Weird and Common Early Pregnancy Signs Before Your Missed Period
Weird Early Symptoms of Pregnancy
When I became pregnant with my first daughter one of the most telltale symptoms for me was that my mom whipped up one of my all-time favorite dinners and when I went to indulge, I was pretty sure she'd just straight up poured salt on it. It was so bad I could hardly finish it while the rest of my family raved. Concerned for their taste buds I gulped some water and probably hid in the bathroom to cry or something because a week later I found out that I was pregnant. Looking back, combined with all of my other symptoms, I shouldn't have been surprised that I didn't appreciate my mom's cooking. Along with food suddenly tasting bad, here's some other weird, early signs of pregnancy you might experience:
- A runny nose, sore throat or feeling like you're coming down with a cold
- An aversion to cigarettes
- Feeling sick when you drink coffee
- Nausea and gagging
- Feeling super tired out
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling sad, mad or anxious for no apparent reason
- Having a super sense of smell
- Bloating, cramping, gas and constipation
- Peeing more frequently
- Aching breasts
- Sharp pains in your nipples
- Hot flashes and sweating
- Dizziness and feeling lightheaded
- Dramatic mood swings
But Can You Really Have Symptoms Before You Miss Your Period?
So, here's the problem - pregnancy and period symptoms are often the same. That's because the hormones responsible for giving you early pregnancy symptoms will also give you similar symptoms to those brought on by progesterone, which rises before your period starts. If you're experiencing dizziness, nausea and fatigue, how can you tell if it's because you're pregnant or just because you're about to start your period? For me, both times I was pregnant, I experienced symptoms that I don't normally experience before that start of my period. I always have symptoms beforehand, but these ones were clearly different for me.
Can I tell you for sure if you're pregnant? No. I'm not a pregnancy test. Is it fun to fixate, obsess and wonder in the two week wait? Absolutely!
Here's some common - along with some not so common (weird) - pregnancy symptoms, and what they might mean:
Less Common Symptoms of Pregnancy
Here's the symptoms that don't get all of the attention but can definitely be a sign that you're pregnant!
Weird Things That Could Mean You're Pregnant
Why You Might Be Experiencing It
Extra blood flow can make your sinuses swell
Intolerance for caffeine and smoke
Your shifting hormones and heightened sense of smell can turn you off from these
Feeling anxious, sad or even overly excited
A rise in progesterone can mess with your mood
Gas and bloating
A surge of progesterone from pregnancy can cause your muscles to relax
Pregnancy hormones kick in and prepare your body to nurse a baby, resulting in swelling and pain
Implantation can cause mild pain and aches in your pelvic area as your body prepares to grow a baby
Bleeding and spotting
It can be a sign that you've experienced implantation
Feeling Like You're Coming Down With a Cold
Reaching for the tissues in June? Early pregnancy (annnnd, well, the whole pregnancy) can cause rhinitis of pregnancy which means you might experience:
- A stuffed up nose and sinuses
- A runny nose
- Scratchy throat
But why? Because the extra estrogen surges of your first trimester can cause an increase in congestion, and the extra blood flow (yep, pregnancy creates more blood!) also contributes to swelling in the sinuses.
Later, the drippity drop of mucous may also make morning sickness and nausea worse. Yay.
If constantly dabbing at your nose with a kleenex is irritating the skin around it, grab some Aquaphor and apply it to the affected areas during your bedtime routine.
A Sudden Intolerance for Smoke and Caffeine
Smells or tastes that you once enjoyed can suddenly send your stomach lurching thanks to a shift in hormones. Your body may become more sensitive to things like caffeine and nicotine, which may cause you to:
- Feel nauseous
With my first daughter I remember getting up to make my bed one morning after enjoying my morning coffee and feeling like I was going to suddenly be sick. A few days later I had a positive pregnancy test!
Feeling Down, Anxious, or Just Plain Off
This is a tricky, vague symptom of early pregnancy that can be attributed to premenstrual symptoms or just being human.
