These Flu & Early Pregnancy Signs Can Look Alike, So Here's What You Should Know

Ad failed to load

With this year's record-breaking flu season in full swing, it's understandable that most everyone is hyper-aware of flu symptoms and what the flu could look like in both children and adults. Since flu symptoms can be so common to cold symptoms, it can often be hard to tell until you're in the thick of it. But, if you're trying to get pregnant, it can get even more confusing. Sometimes, flu and early pregnancy signs look alike, so you want to be more aware of what you're looking for.

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mentioned, the flu comes on abruptly — one day you're feeling fine, and the next, you are down for the count. The onset of symptoms related to early pregnancy can be similar. Of course, symptoms for both the flu and pregnancy can vary from person to person, so there is no guarantee you could experience all, or any, of these symptoms. But, as we continue on through this flu season, it definitely can't hurt to be aware of what common symptoms of the flu and pregnancy look like, and how to tell whether you're sick or pregnant. Seriously, morning sickness can leave you feeling like you just got hit with a mega virus.

Ad failed to load



Both the flu and pregnancy can make you feel suddenly fatigued. You might feel like it's harder to get out of bed in the morning, or be desperate for naps throughout the day. The CDC noted that fatigue is definitely a symptom of the flu — it's not as common in typical colds — and flu sufferers often feel like they cannot even sit up.

According to Health, feeling extremely tired is also one of the most common signs of early pregnancy. Your body is gearing up for a ton of changes, and all your extra calories are going to your uterus, leaving the rest of your body lacking in some much needed energy.



Nausea and vomiting are, stereotypically, telltale signs of pregnancy, but they are also common flu symptoms. Morning sickness, as it's referred to in pregnancy, can bring about nausea, vomiting, cramping, and other stomach-related queasiness, mentioned Parents. "Loss of appetite, which is also a symptom in influenza, can also be seen in pregnancy as a result of nausea and vomiting," says Dr. Tami Prince, MD, OB-GYN, and Medical Director for U.S. HealthWorks. The CDC noted that vomiting and diarrhea can be symptoms of the flu, but are seen more often in children, rather than adults.



Aches and pains are notorious flu symptoms, and the CDC mentioned that headaches are common with the flu. Headaches can also be common in early pregnancy, as mild but frequent headaches can be a result of your body's increasing blood volume, as noted by Parents.

Muscle and body aches, however, are likely more apt to be flu symptoms. "Since influenza is a virus, women will likely have fever, chills, body aches, coughing, or stuffy or runny nose, which would not be symptoms of pregnancy," Prince tells Romper. The CDC noted that body aches typically go hand-in-hand with the flu and can be severe.

Given those common early symptoms of both flu and pregnancy, it can be hard to tell in the very beginning what is actually going on in your body. But, there are stark differences between the two, as well. "Flu comes with a fever and chills, early pregnancy doesn't," Dr. Daniel Roshan, OB-GYN, tells Romper.

And other signs, like "missing a period, breast tenderness, areola darkening, rashes, and uterine enlargement accompany early signs of pregnancy," but wouldn't be common with the flu, notes Risa Klein, OB-GYN NP, CNM, M.S., to Romper.

"Ultimately if your period is late or missed, a home pregnancy test should be done," says Roshan. And, if you're concerned that you might either be pregnant or have the flu, getting in touch with your doctor is a good idea. More so if you've been actively trying to conceive and aren't sure if you are pregnant. The flu can be particularly risky in pregnant women, and if it's possible that you are pregnant and could have the flu, you should definitely talk to your doctor. With this severe flu season still in full swing, being cautious is smart.

Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

These Millennial Parents Are Taking Gender-Neutral Parenting To An Entirely New Level

A woman on the subway looks at my bulbous shape and asks, “What are you having?” I take a deep breath and throw a glance to my 5-year-old. “I’m having a baby,” I say to the woman. “No, no” the woman says laughing as she pushes further. “Are you havin…
By Madison Young

I’m Registered At Babies “R” Us, & I'm Freaking The Hell Out

Hi. My name is Abi, and I’m registered at Babies “R” Us — and I’m freaking out. This may sound silly, but after being a die-hard Toys “R” Us kid, I was so excited to register at their baby store once my husband and I finally got our big fat positive …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

My Daughter Is Obsessed With Being "Pretty" & I'm Way Past Terrified

Last week, when I picked up my daughter after school, she immediately wanted to know if I liked her hair. "Is it pretty?" she asked. Her hair was pulled up into two ponytails that were intertwined into thick, long braids. A shimmering pink and purple…
By Dina Leygerman

7 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 20s, But I Will

I was 24 when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. The pregnancy was a surprise, since I was on birth control (side note: antibiotics and birth control don't mix), but my partner and I decided to continue with the pregnancy and committed to m…
By Candace Ganger

