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What Are the Earliest Signs of Pregnancy?

Angela Harris writes about subjects such as cooking, alternative health, travel, music, books, animals, pop culture, and homeschooling.

Nausea, heartburn, discharge, and generally feeling under the weather can all be signs of early pregnancy.

Nausea, heartburn, discharge, and generally feeling under the weather can all be signs of early pregnancy.

Early Pregnancy Symptoms Are Not Fool-Proof

When you're wondering if you're pregnant, sometimes you just don't want to wait for an at-home pregnancy test or a missed period to find out. Thankfully, there are several signs to watch for that sometimes appear before a test will work.

These early symptoms are usually caused by the extra hormones flooding your body, though some are caused by a growing uterus. Unfortunately, many of them can also be easily confused with PMS.

These signs, however, are not fool-proof.

You may experience all, some, or none of them even if you do conceive. The only way to be certain that you're pregnant is to take a pregnancy test.

In the table below are some statistics on the most commonly reported first symptoms of pregnancy. These are the things women usually notice first after conceiving. You'll see that a missed period, nausea, changes in the breasts, and fatigue account for 79% of most women's first clue.

Most-Commonly Reported First Symptom of Pregnancy

Data based on a study conducted by the American Pregnancy Association, "First Signs of Pregnancy." 2014

Symptom% of Women

Missed Period




Tender or Swollen Breasts




Implantation Bleeding


Food-Related Symptoms


Headaches, Increased Urination, and Cramps


Missed Period

The most commonly-reported (and one of the most accurate) first symptoms of pregnancy is a missed period. Some of these other changes can happen in your body before you miss your period.

Changes in Your Breasts

Often, one of the first signs of pregnancy is sore or tender breasts. Sometimes the breasts may also become swollen. This can also be a PMS symptom but if you don't normally experience tender or sore breasts before your period, you could be pregnant.

Some women experience extra sensitive or darker nipples. Since it doesn't happen during PMS, darkened nipples are a pretty reliable indicator of pregnancy.


Nausea (morning sickness) is another early symptom. It may not always occur in the mornings, and you may not actually vomit. The nausea could last all day, be only after eating, or only be at certain times of the day. Some women never suffer nausea at all.

Heartburn is another common complaint during pregnancy and could be one of your early signs.


Feeling more tired than usual can be a sign of pregnancy. Some women describe it as extreme fatigue, like you've been hit with a truck. This can also be a symptom of PMS, however, and of many other conditions.

You might also feel under the weather or just not feel "right."

Less-Common or Reliable Symptoms

Cramps and Stiffness

You may find that your back is sore or stiff, especially the lower back, and you might have cramping. Lots of physical activity may induce cramps in the early stages of pregnancy.

Feeling Dizzy

Feeling faint, dizzy, or lightheaded is another common, early signal. Some women actually faint.

Acne and Metallic Taste

Some women experience a metallic taste and acne as a result of hormonal changes.

Elevated Body Temperature

A woman's body temperature naturally increases during ovulation but drops back down afterwards. Barring sickness, if your body temperature stays elevated after ovulation, it could mean you're pregnant.

Feeling Overly Emotional and Easily Irritated

This is the result of additional hormones in your body while you are pregnant. Again, this can be confused with PMS, but if you normally don't have these PMS symptoms, then it may be an indication of pregnancy.

Implantation Bleeding

About a week after becoming pregnant, a few women experience very slight bleeding or spotting that could be pink, red, or brown in color. If you don't normally spot between periods, this may indicate pregnancy.

Sensitivity to Smell

Sensitivity to smell is another early sign of pregnancy. Certain smells will even make you feel nauseous, even ones that you normally enjoy.

Many women are especially sensitive to strong fumes like gasoline or cleaners, cigarette smoke, certain foods, and perfumes while pregnant. This is a pretty accurate early pregnancy symptom if you experience it.

Increased Frequency of Urination or Constipation

As your uterus grows, it places additional pressure on your bladder. This will have you running to the bathroom more than usual. Hormones are usually to blame for constipation as well.

The Only Way to Know for Sure

A pregnancy test is the only way to know for sure if you're pregnant. If you are experiencing any of these, a home pregnancy test is usually accurate about two weeks after conception.

If the test results are negative, wait another week. Sometimes home pregnancy tests can produce false negatives, especially if used too soon.

What Should I Do?

If you believe that you are pregnant, but it is too early to confirm it with a test, take care of your body as if you are pregnant. Early signs of pregnancy should never be taken lightly. Get plenty of rest and eat healthy.

Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, cigarette smoke, and drugs. Check labels for any dangers of over-the-counter medications and supplements and start taking a quality vitamin and mineral supplement. Call your doctor if you are taking any prescription medications to see if you should stop or change dosage.

If you are not trying to get pregnant, call a health center to discuss your options. Most likely you will have to schedule an appointment to come in and take a pregnancy test as soon as it will be accurate. Until then, try not to do too much Internet research.

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.


Blessme on November 06, 2018:

i started experiencing heaviness of breast immediately after my ovulation, could it be i am pregnant?

