What are the less obvious signs of pregnancy

What Are The Early Signs Of Pregnancy Before A Missed Period?

It is possible to buy a pregnancy test that can test for pregnancy several days before your period is due. First Response is one such popular test which can detect pregnancy hormones up to 3 days before your period is due. Another is Clearblue Digital which even has a conception indicator that will not only tell you if you are pregnant 4 days before your period is due, but also how far gone you are. If it is still too soon to test for pregnancy, there are other tell-tale signs to look out for:

2 . Smell Sensitivity: Have any foods or smells caused you to feel suddenly nauseous? The nausea might have passed quickly, but it could have puzzled you because the item in question might be one of your favorite foods, or something that has never bothered you before. Common items that can cause this reaction are fried foods, coffee and meat. Some women, keen to have early results, even try testing themselves by sniffing raw chicken to see if they get a reaction.

3 . Taste Sensitivity: Do you have a weird metallic taste in your mouth? This can occur in pregnant women as early as 2 weeks after conception.

4 . Cramping and Spotting: Have you had any cramping or light bleeding, even though your period is not due for another few days or weeks? The cramp might feel like PMS cramps. The bleed might only consist of a few light spots of blood which look like a brown discharge or is lighter and pinker than period blood. If so, this could be implantation bleeding, which occurs 6 to 12 days after the sperm fertilizes the egg.

5 . Sore Breasts and Nipples: Are your breasts or nipples more tender than usual for your time of the month? This is a more difficult one to judge because some months your breasts might be sorer than other months due to PMS, it may have nothing to do with pregnancy at all.

6 . Sudden Extreme Tiredness: Are you suddenly much more tired than normal, with no obvious cause? This is one of the most obvious signs of pregnancy and can even slow a woman down from day one of conception. Pregnancy causes a lot of immediate changes in the body, hormone production cranks into overtime and the metabolism eats up energy.

7 . Bloating: Are you more bloated than normal for the time of the month? That said, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a premenstrual bloat and a pregnancy bloat.

8 . Hot Flashes: Have you had sudden unexplained hot flashes where you feel an intense heat which starts at the chest and works its way up the face? If so, your basal body temperature has increased and it is a sign of pregnancy.

9 . Dizziness: Feeling faint or dizzy? Dizzy spells can occur within the first week of conception as blood vessels dilate to carry more blood around the body. Read about the causes of dizziness while pregnant.

10 . Headaches: Have you had persistent headaches for the past few days? This is only really a sign if you normally do not suffer headaches before your period.

Early Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms

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Shalini Patni, 28 Feb 2017

Pregnancy tests are very sensitive so it is common to find out that you are pregnant before you develop any signs or symptoms of pregnancy. However, as your pregnancy continues you are likely to experience various symptoms and signs.

In this article

  • Arrow-downHow do I know I am pregnant?
  • Arrow-downWhat are the common symptoms and signs of early pregnancy?
  • Arrow-downWhat should I do when I find out that I am pregnant?

Early Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms

In this article

How do I know I am pregnant?

Pregnancy tests are available from chemists and supermarkets and are very sensitive. They test for the presence of a hormone called beta human chorionic gonadotrophin (beta-hCG) in your urine. Beta-hCG is produced by your body when an egg (which has been fertilised by a sperm) attaches and fixes itself (implants itself) into the wall of your womb (uterus).

Different makes of pregnancy tests vary in how sensitive they are. The more sensitive ones can become positive when you are only a few days pregnant. However, a negative test does not mean that you are not pregnant; it may just mean that the levels of this hormone are not high enough to be detected by the test.

As pregnancy tests vary in how you use them, it is important to read the instructions carefully before you do the test.

If your first pregnancy test is negative but you think you may be pregnant then you should repeat the pregnancy test one week later. If you have a positive pregnancy test, this does not need to be repeated by a doctor or a midwife.

Early Pregnancy Q&A

How long does it take to get symptoms of pregnancy? What can cause the same symptoms of pregnancy? What are the different stages of pregnancy? All your questions answered.

What are the common symptoms and signs of early pregnancy?

The symptoms of early pregnancy vary tremendously between women. Some women hardly have any symptoms, whereas others have very severe symptoms. It is impossible to predict which women will have more severe symptoms. However, in general, if you are expecting twins or triplets then it is likely that your symptoms will be more severe.

Extreme tiredness is often the most common sign of an early pregnancy. Although it is common to become more tired in the later stages of pregnancy, this extreme tiredness and lack of energy (lethargy) usually last for the first twelve weeks (first trimester). They usually then improve.

Urinary symptoms and constipation

You may notice that you need to pass urine more frequently than you used to. This is actually due to the effect of the beta-hCG hormone which makes your kidneys work harder to produce more urine. This is different to the reason you will need to pass urine more often in the later stages of pregnancy, which is due to the baby’s head pressing on your bladder.

