What Are the Early Signs of Pregnancy?
Sometimes it's hard to interpret the signals your body is sending you, but if you suspect you might be showing the first signs of pregnancy, you're probably eager to confirm it.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms
Some early pregnancy signs include:
Missing a menstrual period. A missed period is perhaps the earliest and most reliable indicator of pregnancy, however, it is still possible to have some light bleeding or a light period even while pregnant.
Frequent urination. If you need to pee more often than usual, especially during the night, this could be a sign of pregnancy.
Tender, tingling, swollen breasts. Your breasts may feel more tender and become larger, not dissimilar to the days before your period comes. You may also experience a tingling sensation, along with more visible veins and darkened nipples.
Morning sickness. This is one of the classic pregnancy symptoms, but don't be fooled by the name: morning sickness can occur any time of day. When you're pregnant, these symptoms tend to appear early on, around six weeks following your last period. You can find out more about morning sickness and how to cope with it here. Should you find you're throwing up continuously and you're struggling to keep anything down, you may have a condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum, which needs treatment. Contact your GP if you find you're being sick all the time.
Food cravings and a change in taste. Signs of early pregnancy can also include changes in tastes and cravings. You may find your senses of taste and smell become heightened; maybe you’ll feel a metallic taste in your mouth or you’ll start craving new foods. On the other hand, foods and beverages you once loved, like coffee or tea, may become repulsive to you. Just like craving a peanut butter sandwich packed with pickles and dipped in ice cream is a tell-tale sign of pregnancy, another sign is a sudden aversion to certain foods.
Tiredness. It’s common to feel tired when you’re pregnant, particularly in the first 12 weeks. This occurs due to the hormonal changes that are taking place in your body, which can make you feel exhausted.
Feeling bloated This bloating is caused due to hormonal changes and is quite similar to the feeling you get during your menstrual cycle.
Mood swings Your body is going through some major changes and with the hormones more active than ever before, you will go through a wide range of emotions in a short space of time. Don’t worry if you burst into tears without an explanation, mood swings are just one of the early signs of pregnancy and are especially pronounced during the first trimester.
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If you notice any of these early pregnancy symptoms, take a home pregnancy test. If the test is positive, make an appointment with your doctor who can confirm a pregnancy by observing changes in your cervix or uterus, or by detecting a fetal heartbeat via an ultrasound. You can also use our due date calculator to find out how far along you are in your pregnancy.
However, if you experience any of the early symptoms of pregnancy given above but the test comes out negative, there is a still chance you may be pregnant. Wait a week and take the test again.
Other Symptoms You Can Have Throughout Your Pregnancy
Your body will go through many changes as your baby grows, and you may notice a few symptoms occurring throughout your pregnancy. Some of these natural and normal pregnancy signs may include:
Discharge. A milky, musky-smelling discharge is your body's way of cleaning the cervix. It is typical throughout life, but increases during pregnancy.
Cramps. Implantation cramping can occur early on when the fertilised egg nestles into the uterine wall. Later on, that cramping sensation can be a result of round ligament pain or Braxton Hicks “practice” contractions.
Headaches. Hormonal changes, fatigue, and tension can all cause headaches, but they can also be a sign of high blood pressure, so mention headaches to your doctor.
Weight gain. It's natural to put on some weight during pregnancy. If you start with an average BMI, it's normal to gain about 25 to 35 pounds. The normal amount of weight gain can vary based on your starting weight.
Back pain. Back aches can be caused by hormonal changes, weight gain, and changes in your posture due to your growing belly.
Heartburn. Hormonal changes relax the muscles that keep digestive acids out of the esophagus, but heartburn can also be caused when your growing baby pushes up against your stomach.
Constipation and bloating. Pregnancy hormones weaken the muscles in your bowels leading to sluggish digestion.
Itchy skin. Wherever your skin stretches during pregnancy (the abdomen, breasts, hands, and feet), it could feel itchy.
Shortness of breath. Pregnancy hormones can change the frequency and depth of your breathing, meaning you'll get winded more easily. Your baby pushing against your lungs, plus the extra weight gain, can also cause that out-of-breath feeling.
These daily signs of being pregnant can be pretty tiresome, but in no time at all, your due date will be here, and you'll be taking your little baby home. You'll see that all these pesky pregnancy symptoms will have been worth it!
If you want to find out more about what happens in those early weeks of pregnancy, see our Pregnancy Calendar.
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