You haven’t yet taken a pregnancy test, but you have a sneaking suspicion that you might be pregnant. The earliest signs of pregnancy often show up even before you’ve missed your period – and that’s not surprising. Ovulation typically takes place around day 14 of the average 28-day menstrual cycle, a full two weeks before your next period is due to arrive.
If the egg is fertilized, implantation normally occurs between six and twelve days later. While these numbers are average and every woman is different, the signs of early pregnancy are universal. You may or may not experience them – about 1 in 450 women don’t discover that they’re pregnant until week 20 or even later than that. If you’re in the majority though, you’ll probably notice at least a few of these early pregnancy symptoms.
- Implantation bleeding – a little light spotting or even heavier bleeding that takes place about a week before your normal period is due.
- Cramping – Cramps that are similar to menstrual cramps may accompany implantation bleeding.
- Breast tenderness – Increased breast sensitivity and a feeling of heaviness are signs of hormonal changes associated with early pregnancy.
- Fatigue – Many of the earliest signs of pregnancy are hormone-related, and fatigue is among them.
- Elevated basal temperature – If you’ve been trying to conceive, you might be tracking your basal body temperature. If it remains elevated (usually by about 0.5˚ F) after the point in your cycle when it normally decreases, then there is a good likelihood that you are pregnant.
- Nausea – Even if you’re not vomiting, feeling nauseous is an indicator of early pregnancy. If it turns out that you are indeed pregnant, then you can watch for a decrease in nausea sometime around week 12.
- Frequent urination – If you’re running to the restroom more often than usual – even if you haven’t increased your liquid intake, you might be pregnant.
- Gas and/or bloating – You might experience bloating around the time of your period, and this symptom is also a sign of early pregnancy.
- Vaginal discharge – Milky-looking vaginal discharge often shows up shortly after fertilization, and is likely to continue as pregnancy progresses.
- Mood swings – Like some other early pregnancy signs, moodiness is also a common sign that your period is on its way. Unlike PMS, this aggravating symptom will probably stick with you throughout your pregnancy.
- Dizziness – Feeling dizzy or lightheaded for no explainable reason? Check in with your doctor. Although this symptom is fairly common during pregnancy, it might be a sign of underlying illness.
- Headaches – This is another “crossover” symptom that shows up in early pregnancy as well as during your period.
- Back pain – A dull ache in your lower back might indicate pregnancy, particularly when it is accompanied by other symptoms.
- Constipation – The pregnancy hormone progesterone decreases digestive speed, often leading to constipation. This is one symptom you can often control with a healthy, high-fiber diet and good hydration.
- A Metallic Taste in Your Mouth – Taste changes are among of the strangest signs pregnancy, and sensing a metallic taste in your mouth can be quite unpleasant. Chewing sugar-free gum, brushing your teeth, or sucking on mints might help.