“Am I pregnant?” That’s often the first thought that comes to mind when you miss a period. Certainly, a missed period may be a sign that you’re pregnant. But there are several other early signs of pregnancy too. “The hormones released as soon as you conceive may start causing subtle changes even before they are detectable on a home pregnancy test,” says Melissa Goist, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Ohio State University Medical Center.
These subtle changes are the early pregnancy signs that you can watch out for.
1. Morning Sickness
If you have been feeling nauseous and are throwing up for no reason, then it could be a tell-tale sign of pregnancy. More than 50 percent of pregnant women experience morning sickness, which is the result of increased hormonal activity in your body. If this sounds familiar and you need help dealing with it, the American Pregnancy Association has some useful tips.
2. Tender, Swollen Breasts
Even the earliest stages of pregnancy can cause increased blood flow and changes in the breast tissue, which make the breasts feel swollen, tingly and sensitive. Thanks, Mother Nature.
Feeling tired and sleepy for no apparent reason is another early indicator of pregnancy. If you’ve been feeling more tired than usual, it may be due to the soar in progesterone levels in your body, according to Mayo Clinic. So if you’re trying to get pregnant and feel a strong urge to get extra rest, don’t feel guilty about giving into more naps than usual.
4. Spotting Or Cramping
You could easily mistake spotting or light bleeding for a period, but the difference is that spotting is lighter in color than normal menstrual blood and it typically occurs about 6 to 12 days after conception. Some women complain of cramping, too. The good news, though, is that spotting generally lasts shorter than the average period. Here are some helpful tips to manage spotting.
5. Food Aversions Or Cravings
Don’t feel guilty if you are turned on and off easily by food. It’s very natural to have sudden food cravings or even develop a distaste towards your favorite foods due to hormonal changes during pregnancy. It is also likely that you’ll have a heightened sense of smell.
6. Frequent Trips to the Bathroom
Making frequent visits to the loo could also be an early sign of pregnancy. In the first few weeks of pregnancy, the hormone hCG increases blood flow to the pelvic region, causing women to have to pee much more often. March of Dimes has plenty of helpful advice on how you can deal with this issue.
7. Mood Swings
Never used to be one to cry over a sappy movie? Greet your new side as you experience mood swings—a common early sign of pregnancy. You have nothing (and no one) to blame for this but fatigue, mental stress, physical exhaustion and the workings of the flood of hormones inside you, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
8. Bloating & Constipation
If you’re unable to zip up the skinny jeans you always wear and are suffering from constipation, don’t worry. Dr. Goist explains that ramped-up levels of progesterone during pregnancy slow down your digestive tract, resulting in bloating and constipation. No one ever said pregnancy was glamorous!
Many of these early symptoms of pregnancy could also be the result of conditions other than pregnancy, like stress and/or changing birth control pills. Consult with your health care provider for details and guidance, and don’t worry- you’ll be back to your old self soon enough.