While some women claim to know immediately that they are pregnant, for those of us not so in-tune with our bodies, here are some telltale signs that there is a baby on the way…
Missed period: If you are very regular, a missed menstrual period can be the first symptom of pregnancy. However, if your cycle is irregular, due to stress, weight loss, the onset of menopause or from coming off the pill, one missed period alone is not a clear indication.
Morning sickness: Feeling sick can be a good sign of pregnancy although many women will have no feelings of nausea whatsoever. It can occur at any time of the day and last throughout the first three months of the pregnancy (some unlucky mums-to-be feel sick for the whole nine months).
Tender breasts: Women can notice that their breasts feel tender, fuller and heavier when they become pregnant and their nipples are more sensitive than usual. Typically there will be an increase in superficial veins on the breasts and tiny nodules or lumps can appear on the areola.
Fatigue: Many women feel tired during the first three months due to changing hormone levels and this can be an early symptom of pregnancy. Tiredness tails off in the second trimester, but often returns in the later stages because of the increased strain on the body, disturbed sleep due to frequent trips to the toilet and difficulty getting comfortable.
Frequent weeing: Women often need to wee more during the first three months of pregnancy due to the pressure from the enlarging uterus on the bladder. This usually stops during the middle months only to return again when the baby is bigger and pressing on the bladder.
Constipation: Women can feel constipated during pregnancy due to the hormone progesterone relaxing the intestine and reducing its movement. While constipation is not an obvious signs of pregnancy, for those who are very regular, it can help confirm their suspicions.
Vaginal discharge: Women can experience an increase in white or clear vaginal discharge in early pregnancy. If the discharge is coloured, smelly, or causes itching or soreness, you should contact your midwife or GP.
Altered tastes: Alterations in tastes can be an early sign of pregnancy. Some women experience a strange taste in their mouth, often metallic, even before the first period is missed. Many women develop a strong aversion to certain smells and tastes while cravings for a particular food can also be an early symptom of pregnancy.
Bloating, cramps and backache: These symptoms are often mistaken for PMS but can be caused by hormonal changes and the growth of the uterus.
Headaches: Occasional headaches, thought to be caused by fluctuating hormones, can be among the first symptoms of pregnancy. Only treat with paracetamol after the first trimester.
Skin changes: This is common in early pregnancy resulting in dry skin or an outbreak of spots. However, many women say their hair and nails have never been better.