11 early Pregnancy Symptoms and what else could be causing them

Having a symptom that is common to pregnancy and wondering if you’re expecting? While you definitely may be pregnant, sometimes other conditions or factors could lead to a symptom associated with pregnancy. Read on to see what could be causing your symptom besides pregnancy.

1. Delay of Menstruation

Haven’t had your period? While this is definitely a sign you may be pregnant, other possible causes could be excessive weight gain or loss; fatigue; hormonal problems; tension; stress; going off the birth control pill; and breastfeeding. If there’s a chance you may be pregnant, it may be a good idea to take a home pregnancy test.

What Causes This Symptom during Pregnancy?
After fertilization occurs the egg travels from the fallopian tube to the uterus. It attaches to the lining of the uterus, and then the placenta starts to form. This contact between the egg and the uterus triggers the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, which means no more periods.

2. Nausea and Vomiting

Feeling nauseous? It could be morning sickness, but it could also be caused by food poisoning, stress, and a variety of other stomach disorders. Nausea during pregnancy usually begins two to eight weeks after conception. A trip to the doctor is probably in order—pregnant or not.

What Causes This Symptom during Pregnancy?
Morning sickness is generally triggered by the rise and shift of hormones. These hormones rise rapidly through the first trimester.

3. Tender or Swollen Breasts

Breast tenderness is a common first sign of pregnancy. But those swollen breasts could also be caused by a hormonal imbalance, birth control pills, and a sign that your period is about to start. Breast tenderness caused by pregnancy usually begins one to six weeks after conception.

What Causes This Symptom during Pregnancy?
Breast tenderness happens due to increased hormone levels of estrogen and progesterone. The estrogen production causes a response of the mammary tissue within the breast that results in tenderness. There is also a great deal more fluid and blood circulating within the pregnant woman’s body. This increase can result in engorgement of the breast tissue (fullness).

4. Feeling Exhausted or Sleepy

Can’t say awake? Tempted to take a nap at the most inopportune times? Feeling exhausted is definitely a sign of pregnancy, but can also be caused by stress; fatigue; the common cold or illness; depression; and other mental strains. That sleepy feeling when pregnant can rears its head about one to six weeks after conception. It’s a good idea to see your doctor is this symptom persists.

What Causes This Symptom during Pregnancy?
Fatigue is often attributed to another rising hormone, progesterone. Like nausea, fatigue tends to improve by the end of the first trimester.

5. Backaches

An aching back can signal pregnancy, but usually it occurs later in pregnancy. Back pain can also be caused by a variety of back problems and other physical and mental strains. Consider making an appointment with your doctor.

What Causes This Symptom during Pregnancy?
When hormones trigger the body to prepare for pregnancy, that can sometimes cause back pain, but the back discomfort most women complain about is caused by the additional weight carried with pregnancy.

6. Frequent Headaches

For some women headaches can be a painful side effect of pregnancy. Other causes of headaches could be dehydration, caffeine withdrawal, and eye strain. Headaches can start right after conception and go throughout the entire nine months.

What Causes This Symptom during Pregnancy?
Women tend to have more headaches during their pregnancies because of high estrogen levels. Their blood vessels are more likely to constrict, and their joints are more flexible due to the increase in estrogen, which increases the odds of getting a headache.

7. Food Cravings

Can’t stop thinking about potato chips? Dreaming of dairy? Want a pickle so bad you can almost taste it? Yes, this could be a sign a baby is on the way, but food cravings could also be caused by poor diet, stress, depression, and impending menstruation. If you are pregnant, these food cravings can last throughout the entire pregnancy.

What Causes This Symptom during Pregnancy?
Some believe that cravings are caused by hormonal changes, but there’s also theories that they’re caused because the body is working so hard, and some believe cravings are the result of the body’s needs for additional calories during pregnancy or a nutritional deficit.

8. Darkening of Areola

Noticed the area around your nipple has gotten darker? This is often a first sign of pregnancy for some women that starts about one to 14 weeks after conception and lasts throughout the pregnancy. A hormonal imbalance could also trigger this symptom, so discuss it with your doctor.

What Causes This Symptom during Pregnancy?
Areola darkening is caused by the increase of blood volume and circulation. Also, the increase of estrogen and progesterone causes skin pigmentation, which may also add to the darkening.

9. Frequent Urination

Always gotta go? Frequent urination is a sign of pregnancy, and usually begins about six to eight weeks after conception. Other causes include diabetes, urinary tract infection, and taking excessive diuretics causing urination, so it’s best to check with your doctor.

What Causes This Symptom during Pregnancy?
Frequent trips to the bathroom during pregnancy is caused by the growing baby pressing on the bladder.

10. Fetal Movement

Feeling something moving around in there? Fetal movement almost always means you are pregnant and usually begins 16 to 22 weeks after conception. However, this “movement” could also be caused by gas and lower gastrointestinal bowel contractions. If this symptom is combined with one or more of the other symptoms mentioned—especially if you haven’t had your period in a while—you may be pregnant and should make an appointment with your OB-GYN.

What Causes This Symptom during Pregnancy?
This symptom is caused by the movements of your growing baby.

11. Fetal Heart Beat

Congratulations! You are pregnant! When you listen to the fluttering sound of your baby’s heart beat somewhere around 10 to 12 weeks after conception, you can bet a baby is in your future. To date, no other cause of this wonderful event has been found.

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