Anyone trying to conceive knows the two-week wait (the time between ovulation and your expected period) is the worst! But there are a few early pregnancy symptoms that may be a good indicator that you have successfully conceived.
Needless to say when you first become pregnant your body goes through a lot of changes. Believe it or not there is a multitude of crazy growth and development going on inside you even though you may not even know it yet!
I find it kind of fascinating that our bodies are capable of this miracle. I mean when I saw my baby in my arms for the first time it took me over a week to get over the marveling at her. I mean your body made this real tiny human basically from just 2 cells. MIND BLOWN! I’m telling you now don’t feel bad about just staring at every little detail on your babies face and body. Every mom does it.
As soon as fertilization occurs the fertilized egg will make its way down the fallopian tube and into the uterus where it will implant. This implantation usually occurs one week after fertilization. After implantation occurs those hormones really kick into gear to sustain the pregnancy. Finally about a week later your hormone levels should be high enough to be detected on a home pregnancy test and get you that BFP (big fat positive).
But what are some early symptoms that can occur during the two-week wait that may indicate you have conceived?
Early Pregnancy Symptoms
There’s no easy way to put this, but you will pass more gas than a wart hog in the heat of summer from both ends! The two hormones that are in charge of sustaining a pregnancy are progesterone and estrogen.
As progesterone increases in the body it also slows down your digestion, which allows more time for gas to develop in the body. Obviously this built up gas needs an eventual escape, which means you may be tooting more than a French horn! I can attest that this was the first early symptom I had once I found out I was pregnant.
As your pregnancy progresses and your uterus enlarges and displaces your intestines even more your digestion will continue to slow. All of this equals, you guessed it, more gas production!
Another fun hormone your body produces during pregnancy is known as relaxin. I considered this one both my best friend and greatest enemy. This hormone is what allows your tendons, muscles and all sorts of body parts to relax to allow expansion as your baby grows. This hormone is also responsible for you not being able to hold your gas in as well either. No shame mommas!
So what can you do about this unfortunate gassy situation?
- Eating Healthy – Try to avoid gas inducing foods such as anything fried or broccoli
- Get that baby moving – Remaining active is not only a good way to combat the gas, but also keep you and baby in shape for delivery day.
- Small portions – Instead of eating large portioned meals consider grazing on smaller portions throughout the day. Eating throughout the day can also help combat some early nausea as well!
This is another related and super fun early pregnancy symptom. The funny thing about bloating in early pregnancy is it is also a symptom that your period is around the corner. If you’re wondering how can that be, you’re not alone. Leading up to your period your progesterone and estrogen rise. If you have conceived both hormones will continue to rise to sustain the pregnancy. If you are not pregnant then the sharp fall of these hormones is what brings aunt flow to town. If you want to learn more about these crazy hormones this is a good article.
This symptom is obviously related to the previous one as well. The increase in progesterone relaxes your intestines allowing time for additional gas production, which equals; you guessed it, feeling bloated.
Luckily this symptoms does tend to subside after the firs trimester so hang in there momma! So what can you do in the meantime? The biggest thing is to avoid gas-inducing foods like the following:
- Brussels sprouts
You can find a complete list of other gas-inducing foods here.
Lower Back Pain
This is an interesting symptom as some women experience this in early pregnancy. Obviously at this point you do not have a big pregnant belly offsetting your weight distribution and putting pressure on your lower back. So what causes lower back pain in early pregnancy? Again, your lovely hormones are mostly to blame (sensing a theme here yet?).
Remember how we just talked about the relaxin hormone and how that allows your ligaments to stretch to accommodate your growing baby. Well guess what? It is also the culprit of your lower back pain.
As your ligaments stretch your core has to do more work. If you are not active and therefore do not have a strong core this can put extra strain around your mid-section. This can put strain on the joints that connect your sacrum (bone in your lower spine that connects to your hips). Inflammation can result from this strain and cause what is know as sciatica pain, or a shooting pain down your leg or buttocks. I personally experienced this pain starting at 6 weeks pregnant and through my entire pregnancy.
So you have lower back pain in early pregnancy. What can you do?
- Get regular pregnancy massages – be sure to have this approved by your doctor first. I had a massage monthly and it made me feel like a new person!
- Try warm (not hot) compresses – remember you got a bun in the oven so do not over heat your pelvic area.
- Take a bath and relax – floating freely in water works wonders at relieving pressure on your spine. This was very effective for me the last month of pregnancy.
Sore Breasts/ Nipples
This is another early pregnancy symptom that is also very similar to pre-period symptoms. Personally I have never experienced this symptom except when I was pregnant, so for me it was a sure fire indication that I pregnant.
If you haven’t caught onto the theme here yet, this too is caused by the increase in progesterone and estrogen. But your body is already preparing itself to feed your new baby as well.
In the early stages of pregnancy the rapid increase in progesterone and estrogen sends lots of signals to your entire body triggering all kinds of new developments. One of these is the rapid increase in you milk ducts and fat cells in your breasts. This rapid expansion, coupled with the increase flow and manufacturing of blood to this area can cause some pain and discomfort.
Both the level of discomfort and duration are different for every woman so hang in there! I only felt this discomfort twice during my entire pregnancy, once in the very beginning and then again closer to the end. I guess those milk ducts were in their last prep phase at the end.
So what can you do to help with sore breasts/nipples during early pregnancy?
- Call them off limits! – talk to your partner about whether that entire area is off limits.
- Apply cool compresses – this is also helpful once breast feeding
- Find a great bra without underwire – I seriously haven’t turned back after finding my favorite bra and to this day I still can’t wear a bra with a wire.
For more tips on how to help your breast/ nipple pain this is a great article.
Cramping and Spotting
I know what you’re thinking. How could I possibly be having cramps and spotting and not be getting my period? Well if you experience slight cramping and spotting that is either pink or brown around 7-10 days post ovulation then you may be experiencing implantation bleeding.
Implantation bleeding is exactly what it sounds like. Once the embryo has moved down your fallopian tubes and into your uterus it will choose a cozy home where it will attach itself to your uterine wall. This process is what is known as implantation.
There’s nothing to do about this symptom other than to sit back and relax and wait to take that pregnancy test somewhere around 2 weeks post ovulation.
If you’d like to know more about implantation bleeding this is a good reference.
If you’re trying to conceive, or even are in fear of an unplanned pregnancy, it is important to know the early signs of pregnancy. Take it from me the two-week wait can be long, but you will survive. Everyone’s bodies react differently, but one things for sure, hormones are 100% to blame and you can feel free to blame them for the next 9 months!
I hope you found this article about the 5 early signs of pregnancy helpful. What other early pregnancy symptoms did you experience? Let me know in the comments below!