You may be wondering if you could be pregnant. Whether it’s because you’ve been trying to, or the opposite, this can be a confusing and exciting time as your body begins to change in response to the life that’s about to grow inside you. There are certain symptoms of pregnancy in the first week that are important to know in order to understand what they mean and how to take care of yourself during this crucial time.
While most women do not experience any symptoms for several weeks, some women may notice certain changes in their bodies that indicate that a fertilised egg has implanted in the uterus. One of these early signs is vaginal discharge, which may increase in volume and become thicker due to hormonal changes. Another symptom that some women may experience, in addition to the heavy discharge, is light bleeding or spotting, which is often mistaken for an irregular period.
In addition to these physical changes, many women may experience feelings such as fatigue and mood swings during this early stage of pregnancy. In this article, we will explore some of the most common symptoms women experience in the first week of pregnancy. We’ll break down what to expect and provide tips for managing your symptoms as you set out on this incredible journey to motherhood.
What does one feel in the first week of pregnancy?
Some women experience just a mild stomach upset and others moderate or severe morning sickness, although the latter symptoms are more likely to appear before the 8th week of pregnancy. Most women experience relief from these stomach symptoms around week 13 or 14, but others may have persistent nausea throughout pregnancy (hyperemesis gravidarum).
Light bleeding or pink discharge when wiping after urinating may occur without menstruation when the fertilised egg attaches to the uterine lining, 6-12 days after fertilisation, accompanied by light cramping. Implantation bleeding can sometimes be mistaken for a menstrual period, although it is usually much lighter than the bleeding that occurs with your usual period.
Many women experience some breast changes as early as the first few weeks of pregnancy. These changes may be felt as pain, tenderness, heaviness or a tingling sensation. The discomfort usually subsides after several weeks.
Ovarian and abdominal pain
Ovarian pain, in the lower abdominal area in early pregnancy, may be normal due to early expansion, including the growth of the uterus. Other causes may be due to gastrointestinal symptoms such as constipation, gas or bloating.
If cramps cause severe pain or are accompanied by bleeding, this could be a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy and it is important to consult your doctor.
Although this symptom is very non-specific, early pregnancy fatigue is common and some women may notice it before they know they are pregnant. This is due to those sudden changes in hormone levels, particularly the increase in progesterone.
We all experience bloating or constipation from time to time, but both are quite common during pregnancy. Again, changing hormone levels are to blame. They slow down digestion, which can cause a build-up of air in the bowel and lead to constipation.
At first, bloating or constipation may be mild and accompanied by other pregnancy symptoms. But, just as a word of warning, if you are actually pregnant, these symptoms may persist throughout your pregnancy.
How do you know if you are pregnant in the first few weeks?
Many of the symptoms of early pregnancy, such as breast tenderness, fatigue, mood swings, mild cramps, back pain and others, are also symptoms that women may experience with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or after ovulation in the days leading up to their menstrual period. Until your period starts or you take a pregnancy test, there is no way to know whether these symptoms are related to PMS or not.
Some pregnancy tests can detect hCG levels even earlier, five or six days before a missed period. However, the ability to detect the presence of pregnancy in most tests will be improved the closer you get to the date of the expected missed period, because hCG levels continue to rise.
Even if you don’t experience any pregnancy symptoms in week one, it’s still a good idea to take a test if you think there’s a chance you might be pregnant. It is important to note that some fertility drugs will cause a false positive pregnancy test result, so if you are undergoing fertility treatment or believe that assisted reproduction is a good option to improve success rates, it is important to talk to your doctor about these tests. We invite you to do so with our specialists.
What healthy habits are recommended during the first weeks of pregnancy?
Every pregnancy is different, some changes in habits work better for some women, but may not necessarily work for you. For many women, pregnancy can even be the trigger to adopt a healthy lifestyle, so we want to provide you with some basic tips to help you cope with these symptoms during the first few weeks.
If you have a normal, healthy pregnancy, it is thought to be safe to continue your usual level of exercise throughout your pregnancy, although some modifications may be needed in the last few weeks. For inactive women, pregnancy is a good time to start some healthy habits – you can start by walking.
Staying active throughout each trimester can help relieve common symptoms such as back pain, constipation, bloating and may even help speed up labour. But if you want to start another type of activity, always check with your doctor first.
While it’s helpful to move as much as you can, it’s equally (if not more) important to listen to your body and know when to take it easy. Your body is performing some Herculean tasks, so even if you feel like you’ve been doing nothing but lying on the couch all day, in fact, you’ve been working hard to create life. Take every chance you get to take a nap and sleep. After all, once that little one arrives, your chances of doing so will be pretty limited.
First-trimester nausea can make it difficult to follow a balanced diet, but you should always take your prenatal vitamins. By taking regular prenatal supplements, you can make sure your baby gets the vitamins he or she needs and take some of the pressure off yourself to have a “perfect” diet.
For some women, eating small meals every two to three hours is easier than trying to eat three full meals a day. Don’t obsess about weight, concentrate on nourishing yourself as best you can.
Find any healthy food you can tolerate to maintain your weight, eat grains, eggs, fruit, vegetables and healthy fats (avocado, nuts and vegetable oils) and, if you need help, consult a dietitian-nutritionist. At the Eugin Clinic you can get advice from our nutrition and dietetics experts.
During pregnancy you need more water than usual to support the increased blood flow and all the extra work your system is doing. Plus, drinking more water from the start will simply make you feel better. Ideally, drink water throughout the day, not just when you feel thirsty.
For some women, a glass of chilled water reduces the feeling of nausea and relieves another annoying symptom of the first trimester: constipation. If you are thirsty, you are already somewhat dehydrated, although we recommend that you stop drinking a few hours before bedtime to prevent night-time trips to the bathroom becoming even more frequent than they already are due to pregnancy.
It is important to remember that every pregnancy is different and some women may experience very few or no symptoms. However, if you experience some of these early signs of pregnancy, it is essential that you take good care of yourself and your growing baby. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have and listen to your body as you navigate this exciting time in your life.
If you are trying to get pregnant and you need help, you can make an appointment at our assisted reproduction clinics. At Eugin we are backed by more than 25 years of experience in assisted reproduction and fertility.