The first signs of pregnancy can be easy to miss unless you know what to look for. To make it even worse, many of those signs are also indicative of an impending period. In general, one or two things might not mean much. But if you find yourself checking every item on the list, it might be time to go buy a test.
1. Missed Period
Missing your period does not automatically mean you are pregnant, but it is one of the very first signs of pregnancy. If you tend to have a fairly irregular cycle, you’ve been ill, or things are stressful, a missed period might not mean much. If your cycle is usually normal, it might be time to get suspicious.
2. Tender Breasts
Tender or slightly swollen breasts can be another sign. You may even experience some pain. Shifting hormones and lactic glands make the breasts uncomfortable right after you conceive (and it can go on for awhile). While breast discomfort is not uncommon during PMS, it’s also nature's way of preparing you for the joys of breastfeeding.
3. Morning Sickness and Nausea
About half of all pregnant women experience nausea or vomiting, and a small percent deal with a more extreme version of morning sickness. Despite the moniker, “morning sickness” doesn’t always happen in the morning. If you notice that you are regularly queasy at the same time every day, you might be pregnant.
4. Feeling Tired All Day Long
One major sign of early pregnancy is exhaustion. The changes happening in your body will drain your energy. In addition to feeling fatigued throughout the day, you might just be feeling lazy when you’re normally a bundle of energy. Thank your changing hormones and your body chemistry for that, too. If you’re getting other warning signs, go easy on the caffeine. Opt for plenty of water, short naps, and taking it easy.
5. Frequent Urination
For the first 6 to 8 weeks of pregnancy, you will be urinating quite often as the pressure on your abdomen and bladder increases exponentially. Although you’ll get a break during the second trimester, as your baby grows, you’ll find yourself running to the bathroom frequently (and all night long).
A few days before or after your period, you may experience spotting. This is a light discharge when the fertilized egg latches on to your uterus. Not all women experience spotting, but many do. However, spotting can also be a sign of ovulation or other issues.
You may experience general aches, pains, and soreness during the first weeks of pregnancy. As your body prepares to house a baby for the next several months, things start shifting and loosening up. Lower back pain is more common in the later stages of pregnancy, but you may notice discomfort in the pelvis or a general discomfort overall. Some women also experience headaches in the early days. Opt for acetaminophen if you’re starting to suspect something is up.
8. Mood Swings
You may also find that you are slightly more emotional than normal. As your hormonal levels adjust, bursting into tears or having fits of rage over trivial matters isn’t unusual. Neither is the swiftness with which strong emotions pass.
9. Heightened Senses
Many women notice a change in the way they perceive things, particularly when it comes to smells. Cooking your favorite food might make you gag, while your favorite perfume gives you a massive headache. You might even taste things differently. Once again, yay hormones!
10. Other Signs
Every woman experiences pregnancy differently. You may become constipated, crave certain foods, or feel thirsty all the time. Other signs include increased body temperature or foods aversion. Some things may be more intense than others, or you might not notice anything until your period is absent. Your safest bet when unsure is to take a pregnancy test or talk to your doctor.