Trying for a baby can be one of the most exciting times of your life! Sometimes it can also be a little unexpected, which is why it’s good to be aware of the early signs of pregnancy.

The first most obvious sign of pregnancy is a missed or late period, but there’s another symptom that can appear much earlier than this. Breast fullness, tenderness and the darkening of the areola (the darker skin around the nipple) have all been shown to become apparent within two weeks of conception. However many women don’t pick up on it because it can be common around the start of a period as well.

Other early symptoms of pregnancy include:
• Nausea with or without vomiting: Morning Sickness is another well-known pregnancy symptom. Contrary to its name, it can strike at any time of the day (or night!) and can sometimes start as early as three weeks after conception. Unfortunately there is no concrete reason for morning sickness, but it seems linked to the rapidly rising levels of oestrogen and progesterone. These hormonal changes can also heighten a woman’s sense of smell, so some odours like cooking, foods, or perfumes may cause nausea and an unhappy tummy.

• Increased urination: You may find yourself needing to wee much more than usual, especially at night!

• Fatigue: Being very tired for no reason ranks high among the noticeable early pregnancy signs. The rising levels of the hormone progesterone that also contributes to morning sickness makes us very tired too. The increase in blood volume results in a decrease of blood pressure and concentration of sugar levels. All normal, but it can sap your energy levels.

• Slight bleeding or cramping: Sometimes women experience a small amount of spotting or vaginal bleeding, as well as slight period-like cramping. This is known as implantation bleeding and it happens when the fertilised egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus. This is usually about 10-14 days after fertilisation but it does depend on where the egg is when it’s fertilised. This type of bleeding is usually a bit earlier, lighter in colour and flow compared to your normal period.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s best to perform a home pregnancy test. Remember morning is the best time to do it when your urine is most concentrated. And if you see two dark lines – congratulations! It’s time to go and see your doctor for a blood test...

In the meantime, have fun practicing!
- Amanda