However, if you suddenly find yourself in tears over a toilet paper ad or fuming about something a friend said on Facebook when you're typically stoic, it might be a good idea to open your period tracker and see where you're at in the two week wait.
Gas and Bloating
It's no secret that gas and increased flatulence is a symptom of pregnancy, but for many women, it can be one of their first clues to the impending changes. That's because the surge of progesterone that happens when you conceive relaxes your body's muscles as it prepares for childbirth. This can result in a some sneaky little slips. Grrrrreat.
Your Breasts Hurt and Look Larger, Fuller, or Darker
One of the first signs of pregnancy is changes in the breasts. This can include:
- Darkening and deepening veins (like a roadmap on your chest)
- Darker and larger areolas
- Soreness and pain, especially on the sides around your armpit areas and even leading down into your upper arms
This totally uncomfortable symptom occurs because breast tissue is sensitive to progesterone, a hormone that surges when you become pregnant. It's also the reason many of us experience breast discomfort and pain before our periods, when progesterone also takes center stage, making this one of the most ambiguous early pregnancy symptoms. So how can you tell the difference? The discomfort lessens as you near your menstrual cycle but if you're pregnant it often continues on and on and on...
Cramps and Back Pain
One of the most confusing first symptoms of pregnancy for me was cramps. I was so sure I was about to get a visit from good ol' aunt flo. But those cramps, twinges, and pains in your lower back or on one side of your lower abdomen can actually be evidence of implantation, when a fertilized egg burrows into the lining of your uterus. This usually happens around 10 DPO (days past ovulation), give or take a couple of days.
See, each month when you ovulate, your eggs are released from either the tube on the left or the right, sometimes causing soreness. Pain in your back and lower stomach area can indicate a fertilized egg attaching to the uterus.
Cramping will likely continue in the first few months of pregnancy as the uterus expands for your growing baby. To ease the pain, forego over-the-counter pain relievers which can be harmful, and instead take a warm, relaxing bath to take your mind off those twinges and pangs.
Getting Your Period Early
If you start bleeding a few days before you're supposed to start your period you may figure it just wasn't your month. But, if your period is lighter and shorter than usual, comes earlier than you expected, and doesn't have clots or tissue, you may be experiencing implantation bleeding - a positive early sign of pregnancy.
Likewise, spotting, especially right around the time you're supposed to be getting your period can be a sign of implantation, not your period. If the spotting never progressed to actual bleeding, you're probably in the running for a BFP in the next two days!
Feeling Super Excited
I don't know about you but I usually feel pretty down in the last couple of days leading up to my period. If your AF is right around the corner but you're as happy as can be, there's a chance this could mean your usual period hormones are taking a backseat to pregnancy hormones.
How Did YOU Know You Were Pregnant?
When Is the Best Time to Test for Pregnancy, and What is the Best Way to Test?
HCG and Pregnancy Test Timing
The pregnancy hormone HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) isn't detectable until at least two weeks after conception—basically around the time of your missed period. Conception happens at the time of ovulation and most women ovulate two weeks before their period. Your best bet is to wait a day after you expected your period to start testing.
Which Test to Take
If you feel pregnant and just want to know for sure...
- Start with the first test, it's a simple pink dye test that can be taken five days or less before you're expecting to start your period. If there's one line, you're not pregnant, if there's two lines you're pregnant!
- The second test is digital and can be taken if the first test had a faint line that was hard to interpret. This one isn't as sensitive as the first test, so you'll want to wait to take it until you're closer to when your period is supposed to start. It'll simply read "yes" for pregnant or "no" for not pregnant.
- The last test is a rapid test. It looks like the first test from the box but this one gives a result a lot faster. Like, when I took mine with my first daughter, this test had two bright pink lines on it before I was even done peeing. You'll need to be close to your period though. Unlike the first test it isn't as sensitive to HCG.
If you're actively trying to conceive (or avoid pregnancy!) and want to test at least every other day...
