If only there were a magic list that defined whether a symptom meant either pregnant or not, during the agonizing two week wait between your attempt to conceive and your period.
Unfortunately, many of the telltale early pregnancy symptoms can also just be associated with the confusing female anatomy and the potentially approaching period.
Put away the magnifying glass!
From personal experience, the best advice I can give would be not to symptom spot – don’t spend the whole two weeks googling every little bodily change.
In fact do the opposite, occupy your mind with hobbies, sports, crafts, trips – anything you can to stop yourself from going crazy wondering.
Your body WILL trick you.
I will warn that my own body which was like clockwork before trying to conceive, came up with some pretty whacky symptoms that made me believe I was pregnant when I wasn’t .
Twice my period was a week late, I had a maddening twitch under one eye for 2 weeks, and several times I had some of the below symptoms that I didn’t usually get, but it turned out to be nothing.
The big list of symptoms to look out for.
Here is a list of symptoms that CAN mean early pregnancy. These may appear during the two weeks between doing the deed and whenever your period normally shows her face.
I say that they CAN with a huge pinch of salt, because they could also be regular symptoms associated with ovulation and menstruation:
- Sore boobs – Your boobs might feel heavy, tender, sore, or your nipples might look different. The areolas (areas around your nipples) might look larger and darker.
- Nausea – The increase in hormones can make you feel sick.
- Fatigue – Your body is concentrating all of its energy on the newly growing ball of cells so you might feel tired when you normally wouldn’t.
- Mood swings – As with your menstrual cycle you could find yourself on an emotional rollercoaster.
- Dizziness – This can happen due to changes in blood pressure. Growing a new human requires a larger supply of blood and diverts some of your supply to the fetus.
- Shortness of breath – As with the dizziness the diversion of your blood to the fetus can cause less oxygen for your own body.
- Higher Temperature – Elevated basal body temperature is something all serious ovulation trackers use as a guide to when they are about to ovulate and should do the deed.
- Cramping – An important one to watch around the day of ovulation, as the ball of cells produced by the fertilised egg tries to burrow into the wall of your uterus.
- Bloating – Like with a period you can feel tight, gassy, and bloated due to the physical changes in your lower abdominal area.
- Backache – You could notice some aching in the lower back as the womb starts to gear up for some major growth.
- Constipation – This can happen due to a surge in the hormone progesterone coming from other areas of the body to aid with preparations for baby. One area the hormone comes from is the intestine meaning there is less movement of waste along to the bowels.
- Implantation Bleeding – When the cells burrow into the wall of the womb a small amount of spotting can occur, usually brown by the time you see it.
- Headaches – Again thanks to the increase in hormones and the changes to your blood pressure and supply – the smaller vessels around your head and sinuses are under more strain.
- Heartburn – Remember the diversion of progesterone from other places to your baby making centre? Another is the sphincter muscle at the top of your stomach that stops acid from escaping up into your throat. The muscle works less and you might start feeling reflux.
- Drooling/Excess Saliva – An attractive side effect of feeling sick and having acid reflux, you may naturally not swallow as often to avoid these feelings and the result is more saliva in your mouth.
- Needing to pee – This can be caused by the growing muscles in your uterus as it sits directly on the bladder. The same feeling as being bloated will also contribute to the number of times you need to pee even though your fluid intake is the same.
- Food Cravings or Aversions – Another round of applause to the hormones. Linked to nausea you might start going off certain foods or smells or you might suddenly be convinced you need something you usually don’t care for.
- Vaginal Discharge – This is important to know that clear “egg white” discharge is related to ovulation, thicker creamy white discharge closer to the time of your period can be a sign of conception.
Don’t plan your shower just yet.
Appearance of these symptoms even when they are unusual, can be exciting and lead you to take an early pregnancy test. Some tests claim they can tell you up to a week before your period whether you are pregnant.
I once got three positive tests before my period, was over the moon and even booked a doctor’s appointment to confirm. By the time the appointment came around, my period arrived a week late and the tests were no longer positive.
Is it a chemical pregnancy?
A chemical pregnancy (or as my doctor nicely termed it, a threatened abortion) basically means although an egg was fertilised, the clump of cells did not implant successfully, and the hormones triggered by implantation did not stop menstruation from happening.
I was pretty devastated and would advise against testing before the date of your period to avoid the disappointment.
Just remember women decades ago didn’t have the early pregnancy test and they would never have known they were pregnant until after the missed period – this is why the rate of miscarriage is technically higher these days.
Two Big Signs (For Me Anyway)
After 12 months of trying and the abovementioned chemical pregnancy, I finally conceived and had the following symptoms – implantation pain 7 days after ovulation and creamy white discharge starting around 4 days before my period.
Things you can do to increase your chances and decrease your stress level:
- Track your ovulation – Use tests (I used the ones from the dollar store and they worked great). Pin pointing the date you ovulate helps you know when you need to do the deed.
- Use an app – To track symptoms, ovulation, periods, tests – I used Ovia Fertility but there are a multitude of free apps out there. I was trying to conceive for 12 months and only used the app for 2 months before I succeeded.
- Remember that sperm can survive for an average 4 days – and you release 1 egg on the day that you ovulate. The egg only lives 24 hours so there has to be alive sperm already in the fallopian tube. Sperm takes a day to travel to the tube. So do the deed as much as you can in the 4-5 days before ovulation and the 1-2 days after.
- Stay away from Google – Once you have the basic information from this blog you will not gain any extra knowledge or peace of mind.
- Join a birth community such as BabyCenter – the forums allow you to chat with women in exactly the same scenario as you and it’s great to have support and someone to talk with. It can also distract you during the two week wait and remind you at times that there is always someone worse off than you are.