10 Early Signs of Pregnancy

June 14, 2022

Wondering if you’re pregnant? The most obvious sign, and the thing most people wait for, is a missed period. However, there are many changes that can occur in your body before that point. Pregnancy symptoms are different for every woman, and can even be different from one pregnancy to the next. Pregnancy symptoms can start at different times, too. Some women may immediately feel like they’re pregnant while other women may go months with no pregnancy symptoms. That said, there are some first signs and symptoms of pregnancy that are common very early on. They’re likely caused by a surge in the pregnancy hormone human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), as well as rises in estrogen and progesterone.

Early pregnancy symptoms can sometimes be subtle. For instance, you may feel more tired than normal or your usual breakfast is now suddenly unappealing. If you start to feel some of the ten early pregnancy symptoms below, you may very well be pregnant. Here are some of the first signs and symptoms of pregnancy.

Missed Period.  If your menstrual cycle is usually pretty regular and your period is late, this may be the first and most obvious sign that you could be pregnant. If your cycle is not regular or you’re not keeping track of your cycle, some of the other following symptoms may be your first indications of a possible pregnancy, as some women feel early pregnancy symptoms before they miss a period.

Tender Breasts.  Hormonal changes make your breasts more tender and achy. Your breasts may ache or feel heavier than normal. One common early pregnancy symptom is sensitive, swollen breasts caused by the rising levels of pregnancy hormones. The soreness and swelling may feel like an amplified version of how your breasts feel before your period. The discomfort associated with this symptom should diminish significantly after the first trimester, as your body adjusts to the hormonal changes.

Fatigue.  Feeling tired all of a sudden? Maybe even exhausted? It is not known for sure what causes early pregnancy fatigue, but it’s possible that rapidly increasing levels of progesterone play a role. “Women who have never been able to nap before often suddenly start needing naps during the first trimester,” says Jeanne A. Conry, MD, PhD a practicing ob-gyn with The Permanente Medical Group in Roseville, CA. You should start to have more energy once you hit your second trimester, however, fatigue sometimes may return late in pregnancy due to you carrying more weight and because some of the discomforts of pregnancy may make it more difficult to sleep well at night.

Nausea.  Many people associate pregnancy with “morning sickness”. Morning sickness can start as early as two weeks after conception, so it may oftentimes be the first pregnancy symptom you notice. The term “morning sickness” is a bit of a misnomer though, because pregnancy-related nausea (with or without vomiting) can be a problem morning, noon, or night. Pregnancy nausea can also be accompanied by indigestion, food aversions, a heightened sense of smell, a metallic taste in your mouth, and excess saliva.

Implantation Bleeding or Spotting.  Although many look for a missed period, there may be spotting in the early weeks that you could mistake as an irregular period. If you notice light spotting around the time your period is due, it could be implantation bleeding. This is usually caused by the fertilized egg settling into the lining of your uterus. If bleeding persists, becomes heavy, or is accompanied by pain, please contact your doctor as it may be a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

Cramping.  Like spotting or bleeding, cramping can be a confusing early pregnancy symptom because it can mimic your period symptoms. If you are pregnant, you may actually be having implantation cramps, which occur when the fertilized egg implants in your uterus. You’ll usually be able to tell it’s implantation cramping and bleeding, because it will be less than a normal period, and should last just a day or two.  As with implantation bleeding or spotting, if there is severe pain or heavy bleeding, please contact your doctor as it may be a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

Abdominal Bloating.  Hormonal changes in early pregnancy may leave you feeling bloated, similar to the feeling some women have just before their period. Your clothes may feel more snug than usual at the waistline, even early on when your uterus is still quite small.

Increased Urination.  In early pregnancy, hormonal changes prompt a rise in the rate of blood flow through your kidneys. This causes your bladder to fill more quickly, so you need to pee more often. Frequent urination will continue, or possibly intensify, as your pregnancy progresses. Because your volume of blood rises dramatically during pregnancy, extra fluid is being processed and ends up in your bladder.

Constipation.  If you’re newly pregnant, constipation can be an early symptom. This constipation is caused by an increase in the hormone progesterone, which relaxes smooth muscles throughout the body, including the digestive tract. This means that food passes through the intestines more slowly.

Mood Swings.  It’s common to have mood swings during pregnancy, partly because of hormonal changes that affect the chemical messengers in the brain, your neurotransmitters. Everyone responds differently to these changes. Some moms-to-be may experience heightened emotions, both good and bad, while others may feel more depressed or anxious. If you’ve been feeling sad or hopeless or unable to cope with your daily responsibilities, call your healthcare provider or a mental health professional right away. If you have thoughts of harming yourself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741), or call 911.

If you think you are pregnant and are experiencing any of the above symptoms, Options Health is here to help.  Call us or text us to schedule an appointment for a free pregnancy test. The pregnancy tests offered by Options Health are lab-grade urine tests, providing you with instant results. After your pregnancy test, our nurse and your patient advocate will chat with you and review the results in a private setting. Depending on the result of your pregnancy test, we may recommend a free limited obstetric ultrasound. The ultrasound exam will assess the viability of your pregnancy and ensure the pregnancy is in the uterus (non-ectopic, which could potentially be life-threatening), and determine how far along in your pregnancy you are, as well as the gestational age of the baby. Your patient advocate will also review all of your pregnancy options, including the risks, side effects, and procedure of abortion. You are not alone as you consider your options. Options Health exists to empower and equip you to make a choice that is best for you.

Options Health is a safe place where you can confidentially come and discuss sexual health, pregnancy, and relationship issues with one of our patient advocates.  Feel free to contact us today to take advantage of our free services, including pregnancy testing, ultrasound, pregnancy options consultation, STD testing, and abortion aftercareCall us or text us to schedule an appointment. We are here for you and ready to listen!