Whether you’ve already had your babies or are trying to conceive, the common symptoms of pregnancy are a hot topic. It’s good to discuss this because it’s important to know what signs to look out for, when they are likely to happen and what is natural and normal for you to feel.
Here, we take a look below at the 20 most common symptoms of pregnancy. All of these can be great signs to alert you to the fact that something different is occurring in your body.
Most of these symptoms will only appear three weeks after fertilization and implantation have happened. However, for some women, they may well show up as early as the sixth day after conception.
The importance of discovering your pregnancy early
The earlier you know you are pregnant, the better. This will allow you to take the proper care necessary to ensure that both the development of the fetus and your health aren’t compromised. You’ll be able to get started on pre-natal vitamins and taking folic acid and iron supplements.
You can also stop doing anything that puts your baby at risk – drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes and taking any harmful drugs. It’s also the right time to start eating well, if you weren’t already.
The top 20 most common signs of pregnancy
1 – Menstrual delay
This is definitely the most common symptom because a menstrual period simply won’t happen if a healthy embryo is implanted in the uterus wall. It’s also often the first sign that women notice as an indication that they may have conceived, and prompt them to take a pregnancy test.
It’s possible that you may experience some bleeding early on in your pregnancy. This can come from various causes, the most common being nidation – bleeding from the implantation of the embryo. Any bleeding that occurs during your pregnancy should not be heavy nor feel like your regular menstrual period. If it does, or it goes on for a few days, consult your doctor.
2 – Tenderness and enlargement of the breasts
The hormonal changes in your body cause stimulation of the mammary glands as they prepare for breastfeeding. You will likely experience swollen nipples and tenderness to the touch.
3 – Vomiting and nausea
This is usually referred to as morning sickness and occurs in 95% of pregnant women. It’s most common in the first trimester and gets its name from the fact that most women only get it in the morning.
In extreme cases, the symptoms can last throughout the pregnancy and can get very serious. If you are unable to keep food or liquids down, consult your doctor. Dehydration is serious for both mother and baby.
4 – Feeling fatigued
There are big changes happening to your body when you fall pregnant so it’s hardly surprising that fatigue is a common symptom. The hormones that are now being released as a result of conception are acting on your nervous, cardiovascular and respiratory systems. You’ll likely experience physical fatigue in both the first trimester and again right at the end of your pregnancy, when you’re in the final stretch before birth.
5 – Excessive urge to urinate
An increase in visits to the toilet is quite natural and occurs with all pregnant women, without exception. This is due to the enlargement of the uterus and how it now presses on the bladder. As your baby grows, this symptom will unfortunately get worse and worse.
6 – Cravings
Many women experience cravings that are either odd for them, or just plain odd. This can vary from wanting to eat food items you don’t usually like through to craving things that aren’t actually food.
7 – Constipation
This is a symptom that isn’t thought of as a sign of pregnancy because there are so many things that can cause constipation. In the case of a pregnant woman, it may be that the blood flow is focused on the developing fetus, which leads to the intestine being neglected or receiving less blood than it needs to operate properly.
8 – Darkening of the nipples
The increase in hormones can also affect the coloration of your skin, causing darkening in some regions of the body. This is usually most noticeable and common on the nipples and, in some cases, the armpits.
9 – Increase of heartburn and indigestion
As we’ve already mentioned, digestion is affected during pregnancy. This not only leads to constipation, it also leads to an increase in gas. This can cause bad indigestion and heartburn.
10 – Dizziness
The developing fetus can easily cause a drop in blood pressure and glucose levels in the mother. This can lead to spells of dizziness and feeling lightheaded. Morning sickness can also add to this symptom by further depleting your body of liquids and nutrients.
11 – Headaches
Increases in hormones and changes in the way your blood circulates can cause quite bad headaches. This is mainly in the first trimester as the body changes to accommodate the new fetus.
12 – Mood swings
This is another very well-known symptom of pregnancy. Many women report switching from laughter to tears and back again in a matter of moments, and doing so for no apparent reason. This is very easily explained by the constant swirl and increase of hormones in your body.
13 – Pimples and acne
Women who suffered from bad pimples or acne in their teens are more likely to experience this symptom more severely than others. The changes in hormones can easily trigger an outbreak of acne on your face, chest and back. Additionally, your skin is oilier during pregnancy and this causes clogged pores and pimples.
14 – Vaginal discharge
A mucosal discharge is completely normal during the entire period of gestation. It usually looks transparent and has no smell. If you already have a normal discharge throughout your menstrual cycle, this could be intensified during a pregnancy.
15 – Change in sense of smell
Due to all of the changes happening in your body, you will very likely experience a heightened sensitivity when it comes to smells. Scents that previously went unnoticed could now upset you or even make you feel ill. It’s quite common to suddenly find that even your husband’s bodily odors upset you during gestation. It’s definitely advisable to avoid using perfumes and cleaning products with strong scents during this time.
16 – Changes in your taste buds
As with your sense of smell, you may very well suddenly find that foods you love no longer taste nice to you. Women often report their favorite drink or snack now tastes like it’s gone off or is sour.
17 – Increased appetite
The saying “eating for two” does come from somewhere. Basically, you do require more nutrients now that you are growing a baby inside of you. Often women will eat an entire meal and find that they are hungry soon after. The best way to combat this – without putting on more weight than is necessary during pregnancy – is to make small meals and eat more often throughout the day.
18 – Back pain
This symptom typically occurs in the final trimester of pregnancy due to the weight of your abdomen and your change in posture. However, it can also occur early on in your pregnancy as a result of the relaxation of the muscles and ligaments that occurs as the abdomen expands.
19 – Linea nigra on the stomach and belly button
This symptom doesn’t occur in all pregnant women, but it is quite common. It’s basically a pigmentation of the skin from the increase of estrogen, which causes an increase in melanin. Most women who get it see a line of darker skin running from the pubic area up to the belly button. The area around the belly button can also get discolored. This line may remain for a few weeks after giving birth.
20 – Chloasma
Also known as the mask of pregnancy, this symptom is similar to the linea nigra and is a discoloration of the skin on your face and neck. Women who get it experience spots and blemishes in the skin that are caused by the changes in hormones. For most women, the symptom disappears shortly after giving birth, once the hormones have settled again. It’s important to be careful when going out into the sun when you have this condition as that could make it worse and make it harder to get rid of down the line.