Unusual Early Pregnancy Symptoms – A Checklist!
How many signs of pregnancy are you aware of besides the common ones? Yes, there are many out there, some of which you might say are normal and totally unrelated to being pregnant. And that’s why you shouldn't neglect them.
We are closely familiar with the typical signs that label you as a soon-to-be-mommy. From missing periods to swirling nausea that makes you stick your head down the toilet to empty your stomach gives a fair warning that you have indeed a bun in the oven. But what about the strange signs that no one tells you about that are beyond these conventional ones?
There are a few unusual early pregnancy symptoms that are quite unheard of. Naturally, you won’t spend more time overthinking about such strange signs and disregard them pretty quickly. Even if your intuitive instinct kicks right after feeling strange changes in your body. What are those weird and uncommon pregnancy signs you must be aware of?
Unusual Early Pregnancy Symptoms – Expect The Unexpected!
A pregnancy test is the only way to be absolutely certain of your pregnancy. But that one week after taking a home test often feels like an eternity. Approximately, 90 percent of women experience some pregnancy symptoms before their eighth week into the pregnancy. But those are the common symptoms that pretty much everyone knows and expects in the first trimester of pregnancy.
In your body, hormonal changes start to occur right after conception and these significant hormonal changes can lead to unusual symptoms. In fact, many of these symptoms may start to show even in the very first weeks of your pregnancy.
However, not everyone will experience them all and the severity of the symptoms could vary from one woman to another. These potential signs of pregnancy in the form of subtle emotional and physical changes could be your body’s way of telling you that you are expecting. So listen to your body for these unexpected indicators of pregnancy mentioned below.
A Checklist Of Early Signs Of Pregnancy
The early signs of pregnancy could happen before you miss your menstrual period. We have compiled a checklist of a good number of symptoms that you may be unaware of to get your maternal instincts to kick in.
Women are familiar with vaginal discharge as they experience it at various points throughout their menstrual cycle. Even if it is not often associated with pregnancy, vaginal discharge is in fact a sign at the early outset of pregnancy. After conception, your vaginal walls start to thicken and there will be an elevated growth of cells along the lines of the vagina.
To prevent infections since your cervix and vaginal walls soften, cervical mucus increases during pregnancy along with the increase in hormones. You might associate vaginal discharge with other conditions such as bacterial or yeast infection. But this unusual early sign that can last throughout the pregnancy is common, natural, and completely normal.
It is commonly referred to as leukorrhea(1) and is typically white in color with a clear, sticky, and thick texture. It may also be brownish and it is usually harmless. But if your discharge has a foul odor, change in color from white to yellow or green, becomes very thick or watery, or if you experience burning, itching, soreness, or pain, you must visit a healthcare provider.
It could be signs of an infection(2). Vaginal discharge is an embarrassing topic to discuss for some of us but it is high time we start getting comfortable with talking about what our body goes through without feeling unpleasant.
Basal Body Temperature
Although it is not a solid scientific diagnosis, elevated body temperature change is another early sign of pregnancy. Basal body temperature is the lowest body temperature when you are fully at rest. It could be slightly elevated from a day or two after ovulation. You might notice it when you wake up in the morning after ovulation.
This elevated temperature could last until your next period. But if your body keeps on turning up the heat for 15 days or so, which is post your period due date, you may be pregnant. You can know when you are most fertile during the two or three days before your basal body temperature rises by tracking the temperature chart.
Food Cravings and Aversions
A constantly changing, rollercoaster relationship with food is an overlooked early sign of pregnancy. Foods you once loved can start to taste stale, out of nowhere, and you start to crave foods that you never liked before. You may have been someone who monitors their sugar craving previously, but you cannot keep your hands to yourself when you see a cookie jar now. You get the drift, right?
Usually, women in the latter stages of pregnancy experience this but it is normal to experience it in the early stages as well. Your appetite plays a considerably massive role during pregnancy. Because if one minute you are feeling constant hunger that feels like you could eat forever, you will feel sick the next minute while thinking about food. For some, their appetite could be over the roof while for some, it could be as good as dead. You could say that this constant hunger or thirst is an intense version of what you feel when you are PMSing.
As repulsive as it sounds, you might have weird cravings for uncommon mixtures of foods, such as cheese with tomatoes. Also, your favorite foods will start to make you queasy. This aversion to certain foods is the sign you are looking for here. When the levels of hormones, specifically human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), change in the body, it causes aversion to food. You might experience this throughout your entire pregnancy, or even after the baby is born. Some women, due to a condition known as pica, start to crave non-edible items. And that needs medical attention.
