Watch any movie or television show where a character finds out she’s pregnant and you’ll probably notice a few things. One, she most likely had her head in the toilet when the realization hit. Two, she probably did some quick backtracking in her mind’s calendar to remember when she last had her period. And three, she quickly ran out to the nearest gas station, took a pregnancy test, and saw two pink lines. But that experience isn’t for everyone, and whether you’re trying to conceive or not, knowing how to tell you’re pregnant can make things a lot simpler.
When my ex-husband and I were trying to get pregnant, I nearly drove myself crazy wondering if every twinge or ache I felt was a pregnancy symptom. It seems like the easiest way to know if you’re pregnant would be to take a pregnancy test, but, as the American Pregnancy Association notes, tests aren’t accurate up to 14 days after conception. That’s a long time to wait when your boobs hurt and you can’t handle the taste of cantaloupe anymore. Pregnancy tests detect if there is any of the pregnancy hormone (hCG) in your system, but because hCG is released the minute an egg is fertilized, it’s possible to feel symptoms before you see that positive test. It’s important to note that many pregnancy symptoms are similar to symptoms of PMS, so nothing is set in stone without a positive pregnancy test and a confirmation from the doctor. But if you’ve been trying to conceive for a long time, these signs of pregnancy good mean good news is on the way.
1. Your Boobs Are Killing You
You’re home from work, Netflix is on, and you’re ready to take off that bra. But when your breasts are unleashed, you wonder who strapped two painful boulders to your chest. Because they’re getting ready to produce nourishment for your little one, What To Expect notes that breast tenderness is one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy.
2. You’re Exhausted
Last night, you hit the sack around 8 p.m., and you can barely pull yourself together by 10 a.m. this morning. This could be the result of your growing fetus. As a mom-to-be, University of Rochester Medical Center notes that there is increased blood flow to the placenta and baby, which can result in a faster pulse and rate of breathing, causing you to feel absolutely exhausted.
3. You’re Nauseous
Although this seems to be the favorite symptom of movies and television shows to depict pregnancy, it holds some truth. The changes in hormones combined with the production of HCG might make you feel queasy, according to Mayo Clinic. Don’t worry — you have your child’s whole life to get back at them.
4. You’re Constantly Peeing
During the first few weeks of my pregnancy, I felt like I spent more time in the bathroom than I did anywhere else. Parents reported that pesky hCG hormone that’s making it was around your body can cause you to experience frequent urination, as your growing uterus will later on, pressing on your bladder. The best way to cope? Invest in a bulk supply of toilet paper and pray that there’s always a public restroom near by.
5. You Always Have A Headache
It’s some kind of sick joke that pregnant women suffer from terrible headaches and aren’t allowed to take anything stronger than Tylenol. Increased hormones raging through you plus an increased blood flow can cause you to experience some horrible headaches during pregnancy. Turn out the lights, chug some water, and hope it passes before the kid’s 18 and gives you a real headache.
6. You’re Cramping
Just because your period is nowhere in sight doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to cramps. As the fertilized egg makes its home in the uterine lining, Parents noted that it’s possible to experience some abdominal cramping or discomfort.
7. You’re Spotting
Maybe you felt some of those pesky cramps and then found a few drops of blood in your underwear. Time to buy some tampons, right? Not necessarily. Mayo Clinic notes that implantation bleeding can occur as your fertilized egg makes itself nice and cozy inside your body, and is much lighter than a normal period.
8. Your Back Is Killing You
If your lower back seems to be giving you more grief than usual, pay attention. As the ligaments in your body loosen to accommodate a swelling stomach and the eventual delivery of a baby, BabyCenter reported that you can experience some back aches and pain.
9. Your Coffee Tastes Like Crap
I have several friends who knew they were pregnant the minute they bit into their favorite food and it nearly made them sick. Parenting reported that food and taste aversions can be the result of all those hormonal changes, and may mean nine months without a cocktail or sushi.
10. You’re Feeling Faint
The American Pregnancy Association notes that feeling faint or dizzy is common in pregnancy as your blood vessels widen to help send more blood down to your baby. This is what convinced me to pee on a stick. While Christmas shopping, I felt faint, dizzy, and incredibly woozy. I figured it was probably a sinus infection but decided to take a test anyway and, lo and behold, my daughter was on her way.
11. You’ve Missed Your Period
Although there are several reasons you might have missed a period, pregnancy is a big culprit, especially if you’ve been sexually active. If your period is missing, regardless of how many other symptoms you may or may not have, it’s time to break out the pregnancy test and count some pink lines.