Pregnancy Symptoms: What Are the Early Symptoms & 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 symptoms, you're probably eager to confirm it.

Early Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy

Here is a list of 8 early signs and symptoms of pregnancy:

  1. Missing a menstrual period

  2. Frequent urination

  3. Tender, tingling, swollen breasts

  4. Morning sickness

  5. Food cravings and a change in taste

  6. Tiredness

  7. Feeling bloated

  8. Mood swings

Early Symptoms of Pregnancy in a Brief

  • 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 symptom 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 symptoms and remedies. 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 & symptoms 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. Read more about pregnancy cravings here.

  • 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 symptoms and are especially pronounced during the first trimester.

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.

Do All Women Experience Early Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy? 

Each mom-to-be and each pregnancy is unique, so you may only notice some of these early signs of pregnancy. For example, the first signs and symptoms of pregnancy could occur before a missed period; alternatively, missing a period may be your first clue that you’re pregnant. What’s more, the symptoms you notice in a second pregnancy may be different from what you experienced the first time around. 

When Do Pregnancy Symptoms Start? 

You may be wondering when pregnancy symptoms start. Once again, it’s different for every woman. Some may experience early signs of pregnancy in the first few weeks after conception. Others may be pregnant and not experience any symptoms at all for a while. 

How Do You Know You’re Pregnant? 

You may be asking yourself “How do I know if I’m pregnant?” If you think you may be pregnant, a home pregnancy test will confirm it. There’s no way to know that you are pregnant without taking a test. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of pregnancy and take a home pregnancy test but the test comes out negative, there’s still a chance you may be pregnant. Wait until your period is a week late (or more), and then take the test again. If the test comes out positive, make an appointment with your healthcare provider to confirm the pregnancy. Once your pregnancy is confirmed, check out our go-to pregnancy guide, which includes lots of pertinent information and tools you'll need to navigate your pregnancy, including infographics, checklists, trackers, and more! 

Other Symptoms Throughout 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:

  • Vaginal 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.


An increase in pregnancy hormones can cause your digestive system to slow down, leading to constipation. The iron in prenatal vitamins can also add to constipation. It’s best to drink lots of liquids and increase your fiber intake by eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Eating frequent, smaller meals can also help with digestion.

When to Consult Your Healthcare Provider 

Most of the time, the aforementioned physical discomforts and changes are completely normal, but there are some signs you should not ignore, including severe headaches, changes in eyesight, or sudden swelling (edema). If you notice anything that just doesn’t seem right, consult your healthcare provider. 

The Bottom Line 

Early signs of pregnancy can be as subtle as a food craving or an aversion, or more noticeable like spotting or tender breasts. As your pregnancy progresses some of these signs and symptoms will likely return, such as heartburn, cramping, and frequent urination. If you’re unsure whether you’re pregnant but have been experiencing some of the early signs of pregnancy, take a home pregnancy test or visit your healthcare provider. The signs and symptoms of pregnancy can be tiresome, especially if you’re experiencing several simultaneously, but sooner than you know it, you'll be giving birth and taking your baby home. This is just the beginning of an amazing journey!  

See our Pregnancy Calendar for a more detailed description of everything that happens during each week, month, and trimester. 

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