Women Who Miscarry Early Deserve To Grieve — Here's How Hospitals Should Be Helping

When I lost my baby back in 2013, it was because of a very early miscarriage. Because of the little amount of time I spent being pregnant, it was though my child had never really existed, which made the next few years hard — I felt like they had been…
By Risa Kerslake

7 Things I Wish My Partner Had Said To Me In The First Hour After Giving Birth

I don't know if it was the buzz of the surrounding machines, the non-existent cry of our son as the doctors tried to resuscitate him, or the fact that I'd already been through labor and delivery once before, but I knew something was missing after I h…
By Candace Ganger

Moms’ Groups Weren’t For Me, Sorry

I go to my moms’ club everyday of the week, but not usually on weekends. My moms' group is a place I can always count on finding fellow mothers who understand the daily struggles and triumphs of parenthood and of juggling life’s responsibilities. Dep…
By Samantha Taylor

Millennial Women Are Getting Married Later Than Gen X, & The Reasons Why Are Pretty Badass

The battle of the generations seems to come up when it comes to every lifestyle or career choice people make. Women, especially, are an important demographic when it comes to analysts looking at the lifestyle choices we make or the expected milestone…
By Josie Rhodes Cook

I've Had 3 Miscarriages But *Please* Keep Telling Me About Your Pregnancy

I can feel the tension the moment my friend announces her pregnancy. I can hear the forced nonchalant attitude she's willing herself to exude as she fishes for the ultrasound. I know why I was the last to learn that she was expecting; why she keeps l…
By Danielle Campoamor

7 Early Signs You're Going To Need An Epidural, According To Experts

Even if you've constructed an elaborate birth plan, it's impossible to control every aspect of labor and delivery. Complications can occur, proactive measures might be necessary, and your mind is subject to change when those damn contractions really …
By Candace Ganger

I'm Pregnant & I Refuse To Read Any Parenting Books

I didn't read any parenting books when I was expecting my daughter, and I refuse to read any parenting books as I await my second child now. I'm the first to admit that I don't really know what I'm doing when it comes to raising my daughter. A good d…
By Marie Southard Ospina

7 Reasons Why March Babies Are Total Badasses

From the moment you become pregnant, you begin to wonder what your little one will be like. Will they look like you, your partner, or your Great Aunt Edna? Will they be the quiet, thoughtful type or arrive on this planet raring to go? It's fun to ima…
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

12 Overnight Face Masks To Use To Wake Up Feeling Pampered AF

Spring is right around the corner, and as far as I'm concerned, the sunshine and warm breezes can't come soon enough. But now that we're about to say goodbye to winter, it's a good time to take stock of your facial skincare routine. You know, in the …
By Katie Malczyk

11 Essential Products To Pack In Your Hospital Bag, According To OB-GYNs

The minute you go into labor (or think you're going into labor), chaos ensues. You and your partner are likely to get a little frantic, just like in the movies, so you most definitely want to have a hospital bag packed before the day comes. This prec…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

7 Photos You *Must* Take In The First 6 Months Of Motherhood

In my experience, becoming a mom is like becoming an amateur photographer. There's just something about the need to capture every single coo and sorta-smile that leaves you obsessed with all things photography. I know I couldn't stop taking selfies w…
By Candace Ganger

Here's How Early An Ultrasound Can Actually Determine Your Baby's Sex

From the moment you see those two lines on a pregnancy test, there are a few markers along the way that stand out as especially exciting. Amongst them are hearing your baby's heartbeat and feeling that first, sweet little kick. And if you are finding…
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

9 Easy Kid Foods To Turn Green, Just In Time For St. Patrick's Day

The best part about having kids is that you get your own personal crew to celebrate the holidays with, in all your color coordinating and matching glory. And with St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, you are obviously working on turning everyth…
By Mishal Ali Zafar

Here Are Some Conditions That Might Require You To Be On Bed Rest During Pregnancy

When I worked in an office, I worked with quite a few pregnant ladies all at the same time. Something must have been in the water, because while I was there for three years, two of my coworkers got pregnant twice, and another girl was pregnant with h…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

I Didn't Follow The Pregnancy Diet Rules & My Daughter Turned Out Just Fine

My diet is an ever-changing and wholly personal thing, which is precisely why I refused to follow any pregnancy diet rules when I was expecting my daughter. For years, I've essentially practiced intuitive eating, in that I listen to my body and eat w…
By Marie Southard Ospina

5 Foods You & Your Partner Should Eat If You're Trying To Get Pregnant

When you're trying to conceive (TTC) and it's just not happening, it's easy to feel like you're doing something wrong. It can be soul-crushing to keep seeing negatives when all you really want to do is wave a positive pregnancy test in the air. So wh…
By Kate Miller