Wrote this for elsewhere, but it’s just as relevant here for writers trying to work in a realistic pregnancy:
Before the Missed Period
Most women have no symptoms before missing a period, but here are a few ‘early symptoms’ reported by a few women
- Unusual cramping. Usually on one side or the other.
- Swelling in the breasts, Soreness in the breasts
- Over-salivation/Mouth tastes like metal.
- Severe mood swings
- High Basal Body Temperature for more than 10-14 days
However, most of these are also symptoms of PMS, so most women who are not specifically trying to get pregnant usually view these signals that their period coming.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms
Not every woman experiences the same symptoms and some will experience ones not on this list.
- Spotting or Bleeding not as strong as usual period. Still, many women get them confused.
- Continued High Temperature
- Continuous nausea over many days. ‘Morning Sickness’ doesn’t always happen in the morning.
- Swelling in the breasts not going down.
- Fatigue getting worse.
- Frequent urination
- Unusual food cravings
- Increase Appetite
- Sensitivity to aromas, especially ones you used to like or things like Meat
- Severe mood swings.
- Feeling pregnant mentally. Some women just ‘know’
And of course,
- Positive pregnancy tests.
Most doctors agree that despite company claims about how early the tests work, most home pregnancy tests are most accurate a week after the first day of a missed period. (If we’re assuming a 28 day cycle, that would be day 28 or later.)
It is recommended that tests be administered first thing in the morning as more of the hormones will be present.
Tests ‘expire’ after a certain number of minutes so it’s possible to get a false ‘pregnant’ result after 10 minutes -1 hour depending on the test.
It is possible to get a false negative because of a poorly administered test, too much fluid in your urine or simply being too early, so a second test a few days later is usually suggested if the period still doesn’t come.
False positives are possible but much more rare. It’s possible to have a ‘chemical’ pregnancy. This means that the embryo implanted, but wasn’t viable and was miscarried. Since there was implantation the pregnancy hormones are released, but there is no sustained pregnancy. The uterine lining will shed itself and most women mistake this for their normal period. Ocasionally there are also mechanical problems with the test.
Confirming a Pregnancy
If a home test gives a positive result, it is highly recommended to follow up with an appointment for a blood test or pelvic exam at the doctor’s/midwife’s office.
Women do not begin to ‘show’ the second they get pregnant. Most women do not appear pregnant until the second trimester during their first pregnancy although many women show earlier in subsequent pregnancies.
Not everyone is the same but here’s me.
6 Weeks 16 Weeks 21 Weeks 38 Weeks