Nausea out of nowhere. Extreme fatigue. Cramping even though your period’s not due for another few weeks. They could all be unrelated, or you could be… PREGNANT. (Cue the “dun dun DUN” music.)
Wondering whether you’re pregnant before even missing a period is not at all unheard of. You could experience one of the aforementioned symptoms, or you could just feel “off” in some other way. We should know what to look out for during those times, so I got the scoop from three women’s health specialists: Dr. Valentin Almendarez, OB-GYN at the Institute for Women’s Health; Dr. Jenny M. Jaque, OB-GYN and founder of Health Goes Female; and Pat Carney, MSN, APRN, WHNP-BC, CDE at WellHealth Quality Care.
According to them, there are a number of early pregnancy signs that people may not know about. Many of these result from the change of hormones and other physical processes that happen when your body prepares itself for carrying a baby.
1. Stronger sense of smell
“Your sense of smell is heightened when you are pregnant. This can be a blessing and a curse because you pick up every foul scent you were oblivious to in the past,” Dr. Jaque says.
2. Urinary frequency
Shortly after your body knows its pregnant, hormonal changes escalate blood to flow to the kidneys and fills your bladder more often.
3. Changes in your palette
“Certain foods will taste better or in some cases worse,” Carney shares.
4. Lower back pain
Lower back pain in early pregnancy is often due to hormones as well. During the early stages of pregnancy, the body releases progesterone, which helps loosen ligaments that will stretch as the baby grows. However, these changes can cause instability in the joints and result in lower back pain.
All the shifts taking place in your body can incite this telltale sign of pregnancy.
6. Gassiness and Constipation
“Changes in hormone levels when pregnant can lead to a decreased rate at which your intestines move, decreasing the transit time of stool, resulting in constipation,” Dr. Jaque explains. “Muscles are more relaxed during pregnancy, causing a woman to have less control of her anal sphincter, resulting in more escaping flatulence.”
As most teenagers are aware, surging hormones can cause breakouts in your skin.
8. Excessive saliva
This symptom is common in women who suffer from nausea during pregnancy.
The Babble Out also lists several early signs of pregnancy, which include:
9. Tender breasts
“One of the first signs is often achy, tender breasts. They may feel fuller and heavier,” writes Rebecca Felsenthal Stewart. “You might even notice the area around your nipple getting bigger and darker.”
10. Mood swings
Hormonal changes may bring about changes in mood.
11. Dizziness or lightheadedness
Dizziness can be attributed to – once again – hormones, which can affect your blood pressure and blood flow to the brain. It may also be caused by low blood sugar levels you may experience as your body adapts to metabolism changes.
An increase in progesterone levels can make you feel sleepy.
13. Spotting and cramping
“Cramping or a bit of blood starting a little earlier than you expect your period may be a sign that the fertilized egg is getting attached in the uterus,” Felsenthal Stewart reports.
Going by some of the items on this list, I’ve been pregnant for the past several years. But when something’s different or off about your body, you can feel it almost immediately. Maybe it’s nothing, or maybe your body is trying to give you clues.
There’s no way to know what’s really going on until you go the doctor and take a test. If you’re sexually active and experiencing these symptoms out of nowhere, be sure to consult your doctor. Either way, being mindful about your body and what it’s experiencing is always a good idea.