Note: if you experience any burning, stinging or a high temperature (fever) with these urinary symptoms, contact your doctor or midwife. Urine infections are common when you are pregnant. Your doctor or midwife will arrange to test your urine for an infection. See separate leaflet called Urine Infection in Pregnancy for more information.

It can be common to find that you are more constipated than usual in the early stages of pregnancy. This is due to the chemical (hormone) progesterone making your bowel more relaxed and sluggish. It is important to have a healthy diet throughout your pregnancy. If you do become constipated then you should eat more foods with lots of fibre in them, like wholemeal bread, fruit and vegetables. Make sure you are drinking enough fluids, especially water.

Breast tenderness

Another very early sign of pregnancy is breast tenderness. You may find that just the water from your shower on your breasts makes them feel uncomfortable and very tender. You may also find that you wake in the night when you roll on to your front because your breasts are tender. Your breasts may tingle at times or even have stabbing pains in them. You may also notice that your breasts become bigger and more swollen over the first few weeks of pregnancy. As your pregnancy develops it is common to notice some veins under the surface of your skin over your breasts. This is entirely normal.

After a few weeks you may notice that the coloured skin around your nipples (the areolae) becomes darker.

Feeling sick (nausea)

Although most women think that feeling sick is the first sign of being pregnant, it is more common to develop other symptoms first. Feeling sick usually starts around the sixth week of your pregnancy. This can, however, vary between pregnancies in the same woman as well as between different women. You may find that you are being sick (vomiting) as well as feeling sick. The amount and frequency really does vary between women and can also be different (worse or better) in later pregnancies.

This sickness is commonly referred to as morning sickness. It is more common to experience feeling sick only in the mornings. However, you may find that this feeling continues throughout the afternoons and even into the evenings. See separate leaflet called Morning Sickness in Pregnancy for more information.

Food cravings

You may find that you crave certain foods during your pregnancy or even go off some foods. Some women experience a metallic taste in their mouth. You are likely to have a heightened sense of smell during your early pregnancy. This may make any feelings of sickness that you have worse.


The changes in hormone levels in early pregnancy may make you feel more moody and irritable than usual.

Missed period

Although this has always been the most obvious sign of pregnancy, many women now find out they are pregnant before they miss their first period.

Many women may have a small amount of bleeding (spotting) at the time of their missed period. This is sometimes called an ‘implantation bleed’. It happens when the fertilised egg attaches and fixes itself (implants itself) in the wall of your womb (uterus). It is harmless.

However, if you have any spotting or heavy bleeding when you are pregnant then you should let your doctor or midwife know. In some cases further tests (for example, a scan) are necessary. This is because bleeding can sometimes be a sign of a miscarriage. See separate leaflet called Miscarriage and Bleeding in Early Pregnancy for more information. Less commonly it can be the first symptom of an ectopic pregnancy. ‘Ectopic’ refers to a pregnancy which occurs outside the womb. See separate leaflet called Ectopic Pregnancy for more information.

Due Date Calculator

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What should I do when I find out that I am pregnant?

Once your pregnancy has been confirmed by a pregnancy test then you should contact your doctor’s surgery. They will arrange for you to see your doctor or midwife. Usually you will be seen by a midwife at around twelve weeks of your pregnancy. They will see you at your surgery, at a children’s centre or at home. It is rare nowadays to have to go to a hospital to see a midwife.

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It is important to have a healthy lifestyle during your pregnancy. This includes healthy eating and taking folic acid and vitamin D supplements. See separate leaflet called Diet and Lifestyle during Pregnancy for more details.

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What are the Early Signs of Pregnancy

It can be somewhat difficult to recognize the signs of pregnancy in the early stages. Many of the early pregnancy symptoms resemble premenstrual symptoms and are often mistaken for these. Let’s take a look at some of the more common early signs and of pregnancy and how they can be detected.

What are the Early Signs of Pregnancy?

This is often the first sign that a woman has that she may be pregnant. A missing period is a good indicator that conception has occurred, however it is not a definite indicator. Missing a period can occur for a number of reasons such as stress or major illness. Some women also continue to have their period during pregnancy. This may last for a few months until the placenta is developed enough or, in rare cases, throughout the entire pregnancy.

Very early in a pregnancy the breasts begin to change. The first thing that a woman may notice is breast tenderness. It may hurt to run, jump or even touch the breast. The nipples may also become sensitive and irritated. This occurs because the breasts are preparing to produce and deliver breast milk even at this early stage. A Lot of women find that they start growing out of their bras very quickly. The color and texture of the areolas (the dark area around the nipple) also changes. They will become darker and the little nodules called Montgomery’s Tubercles, may become more numerous or enlarged. The veins may become more noticeable across the breasts and under chest.

Along with changes to the breasts there are also changes to the vagina. May women notice an increase in vaginal discharge. The color of the vagina also changes as the blood flow to that area of the body is increased. The vagina may appear more purple than normal.

