One of the most common Google searches among young women is “early signs of pregnancy”. Many women don’t feel any physical changes for weeks after conception and only think they may be pregnant after they notice a missed period. Others may have a “hunch”.
Let’s review the 10 most common early symptoms of pregnancy. Please, be aware that some women may experience some, all, or none of these!
- Hyper-sensitive or sore nipples. This is due to hormonal changes and can be one of the earliest signs of pregnancy.
- Spotting and cramping. It is common to have some pink or brown-colored light spotting at the time of your missed period (read more about blood spotting here). This is called “implantation bleeding” and happens when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall and causes a little bloodshed. This spotting is often accompanied by cramping, since the uterus is stretching.
- Nausea. Morning sickness is a common symptom of early pregnancy. It usually begins at about six weeks of pregnancy but it can start even earlier. Please, be aware that, despite the name, morning sickness can affect you at any time of the day or night!
- Tender, swollen breasts. At about six weeks pregnant, breasts may become larger and swollen, with blue veins visible just below the skin.
- Feeling more tired than usual and shortness of breath. These are common pregnancy symptoms.
- Needing to urinate frequently. Starting about six weeks of pregnancy, it is common to urinate often.
- Darker nipples. Beginning at about eight weeks, skin may get darker, including the circle of skin round the nipples (areolas).
- Food cravings, food aversions, and altered sense of smell. This can happen very early for some women, even before they’ve missed a period. Some women report a metallic taste in their mouth, others state that they can’t stand the taste of fish or a food they usually like, such as eggs. An increased sensitivity to odors may happen as well.
- A missed period. This is one of the surest signs of pregnancy. However, if your period is usually irregular, this may be harder to assess.
- Headache and backaches. Headaches are caused by the changes in hormones and backaches are due to weight gain and shifting of your center of gravity. Take acetaminophen instead of ibuprofen if you need something to help with the pain.
Please, be aware that a positive home pregnancy test is usually a reliable sign of pregnancy. However, it is not necessarily 100% accurate. Read here why home tests can sometimes be falsely positive or negative. In case of doubt, you should consult with your health care provider.