Could I be pregnant?

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Hot flushes, funny smells – unusual bodily reactions could be very early signs of pregnancy.

Many women know they are pregnant long before the store-bought pregnancy tests, the visits to the doctors and the blood tests. While it may sound vague, other pregnant women know what they mean when they talk about one day just ‘feeling funny’ or having a ‘funny feeling’. 

This isn’t any sixth sense or women’s intuition, you don’t even have to be that in tune with your body. Because if one day, out of the blue, you suddenly get an intense hot flush – and you’re nowhere near menopause – then you start to think, hang on, what could be causing my hormones to go haywire. Could it maybe be…..?

I had never had a hot flush before and even though they aren’t a typical symptom of early pregnancy, we had been trying to fall pregnant for some time and I was paying a bit closer attention than usual to my body. I had the hot flushes for a few days and it was really strange. But it wasn’t quite enough to send me off to the pharmacy for a pregnancy test.

In the same week, I visited my sister, who had new carpets fitted into a room. I went to have a look and as I walked through the door, was stopped by an intense chemical smell that made my stomach turn. ‘What smell?’ asked my sister. I couldn’t believe that she could be so oblivious to it. I was unable to stay in that room without throwing up. Soon afterwards, I did a pregnancy test and what do you know – I was pregnant!

Feeling queasy

A strong sense of smell is a common symptom of early pregnancy. It is linked to the queasiness and the nausea. Experts say this has to do with the rapid rise of oestrogen in the bloodstream. Nausea may or may not strike during pregnancy – and though it usually comes and goes in the first trimester after a few weeks of pregnancy, some women have reported feeling nauseous as early as two weeks after conception.

A friend of mine told me how things started tasting differently early on in her pregnancy. Always a big caffeine junkie, she knew something was up when coffee stopped tasting good. Another friend told about experiencing dizziness. Of course some symptoms like excessive tiredness, headaches and mood swings are quite common and normal – and have nothing to do with pregnancy. It’s when you don’t usually have these symptoms and they suddenly appear, seemingly out of the blue, that they might mean something.

Most store-bought tests are urine tests, which measure the human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG in the urine. But it can only be detected after implantation – 6 to 12 days after the egg has been fertilised, so there is a chance of getting a false result early in pregnancy. That is why it is usually recommended to only do a test once your period is late.

Blood tests are more reliable and give a more accurate reflection of your pregnancy and how many weeks along you are.  Few people know that they can go to a pathology lab and ask for a pregnancy blood test. Then you know for a fact if you’re pregnant or not.

Early signs you might be pregnant:

• Excessive tiredness

• Nausea with or without vomiting

• Mood swings

• Headaches

• Constipation/bloatedness/runny tummy

• Needing to pee more than usual

• Breast tenderness

• Skin changes

• Abdominal pains or cramps

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