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Pregnancy is a wild and wonderful ride, and (lots of) questions are simply part of this journey. Some of the most commonly googled pregnancy questions include early pregnancy signs if you can sense pregnancy, how it feels to be pregnant, and how your growing (but early) pregnancy belly might appear.

At Motherhood Center, our mission is to support your unique and unforgettable journey. Read on for answers to some commonly Googled questions you may (or may not) be wondering about. 

Early pregnancy signs   

Every woman is different, and every pregnancy experience is unique, so early pregnancy symptoms won’t be the same for everyone. 

Early pregnancy signs are very similar to those experienced during a menstrual cycle (period). Remember, the only way to know if you are undoubtedly pregnant is to take a pregnancy test and confirm the finding with your healthcare provider. Common early pregnancy signs include:  

  • Missed period 
  • Breast tenderness 
  • Light cramping
  • Spotting (very light, lasting 1-2 days)
  • Frequent urination 
  • Nausea 
  • Fatigue 
  • Mood swings (caused by hormones)

According to Dr. Shari Lawson, M.D. (division director of general obstetrics and gynecology at John Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore),  A woman with healthy (regular) cycles should take a pregnancy test if they are four to five days past their cycle. 

These early pregnancy signs are most common during the first trimester, specifically weeks 4-6. However, some women may experience these same symptoms during their entire pregnancy or not at all. 

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Can you sense early pregnancy?  

Early pregnancy symptoms and signs can often be mistaken or overlap with other women’s health issues. Women’s bodies are profoundly unique, and hormones are a persistent part of a woman’s life and childbearing years. 

This being said, a woman’s intuition is a powerful thing. At the same time, sure signs like feeling the baby’s movements don’t occur until much later (around 12-20 weeks). Many studies have proven that a woman can sense early pregnancy, even correctly guessing the baby’s gender up to 51% of the time. Women and mothers are amazing.  

What does an early pregnancy belly look like? 

During the first trimester, your belly may remain firm or feel soft and squishy. How a pregnancy belly will look greatly depends on several factors, such as:

  • A mother’s frame
  • A mother’s age (women in their 20s have stronger core muscles than older women)
  • Pre-pregnancy body weight
  • First-time pregnancy vs. subsequent pregnancy
  • The baby’s position 

Some first-time mothers may not see significant body changes until the second trimester. Core muscles play a large role in how much a pregnancy belly will protrude (or not). Women with strong core muscles may not show as early as those with less strong ones. 

How does a woman feel when pregnant?

Pregnancy symptoms tend to change according to the trimester. Pregnancy lasts about 280 days or 40 weeks. Here are common symptoms specific to each trimester, according to OASH Office on Women’s Health.

Trimester 1 symptoms ( 1-12 weeks)

  • Extreme tiredness
  • Tender, swollen breasts. 
  • Protruding nipples
  • Upset stomach with or without throwing up (morning sickness)
  • Cravings or distaste for certain foods
  • Mood swings
  • Constipation (trouble having bowel movements)
  • Need to pass urine more often
  • Headache
  • Heartburn
  • Weight gain or loss
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Trimester 2 symptoms (13-26)

  • Body aches, such as back, abdomen, groin, or thigh pain
  • Stretch marks on your abdomen, breasts, thighs, or buttocks
  • Darkening of the skin around your nipples
  • A line on the skin running from the belly button to the pubic hairline
  • Patches of darker skin, usually over the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip 
  • Numb or tingling hands called carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Itching on the abdomen, palms, and soles of the feet
  • Swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face

Trimester 3 symptoms (27 to end of pregnancy)

  • Shortness of breath
  • Heartburn
  • Swelling of the ankles, fingers, and face (call your healthcare provider if swelling becomes sudden or extreme)
  • Tender breasts may leak a watery pre-milk called colostrum (kuh-LOSS-struhm)
  • Your belly button may stick out
  • Trouble sleeping
  • The baby “dropping” or moving lower in your abdomen

Though reading these lists can initially feel daunting, most expectant (pregnant) mothers will only experience a few symptoms each trimester. Always communicate any symptoms you are feeling or concerned about to your healthcare provider. 

Many things can be done to improve pregnancy symptoms. Motherhood Center offers many services designed to do just that! 

Contact us

At Motherhood Center, we believe in your unique motherhood journey and all that comes with it. 

Contact us to learn more about the resources and support we offer. 

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