Some women start gaining weight in the early stages of pregnancy even without overeating. You don’t necessarily need to be overeating to gain weight.
Due to the change in hormones in your body that affect your metabolism and digestive process, you might experience weight gain. This is because your body is going through big changes and is affecting how your body processes the food.
Headache And Dizziness
Is it quite common to have headaches in the latter part of your first and second trimester but it can also be experienced soon after conception in the early weeks of pregnancy. It could be due to the increase in estrogen levels in the body and changes in blood volume. Or due to the drop in blood pressure that causes blood vessels to dilate and send more blood to the uterus. These possible explanations can make a pregnant woman experience headaches and dizziness.
Lightheadedness can also be caused by having low blood sugar levels, exhaustion, or stress. It is recommended to get extra liquids into your body as it could be severely painful. But you have to check with your doctor before taking any medication or over-the-counter pain relievers while you are pregnant.
On another serious note, if you experience severe dizziness along with painful abdominal cramps and vaginal bleeding, it could be a sign of ectopic pregnancy. That requires immediate medical attention to avoid life-threatening situations.
Tingling Feeling And Dull Back Pain
The unwanted symptoms of PMS may follow you with your pregnancy as well. The uncomfortable cramps and painful backaches only last for a few days (maybe three days) but in early pregnancy, they can last for much longer (even for weeks). You can blame hormonal changes for these irritating symptoms.
During the beginning of pregnancy, numerous changes take place in your body. Specifically in your uterus where the egg has been implanted. When your uterus expands to change its shape and your muscles and ligaments extend, naturally, your body will experience cramping (especially if you spot implantation bleeding). It could be on either or both sides of your lower abdomen.
The stretching pain is often felt as pulling and pinching or tummy twinges. Lower back pain makes our period days unbearable and all you want to do is curl up on the bed without moving. But the dull ache may continue longer than a few weeks into the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. You won’t want to leave your bed at all. The bad news is that for the majority of women, backache never leaves until the delivery because of the strain on the lower back.
77 percent(3) of pregnant women get affected by urinary frequency, meaning the frequent loo visits. We are acquainted with how much time pregnant women spend in the loo because of the pressure of the growing uterus on the bladder. But in the early stages of pregnancy, it is another story altogether.
As the hormones in your body change, HCG levels increase. In turn, the blood flow increases around your body including your pelvic region, and your kidneys (35% to 60%). Since your kidneys have to produce urine, this will increase fluid retention and you will be visiting the loo frequently. And that could be your first sign. But this does not mean that you should drink less fluid. On the contrary, you have to drink plenty of water to avoid the risk of dehydration.
Bloating And Constipation
We all feel like Pooh once every month when the menstrual period pays a visit. Similarly, the bloated feeling in your lower abdomen under the belly button can be uncomfortable with flatulence and belching. Or it could be trapped wind (sharp, painful bloated feeling in your stomach) due to the shift in hormones that interferes with normal digestion. As progesterone level increases, it relaxes the muscles in your body including the walls of the intestine.
This causes bloating and constipation. Constipation sounds like an unusual sign of pregnancy, right? But unfortunately, it is a common symptom and some women carry it throughout their trimesters! With the increase in progesterone, the bowel walls relax and the digestion process slows down but, as a result, makes it harder for the stool to pass.
Along with these, diarrhea and gastroenteritis could be another two weird pregnancy symptoms that often get confused with the contraction of a virus. If you don’t have constipation, you might have the runs instead. These are often singled out as something women experienced in the first few weeks. There are no hormones to blame here but reduced immunity during pregnancy. But there is no reason for you to be embarrassed by any of these signs.
A missed period is the confirmation sign of pregnancy. But surprisingly (if you didn’t know already), spotting or even light bleeding can also be an early sign of pregnancy. This spotting, called implantation bleeding, is caused by the implantation of the embryo onto the uterine lining, and about 25% to 40% of pregnant women experience it.
This is generally lighter and cannot even be considered as bleeding. So it is easy to be mistaken as the menstrual period, but it is not as heavy, and the color of the blood will be pink rather than red. It occurs 6 to 12 days after fertilization of the egg. Get medical help right away if the bleeding gets heavier.
Pregnancy lowers your immunity, which means you are more susceptible to cough, running nose, colds, and the flu. Due to the increased levels of hormones in your body and blood volumes, your nasal passages become swollen, resulting in a stuffy nose. Not to mention, your hormone estrogen increases mucus production.
Congestion doesn’t mean that you should be buying a pregnancy test right away, but it is one of the unusual early signs of pregnancy. This condition is medically called nonallergic rhinitis(4).
