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Am I pregnant? First Signs Of Pregnancy Including Relaxed Muscles, Feeling Faint And Odd Tastes

13/05/2015 17:27 BST | Updated 21/05/2015 16:59 BST

There are some very telling signs that you may be pregnant including missed periods, weight gain and y'know, that growing bump...

But very, very early on before all those creep up, how else can you tell you're soon going to be a mother?

pregnancy bump

Dr Helen Webberley is a GP who also works for Oxford's Online Pharmacy. She chatted to HuffPostUK Parents about some of the initial signs you may be pregnant.

"Hormone changes bring about about most early pregnancy symptoms," explains Webberley.

"These hormone changes start as soon as implantation takes place which is five days after fertilisation, but many women report changes even earlier suggesting chemical reactions taking place as soon as the egg is penetrated by the sperm."

So what changes do these women notice and what should you be looking out for?

That sicky feeling

A hormone called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) iis produced by the placenta following implantation.

This is the very same hormone that is "proudly responsible for morning sickness," says Webberley.

"As levels rise after conception, so do the waves of nausea. If you aren’t expecting to be pregnant then mild morning sickness can easily be missed, but if you are desperate to conceive then that sicky feeling can be a very welcome tell-tale symptom."

Muscles relaxing

Your levels of the hormone progesterone rise when you're pregnant, Webberley explains. This relaxes the muscles of the blood vessels, so they get bigger and allow more blood to flow through our reproductive organs.

"This causes congestion and a darkening colour of the vagina and vulva, swelling of the clitoris and engorgement of the breasts," she adds.

Feeling faint

Watch out for a faint feeling you might experience after making sudden movements.

"The digestive system also slows down causing a reduction in transit time. As the blood vessels relax, the blood pressure drops and this may be noticeable when standing suddenly," says Webberley.

Nipples

The NHS website explains that your breasts will become larger, feel tender and may also tingle.

Although these changes may not be noticeable, Webberley adds, if you're looking for them, they can become very obvious.

"Tingling nipples and darker nipples may also stand out," she says.

Toilet movements

And then to your bowel movements. Webberley says you're likely to experience bloating and constipation as tell-tale early signs.

The NHS adds that you're likely to pee more often, especially during the night. Keep an eye out for increased vaginal discharge when you go to the toilet, too.

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Spider veins on the chest

Heightened oestrogen levels in your body cause notable changes to your appearance, including tiny spider veins on your chest, which could be visible if you're looking out for them, says Webberley.

Energy levels

As well as the effects on the reproductive system, the body itself goes through some very noticeable changes very quickly when you become pregnant, and the most obvious one to look out for would be a drop in your energy levels.

Webberley lists reduced exercise tolerance, energy levels fluctuating, needing more sleep and being puffed out after exercise as being general effects you may experience.

Mood and food

Emotionally, be aware of mood swings and grumpiness that are likely to occur, as well as a change in energy levels. Webberley adds that food cravings and weight gain are also knowing signs.

The NHS lists certain tastes and cravings you might encounter:

  • A strange taste in your mouth, which many women describe as metallic.
  • Craving new foods.
  • Losing interest in certain foods or drinks that you previously enjoyed – such as tea, coffee or fatty food.
  • Losing interest in tobacco.
  • Developing a more sensitive sense of smell than usual – for example, to the smell of food or cooking.

The top four symptoms Webberley tells us are:

• Tiredness

• Nausea

• Tender breasts

• Mood changes

The NHS prompts that a negative pregnancy test result is a lot less reliable than a positive one, so if you are getting these symptoms but your test comes out negative, book an appointment with your GP.

Once you know the signs and you're consciously aware of how your body can change, it becomes a lot easier to notice them happening. If you've experienced other early signs of pregnancy, we're all ears...

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