8 early signs you might be pregnant
One of the biggest questions you could ever ask yourself is: “Am I pregnant?”
How can you tell? The main sign of pregnancy is missing your menstrual period. Due to normal variance in menstrual cycle length, a missed menses is not a reliable indicator of pregnancy until 10 days after the expected date. After two or more consecutive missed periods, the probability of pregnancy is much greater.
Before that time, you might consider using a home pregnancy test. If it’s taken too early, before eight days after ovulation, the results can be unreliable. It may seem difficult at the time, but you may be better off waiting.
While you wait, watch for these signs from the National Institutes of Health that may indicate pregnancy. (Important note: Other medical conditions can cause these symptoms, so they do not necessarily mean you’re pregnant.)
- Fatigue: Feeling tired is normal. It may be noticed a week after conception. It happens because your body is going through changes to support a pregnancy including increased metabolism and producing extra hormones such as progesterone.
- Headaches: These can result from the increase in hormone production.
- Frequent urination: Another hormonal change boosts blood flow to your pelvic region. This change typically results in frequent restroom trips.
- Slight bleeding: This can happen from about 6 to 12 days after conception through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
- Breasts and nipples become swollen, tender or tingly: This may be noticeable starting a week or two after conception. Your breasts may also feel heavier. Again, this is a result of increasing hormones; your body is getting ready for nursing.
- Nausea and/or vomiting: You may notice this starting between two and eight weeks after conception. It can happen any time during the day, so the old phrase “morning sickness” isn’t necessarily accurate.
- Mood swings: This is another change hormones bring on. The swings can start a few weeks after conception.
- Food cravings or aversions: You may notice you’re attracted to certain foods, or foods you normally like become unappealing. This can come and go or last throughout the pregnancy. Again, just because you have some of these symptoms does not mean you’re pregnant.
You have some options when it comes to your health care before and during pregnancy. It’s a good idea to visit with family and friends for suggestions.
- Who will provide your care before and during pregnancy? Start with your primary care clinician. Some primary care physicians also provide obstetrical care. However, they may recommend an obstetrics and gynecology specialist. A gynecologist specializes in women’s reproductive health. An obstetrician focuses on caring for women during pregnancy. An Ob/Gyn does both.
- Where will you plan to deliver baby? Your health care clinician can help you work through this choice. Checking with family and friends can give you good guidance, too. Your options include your local hospital or birthing center.
- Who will provide health care for your newborn? This can be the role of your primary care clinician. You may also want to consider choosing a pediatrician who specializes in the unique health care needs of children.
Dr. Jessica A. Behrens is an obstetrician and gynecologist at the Aurora Health Center in Milwaukee, Wis.