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Weird, Early Symptoms of Pregnancy Before Your Missed Period

Updated on July 7, 2017
Kierstin Gunsberg profile image

Kierstin is a mom to two little girls, not a fan of Popples, and is really, really good at removing crayon from practically any surface.

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Hey, I'm just like you, I Google 100% of everything before I take it up with my doctor—much to her chagrin. Still, this article is not meant to be used as a tool for diagnosis. Always consult a physician for medical advice.

The nervous two-week wait before a pregnancy test is a rite of passage for women. Whether you're praying for a positive or crossing your fingers that it's just really bad PMS, read on and entertain or torture yourself with these weird, early symptoms that sometimes mean pregnancy (and sometimes don't...).

12 Weird Early Symptoms of Pregnancy

#1: 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 is basically a stuffed up, runny nose that can also lead to a scratchy throat. Why? The extra estrogen that surges during pregnancy 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 gentle lotion or chapstick and apply it to the affected areas during your bedtime routine.

#2: Everything Tastes Either Incredible or Incredibly Awful

Suddenly it tastes like your fruit salad from the deli 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 AM 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 this symptom usually disappears in the second trimester.

#3: Sudden Intolerance for Smoke and Caffeine

Is your lunchtime latte making you feel gross? An aversion to coffee can be an early sign of pregnancy before your missed period.
Is your lunchtime latte making you feel gross? An aversion to coffee can be an early sign of pregnancy before your missed period. | Source

Smells or tastes that you once enjoyed can suddenly send your stomach lurching thanks to a shift in hormones. Likewise, what your body could once tolerate, it may become more sensitive to such as caffeine, causing you to shake, sweat, and feel nauseous.

#4: Random Nausea and Gagging

Thank that sweet, sweet feminine classic, estrogen for the combination of a heightened sense of smell and lovely nasal drainage that accompanies pregnancy for this unpleasant symptom.

To ease early pregnancy nausea eat a hearty, if not 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.

#5: Everything is Exhausting

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Sleepiness in the week leading up to your period is totally typical, especially if you haven't been getting enough Z's, exercise, or iron. But if you're worn out just from curling your hair or looking for any opportunity to plop down on the couch and stare off into space there's a good chance early pregnancy is the cause.

Gulp extra water and indulge in those staring-off-sessions - growing a human is exhausting.

#6: Shortness of Breath

Huffing and puffing walking up the steps to your apartment? This is a symptom that will follow most women through their entire pregnancy but can be especially alarming (and annoying) in the beginning of pregnancy when the body requires more oxygen to grow the embryo.

#7: 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 check the calendar to see where you're at in the two week wait.

#8: Your Sense of Smell is Totally Out of Control

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.

Speaking of Windows...

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#9: Increased Gas

It's no secret that gas and increased flatulence is a symptom of pregnancy, but for many women this can be one of their first clues to the impending changes, even before a pregnancy test. 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. Whoops!

#10: 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, and of course, 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's released in a woman's body when she becomes pregnant. It's also the reason many of us experience breast discomfort and pain before our periods, when progesterone is also higher.

#11: Cramps and Lower Abdominal Pain

Cramps, twinges, and pains in your lower back or on one side of your lower abdomen can indicate implantation. Each month when you ovulate your eggs are released from either the tube on the left or the right leaving soreness. Pain in your back and lower stomach 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 in pregnancy and instead take a warm, relaxing bath to take your mind off those twinges and pangs.

#12: Totally Unexplained Dizziness, Vertigo, or Becoming Lightheaded

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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--and morning sickness. While the nausea and vomiting may never come, 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.

Should You Avoid Anything 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 If it's not good for you, it's certainly not good for a wee one!
  • Caffeine Some doctors will okay a small intake every day (like a small morning cup) but caffeine can also cause unpleasant reactions in a pregnant woman like dizziness, sweating, and lightheadedness.
  • Aspirin and Ibuprofen Neither are considered safe during pregnancy unless recommended by a doctor.
  • Deli Meats and Soft Cheeses 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. Lunchmeat and soft cheeses (like feta and blue cheese) can carry listeria, the bacteria that causes listeriosis.
  • 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 good 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 his/her own body temperature. So while you can cool down quickly, baby can't. A good way to judge your water temp 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.

When is the Best Time to Test for Pregnancy and What is the Best Way to Test?

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. While some early detection pregnancy tests claim to be able to tell you earlier than that, your best bet is to wait until the day after you expected your period to test. Hey, pregnancies tests aren't cheap, and taking one too early may result in a false-negative.

