Think you may be expecting? Check out our list of common early signs of pregnancy to determine if you are carrying, or maybe just symptom spotting.
After trying to conceive for a few years, I became a notorious symptom-spotter. Little did I know, conceiving naturally wasn’t in my cards, so there was no way that the “symptoms” I was experiencing could be the real deal.
But when I finally did become pregnant, I had a “gut” feeling, if you will. Of course, I was anxiety-ridden and concerned that the things I was feeling were phantom symptoms because I’d been fooled one too many times. This time, however, felt right.
I had just completed my first round of IVF, so if I was going to be pregnant, now was my time to shine. But I was still worried about misreading the “signs.” This time, however, my body definitely took care of me by sending some early indicators that had me feeling confident that this little lady was going to stick.
Early Signs of Pregnancy
While I’d love to tell you that there is a definitive list of early signs of pregnancy, there isn’t. At least, not one that you should count on – particularly if you are a symptom-spotter like me. The truth is that we all take pregnancy differently, and if you are pregnant (baby dust to you!), you will find that to be the case throughout the next 9-10 months.
However, once you look past that “I want to be pregnant so badly” mindset (where every ache and flutter under the sun must be your body telling you that you are expecting), and learn to discern mind games for the real thing, there are some sure-fire signs that you have a bun in the oven.
1. Missed Period
The first and most obvious sign that you may be pregnant is a missed period. It may feel silly even including this on the list because… well, this is what we all think about when we’re TTC… but we’d be remiss to exclude it.
Once you have conceived, your body produces hormones that stop you from ovulating and shedding your uterine lining (bye-bye, period! Won’t miss ya). If your period is like clockwork (i.e., comes every 28 days on the dot), you’ll have a much easier time identifying a “late period” than someone who tends to be irregular. However, don’t call it missed or late too soon – our bodies can be unpredictable! Missed periods can also occur due to excess exercise, hormonal imbalances, stress, and other factors.
If you experiencing a lighter than normal period, it may not have been your period at all. We’ll discuss this further in a bit.
2. Exhaustion or Fatigue
Pregnancy ain’t easy, even in the earliest of stages! So, if you feel like you can hardly make it through the day without needing some shut-eye, if you hit a wall by 3PM, if you’d give anything… ANYTHING, to be horizontal, you could be pregnant.
Fatigue occurs due to increased progesterone in early pregnancy. Most women experience the worst of it in the first trimester, then experience a burst of energy in the second trimester, and then feel it all over again in the third trimester as their bodies prepare to go into labor.
While my fatigue didn’t get bad until I was about 4-5 weeks along (at which point I knew I was pregnant), many expecting mama’s feel it from the get-go! Rest while you can, in nine months, sleep will be a thing of the past.
3. Faint Cramping
Feel like your period is about to start?
Don’t fret – this may not be Aunt Flo on her way. Pregnancy cramps are VERY similar to menstrual cramps and often continue on throughout pregnancy. Cramps can also completely psych you out, considering they can start just around the time your period is due, making it difficult to know if you are out for the month or if you are still in the running.
This early pregnancy symptom isn’t the most reliable, so if you are feeling crampy, don’t assume it’s game on. Wait it out! Also bear in mind that pregnancy cramps are faint, less than a normal period cramp.
4. Frequent Urination
You’d think that constant trips to the bathroom come only after the baby has grown large enough to sit on and kick your bladder, but no! Frequent urination occurs during pregnancy due to an increased blood supply. Your kidneys work to filter your blood, removing waste in the form of urine.
5. Spotting or Light Bleeding
Like cramping, spotting or light bleeding can be a little bit confusing.
Is this my period or is this something more?
Spotting as an early sign of pregnancy is actually implantation bleeding. Implantation bleeding, if it happens, usually occurs about six to 12 days after an egg is fertilized. And, often coincides with an expected menstruation start date… unfortunately.
The action of a fertilized egg attaching itself to the interior lining of your uterus can cause some light spotting or bleeding. One of the best ways to identify whether you are experiencing implantation bleeding or menstrual bleeding is to take a look at its color. If it is red, it is fresh blood, which is more than likely your period. If it is brown or light pink, it is old blood, which could be leftover from the implantation process. If you do not experience implantation bleeding, this doesn’t mean you aren’t pregnant. Only 25-30% of women get it.
Spotting or bleeding can also be a sign that something is wrong. If you are experiencing this, contact your healthcare provider.
6. Headaches and Dizziness/Lightheadedness
Headaches, dizziness, and lightheadedness during early pregnancy occur due to increased blood volume and circulation, and hormonal changes. If you are pregnant, you may have tension headaches in your first trimester thanks to the many, many changes happening in your body in such a short period of time.
8. Nausea and/or Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting are two of the key early signs of pregnancy, particularly if you are not one to have a sensitive stomach.
Rushing to the bathroom at all hours of the day (because let’s be real, morning sickness does NOT just happen in the morning)? Feeling random bouts of queasiness? Turned off to foods and smells that didn’t bother you before?
You may have conceived!
Nausea can happen as early as 14 days into the pregnancy, though some don’t experience it until they are a couple of months in. And, some don’t at all.
Mood swings are hella common in early pregnancy, as your body goes through constant bouts of hormonal changes.
My husband would say, “yep, definitely pregnant!” (*EYE ROLL*)
Ladies, we finally have a good excuse.
Not only are you experiencing a roller coaster of hormonal changes (and fast), you’re also on the brink of a HUGE life change. Of course your mood is going to be all over the place!
10. Breast Tenderness
Tender and/or swollen breasts are also totally normal in early pregnancy. For some, breast tenderness may resemble the soreness experienced during menstruation. For others, even the slightest touch can be uncomfortable. If this is you, it’s time to tell your partner hands off for a while!
11. Metallic Taste in Your Mouth
Feel like you just sucked on a penny? Ick. Many pregnant women say they’ve had a metallic flavor in the mouth early on. This may be a cause of certain foods, or simply your hormones messing with you.
I believe I did experience this early sign of pregnancy, but it could have also been my mind telling me I was. Hard to know, you know?!
No matter what signs and symptom you are experiencing, the best way to know for sure is to take an at-home pregnancy test (or eight), as well as a blood test with your OB/GYN.
Once you get the positive pregnancy test, be sure to book your prenatal visits where you will have ample opportunity to ask your healthcare provider all the questions you have about what’s to come. And, when when you’re ready to announce your pregnancy but you’re short on ideas, check out this post!
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