When to Take a Pregnancy Test

And how I knew I was pregnant with Baby #2. When you know, you know. The second time around, I was a little more prepared, more experienced, and more in-tune with my body than before.

Early pregnancy symptoms differ from woman to woman, and even from pregnancy to pregnancy, whether you’ve had one or five children. In my experience, there are certain telltale signs that should raise a Red Mommy Flag and at least get you to check your cycle (if you have been tracking it), or take a home pregnancy test.

My husband and I planned to try for Baby #2 in the fall of 2018, but it seems we got a little bit of a headstart on our calculations, which left me wondering if I was indeed pregnant, after riding nearly every roller coaster and high-intensity ride in Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Islands of Adventure.

Below, see a list of those signs and symptoms that told me it was time to take the test.

Sinus Congestion & Shortness of Breath

These symptoms by themselves are by no means indicators that you may be pregnant, however, when put together with no other outstanding health factors, may tell you its time to pee on a stick. A long weekend in the humidity of Orlando, followed by a week in The Bahamas may do something to your sinuses, but I thought it was nothing sleep and saline couldn’t cure. I was wrong. After three days of rotating antihistamine tablets, nasal sprays, and saline drops, I knew something was up. The congestion and shortness of breath left me laid out in every sense.

Headaches

There is something unique about pregnancy headaches. It’s a strange mix between a hunger headache and a tension headache. As a migraine sufferer, I’ve come to know the difference between headache styles. These headaches don’t necessarily respond to pain medication (which if you are pregnant, should be limited according to what is safe for a growing fetus). I found that pregnancy headaches typically signaled the need to slow down, eat, drink or rest.

Exhaustion

Read: EXTREME exhaustion. As in, stuck on your parents’ couch for three days exhaustion. Of course, this could have been due to the marathon of Disney Parks I had just put myself, and my one-year-old through, however after three days of thorough self-care and no improvement, my Mommy Senses were on 100. And so were my mother’s – she even told me that if I stayed on the couch one more day, she was going to ask if there was a baby on board.

Cravings

The sweets and treats of Disney were too much to bear and I caved in to those frozen Mickey Bars. The only thing was, I hardly ever crave ice cream, outside of the summer months and by this time it was mid-November. I paid it no mind, convinced that these were sweet cravings of my impending period. Nope. While early pregnancy symptoms are similar to PMS (premenstrual syndrome), they can sometimes be more intense. This is true for me and my body.

Acne

The dreaded hormonal acne. I battled hard with this during my first pregnancy, and I was hoping that my body would never do it to me again. Then the first pimple appeared and it wasn’t a regular pimple. It was red, swollen and inflamed, making an angry statement on my chin, almost warning me about what was to come. It was a sore point on my relatively clear skin, which made a complete 180, following the dreadful hormonal acne I experienced after giving birth to my son. It appears that this is just what my body does when making babies.

The Missed Period

My mother taught me how to track my periods since my first period at age 13. Since then I’ve switched from paper calendars to apps to keep track of my monthly visitor. And I have had regular periods all my life, with one brief exception when I had an ovarian cyst, so when my period appears to be a few days late, I turn into girl detective Nancy Drew. I started tracking my period with Clue in 2014 when I stopped taking hormonal birth control, and have found it both easy to enter and read the data. Over the years, my periods have been so regular that finding myself just three days late, coupled with all of the other symptoms I listed above, told me that I was pregnant or something crazy was going on with my body. Thankfully it was pregnancy and not a health scare.

Other Early Pregnancy Signs & Symptoms

As I mentioned earlier, each pregnancy is different and there were a few symptoms that I did not experience early on with this second pregnancy, that plagued me during my first pregnancy.

Nausea

Before I knew I was pregnant with my first child, I found myself feeling sick after eating my favorite breakfast fix – eggs benedict with espresso and a mimosa. Not only was I unable to stomach my favorite meal, but I sacrificed an entire day of shopping for an extended afternoon nap. I should have known something was happening with my body, especially when I found it hard to get out of bed for the next few weeks, but it wasn’t until my period was about a week late that I mustered up the courage to take that first pregnancy test. As I mentioned earlier, my periods have always been regular, but at that point in my life, I was working in overdrive, taking on extra tasks at work, working long hours and overtime, so I barely noticed when my period didn’t show up after my app alerted me.

Sore & Tender Breasts

Think period breasts x1000. I have always been small-chested, so I take note of any plumpness around the time of my period. But when the spray of water from your showerhead sends a pang of pain to your core, you know you’ve entered the pregnancy zone. While this symptom hit me rather early on in my first pregnancy, there was no change in my breasts until the second trimester of my second pregnancy. It made me a little concerned, however, my doctor said it was nothing to worry about considering everything else in my pregnancy checked out as normal. Plus, my breasts had already been through enough as far as I was concerned, following 13 months of breastfeeding and pumping. They deserved a little break.

These are just a few of the telltale symptoms that I experienced, but as I mentioned earlier, every body is different and every pregnancy has its own signs and signals.

If you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant, I wish you luck from one mama to another!

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