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Every pregnant woman in history knows she's pregnant when her period goes missing-in-action, she starts throwing up all kinds of beautiful rainbow-vomit first thing every morning, and her breasts are suddenly really tender for no reason. Everyone knows that. Or do they?
Pregnancy symptoms vary for everyone, and they don't necessarily only start when your menstrual period stops.
Many women get unusual symptoms they may not associate with being pregnant, and they start from the time the egg is fertilised (which may be a good couple of weeks before your missed period).
Here, we explore the earliest signs of pregnancy that no-one ever tells you about.
Spotting and Cramping
Just a couple of days after conception, the fertilised egg will attach itself to the wall of your uterus. This may cause some light spotting and some mild cramps that will feel like menstrual cramps. For many women, this is actually the first sign they're pregnant, but many women overlook it, thinking its "mittelschmerz" pain, pain that occurs halfway through the menstrual cycle, or else pain and bleeding at the start of their period.
However, this pain is quite mild and the bleeding very light, so it will probably be lighter than your regular period.
White Milky Discharge
Also immediately following conception, you will start to notice a white milky discharge from your vagina. Many women assume they have thrush, but this is caused by nothing more sinister than the thickening of your vaginal walls. This discharge is designed to prevent infection as your cervix and vaginal walls soften, ready for childbirth.
This discharge will continue throughout pregnancy, but is nothing to worry about. However, if the discharge becomes yellow, green, or develops a foul odour, you must see a doctor immediately, as this may be a sign of bacterial infection.
Your basal temperature goes up by about point-three Centigrade when you ovulate; it remains that way until you menstruate. If your temperature stays raised for two weeks or more, it may be a sign you're pregnant.
Breast and Nipple Changes
Not only will your breasts become more swollen and tender, but the areola around the nipple may start to darken. You will probably find that your breasts hurt more early in the pregnancy. As your body adapts to the new hormones, this should improve.
If you suddenly feel very fatigued and start wanting to go to bed early, it could be a sign that you're pregnant. Fatigue sets in as early as one week after conception, caused by a higher level of the hormone progesterone.
If you think your fatigue is related to pregnancy, it's important to rest.
If the room suddenly seems to be spinning, it could be another early sign that you're pregnant. Dizziness often shows up before your nausea, and may even cause fainting. It can be linked to dilating blood vessels, and low blood sugar, as well as the sudden drop in blood-pressure that pregnant women often have.
However, if you have dizziness, along with vaginal bleeding and severe abdominal pain, get yourself to the Accident and Emergency Department/Emergency Room, as it could be a sign of a potentially-deadly ectopic pregnancy.