Early signs of pregnancy vary from woman to woman and even from pregnancy to pregnancy. If you pay special attention to your body’s rhythms, you may start to suspect you’re pregnant shortly after conception.
Are you pregnant?
Most women don’t show any early signs of pregnancy until the fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall, which is an average of six to twelve days after ovulation. Other women may notice no signs of pregnancy before their menstrual cycle is delayed or missed, which is one of the most obvious and important symptoms of pregnancy.
Whether you’re trying to conceive or not, it’s important to know pregnancy indicators because each symptom can be related to factors other than pregnancy.
Below is a list of some of the most common early pregnancy signs — some of which may appear before using a home pregnancy test — to let you know you might be about to become a mother. You may experience all, some, or none of these signs you may be expecting:
Granted, it’s a cliché, but sometimes food cravings can be an early sign of pregnancy. Don’t rely on pickle and ice cream cravings as a sure sign of pregnancy—it could be all over your head, or even a sign that your body is deficient in certain nutrients—however, if the cravings are accompanied by some of the other symptoms on this list, Could mean you could be eating for two people.
It could mean anything else: a poor diet, nutritional deficiencies, stress, depression, or an impending period.
You may be pregnant if the skin around your nipples turns dark, but it could also be a sign of a hormonal imbalance unrelated to pregnancy, or a carryover from a previous pregnancy.
What else it could mean: A hormonal imbalance unrelated to the pregnancy, or possibly a carryover from a previous pregnancy.
mild bleeding or cramping
Implantation bleeding can be one of the earliest signs of pregnancy, when the embryo burrows into the wall of the uterus about six to 12 days after conception. As a result, some women experience implantation spots — a slight pink or brown stain — and some cramping.
You may be mistaken for a short implantation bleed because spotting may occur when you are expecting your period.
It could mean anything else: actual period, change in period, change in birth control pills, infection, or chafing from intercourse.
Once the embryo implants and starts producing the pregnancy-sustaining hormones secreted by the embryo shortly after conception (usually around six to eight weeks after conception), you may find yourself running to the bathroom more frequently.
What else it could mean: Urinary tract infection, diabetes, increased fluid intake, or taking too much diuretics.
Feeling drowsy? No, absolutely wipe it off. Elevated progesterone levels during pregnancy can make you feel as if you’ve run a marathon when all you’re doing is during a normal day’s work. This early sign of pregnancy may appear in the first week after conception (before a positive pregnancy test is possible), but you don’t necessarily think you’re pregnant just because you feel tired.
What it could mean: Stress, exhaustion, depression, the common cold or flu, or other illnesses can also make you feel drained.
soft, swollen breasts
If you’re pregnant, your breasts may become fuller and softer to the touch, similar to pre-period feeling, but more noticeable. These changes may start as early as one to two weeks after conception.
What it might mean: Hormonal imbalances, birth control pills, and impending menstruation (PMS) can also cause your breasts to swell and become more sensitive.
You may start to feel sick and regurgitated as early as a few days after conception; it usually occurs between two and eight weeks after conception. Although this well-known sign of pregnancy has a common name (morning sickness), it doesn’t just strike in the morning: pregnancy-related nausea can occur at any time of the day or night.
If you’re lucky, morning sickness doesn’t appear until several weeks into pregnancy, and some women are lucky enough to get rid of morning sickness entirely.
What else to mean: Food poisoning, stress, or other stomach ailments can also make you nauseous.
back pain and headaches
Lower back pain and headaches can be early signs of pregnancy due to a sudden spike in hormones.
What else it could mean: impending period, stress, back problems, physical or mental stress, dehydration, caffeine withdrawal, eye strain.
missed or different period
When you’re pregnant, you’re supposed to miss your next period, and a missed period is often one of the first signs a woman is pregnant. Many women experience bleeding during pregnancy, but often the bleeding is shorter or lighter than normal. If you’re sexually active, late, and have frequent visits from Aunt Flo, it’s worth trying a pregnancy test.
It can also mean: excessive weight gain/loss, fatigue, hormonal imbalances, nervousness, stress, stopping birth control pills or breastfeeding.
positive pregnancy test
A positive pregnancy test is the surest sign that you are in the family. Home (urine) pregnancy tests are available at most pharmacies; there are early home pregnancy tests, such as the EPT Digital Early Pregnancy Test, which give results as early as five days before a missed period, and traditional home pregnancy tests, which recommend at least Wait until the first date of your missed period to test. Periods to ensure adequate progesterone.