Did you miss your last period? Are your breasts unusually tender—more so than they get before you menstruate? Are you suffering from nausea and vomiting in the mornings?
While every woman’s body is different, the following ten symptoms can help clarify if you think you may be expecting. Now, the only way to know for certain is to take a pregnancy test, which you can either purchase over-the-counter at your local drug store or take at your doctor’s office.
Here are the major 10 tell tale symptoms of pregnancy…
1. A Missed Period
The most obvious symptom of early pregnancy is the (dreaded or celebrated) missed period. If you’ve been trying to have a baby, this symptom will likely fill you with hope and joy. If you’re single and sexually active, chances are a missed period will induce anxiety and worry. Either way, you should head to the drugstore to get yourself a home pregnancy test. These tests are more accurate than ever, and they’re a quick alternative to dealing with doctors and ultrasounds.
However, you should keep in mind that pregnancy isn’t the only reason you might miss a period. Extreme stress, significant swings in your weight (either weight gain or weight loss), and even your diet can cause you to miss a period. Some medications, such as antibiotics, can also wreak havoc on your menstruation cycle. The bottom line is this: while all pregnancies will cause you to miss periods, not all missed periods are because of pregnancy.
2. Abdominal Cramps
Painful abdominal cramps, akin to the cramps you suffer prior to your period, may also be a sign that you’re pregnant. If you suffer from menstrual cramps; you’re more likely to suffer from pregnancy cramps. On the other hand, if you don’t suffer from menstrual cramps, you might not experience pregnancy cramping either. It’s different with every woman, though it’s extremely rare for a woman who doesn’t normally cramp during menstruation to suddenly start experiencing noticeable cramps in the early stage of pregnancy.
One clue that might help shed some light on the nature of your cramps is their severity. Compared to menstrual cramps, pregnancy cramps tend to be more intense and more frequent. Of course, this can just be the sign of a heavy period approaching, and cramps in and of themselves aren’t enough to conclude that you’re pregnant. However, if you’re cramping and you miss a period, get yourself a pregnancy test.
3. Bloody Spotting
A few days after conception, you may notice light spotting in your underwear or bed sheets. During this stage of pregnancy, the fertilized egg attaches itself to wall of your uterus, which can cause mild implantation bleeding. This bleeding may last anywhere from a few days up to a few weeks. Spotting that isn’t associated with your menstruation cycle and lasts longer than a few days is a significant symptom of possible pregnancy.
This spotting will look a lot like light menstrual spotting, and you may suffer some cramps as well. In this sense, it can be hard to distinguish from your regular monthly cycle. The key is the timing of the symptoms. If they’re happening without menstruation, or if they’re happening and you miss your period altogether, a pregnancy test should be in your immediate future.
Being zapped of energy is typical in the early stages of pregnancy, and these symptoms can start as soon as one week after conception. Diminished energy levels are particularly noticeable in women who normally have a lot of energy. These women often report feeling drained, sluggish, and motivated to do little else beyond relax on the couch with a good book, movie or TV show.
This dip in energy levels is caused by three factors: increased progesterone levels, an increase in blood production, and a drop in blood sugar. Progesterone has naturally occurring mild sedative properties, so you’re going to feel a little drowsy when your levels increase. Increased blood production makes it a little harder for you to maintain normal blood sugar levels, since you have the same amount of glucose but more blood to share it with. These symptoms typically intensify as your pregnancy continues, and your prenatal care team can help you manage them.
5. Tender Breasts
By now, you may be noticing a trend: many of the early signs of pregnancy are similar to symptoms you’ll experience during your period. Breast tenderness and pain is another example. While these are usually a sign of an oncoming period, they can also indicate that you’ve become pregnant. Fluctuating hormone levels can cause swelling and tissue pain, and you’re most likely to notice these symptoms in your breasts. Some women even get inflamed nipples, which can be very tender to the touch.
These symptoms usually calm down once your body gets used to being pregnant and your hormone levels stabilize. However, as with other symptoms that mimic menstruation and pre-menstruation, timing is everything. If you develop sore and tender breasts and the symptom isn’t accompanied by a period, pregnancy may be the root cause. Stay alert for other symptoms and visit your doctor or get a home pregnancy test if they persist.