Have you ever missed your period and hit the panic button because you thought you may be pregnant?
While missing a period is certainly the number one sign of pregnancy for most women, there are other symptoms that happen early on to help you decide if it’s time to buy a pregnancy test.
Of course, if ever in doubt you should grab one to find out for sure but here are some early signs of pregnancy you should know – just in case:
1. Missed Period
Perhaps one of the most obvious early signs of pregnancy is missing your period – especially for women with regular cycles.
However, if your cycle is irregular, this sign can be easily missed (but don’t worry, there are many more signs to look out for!).
You will likely miss your period four weeks after conception on your body begins producing hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) which tells your ovaries to stop releasing eggs.
Pregnancy tests detect hCG levels in your urine as soon as eight days after a missed period.
2. Tender and Swollen Breasts
At around weeks four to six of your pregnancy, your breasts may become tender and swollen due to hormone changes happening in your body – mainly due to the rise in estrogen and progesterone levels.
Basically, your breasts are gearing up to start producing milk in the coming months.
You may also notice your nipples aching and protruding, your areolas darkening and the veins on your breasts becoming more prominent.
3. Nausea and/or Vomiting
Don’t let the term “morning sickness” fool you. This early sign of pregnancy can occur anytime during the day.
While there’s no clear cause of nausea and vomiting during weeks four to six of pregnancy, it is likely another result of changing hormone levels.
Typically nausea and vomiting are more intense during the first trimester of pregnancy and then calm down after that.
4. Increased Urination
When you become pregnant, your body starts increasing the amount of blood it pumps around. This causes the kidneys to process more fluid than usual and you may find yourself making more frequent trips to the bathroom.
As this is happening, it’s important to keep yourself well hydrated. Try to drink an additional cup of liquid throughout the day to accommodate the more frequent loss of fluids.
During the early days of pregnancy, as your progesterone levels start to rise, you may find yourself feeling more sleepy than usual.
Take note if you have a constant lack of energy and have difficulty getting up in the morning or staying awake in the evenings.
You may also feel sluggish throughout the entire day – this is completely normal. Just try to do your best to get a good night’s sleep.
6. Bloating and Constipation
Like many early signs of pregnancy, bloating and constipation can easily be confused with symptoms of your menstrual cycle.
This is because of hormonal changes that cause your digestive system to slow down, which can make you feel puffy and blocked.
Try to increase your water intake and include high-fiber foods in your diet to deal with these symptoms.
As you can tell, in the early stages of pregnancy your body is flooded with hormones. This can lead to mood swings that leave you feeling emotional and weepy.
While feelings of depression, irritability and anxiety are normal during pregnancy, do not hesitate to speak to your healthcare provider if these symptoms are difficult to manage.
On the flip side of that, you may experience heightened feelings of joy and euphoria.
8. Food Aversions and Smell Sensitivities
You’ve probably heard about weird “pregnancy cravings” as pickles dipped in peanut butter or the smell of burnt matches
However, some early signs of pregnancy are having food aversions and smell sensitivities.
Again, due to hormonal changes, you may become more sensitive to certain smells and your tastes for certain food may change.
Keep in mind that these aversions, especially to smells, can trigger nausea and vomiting during your pregnancy.
9. Cramping and Spotting
Even though your body is done with periods for the next nine months, you may still experience cramping and light spotting early in the pregnancy.
Known as implantation bleeding, this light spotting happens when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus – around 10-14 days after conception.
While implantation bleeding may look like a light period, it should only last around three days and is most likely only visible when wiping.
10. Changes in Skin
You’ve heard of the “pregnancy glow”, right? Well, this happens early in pregnancy when an increase in blood volume and higher hormone levels push more blood through your vessels.
This causes your body’s oil glands to up production and gives you that glowy and shiny look.
Alternatively, however, you could end up developing acne because of the increase in hormones and oils.
11. Increase in Body Temperature
Having a higher basal body temperature can be another early sign of pregnancy. You may notice your body’s temperature increasing more easily during exercise or in hot water.
Not to be confused with a fever or random temperature spike, this increase in body temperature will last for at least two weeks when you are pregnant.
This is yet another reason you should increase your water intake during your pregnancy.
12. Increased Blood Pressure
Some women will experience an increase in blood pressure during the early days of pregnancy (and even throughout the pregnancy).
A small rise in blood pressure is nothing to worry about, but a dramatic increase can be harmful to both you and the baby.
If you notice swelling in your hands and face, rapid weight gain and headaches that won’t go away, you should see your doctor to have your blood pressure checked.
First Trimester Problems
There are also signs during early pregnancy that you should definitely not brush off.
In these cases, it is best to visit your doctor as soon as possible to determine whether or not these troubling systems may lead to future complications:
Not to be confused with implantation bleeding/light spotting, heavy bleeding can be a warning sign of underlying conditions and issues.
Excessive Nausea and Vomiting
While being nauseous and feeling sick is normal during early pregnancy, vomiting to the point of dehydration and not being able to hold food or water down for more than 12 hours is a cause for concern.
We saw that an increase in body temperature is normal but a fever higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit could indicate a sign of infection – which could affect your baby.
Leg or Calf Pain
Those with a history of blood clots are at risk of developing one during pregnancy. If one of your legs or calves hurt, or if you’re experiencing one-sided swelling or severe headaches, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor.
Early Signs of Pregnancy
Be rest assured that many of the annoying early signs of pregnancy do fade away once you enter your second trimester.
However, some may return during the third trimester – so enjoy your second trimester while you can!
Did you experience an early sign of pregnancy not mentioned here? Share with us in the comments!