So, you’re trying to have a baby! And you have probably subsequently noticed that the time between ‘doing it’ and finding out whether or not you are pregnant (getting your period or not) seems to be like the longest two to three weeks of your life. Each day drags on with the pace relevant to what children feel waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve. If only you could go to sleep and wake up ‘knowing’ that you are pregnant.
Making matters worse is that the pregnancy tests that claim to be able to accurately predict pregnancy days earlier than all the rest, while accurate, are definitely no sure thing. In fact, with a negative test, the makers paste a clear label that directs you to wait a few more days and take another one. (Frustrating and Expensive) And those happy well-wishers, who are aware of your secret mission to conceive, will tell you – just don’t think about it! To which, all you can is say HA! How can you not think, wonder and worry if you are about to embark on the journey of parenthood? How is it possible to try to build a life inside you and then be forced to wait to know for sure if it is there? The emotions during this waiting period are sure to run high and you will likely be more in tune with your body than ever before, searching, sometimes desperately, for the symptoms of conception.
This brings us to the next point. Are there ‘symptoms of conception?’
The answer, clearly…certainly…is YES!
The problem is that in very, very early pregnancy you have to be able to separate fact from fiction and decide whether what you are feeling, is a symptom of conception or one that is being produced through your thoughts. There is such a thing as psychological pregnancy – where the desire to conceive is so deep, that women often begin developing the signs of pregnancy.
The best way to figure this whole wicked puzzle out is to sit back and relax. By now, you should know your body and have a pretty good idea what is ‘normal’ for you in the days leading to menstruation. Take a few minutes each and every day to breathe deep breaths and sort of ‘connect’ with your body. This will also help you to feel more relaxed and perhaps a little less impatience.
Next up, is to understand the process of conception. A sperm in the reproductive organs can live 4 to 5 days before being fertilized. So if you have planned sex around ovulation, it doesn’t mean that you are going to conceive the next day. Even ovulation tests that look for hormonal plunges that signal ovulation are not an exact science of when ovulation occurs. The sperm has to travel to the egg, fertilize it and then the happily and newly paired union has to make their way into the uterus. Once there, conception STILL has not occurred. The perfect pH balance of your uterus, along with a surge of hormones will allow this happy couple to implant into the uterine lining. Once implantation occurs, the female body has two choices. Either begin producing the pregnancy hormone called HCG, which will hold the fertilized egg in place - or not. When the body decides to keep the egg and sperm combo, and they implant firmly into the uterine wall – conception has occurred.
But wait! The next step where genetic splitting begins taking place – around 2 days after fertilization is another key to successful conception. Often if there is anything wrong with the developing embryo, the human body will recognize it and women will experience a period. (Perhaps a few days later than normally). This isn’t necessarily a miscarriage. However, if you take pregnancy tests very early, there is a slim chance you will know that you were pregnant.
The following are the physical symptoms of conception that you may (or may not) feel at the time of conception.
Many women feel a strong pinching sensation in the lower abdomen. (Right above the hairline) This is thought to be during implantation, and you may even experience a slight amount of discharge or bleeding at this time. This doesn’t necessarily feel like period cramps, but more like you are being pinched on the inside.
You can also feel a fullness or hardness in the lower abdomen almost immediately upon conception. Even though the baby is still microscopic, hormonal changes alter the feel of your uterus and this fullness can occur. Some women may also feel like they are about to get a urinary tract infection.
Tiredness, can occur almost immediately for many women. If you suddenly need lengthy afternoon naps, you might suspect that you are pregnant – even if it is a week before your period is due. It takes a lot of energy for your body to get pregnant, which can leave you exhausted. As soon as HCG starts pumping through your body, which is normally the same day as implantation occurs – you might feel hungrier than normal or experience weird cravings for food. This is your body simply telling you what you need.
One confusing symptom of conception is crampiness, increased discharge, and pelvic pain. This can feel very much like you are about to get your period, but is actually your body going through the changes caused by pregnancy. This is nothing to worry about and is normal for most women. In fact, one of the reasons so many women think they aren’t pregnant is because early pregnancy feels very much like you are to start menstruating.
Last but certainly not least are the breast and cervical changes. For some women, breast tenderness and a darkening around the nipples occurs immediately, even before a missed period. Additionally, a doctor can look at your cervix, which turns bluish during pregnancy even before you have missed a period and likely tell if you are pregnant or not.
Even so, the best thing to do is to sit back and wait. Enjoy this two-week mystery time in your life with the knowing that at any moment, your life could be changed forever. Try your best not to feel stressed out or overly anxious, and continue with your life as normal. The bottom line is you will know whether you are pregnant or not soon enough.