You don’t always need a pregnancy test to know that something feels a little off. The human body begins changing and adapting to pregnancy remarkably quickly, and you may start feeling symptoms of unexpected pregnancy in a matter of weeks or even days.
If you are concerned that you might be pregnant, immediately see a doctor for confirmation. The information here is not intended to take the place of professional medical advice.
In the meantime, here are some of the most common early signs of unexpected pregnancy.
The name “morning sickness” is a little misleading, because it can show up at any time of day. Nausea is incredibly common during the first trimester of a pregnancy and is often the most identifiable of the unplanned pregnancy symptoms. If you start to unexplainably become nauseous and vomit, you may consider testing yourself for pregnancy.
Fortunately, there are some short-term measures you can take relieve the feelings of morning sickness:
- Eat frequent, small meals.
- Keep plain crackers nearby.
- Stay hydrated with cold fluids.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothing.
- Use unscented bath and cleaning products.
Although unpleasant, morning sickness often fades after the first trimester — and, often, it is actually a sign of a healthy pregnancy. Many doctors believe morning sickness is a sign that the placenta is developing correctly.
If you suddenly find yourself feeling unusually tired, no matter how much you sleep, it may be a sign you are pregnant. In fact, fatigue can set in as early as a week after conception. Fatigue is usually caused by a boost in the hormone progesterone. Frequent rest, along with a protein- and iron-rich diet, can help give you the energy you need.
Being fatigued can be one of the most unexpected symptoms of pregnancy, especially if you are not planning to be pregnant. It can be easy to shrug this symptom off but, when combined with other symptoms, it could be a sign that you are pregnant.
Missed Period or Spotting
Many women are prompted to take a pregnancy test or see a doctor after missing a period. While this can be a telltale sign of a pregnancy, it is often one of the last symptoms to arise.
In addition, women may also confuse their period with another common symptom: spotting. Spotting, or implantation bleeding, is very common and does not usually signify any problems with a pregnancy. It will usually occur within a week or a week and a half of an egg being fertilized.
Sometimes, women will experience spotting and mistake it for their regular menstrual cycle, taking it as confirmation that they are not actually pregnant. Because spotting can be misleading to those who are not planning to be pregnant, it is often one of the unexpected early pregnancy symptoms that women ignore.
If you are concerned you might be pregnant and experiencing menstrual or bleeding irregularities of any kind, consult a healthcare provider.
Cramps or Headaches
The cramps that can accompany implantation bleeding can also be mistaken for menstrual cramps, but they may actually be another early sign of an unexpected pregnancy. Pregnancy cramps are usually slight, so if you are experiencing any severe abdominal pain, consult a doctor immediately.
Along with cramps, some women report having mild headaches, dizziness, or sometimes even fainting. These symptoms are believed to be caused by a lowering of blood pressure and blood sugar, but your doctor will be able to confirm that they aren’t signs of something more serious, rather than symptoms of unexpected pregnancy.
In the earliest stages of pregnancy, your breasts may become swollen, sore, or tender. This is a sign that your body is getting used to the new levels of hormones, and it may not go away for several weeks if it is caused by a pregnancy. Tenderness may also be accompanied by a darkening of the areolas and pronounced veins around your chest.
In some cases, women may see no early signs of their unexpected pregnancy at all. If a woman experiences intermittent bleeding that she mistakes for her period and feels no other symptoms, she may not even realize she is pregnant until later on.
Symptoms of unexpected pregnancy can easily be rationalized for other things, especially when women are not expecting to be pregnant or have trouble accepting a possible unplanned pregnancy. If you are experiencing symptoms that may be a signs of an unexpected pregnancy, it is always better to be safe and obtain a pregnancy test.
However, the only way to confirm your pregnancy is to see a doctor. Not even pregnancy tests are 100 percent accurate. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, or if you believe you are pregnant for any other reason, schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider.
Recognizing and addressing any possible symptoms of pregnancy (and any unexpected symptoms of pregnancy) can be difficult, but confirming your pregnancy as early as you possibly can will give you the best options for moving forward with your unplanned pregnancy.