This is a commonly frequent mid to late pregnancy symptom. But it can also be experienced in the early weeks due to the hormone changes in the body. When you become pregnant, the sphincter at the top of your stomach that acts as the valve between your stomach and esophagus relaxes. This allows stomach acid to leak into your esophagus and causes heartburn.
Not trying to be a wet blanket here, but pregnancy can make you grumpy and moody in no time right after you were happy. Since your hormones start to change out of nowhere, your emotions will be all over the place. From giddy and sappy to emotional and weepy in seconds. That doesn’t sound good, right? There is no need for further explanations here as heightened emotions are normal throughout the pregnancy.
Interestingly, pregnancy can make you have adverse emotions towards a particular person. You could despise your favorite person (husband, family member, or friend) out of the blue. Yes, strange. But what is stranger is wanting to spend time with a person you never wanted to before. It is a validated and normal sign of pregnancy!
As disgusting as it sounds, the metallic taste is an unusually common sign of pregnancy and is not a cause for concern. Dysgeusia is the condition that makes pregnant women feel like they are munching metals with their food.
It can vary in its intensity but it will remain sour. According to experts, it is believed to be caused by the increase in estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy that changes the taste of pregnant women.
The blood vessels in your nose expand when you are pregnant. Meaning, more pressure on the vessels in your nasal passages. Because they are delicate, blood starts to drip from your nose.
But this also is not a cause for concern. You can blame hormones as well for this unusual early sign of pregnancy.
Changes In Breasts
Just like the time of your menstrual period, your breasts start to suffer from pregnancy as well. In fact, it is one of the early signs of pregnancy. They start to feel heavier and fuller, achy, tender to touch, swollen, or a bit sore. You may also notice that your areolas appear darker and larger than usual. Further, the veins on your boobs may be more pronounced and visible as if someone drew on you with a blue inked pen.
It could be due to the increased blood flow to your breasts. All of these changes can happen within one or two weeks after conception. Luckily though, all of these changes are most likely to subside sooner for many women. Another unusual early sign of pregnancy may include lactation. Yes, it sounds extremely strange and weird. But apparently, you don’t need to be pregnant to excrete milk. The flow of breast milk through the milk duct is natural and can happen to any woman in early pregnancy.
Vaginal thrush is a common yeast infection among pregnant women. It is caused by the increased levels of hormones in your body, which can change your vaginal PH levels as well(5).
Its symptoms include itchiness, soreness, stinging sensation while peeing, and increased or thicker cervical mucus. It is reported that women are twice susceptible to vaginal thrush during pregnancy than at any other stage in their life.
In pregnancy, cramps do not end with just backache, you will have cramps all over your body. Even your legs and arms might ache at different times(6). It could be your pregnancy hormones loosening up your ligaments and joints to prepare you for your growing baby, or vitamin deficiency, or electrolyte imbalances.
Look Out For These Too
Other unusual early signs of pregnancy include the following:
- Baby brain
- Acne breakouts
- Change in sex drive
- Bleeding gums
- Dry mouth or excess saliva
- Hot flushes
- Nail and hair breakouts
- Vivid dreams
- Stronger sense of smell
That’s a wrap of your long checklist. The early stages of pregnancy could be strange since your entire body and many of its functions are facing significant changes. You are certainly going to feel the changes in your body preparing itself. But none of these lesser-known symptoms of pregnancy mentioned above are causes for concern.
Many of these symptoms overlap with premenstrual symptoms and the side effects of hormonal birth control. Although, these signs alone cannot confirm pregnancy, and not every pregnant woman experiences these signs. So wait until the line appears to confirm that you have a bun in the oven!
Center for Young Women's Health, Boston Children's Hospital. (1998-2020). What is leukorrhea?. [Online] Available athttps://youngwomenshealth.org/2013/05/22/leukorrhea/
Pubmed.gov. (n.d). Prevalence of vulvovaginal candidiasis and susceptibility to fluconazole in women. [Online] Available athttps://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12237629/
National Center for Biotechnology Information. (n.d). Comparison of Low Urinary Tract Symptoms during Pregnancy between Primiparous and Multiparous Women. [Online] Available athttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4241740/
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. (2020). Nonalllergic Rhinitis. [Online] Available athttps://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions-dictionary/nonallergic-rhinitis-vasomotor
NHS 24. (2020). Vaginal thrush.[Online] Available athttps://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/vaginal-thrush
Avicenna Research Institute . (2020). Prevalence of leg cramps during pregnancy and effects of supplemental therapy .[Online] Available athttps://www.jri.ir/article/225
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