Early Signs of Pregnancy


In the words of the great Mo Willems, “Waiting is not easy!” This is especially true if you’re waiting to find out whether you’re pregnant. If you’re taking an at-home urine test, they’re not really effective until you’ve missed a period. (Although you can try taking them fourteen days after the date you believe you conceived, if you know your date of possible conception.) In the meantime, your body might be sending you some signals. What are those early signs of pregnancy, you ask? Here’s a list!

  • Breast changes: Many women experience a change in their breasts, particularly tenderness or swelling. You may also experience a darkening and/or enlarging of your areolas.
  • Fatigue: This can be caused by high progesterone levels, plus low blood pressure, low blood sugar, and increased blood production.
  • Sensitivity to odors: If you’re suddenly finding yourself super-sensitive to smells, you could be pregnant!
  • Food aversion or cravings: It’s not just smells that can turn your stomach—you can find that you’re averse to certain flavors all of the sudden, too. On the flip side, you might also discover that you’re craving certain foods.
  • Constipation and/or bloating: Remember that progesterone increase that can lead to fatigue? It can also slow down your digestion and lead to bloating and/or constipation.
  • Increased frequency of urination: Baby can make you pee more often even this early on in pregnancy. The pregnancy hormone hCG leads to improvement in your kidneys’ efficiency which leads to more trips to the loo.
  • Cramping or bleeding: Some women report light cramping or light bleeding a few days before their expected period. These symptoms are less severe than cramps or bleeding typically associated with menstruation and are thought to be related to implantation of the embryo.
  • Nausea: Thanks again hormones! It could be estrogen, progesterone, and/or hCG, causing the stomach to empty more slowly, or it could be that heightened sense of smell leading to strong physical reactions to odors. This symptom is less likely to be a very early sign of pregnancy, hitting more often around the six-week mark.
  • Missed period: Okay, this is kind of a big deal, especially if your periods are regular—and if you’ve been trying to conceive!
  • Mood swings: Have no fear—all the early signs of pregnancy aren’t physical. You can expect to experience mood swings, which makes total sense, given the surge of hormones that comes with pregnancy.

And you know what another early sign of pregnancy is? It’s not necessarily formally studied with lots of science behind it or anything, but here you go: that feeling that you’re pregnant. There’s something to be said for trusting your gut—that’s the only early sign I had that I was pregnant my daughter.

How did you first know when you were pregnant? Tell us in the comments!

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Christina lives in Northwest Illinois with her husband, daughter, and two English Springer Spaniels. Before becoming a reluctant stay-at-home mom, she worked in a variety of customer-service-oriented jobs while dreaming of living in the lap of luxury as a housewife. Unfortunately, having a child threw a wrench in Christina's plan to do nothing but eat bonbons while lounging in the Jacuzzi reading all day. Now, she spends her time looking for fun activities and crafts for her daughter and easy-to-prepare meals for her family, while trying not to land the kid in therapy when she grows up. Christina volunteers at her local library, and does both volunteer and paid work as a sexuality educator. She loves to read, and to learn about--and share--new products and resources.

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