Missed your period? These early signs of pregnancy will help you figure out what’s happening
By NCVC Staff | Published on Sep 27, 2023
Pregnancy is a tricky thing. In spite of the access to information today, many women may not be able to sense the first signs of pregnancy.
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“Most sexually-active women with regular menstrual cycles are extremely sensitive to missing their periods,” says Dr. Pranay Shah, gynaecologist and obstetrician at Bhatia Hospital, Mumbai.
“In fact, the home pregnancy tests available in the market today are so sensitive that they can diagnose pregnancy on the first day of a missed period even on a random urine sample. The problem occurs in women with irregular menstrual periods and those in the extremes of age (the very young or the very old), who are not expecting a pregnancy or are not charting their periods,” he points out
“Also, women who are using contraception (barrier methods, IUDs, birth control pills) or those who have had permanent sterilization are caught off guard when these methods fail and pregnancy is unexpected,” Dr Shah adds.
Hence, it is important to be aware of the first few signs of pregnancy that are easy to miss as mentioned by Dr. Shah:
The first symptom of pregnancy is obviously a missed period You should be cautious if your period is more than a week late. So, if your periods are regular, then taking a home pregnancy test can be your best bet. If your periods are usually irregular, you can look out for the other symptoms as well.
Nausea and vomiting are also tell-tale signs These usually occur after six to seven weeks of pregnancy which would be two to three weeks after missing your period.
Apart from these, here are a few other early signs of pregnancy that are easy to miss:
- Fainting spells
- Mood swings
- Change in appetite (feeling hungry all the time or not feeling hungry at all)
- Aversion to the smell of food
- Change in food preferences (suddenly liking sour or spicy foods)
- Sleepiness, lethargy, and lack of energy.
- Vaginal discharge which is copious, but not foul-smelling or does not itch.
- A craving for eating soil, mud, or chalk (a rare symptom of pregnancy).
- Constipation or change in bowel habits
- Frequent urination
But, what is responsible for these massive changes, you wonder? “The cause of the majority of these symptoms during an early pregnancy is the tremendous surge in the pregnancy hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and hCG) which are produced in large quantities,” Dr. Shah explains.
And what if you end up missing these signs? Perhaps, if you don’t realise you’re pregnant, you could end up indulging in some unhealthy practices such as alcohol consumption or eat foods that aren’t pregnancy-friendly.
Additionally, drugs that are not safe in pregnancy (antibiotics, pain killers) or use of X-rays in early pregnancy (as the patient is unaware of her being pregnant) can harm the foetus and pregnancy.
So, the best bet is to pay close attention to the changes in your body and take a pregnancy test to be sure.