Most Common Signs of Pregnancy

By Chelsea Hoffman
http://www.flickr.com/photos/daquellamanera/2044749780/

Pregnancy occurs when sperm fertilize an egg during intercourse when the woman is ovulating. Whether the pregnancy is expected or not, practicing safer sex practices is important in preventing it along with STDs. If you feel that you may be pregnant or you have participated in unsafe sex, it is important to know the signs of pregnancy so you can decide your next steps.

Missed Cycle

If your menstrual cycle is late by more than two weeks, it may be necessary to get a home pregnancy test or visit a clinic. However, it is important to know that missing a period isn't always a sign of pregnancy. Many women experience irregular menstrual periods due to conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome and unhealthy exercise habits. Taking a pregnancy test when you've missed a period is the only way to rule out or confirm pregnancy.

Cramps and Bleeding

Even before a missed period, many women experience what is known as "implantation bleeding." Implantation bleeding is the result of the fertilized egg implanting itself into the uterine wall. The cells that are shed in this process are often expelled from the vagina and become apparent as light spotting. However, anytime bleeding or spotting occurs it is necessary to call your doctor to determine that there are no other causes behind it.

Nausea

Many women experience nausea as one of the early symptoms of pregnancy. The feeling of wanting to vomit is normal in pregnancy due to the fluctuating levels of estrogen that occur during this period. Sometimes, pregnant women have a heightened sense of smell, and can be repelled by the aromas of certain foods and fragrances, causing the queasy feeling. This condition is often referred to as morning sickness.

Fatigue

Frequent feelings of being tired increase when you become pregnant. This is caused by high levels of progesterone being produced in early pregnancy. The over production of this hormone can make you sleepy. In addition to the hormone production increasing in your body, your blood sugar levels may drop as well. This will also cause you to experience fatigue, even though you may get eight hours of sleep or more. This is a very common symptom in early pregnancy, but it is still a good idea to check with your physician if you feel general malaise for any reason.

Sore Breasts

In pregnancy the production of hormones and expansion of mammary glands can cause your breast to swell and ache. They may appear to grow fuller and feel more dense, and your nipples may become tender and sensitive to touch. Some symptoms that are associated with your breasts in pregnancy include the presence of blue veins across your breast, as well as tingling and throbbing sensations during sex. Sore breasts can also be indicative of premenstrual syndrome.

Raised Body Temperatures

Taking your temperature orally when you wake up in the morning is the best way to find out your basal temperature. A basal temperature that consistently stays high even after your ovulation cycle is over can be indicative of pregnancy. However, this technique in predicting pregnancy is often only used by women who continually check their temperatures while monitoring ovulation and trying to conceive. A spike in basal temperature can also be a sign of infection in the body, or even a cold.

Other Signs

Mood swings are common in pregnancy due to fluctuating hormone levels. Depression is the most common mood swing, causing women to become emotional and even weepy. Other signs include dizziness, constipation and headaches. Some women even experience frequent urination and feelings of "butterflies" in their stomach. Every woman is different and pregnancy symptoms vary from case to case so it is very important to get a pregnancy test if there is any chance you could be pregnant. Pregnancy symptoms can also be signs of other conditions so if a pregnancy test is negative, it is necessary to make an appointment with your doctor.