Ask a VWC Nurse: Answers to Your Commonly Asked Questions
Once a month, we feature answers to commonly asked questions that our Valley Women’s Clinic medical staff receives. Our nurses provide answers to these questions here on the blog.
Q. What Are the Most Common Signs of Pregnancy?
Many women typically experience some pretty common symptoms that may indicate you’re in the early stages of pregnancy. However, a pregnancy test is the only sure way to know if you’re pregnant, and an ultrasound can determine if the pregnancy is in the uterus (rather than an ectopic pregnancy) and how far along you are.
A. Every woman is different and may experience different symptoms (and sometimes these symptoms are similar to those that you get right before starting your period), but if you’re experiencing several of the signs below, you may want to get a pregnancy test:
- Late period – Is something missing? While other things like stress and illness can delay your period, this is a pretty good sign that you may be pregnant.
- Nausea or vomiting – Commonly known as morning sickness, it can actually occur any time of the day. This symptom usually lasts only through the first trimester.
- Heightened sense of smell – Have you noticed that you can suddenly smell everything? And that this might not be a good thing, often triggering morning sickness? You can blame the pregnancy hormones again for this sensitivity to smells.
- Spotting and/or cramping – Light spotting can be a sign that an embryo has implanted into the uterine wall (which happens a week or so after conception and before you would expect your period). Abdominal cramping can feel like menstrual cramps.
- Frequent urination – Do you find yourself running to the bathroom all. the. time.? Your kidneys are working harder when you’re pregnant. Unfortunately, this is a symptom that lasts throughout the pregnancy, because as the baby grows, it can put pressure on the woman’s bladder.
- Tender or swollen breasts – This sign can be due to hormonal fluctuations in your body. For some women, breast soreness is part of their normal pre-menstrual discomfort. But when the soreness increases dramatically, this may be a sign of pregnancy.
- Fatigue – Exhaustion feels more like it. While tiredness could be the result of stress and bad sleep habits, it could also be a sign of pregnancy. Hormonal changes in early pregnancy result in this extreme tired feeling you may be having.
- Food cravings or aversions – Most pregnant women will experience cravings for certain foods and an aversion to some food they previously enjoyed. In some cases, this could be your body naturally wanting some nutrients that it needs or trying to steer you clear of something that’s not good for you.
- Mood changes – Are you suddenly laughing one minute and crying the next? The changes in hormone levels during pregnancy can affect the brain chemicals that regulate your mood.
Valley Women’s Clinic is Here for You
Not all women will experience any or all of these symptoms, or experience them to the same extent. And of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list of all the pregnancy symptoms you could be enduring. But if you find yourself with several of these signs, the best way to confirm your pregnancy is to have a medical quality pregnancy test, followed up with an ultrasound exam. At Valley Women’s Clinic, we provide both of these services, free and confidentially.
Request an appointment today with us at Valley Women’s Clinic for a free and confidential pregnancy test at our Blacksburg or Radford clinic. Our nurses can also answer questions you may have about the pregnancy or your sexual health.
Do you have a question for one of our VWC nurses? Fill out the form below to anonymously ask your question and it could be featured on one of our future Ask a VWC Nurse blog posts!