Whether you're trying to get pregnant or not, there comes a time in most women's lives where they wonder if they're pregnant. Before calling your doctor or shelling out money for boxes of pregnancy tests (seriously, they're kind of pricey), there are some signs you can look for to help you figure it out. Admittedly, things can get really confusing because so many pregnancy symptoms mimic period symptoms. It may be really hard to discern between what's PMS and what's pregnancy, but thankfully, there are common symptoms you're pregnant to use as your guide.
There are no shortage of stories of women who are pregnant and have no idea. It does happen and it's not totally bizarre in fact. According to an article in The Huffington Post, one in 450 expecting women don't know they're pregnant until 20 weeks or later. One in 2,500 don't know until they're in labor. For many women with normal pregnancies, symptoms present themselves pretty early on and there is no mistaking certain physical changes.
I knew right away I was pregnant with my daughters because I experienced about every sign of early pregnancy, before I ever got in to see my OB-GYN. I'm not sure if that's lucky or not, seeing as how horrible I felt in early pregnancy, but it did help me stay away from booze and coffee (because both looked and smelled gross to me in those early pregnancy days). Here are nine red flags you're probably pregnant that can help you figure it out even before you pee on a stick.
1You Missed Your Period
I knew within two days of missing my period that I was pregnant with my daughter because I don't miss periods. Ever.
For those that have consistent and predictable menstrual cycles, the missed period can be a dead giveaway. Baby Center recommended that if you have regular periods and you miss, it's best to get a pregnancy test right away, instead of waiting to feel other symptoms.
2Your Boobs Are Sore
If you experience sore boobs with your period, this could be a confusing one. Although, for me, my boobs hurt exponentially more in early pregnancy than I had ever experienced in my whole menstruating life. Basically, it was torture to put on a bra.
According to Web MD, breast changes are very common signs of early pregnancy. The surge in hormones right after conception can make your breasts feel sore, fuller, heavier, and tender to the touch. As mentioned on the site, the area around the nipples, or areolas, may also darken a bit if you're in the early stages of pregnancy.
3You Have Cramps
Again, another period symptom that's also a pregnancy symptom. According to American Pregnancy, cramping in early pregnancy is totally normal and nothing to be concerned about. It's caused by your uterus expanding, muscles stretching, and ligaments lengthening.
Are your pants feeling a little snug? Before you get the beautiful bump, you may get the bloat. Even though your uterus isn't huge in early pregnancy, your abdomen may start to bloat a bit, as explained in the aforementioned Baby Center post. You can thank early pregnancy hormones for this. Obviously, this mimics menstruation too, so it might be a good idea to keep an eye out for other pregnancy symptoms before definitely thinking you're pregnant.
This may be an alarming symptom, but it's not anything to worry about. Light spotting in early pregnancy is caused by implantation, as explained in the aforementioned Web MD post. After your egg is fertilized the embryo travels to the uterus where it implants itself in the lining. Implantation bleeding is an early sign of pregnancy, and totally normal. If you're concerned about any blood you're seeing, and you think you might be pregnant, it might be a good idea to call your medical provider.
6You're Really, Really Tired
Find yourself falling asleep earlier than usual?
My typical bedtime is around 11 p.m., but when I was newly pregnant with both of my daughters, I could barely keep my eyes open come 7 p.m.
According to Today's Parent, fatigue is a sign of early pregnancy that plagues many women in their first trimester. (It is exhausting making eyeballs and feet.) As explained in the same article, the extreme tiredness usually stops at the end of the first trimester or whenever the placenta is fully formed.
7You Feel Nauseous
Good ol' morning sickness. That name is deceiving because anyone that's suffered from it will tell you it's actually morning, noon, and night sickness.
The queasy feelings usually start around six weeks, according to the Mayo Clinic, but can start as early as two weeks after conception. The nausea usually subsides in the second trimester. As explained on the site, the actual cause of morning sickness is unknown, but the surges of hormones in early pregnancy are thought to be the culprit. Severe morning sickness, may be a sign that there is a thyroid issue, so it's best to contact your doctor right away if you are vomiting a lot or are dehydrated.
8You Have Food Cravings Or Aversions
The first week after I missed my period I had an insatiable taste for fresh oranges. I have never particularly liked oranges in my whole life, and all of a sudden I was downing glass fulls.
According to March of Dimes, food cravings or aversions are a sign of early pregnancy and they can last throughout your whole pregnancy. No one is entirely certain what causes them, but the shift in hormones and heightened sense of smell in pregnancy may have something to do with it.
9You Have A Headache
Tension headaches are pretty common in early pregnancy, according to Baby Center, and are thought to be caused by the hormonal roller coaster your body is on.
According to the aforementioned article in Today's Parent, those who experience hormonal migraines pre-pregnancy may find that early pregnancy triggers these headaches more frequently.
It may be hard to figure out if you're pregnant or about to get your period in many cases. If you are experiencing several of the symptoms above and just want to be sure, taking a pregnancy test or getting into an OB-GYN can't hurt. Putting your uncertainty to rest is totally worth it, no matter the outcome.