Hey, pregnancy tests aren't cheap, and taking one too early may result in a false-negative. But if you can't wait to start indulging on your POAS addiction, grab a month's worth of tests (called internet cheapies or IC's) for the same price as one name-brand test. I used when I was trying to conceive and they're helpful for just easing your mind one way or the other as you wait for your period to arrive, without breaking the bank. these
Did You Already Take a Test?
Is your period late but you're still pulling up negatives on your pregnancy tests? Here's some of the most common reasons why you feel pregnant but the test is negative.
Common Symptoms of Early Pregnancy
Less fun, but still curious. Here's some pretty common symptoms of the first few weeks of pregnancy.
Common Signs You're Pregnant!
Why You Might Be Experiencing It
Food tastes bad
Food aversions are caused by rapidly changing hormones when you first become pregnant.
Pregnancy rhinitis and dizziness/nausea can all cause gagging in early pregnancy.
Unusual exhaustion happens in early pregnancy because your body is doing a TON of work, including creating extra blood to make way for a little babe.
Shortness of breath
Likewise, the extra blood production can cause shortness of breath, especially when you're walking upstairs.
Heightened sense of smell
Rising estrogen levels can cause a heightened sense of smell in early pregnancy.
Extra blood flow in the first trimester causes an increase in urine production.
Also common before your period begins, dizziness in very early pregnancy can happen as your blood pressure, blood pressure and blood flow change and shift through the development of the embryo.
Surging hormones, need I say more?
Your Favorite Foods Taste Awful
Suddenly your fruit salad from the deli tastes like it has been seasoned with an entire shaker of salt and your tongue is on fire after eating licorice and all you can think about at 3 a.m. is that can of Spaghetti-Os in the pantry. Why does this happen in early pregnancy? It's probably safe to chalk it up to rapidly changing hormones, but no one really knows for sure. The good news is that food aversions usually disappear in the second trimester.
Gagging For No Good Reason
Thank that sweet, sweet estrogen for the combination of a heightened sense of smell and lovely nasal drainage for this unpleasant symptom.
To ease early pregnancy nausea, eat a hearty, bland breakfast as soon as you wake up and try to squeeze a brisk walk in before you head out to work or school. You can also replace your regular minty toothpaste with a milder flavor to reduce gagging and vomiting while brushing your teeth.
Everything Is Exhausting
Sleepiness in the week leading up to your period is totally typical, especially if you haven't been getting enough Zs, exercise, or iron. But if you're worn out just from curling your hair and looking for any opportunity to plop down on the couch and stare off into space, there's a chance pregnancy is the cause.
Gulp extra water and indulge in those staring-off sessions—growing a human is exhausting.
Shortness of Breath
Huffing and puffing walking up the steps to your apartment? This is a feeling that will follow most women through their entire pregnancy, but can be especially alarming (and annoying) in the beginning, when the body requires more oxygen to grow the embryo.
Intense Sense of Smell
Did you just smell your partner walk in the door all of the way from the upstairs bathroom? If you're pregnant, you can blame (that's right, say it with me) estrogen for your heightened sense of smell. From roses to ravioli, everything is going to start smelling much stronger, sometimes for the better but usually for the worse.
Time to start opening some windows.
Peeing All of The Time
Suddenly, your bladder seems to have shrunk to the size of a peanut and you're running to the bathroom all the time. Extra blood flow to a pregnant woman's kidneys causes an increase in the production of urine, up to 25% more. Figure in the increased pregnancy hormone levels and you'll understand why you had to get up to pee eight times last night.
It'll likely stop during the second trimester and then start up again during the third. Don't stop drinking fluids, just think of the extra trips to the bathroom as exercise.
Totally Unexplained Dizziness, Vertigo, or Lightheadedness
Feeling like you just stepped off a roller-coaster after vacuuming or getting up off the couch too quickly can be an early sign of pregnancy. While the nausea and vomiting may never come, the dizziness is just as yucky.
