If you think that a missed period is the only sign of pregnancy, think again!
Your body displays pregnancy symptoms before missed period as well and women who are actively trying to get pregnant may notice them more.
Rachna Mitra and her husband Rajiv were one such couple.
Over the past week, Rachna had been feeling nauseous and tired. She wondered if these were pregnancy symptoms. She could not tell for sure since the expected date of her period was still a week later.
Overcautious by nature, she decided to get her doctor’s opinion on whether one can experience any pregnancy symptoms before missed period.
Can you feel pregnancy symptoms before missed period?
Yes, you can feel pregnancy symptoms before missed period.
A woman’s body prepares itself for a possible pregnancy every menstrual cycle.
Some changes that occur in second half of every cycle can cause symptoms similar to pregnancy symptoms. The changes in hormone levels are responsible for these changes and may be a regular feature for some women.
Here are 7 early pregnancy symptoms which appear even before a missed period that you should watch out for:
- Change in your breasts:
Hormonal changes in your body leads to cyclical changes in your breasts.Hence several women may experience soreness or heaviness in breasts before their regular menstrual cycles. In case of an ongoing pregnancy, these changes are further enhanced.“During the initial weeks of conception, you may notice tingling or soreness in your breasts due to early hormonal changes in your body” says Dr Priti Arora Dhamija, Obs-Gyn Consultant, Sitaram Bhartia Hospital in South Delhi.
“Morning sickness is one of the classic symptoms of conception. There may be nausea with or without vomiting” explains Dr Priti.
“It usually starts after a month of pregnancy but occasionally, women may experience this sign even before a missed period.”
Rachna began to feel excited about the possibility of pregnancy.
- Implantation bleeding:
It is not uncommon for women to experience spotting at the time of expected periods.But very few know that this may in fact be one of the early pregnancy symptoms.“This spotting is very likely to be confused as periods. However, those who are on the lookout for early pregnancy symptoms should get alerted for a possible pregnancy” explains Dr Priti.
- Decrease in appetite:
In the initial weeks of pregnancy, majority of women may develop an aversion to certain foods and smells. This could lead to a decreased appetite even for foods you may have previously enjoyed.At times there may be excessive salivation also.“Changes in hormone may alter your taste buds” explains the doctor.
- Increased urge to urinate:
If you’ve conceived, you may find yourself making frequent trips to the washroom.Your kidneys tend to work over-time because of the increased amount of blood in your system during pregnancy. This would result in an urge to urinate frequently during pregnancy.
Tiredness is one of the most commonly experienced early pregnancy symptoms even before a missed period.Rachna wanted to know why women feel tired.“Nature wants you to take it easy. These sudden changes in your body due to a rising level of progesterone hormone makes your body tired” informs Dr Priti.
Women who’ve conceived may experience heartburn or difficulty in moving bowels especially in the initial weeks.
The rising hormone levels slow down your digestive system which results in digestive issues. At times, these are the only pregnancy symptoms before missed period that you’ll experience.
“If you experience bloating, changes in your breasts, mood swings before your periods, these changes may be more obvious when you’re pregnant” highlights Dr Priti.
“Most of these symptoms are nonspecific and therefore, you should only give them due importance and not more.”
Rachna waited to see whether she got her period after her discussion.
“It was so hard not to have high hopes for pregnancy during that phase” recalls Rachna in a follow-up consultation.
Should you rely on pregnancy symptoms before missed period?
Since most pregnancy symptoms before missed period could also be an indication of any health issues or the onset of your periods, it is advised not to rely on these signs alone.
“Even a missed period, which is considered a fairly reliable sign of pregnancy, could occur due to increased stress or changes in your lifestyle” says Dr Priti.
“So if you suspect symptoms of conception and have missed your period, you should confirm your suspicion with a pregnancy test.”
How soon can you take a pregnancy test before your period?
“I was so tempted to take the test when I noticed these signs but I remembered my doctor’s advice and resisted” says Rachna.
“If you take the pregnancy test before your period, you may get ‘false’ negative result and be unnecessarily disappointed” says Dr Priti.
“It is advised to take a pregnancy test after 2-3 days of your missed period to get reliable results.”
Rachna’s excitement mounted when her expected date of period came and went. She took a test a few days after her missed period and was delighted to confirm pregnancy.
This article has been written with inputs from Dr. Priti Arora Dhamija, who has over 16 years of experience as a fertility specialist and obstetrician-gynecologist. She has received training from the Indian Fertility Society in Assisted Reproductive Technologies and fertility enhancing laparoscopy.
Dr. Priti Arora Dhamija, MBBS, Maulana Azad Medical College, Delhi (1999); M.D, Lady Hardinge Medical College (2004); DNB Obstetrics & Gynecology (2004); Diploma in Pelvic Endoscopy, Kiel, Germany (2014)
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