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Are you wondering if you might be pregnant? The only way to know for sure is by taking a pregnancy test. But there are early symptoms of pregnancy that may point to the possibility. Here's what to look for.
Do All Women Get Early Symptoms of Pregnancy?
Every woman is different. So are their experiences of pregnancy. Not every woman has the same symptoms or even the same symptoms from one pregnancy to the next.
Also, because the early symptoms of pregnancy often mimic the symptoms you might experience right before and during menstruation, you may not realize you're pregnant.
What follows is a description of some of the most common early symptoms of pregnancy. You should know that these symptoms may be caused by other things besides being pregnant. So the fact that you notice some of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you are pregnant. The only way to tell for sure is with a pregnancy test.
1. Swollen and tender breasts
Soreness or tingling in breasts is one of the most common signs of being pregnant. Early in pregnancy breasts will fill out and change shape as they prepare to produce milk. Breasts may become very tender and sensitive for a few months as a result. But, Teresa Pitman, doula and lactation expert, notes: “that not all women experience these changes, especially if they have been on birth control pills.”
It is possible to know you’re pregnant in those first few weeks—some women even “know” from the moment of conception. Here are the very earliest signs of being pregnant, that you might not notice.
2. Darkening areolas
For many women, hormones can cause the areolas, the circles around nipples, to widen and darken during pregnancy. This occurs as the body prepares itself for breastfeeding.
About five to 10 days after conception, some women notice light spotting when the embryo implants in the uterus. So if you’ve had a light period this month, you might still be carrying a little bundle of joy—psst, here’s what you need to know about home pregnancy tests, including when it’s best to take one.
4. Urinary frequency or constipation
When you’re pregnant, your uterus presses directly on the bladder leading to more frequent urination. The added pressure and intestinal changes may also cause constipation. Of course, the more a baby grows, the more the uterus presses against the bladder and other organs.
Feeling very tired is one of the first and most common signs of being pregnant (it takes lots of energy to create a baby!). If you are pregnant, chances are you’ll start to feel less tired around week 12, when the placenta is fully formed.
Nausea is one of the most common symptoms of being pregnant. It’s caused by an increase in hormone levels (about 80 percent of women experience “morning sickness” during the first 3 months of pregnancy). For many, morning sickness isn’t confined to the morning—some feel it all day long.
7. Smell Sensitivity
No, the smells on the bus are not in your head: Many women have a heightened sense of smell during pregnancy. This symptom is one of the most common early signs that you could be pregnant. “Some researchers have speculated that it might be to protect women from eating ‘spoiled’ or tainted foods, thus protecting the baby from any harmful toxins,” says Pitman.
8. Elevated basal temperature
If you’ve been tracking your basal temperature, a positive sign of being pregnant is an increase of about one degree that lasts for more than two weeks after the “dip” in temperature that indicates ovulation.
9. Missing period
The most obvious pregnancy sign is a missed period, but a missed period doesn’t always mean a baby is on the way. Stress, diet or an irregular schedule can also be the culprits, so it’s best to get tested before making the big announcement.
10. Unusual hunger or cravings
Pregnant bodies are working hard to grow that baby, and need about 300 extra calories a day. Some women find themselves craving food they would never normally dream of eating, while others simply feel hungry all day long.
The frequency of migraine headaches can increase with pregnancy. Many women who get hormonal migraine headaches find they get more of them during especially early in pregnancy, explains Pitman. However, some people have the opposite experience and actually get a little reprieve from migraines while expecting.
12. Mood swings
Many women experience emotional mood swings throughout pregnancy. It’s natural to go through a variety of emotions as hormones are adjusting and the body is changing.
13. Feeling faint or dizzy
Shifting hormones, combined with the heart beating faster to pump more blood through the body can cause blood pressure to gradually decrease early in pregnancy. As a result many women experience periods of dizziness or feeling lightheaded.
14. Metallic taste in your mouth
Some women complain of an odd “metallic” taste in their mouths during pregnancy. While there is no scientific explanation for this symptom, for some it can last throughout their entire pregnancy.
15. Vivid dreams
Dreams during pregnancy often intensify. So if your dreamin’ has become more dramatic this could be a pregnancy sign