartment? This is a symptom that will follow most women through their entire pregnancy but can be especially alarming (and annoying) in the beginning of pregnancy when the body requires more oxygen to grow the embryo.
The "Ladies" Look and Feel Way Weird
One of the first signs of pregnancy is changes in the breasts. This can include darkening and deepening veins (like a roadmap on your chest), darkening and larger areolas, and of course, soreness and pain.
Cramps, twinges, and pains in your lower back, or on one side of your lower abdomen can indicate implantation. Each month when you ovulate your eggs are released from either the tube on the left or the right leaving soreness. Pain in your back and lower stomach can indicate a fertilized egg attaching to the uterus.
Cramping will likely continue in the first few months of pregnancy as the uterus expands for the embryo and eventually, the growing baby.
Sudden Intolerance for Smoke and Caffeine
Smells or tastes that you once enjoyed can suddenly send your stomach lurching thanks to a shift in hormones. Likewise, what your body could once tolerate, it may become more sensitive to such as caffeine, causing you to shake, sweat, and feel nauseous.
Totally Unexplained Dizziness
Feeling like you just stepped off a roller-coaster after vacuuming or getting up off the couch quickly can be an early sign of pregnancy--and morning sickness. While the nausea and vomiting may never come, dizziness is just as yucky.
So When Should You Test?
The pregnancy hormone HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) isn't detectable until at least two weeks after conception--basically around the time of your missed period. Conception happens at the time of ovulation and most women ovulate two weeks before their period. While some early detection pregnancy tests claim to be able to tell you earlier than that, your best bet is to wait until the day after you expected your period to test. Hey, pregnancies tests aren't cheap, and taking one too early may result in a false-negative.