Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs
We've all heard stories from women who just knew they were pregnant from the moment of conception. The rest of us, however, are left to rely on other - less intuitive - means of determining if there's a baby on the way.
Here's our list of the Top Ten Signs you may be pregnant (but if you want to cut to the chase and find out for sure, home pregnancy tests can help you confirm your suspicions). Please keep in mind that, while the signs described here are quite common in early pregnancy, you may not experience all - or even any - of these symptoms. See also > Pregnancy Symptoms 101: Symptoms by Trimester
1. Missed Your Period?
This is the classic sign of pregnancy - especially if, like many women, your cycles are typically like clockwork. If you've missed your period, it's probably time to take a home pregnancy test. Home pregnancy tests work by determining the amount of hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) present in your urine. Remember - your first urine of the day tends to have the most concentrated amount of hCG. Early morning urine will give you your best chance at detecting the small concentrations of hCG that are present in the early days of pregnancy.
2. Feeling Sick in the Morning - Or Any Other Time?
About one-half of all pregnant women experience some form of morning sickness (nausea, vomiting, etc.) in early pregnancy. Contrary to popular belief, "morning" sickness isn't always limited to morning; many women experience nausea in the evening, in the afternoon - and a substantial percentage of lucky ladies feel sick all day. (Note: Although rare, morning sickness can be extreme in some cases. Contact your doctor if are becoming dehydrated as a result of morning sickness.)
3. Are Your Breasts Sore?
Are your breasts or nipples feeling a bit sensitive - perhaps in the same way they feel right before you have your period? This is one more sign that you may be pregnant. Breast sensitivity is a common phenomenon in early pregnancy - and thankfully, one that begins to fade by the second trimester. But if you're one of those "glass is half full" types, look at it this way: for many women, sensitive breasts translate into heightened pleasure during intimate moments…
4. Checked Your Areola Lately?
Along with more sensitive breasts, you may notice a slight darkening of the areola, the concentric zone which surrounds the nipple. (Some say this darkening serves a purpose; it makes it easier for your baby to find his/her food source!)
5. Honorable Discharge?
In the early days of pregnancy, mucous begins to accumulate around the opening of the cervix to form the mucous plug, a barrier that helps protect the baby during its development. As a result of this mucous formation, you may notice a bit of vaginal discharge. (Discharge as a sign of pregnancy should not be accompanied by other distinguishing features of an infection, such as a burning sensation, foul smell, or itchiness.)
6. Gotta Pee?
Although pregnancy is indeed miraculous, it does not involve a suspension of the laws of physics. That means that as the baby grows larger in your uterus, the space that once allowed for expansion of your bladder is decreased. The result? You feel like you need to pee more often. Also, you may notice bloating similar to what you experience prior to your period.
7. Not Tonight, Honey. I've Got a Headache...
As a result of the complex mixture of hormones coursing through a pregnant woman's body, it's not uncommon for women to experience headaches more frequently during pregnancy.
8. Seeing Spots?
Around the time when implantation occurs (the moment when the embryo attaches to the lining of the uterine wall), it's not uncommon to notice a bit of spotting. You would look for this sign at around eight to ten days after you last ovulated. (You can use the ovulation calculator located on our home page to calculate your ovulation date.) Spotting as a result of implantation usually looks a bit different than your regular period; it tends to be light in volume and pinkish in color, as opposed to the deep red color associated with regular menstrual bleeding.
9. Temperature Climbing?
A raised basal body temperature past the time when your period is due is another possible indicator of pregnancy.
10. All Stopped Up?
Another sign of pregnancy is constipation. This is caused by certain hormones which are present in early pregnancy relaxing your intestines and slowing the digestive process.
These signs are ones often experienced in early pregnancy - but that's not to say there aren't others. Many women have reported experiencing other "tell-tale" signs such as:
Once you suspect you are pregnant, home pregnancy tests can confirm you suspicions. For FDA Approved pregnancy tests that allow you to begin detecting pregnancy at around 7-10 days past ovulation, please click here.