How Early Can You Actually Take a Pregnancy Test?

First Response Comfort Sure Design, Curved Pregnancy Test 3 count
First Response Comfort Sure Design, Curved Pregnancy Test 3 count

I've read different old wive's tales across the internet on how to test for pregnancy at home - pee in vinegar, pee in baking soda, pee, well, all over. But the best place to pee if you want to find out whether or not you have a baby on the way is right on a scientifically developed home pregnancy test.

With both of my pregnancies I confirmed early on that I was pregnant using a First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test. As for how early you can actually test before you're pregnant, the general rule is 6 days before your missed period if you're using one of these early response tests. Follow the directions on the box and if you get a negative result but still don't get your period, test again in two days since the pregnancy hormone (that turns the second line on these tests pink) doubles every 48 hours.

 

How Did YOU Know You Were Pregnant?

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© 2013 Kierstin Gunsberg

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      Warda 2 hours ago

      Hi kierstin i test two pregnancy test and it was white second line even my husband can see it dont know is it positive or negative no period 4 days late back pain shoulder pain feeling cold and sometime high fever in night

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 12 hours ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Katie, it's smart to wait until you're closer to your period to test. If you are indeed pregnant, it will be interesting if your symptoms are similar to your first pregnancy. With my girls, the pregnancies were very similar and I knew without doubt the second time around that I was pregnant because I felt exactly as I had with my first daughter. Good luck! :)

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 12 hours ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Hey Elisabeth, how soon do you think you'll be able to test? I will never forget the exhaustion of early pregnancy! I think that it came on for me after my positive tests but I just recall that even brushing my hair seemed taxing.

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      Katie Leever 24 hours ago

      I'm gaining weight. All my clothes are tight on be. My appetite is a mess. I get hungry a lot but I can't eat a lot. When I do eat I feel like I'm not full. I get lightheaded sometimes when I get up. Constantly tired & feel like I don't get enough rest. I've also noticed that my boobs are getting bigger. My bras r tight. They don't hurt at all. They never hurt with my son when I was pregnant though. I don't know I I'm pregnant or not. I do have symptoms & Im waiting till it's closer to my period.

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      Elisabeth Odom 29 hours ago

      my stomach feels weird, heavier and sensitive. my whole abdomen hurts, I'm cramping, gassy and super dizzy. I'm so tired in the morning tho I had a full night sleep. a simple walk is exhausting.

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 39 hours ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Janelandall, I don't think it would be too early to have some symptoms if you ovulated simultaneously, a week and a half ago.

      The tricky thing about the two week wait is that PMS symptoms and early pregnancy symptoms can be very similar. In my own personal experience, I did have quite a bit of dizziness as my early pregnancy symptoms with both of my daughters, unlike what I would typically experience.

      My best advice is to wait until the day of your missed period to take a home pregnancy test. If it's negative and you're still feeling sick go ahead and give your doctor a call and see what they say. Good luck, I hope you get the answer you're hoping for!

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      Janelandall 46 hours ago

      Im not too sure if its too early to know but... about a week and a half ago i had intercourse. Fast forward to now and lately my body temperature is hot and cold all the time, my breasts are bigger and sore, and today i woke up so dizzy and nauseous and my blood pressure has been on the low side. Usually im 120/82 and lately its been 96/76. Not sure whether its pregnancy or not but i feel off and not myself.

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 2 days ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Hey Sara, that sounds confusing. I would do whatever your doctor's office recommends. They will know best how to handle your specific situation.

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 6 days ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Hey Sara! At this point I would definitely make an appointment with your doctor so they can help you confirm what's going on and guide you from there. They can give you a simple urine test to start.

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 7 days ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Sara, are you four days away from your expected period? Personally, I've been able to take a home pregnancy test four days before mine and get a reliable negative or positive result. I'd only take the First Response Early Results test though. Those blue dyes give way too many false positives and digital can give false negatives. If the dizziness and other symptoms are true pregnancy symptoms then I think your levels would be high enough to get a good result with a home pregnancy test.

      If you get a negative just hold off for two more days and then test again. Sometimes it takes time. I hope you get the answer you want!! :)

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 7 days ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Hi Sara, if you haven't taken a pregnancy test already and you suspect you're pregnant then you may be able to get a reliable result right now. Keep in mind though that the symptoms you're describing can also be a sign of an infection so if you're not feeling any better today, call your doctor and just let them know what's going on.