As your hormones begin to rise, blood vessels relax and widen, contributing to those freaky dizzy spells of early pregnancy.
To keep from falling over you should:
- Drink plenty of water
- Stand and sit up very slowly to keep your blood pressure even
- Don't skip meals to make sure your blood sugar stays level
Did you lose your cool in the parking lot? Did a song on the radio trigger a torrent of tears? Who knew that it was humanly possible to laugh and cry at the same time? Toddlers and pregnant women, that's who.
Changes in metabolism and hormone levels can affect neurotransmitters, the brain chemicals that regulate mood. When a woman gets pregnant, estrogen and progesterone start playing your mood like a violin.
Now to Get Through the Two Week Wait...
What to Avoid in the Two Week Wait?
If you suspect you may be pregnant, here are some things to hold off on until you can test and find out for sure:
- Consuming Alcohol This should be pretty obvious but it's also highly (and hotly) debated as to whether this "rule" is really necessary. Suffice to say, most doctors advise against consuming alcohol during pregnancy as doing so can harm a growing fetus.
- Smoking (anything)
- Caffeine Some doctors will okay a little cup each morning to get the day going, but caffeine can also trigger dizziness, sweating, and lightheadedness.
- Aspirin and Ibuprofen Neither are considered safe during pregnancy unless recommended by a doctor.
- Deli Meats and Soft Cheeses Lunchmeat and soft cheeses (like feta and blue cheese) can carry listeria, the bacteria that causes listeriosis. Though contracting listeriosis—a food-borne infection—isn't necessarily life-threatening in a healthy person, it can cause miscarriage because fetuses are much more vulnerable to illness and infection than healthy adults.
- Scooping Cat Litter Besides the smell of the ammonia in cat urine being totally gross, cat feces contain the parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, another disease that can prove fatal to a growing baby. If you can't get out of this chore, just make sure to wash your hands really well afterward. (Hey—you should be doing that anyway!)
- Saunas, Hot Tubs, and Hot Baths Excessive heat can cause a growing baby to develop birth defects because baby can't regulate their own body temperature. So while you can cool down quickly, baby can't. A good way to judge the water temperature is to make sure that your skin isn't turning pink. It's also a good idea to let your limbs drape out of the tub.
Questions About Early Pregnancy Signs
Does your pee turn dark yellow or orange during pregnancy?
You probably just haven’t been drinking enough water. Although dehydration can be a sign of pregnancy, it can also just be a sign that you need to drink more water!
Can a metallic taste in the mouth be a sign of pregnancy?
Dysgeusia, a distortion of the sense of taste, is a common early symptom of pregnancy. It can affect the taste of the food you eat but may be experienced even when you're not eating.
Is cervical mucus a good way to tell if you're pregnant?
No. Everyone's different in that respect. As with the other symptoms mentioned here, if it's different from what you usually experience before your period then it's possible this is your sign of pregnancy.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Questions & Answers
I had sex 4 days ago. Today I just started feeling nauseous, I have a weird feeling in my stomach like I want to throw up and I don’t feel as hungry. I have been feeling lightheaded and dizzy and I’m supposed to get my period in 2 weeks. Can I be pregnant?Helpful 821
My period is a week late with clear discharge, mild cramps, soreness on the sides of my stomach and the lower side. My breasts are swollen, and I have white and sometimes clear with white discharge coming out of my right nipple. I also have lower back pain. I've taken two dollar store brand pregnancy tests, and both were negative. Could I still be pregnant?Helpful 250
I had sex on the first day of my period. My period stopped and started again, but it wasn’t as heavy as usual. Now, I have watery discharge but feel dry, and my cervix is the same consistency as the tip of my nose. This is the eighth day since my period stopped and I feel really weird. Am I pregnant?Helpful 213
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I'm five days late for my period, and experiencing headaches and stomach cramps all night. I am also experiencing white discharge, tender breasts and fatigue. I also feel like I have a fever. Could I be pregnant?Helpful 237
© 2013 Kierstin Gunsberg