The first trimester of a pregnancy is one of the most exhausting periods. Fatigue is common because the body produces more hormones and directs all its attention towards growing a baby. The increased level of progesterone also has a sedating effect.

Craving and aversions

Some women experience aversions to particular foods and cravings for others. No one is entirely sure why this occurs but there is some evidence that the body craves food that can provide it with particular vitamins and minerals.

Heightened sense of smell

Pregnancy can heighten the sense of smell. Smells that do not usually cause a problem may begin to cause nausea and vomiting. In most cases it is related to food and cooking smells, but pregnant women can be sensitive to any smell or odor.

Nearly all pregnant women experience some form of morning sickness and for many women it is one of the first clues that they are pregnant. It may be mild and occur at certain times or it may be severe and occur continually. Despite the name, morning sickness can occur at any time of the day. Eating regularly and keeping the blood sugar stable is the best way to stop for vomiting and to keep the nausea at bay.

Another common sign in early pregnancy is frequent urination. Many women find that suddenly they need to visit the bathroom more regularly than normal. The pregnancy hormone hCG causes the bladder to become irritated and this increases the need to release urine.

Other common pregnancy symptoms

Cramping – This is the natural contraction of the uterus wall. If accompanied by bleeding it is best to speak to a medical professional.

Bloating/wind/constipation – The hormones produced in pregnancy cause the intestines to relax which may lead to some digestion issues.

Change in hormones – This can cause mood swings, pimples and acne, and symptoms similar to normal premenstrual symptoms.

Less common pregnancy signs

High BBT – If a woman is measuring her Basal Body Temperature she may notice that it says high when her period should be due. This is an indicator of conception.

Implantation bleeding – Some women may notice some cramping and spotting 8 to 10 days after conception. This is called implantation bleeding and is caused by the embryo burrowing into the wall of the uterus.

What Are The Early Signs of Pregnancy?

Has it been just a few weeks since you started trying to conceive? Is It too early to miss your period, but you are dying to know if you are pregnant or not? Well, there are some very early signs of pregnancy, which starts showing before missed period.

Having some or all of them at the same time can ensure that yes, there is a baby growing inside of you! So before getting a home pregnancy test or blood test, take a look at these early signs to see if they seem familiar or not.

Getting sore breasts is one of the most prominent early signs of pregnancy. They will feel uncomfortable and heavy, like when you are on your period, only worse this time. Besides, the areolas will darken in color and the veins will seem even more pronounced. Wearing a bra will start feeling like a torture.

Are you having trouble breathing by just climbing up a few steps or walking to the next block? This might be a sign that you are pregnant. As the fetus starts growing, your body needs more oxygen for it, leaving you short.

If you are getting tired easily, or feel exhausted and sleepy all the time, it might be because you are pregnant. The sudden increase of hormones in your body results in fatigue, which usually lasts until the end of the first trimester.

Feeling nauseated is a well-established early pregnancy symptom. Though for most women it starts after 6 weeks, some may start feeling it earlier. The “morning sickness” may happen at any time of the day. This too will subside once you enter the second trimester.

If you are suddenly running to the bathroom more often, it might be because of your pregnancy. Pregnancy makes the body produce more fluids, thus the bladder starts working overtime. Resulting in frequent trips to the washroom.

As a result of changing levels of hormones, your head will start throbbing with an unbearable ache. If you are experiencing it while doubting pregnancy, make sure the medicine you take for it is pregnancy safe.

If you have suddenly developed back pain, especially at the lower part, it might indicate pregnancy. Because of the loosening of ligaments and shifting center of gravity, soreness will develop at your lower back which might continue till you have the baby.

If you are pregnant, your uterus will start preparing itself for the baby. As a result, it will start growing in size, which will cause cramping. So if you are experiencing cramps although you are not supposed to be PMS-ing, then you are definitely pregnant.

Have you suddenly developed a certain craving for citrus? Or cannot stand the smell of your once favorite grilled fish? This sudden change of food habits might indicate that you are in fact, pregnant.

Mood swing is an obvious sign of pregnancy. It happens because your body is trying to adjust to the rising levels of hormones. So if you are suddenly getting mad at your husband for nothing, or crying your eyes out after a movie, don’t worry. It’s just your pregnancy speaking!

Is the smell from a garbage can 20 feet away making you puke? Is the smell of a certain perfume you once loved, making you throw up? This super sense of odor and aversion from certain smells may mean that there is a good news coming along the way!

Because your body is working more, often the sugar level or blood pressure falls down. This can cause dizziness or even fainting. So if you are having a woozy – episode often, make sure you get a pregnancy test and start on your special pregnancy diet.

Early detection of pregnancy can be very helpful in many ways. The sooner you know that you are pregnant, you can start taking better care of yourself, eating healthy, avoiding alcohol and what not. So if you are experiencing even a few of these symptoms, get an At-home Pregnancy Test or a blood test from your doctor.

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