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 8 days ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Hey Janae! If you're not due for another two weeks then I would say it's more likely that you're experience ovulation sickness than morning sickness, since ovulation typically happens about two weeks before your period. Another possibility is an infection if you're experiencing cramping in your lower abdomen.

      All of that being said, it never hurts to take a pregnancy test and if it comes back negative and you continue to feel sick give your doc a call.

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      Janae 8 days ago

      For the past four or five days I've been having an achy crampy type feeling in my lower abdomen with some back pain and I've been feeling incredibly nauseous too sometimes when I try to eat something I feel like I may throw up. I've also been having headaches. Pregnancy never crossed my mind until a few friends brought it up, I thought I was just getting sick or something. My period comes the same time consistently and I'm expecting it in two weeks do you think my friends may be right about me being pregnant?

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 13 days ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Hi athabile, those were my clues the first time around too - missed period combined with early-onset morning sickness that turned out to be hyperemesis gravidarum. Ugh! But totally worth it, that girl is my world.

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 2 weeks ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Oh my goodness, Michelle, have you taken a test? Since your cycle isn't totally predictable I can see why you'd wait, but it might help give you some clarity (or confuse you more, ugh). It sounds like you have a ton going on right now and that it's possible you're also just dealing with the effects of anxiety. I hope you find out soon and that you get the news you're hoping for :)

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      Michelle 2 weeks ago

      I don't actually know yet, my period isn't due for 2 days, and that is debatable since the length between my periods has been all over the place (between 28-33 days). I also know when I ovulate; I’m one of those weirdos that gets intense ovulation cramps, I even had my OB/GYN double check during one of these episodes to verify. I keep crying over almost everything, however I have been stressed out (switching from PhD to MS as of yesterday because it's just not working out and I have a week or two to complete my thesis). I’m pretty sure I’m coming down with a cold, but after reading this, maybe it’s simply a pre-pregnancy symptom. I have been trying (not very good) at keeping away from coffee because it's been making me so shaky, jittery, and sweaty...hurray, fun stuff! The crying over everything from a simple movie (or nothing at all) to the devastating shootings in LV definitely has me wondering though...I shouldn’t even be looking at blogs right now, but focusing on my thesis, but my brain is all over the place! Argh! Either way, I’ll be overjoyed if I am in fact pregnant and it would explain a lot of my symptoms this last week, if not, there’s always next month to try right!

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 4 weeks ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Sandra, I'm not a doctor so I can't give definitive medical advice. From my own personal experience with pregnancy though, it would be a pretty slim chance that this woman would know she was pregnant within three weeks of the relationship.

      According to WebMD it takes from 3-4 weeks from your last menstrual period to receive a positive pregnancy test. So, I guess it's not impossible, but very unlikely. The only for sure way to know is a paternity test, of course.

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 7 weeks ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Ravyn, that's no fun. I've dealt with that before both pregnant and not pregnant. When I'm not pregnant I can pinpoint seasonal allergies as the cause (allergies meds help!) but when I'm pregnant it's the beginning of my hyperemesis setting in. Have you taken an at home test or a pregnancy test at your doctor's office?

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      Ravyn 7 weeks ago

      Dizzy and light headed for a week! Doctors can't find any cause to it, but my co-worker seems to think I'm carrying!

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 7 weeks ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Hey Amanda, have you taken a home pregnancy test yet? If you think you might be pregnant, I would buy a First Response Early Detection test and follow the instructions inside. If your test is negative and your period is late and you're still vomiting I would call your doctor.

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      Amanda 7 weeks ago

      I never been pregnant before and I'm not feeling to good. My whole breast including my nipples are very sore specially when touched. I've been throwing up for no reason for the last week. I'm very tired and now I have a headache. I just feel really weird and certain foods I found make me sick and certain food or drinks I highly crave. Can I be pregnant?

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 7 weeks ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Very Angry, that IS a happy story! I was caught off guard the first time I found out I was pregnant too. Best surprise ever! I hope everything is going great on your new adventure :)

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 7 weeks ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Hey Theresa, I actually JUST published an article yesterday on why you would miss your period but not be pregnant, so you might want to check it out. I think that after two cycles of missed periods it's a good idea to see your doctor for a blood pregnancy test. If you're definitely not pregnant then your doctor can start to explore other issues that might be preventing your period from starting like a treatable thyroid disorder or a change in your sleep routine.

