Are you wondering if you’re pregnant? While the easiest way to tell if you’re pregnant is a pregnancy test, there also are some early pregnancy symptoms you can be mindful of. These early pregnancy symptoms are signs from your body that it’s preparing for a little one. These helpful signals can indicate that it’s time to take steps to have the healthiest pregnancy possible.
What are the symptoms of early pregnancy?
Your body is very intuitive. Many women may sense that they might be pregnant well before they get a positive pregnancy test result. If lately you’ve been feeling a little different and think you’re expecting, it’s probably been hard to focus on anything else!
Here’s 9 early pregnancy symptoms, straight from Mother Nature that happen prior to a missed period. Before you head out to buy a test, check out these common signs of early pregnancy.
1. Bigger boobs
While breast size and tenderness typically vary throughout a woman’s cycle, changes in your chest size and sensation can often be one of the first indications that you may have a little one on the way! Are you spilling out of your bra, or is your chest more tender or does it have a noticeably heavy feeling? You may notice an increased sensitivity as well. The changes in hormone levels that begin very early on in pregnancy often cause your breasts to grow, causing these side effects.
Feeling queasy or uneasy? Does the thought of your morning coffee make you feel sick or have you running for the bathroom? Nausea and vomiting can start any time from two to eight weeks after conception. Blame the pregnancy hormones (specifically, a rise in estrogen) for this not-very-nice–but very common–symptom of early pregnancy called morning sickness. However, the term morning sickness is actually a bit of a misnomer, as these feelings of nausea can happen at any time of the day or night. While these symptoms are unpleasant, you may take solace in the fact that you’re in good company, as morning sickness during pregnancy is quite common. As many as 70-80% of women experience it at some point during pregnancy.
3. Extreme tiredness
If usual work tasks or exercise leave you feeling dog-tired, then you’re experiencing one of the most common symptoms of early pregnancy. Increased levels of
Although any sign of blood in early pregnancy might cause you worry, you can take a lot of comfort in knowing that spotting is normal. It usually occurs around two weeks after you’ve conceived. This ‘implantation bleed’ is sometimes confused for a light period, but it’s actually when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus. So there’s no need to worry—spotting is often a common sign of successful implantation! Implantation cramps usually (but not always) come hand in hand with implantation bleeding or spotting
5. Sensitivity to smell
If the slightest hint of your favorite perfume makes you want to heave, then you can thank your pregnancy hormones for that too! Sensitivity to smell, also known as ‘hyperosmia’, is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. The smells you once loved might have to be avoided at all costs for a while. It’s best to identify and list the scents that will set you off as early as possible so you can communicate that to family and friends to avoid any sudden or accidental discomfort. Often these smell sensitivities can set off morning sickness and nausea–definitely something you’ll want to prevent! Try not to worry about this symptom (and there’s no need to banish your favorite scents forever), as things usually return to normal after the first trimester.
6. Peeing more frequently
Are you noticing the need for frequent bathroom breaks? Running back and forth to the toilet more often than usual could be a sign you’re expecting. In early pregnancy there’s a surge of a hormone called hCG. This increases the blood flow in your pelvic area, and in turn makes you want to pee more often than usual. Additionally, the volume of blood in your body increases as you prepare for your little one to grow. As a result, your kidneys will process extra fluid that finds its way to your bladder. Be sure to keep an eye out for restrooms to visit when nature calls!
7. Mood swings
It’s perfectly normal to cry, feel mad or sink into a low mood (sometimes all at the same time) at different stages in your pregnancy. A major reason for this rollercoaster of emotions is a fluctuation in–yes, you guessed it–hormones. While not every soon-to-be-mama will experience these (sometimes unpredictable) fluctuations in mood, it’s best to try to take some deep breaths and try to roll with the punches–and maybe keep some tissues handy!
8. Weird food cravings
Craving ice cream and pickles while pregnant isn’t an old wives’ tale after all. Reaching for the olives at breakfast? Do you feel the urge to add lemon to everything, or do you constantly want to chew on ice? Many women experience both food cravings and aversions during pregnancy. While there’s little research to suggest we crave foods containing nutrients our body needs when pregnant, our changing hormones might mean we suddenly crave particular (and often peculiar) flavors. It’s best to just go with it, and some of these bizarre craving combinations are fun to share with others to put a smile on their face. Bon appetit!
9. Metallic taste in your mouth
Beyond smell sensitivity and peculiar food cravings, pregnancy can do all sorts of funny things to your senses. It’s quite common for your taste buds to be in for an interesting adventure. If you feel like you’ve been sucking on loose change or seriously sour sweets, this could be a sign you’re pregnant. Dysgeusia, the term for an altered sense of taste, is down to certain changes in your hormone levels during pregnancy, and most women experience this in some form or other when they’re expecting.
How early do pregnancy symptoms start?
Now that you know some common early pregnancy symptoms, you might be wondering how early they can start after conception. Symptoms like mood swings, food cravings, nausea and others can definitely overlap with your regular day-to-day experiences.
You may experience early pregnancy symptoms as little as one week after conception, but some women report they don't feel any symptoms until several weeks afterward. It can vary from woman to woman when they begin to feel any changes. Obviously, a missed period as well can be Mother Nature’s biggest hint. As such, a pregnancy test or a visit to the doctor is the best way to know for sure.
Once you get confirmation that you’re expecting, check out what to do during your first trimester of pregnancy. You’re on your way to the exciting journey of bringing a little one into the world, and while the ride may feel a bit wild, it certainly also is a magical one!