      If you want to read up on other ideas to bring up with your doctor on why your period might be late you can check out my other article, "Why Would You Have a Late Period if You're Not Pregnant?" https://healdove.com/reproductive-health/Why-is-My

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 8 weeks ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      True that, Marixi1! I'm hoping this link doesn't get lost to the spam filter, but if anyone is dealing with a pregnancy scare or an unplanned pregnancy, there's some good advice over on LovePanky http://www.lovepanky.com/my-life/relationships/pre...

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      marixi1 2 months ago

      pregnancy scares are the worst.

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 3 months ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Tere, I've been there! Waiting to find out whether you're pregnant or not makes you feel half crazed!

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      Tere 3 months ago

      Thank you Kierstin. Ill keep you posted to weather im preggy or not. Ill wait til next week before jumping into conclusion.. its just the wait is driving me crazy. And symptoms are not normal for me.

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 3 months ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Hey Tere! Have you looked into mittelschmerz otherwise known as "painful ovulation"? A lot of women experience it, it's pretty harmless but also can make you feel sick. If you continue to test negative, I would look it up :) Since your cycle isn't quite regular it would be hard for you to guess when you ovulate so it would be tricky to say whether you were fertile around the dates you indicate.

      You're still a little bit early to take a pregnancy test and get a reliable result. If I were you I wouldn't test again until the morning of the 14th. If it comes back negative then, wait two days and test again on the 16th. Those dates will give you a more accurate result. I hope you get the answer you want!!

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      Tere 3 months ago

      Every month my period came 3 days earlier than the last.. like if i had a period last june 17 my next period will be this july 14. Last june 27 and june 28 my fiance and i had intercourse i wasnt sure if i was safe or not. But after the intercourse til now im getting a white discharge and most often im not feeling well i have this lower abdomenal pain and headaches its almost the same as your going to have a period but heighten or enchanced. This evening i bought a pregnancy test and it came out negative. Im wondering if its accurate or my mind and body playing tricks on me. I should have my period either july 14 or july 17. I badly need your thoughts. Thank you in advance

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 3 months ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Shay, nothing is TMI when it comes to pregnancy. I think you make a really good point and that's a symptom for women to look for - a change in bowels away from your norm is something to consider when thinking about changes that could indicate pregnancy.

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      Shay 3 months ago

      TMI...my bowel movements completely change. Both times I knew I was pregnant only 1-2 weeks after conceiving

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 6 months ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Hi Khia! First, I think the most important thing to remember is that any time you have sex there's a possibility you could become pregnant. I wish I could tell you for sure, but I can't. I did check out a pregnancy test timing calculator though, inputting the date of your last period and your typical cycle length. According to that calculator it's still a bit too early for you to test as you're technically 10 Days Past Ovulation (DPO). Your BEST best is to take a test on the morning of April 7th (Friday) using your first morning urine (as soon as you wake up). If you can't wait I definitely suggest an early detection midstream from Clear Blue or First Response. If you get a negative test again Friday, like I said. And if you're feeling up to it I'd love if you could report back and let us all know what you find out! I hope you get the answer you want :) Best wishes!

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      Kierstin Gunsberg 6 months ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Hi Kim! My overall attitude toward home pregnancy tests is that it never hurts to take one, especially if your period was abnormal and you're experience pregnancy-like symptoms. If it is indeed too early to test, you may get a false-negative, meaning you are actually pregnant but there aren't enough hormones in your body yet to turn a test positive.

      So take one and if it comes up as negative wait until your next period is due to take another one and if your back pain and vomiting continue, especially if a fever is present, see a doctor to rule out an infection which can mimic pregnancy symptoms.

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      Sarah 7 months ago

      I gained some weight, all my acne went away and my breasts gained a cup size.. I found out at 3-4 weeks.

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      8 months ago

      I had cramps my whole two weeks before missed period.

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      reilly 2 years ago

      Randome light period like cramping clear discharge very moody extreme body pains. I'm having most of the simptoms but I'm doughting it because my two pregnancy tests were negative even though they might have been taken early. I just don't fell preg

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      stef 2 years ago

      Heartburn was my number one indicator of pregnancy starting 4 dpo my last pregnancy mc was at 2 dpo

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      Ellie 2 years ago

      I have fibrocysticbreasts so when my period didn't arrive on time I associated that with stress at work but when my breasts were still firm a week later I realized that I hadn't bought a diet coke in at least 2 weeks and I had told my husband that I didn't want to drink as often and instead had been buying a lot of juice at the store. Looking back on it now it makes sense but I just felt so normal and thought this was just my usual transfer over to springtime cleaner living :)