Malia on October 08, 2018:

i had all symptoms of pregnancy but my periods came, its about a week and half now since my last periods and the symptoms are still there but all tests are negative what could be wrong with me?

Doreen on September 13, 2018:

This site is so helpful & informative.Thanks alot

Jade on August 04, 2018:

Hey I had my implant out on wensday I had sex straight after what could it be

Ranee on July 23, 2018:

I started my period last month on the 24th of June. I was supposed to start already this month. I haven't felt hungry, dizzy, and I'm not even getting sick. My breast are barely sore and ive had to pee a bit more than usual but I don't think I'm pregnant. How do I know I am without taking a test

courtney on July 19, 2018:

me and my boyfriend has unprotected sex the other day but he used the pull out method but he said he still came in me a little by accident and when we had sex it was on my fertile day number 1. eversince that day i have been nauseous and tired all day, the nausea would get worse after i eat something and not able to hold any food down. Could i be pregnant?

Rebecca mend on July 04, 2018:

Had my period 6/14/18 til 6/18/18 removed my iud 6/19/18 had unprotected sex 6/20-6/24 two days later I was feeling bloated very nauseous cramping irritable and now lower back ache could I be pregnant ?

Evelyn mbevi on April 14, 2018:

This was so helpful to me

Brownb on January 27, 2018:

If you have bleach, you can do a bleach test. Pour some bleach in a cup and add some of your urine. If it foams then it is positive. If it bubbles like soda you are negative. It's an easy test you can do.

Rhea Chubey on January 21, 2018:

Can someone help me? My last period was December 19, 2017. My boyfriend and I did have sex on Christmas Eve night and a few days after that. But now I'm 5 days late. I've had cramps 2 days before I was supposed to start and the day I was supposed to start and the day after I was supposed to start. I did have diarrhea on Wednesday and Thursday. I have felt hungry for a couple days and today I haven't felt hungry at all. My boobs look a little bigger but they don't hurt at all. I also have looked bloated for a couple of days and now I'm not. And now I'm constipated. I don't get too see my doctor until Friday and I don't have the money to buy a pregnancy test right nõw. Does anyone think that I could be pregnant

Loki on January 18, 2018:

Can someone help me here I'm confused weather I'm pregnant or not my last period was on dec 7 and had unprotected sex on dec 24 and on dec 31 I got brownish light for 3 days that doesn't heavy

chloe on January 11, 2018:

Hi there I am new to this website and i just need some help. My boyfriend and I are ttc.

But we aren't sure if I am pregnant now. I had my last period on the 14th December 2017 ovulated 27/12/2017 well that's what my calendar is telling me, we had sex on the 26th.

At 11dpo (7/01/2018) I had ligth brownish discharge and then it got a bit heavier and turned pink by the second day (8/01/2018), 3rd day (9/01/2018) it started to turn red, 4th day (10/01/2018) it was the same red and today is the 5th day and my period is due today. But the only thing is that the bleeding has been switching between heavy and then light. I took a pregnancy test on the 10/01/2018 and it came back negative. Going to the doctor on monday (15/01/2018).

I've had a chemical pregnancy before and my boyfriend and i really want a kid. I was wondering is this implantation bleeding or just AF.

Mita Das on January 11, 2018:

Well I haven't had a period since May 23rd it is now Aug 11. I have taken about 2 pregnancy test at different times they all come out negative but yet no period or even a sign of one. My stomach seems a Lil bigger but it could possibly be all in my head although Ive gone stretch marks on my stomach. IDK if it's because of weight gain or something. I've shown no pregnancy symptoms. But that's strange. Could I be pregnant

Kate on January 05, 2018:

I have been trying to get pregnant, I was diagnosed with pcos, and hv been on Clomid and nothing happened, I switched to femera, I took for while my period was on, and now am 4dys late. Could I be preg? I am so scared to do a preg text as I don't want to be disappointed as usual, but I have been feeling indigestion since 2days, could it be a sign that a pregnant? Is indigestion one of the signs of Early pregnancy?

felecia on October 06, 2017:

Im just constantly hungry! every month its something different like I want to become pregnant & every time I know my period is coming soon I tend to feel as if im pregnant.

Nicole on September 27, 2017:

My last period was on the 3rd and it ended the 9th but then from the 10 to the 12th 13th i had pink and brown discharge and cramping. Now fro the last 4 to 5 days after i eat a meal i get diarheea and get light headed and nausea's I don't know if i am pregnant. I am worried its stress. Has anyone else had this?

Donna on July 18, 2017:

I'm trying to get pregnant and I just finished my menstrual could I be pregnant yet

Rachel Fairfax on April 22, 2017:

Your site is very informative. Thank you.

Joy on April 05, 2016:

Is abdominal pain a sign of pregnancy

Melly Ortiz on April 02, 2016:

I'm having wired cravings and left side of my stomach hurts could i be pregnant

CC on December 01, 2015:

Very informative and detailed article!

I've been getting a lot of these symptoms, fatigue, high sensation of nausea only after eating, temperature, cramps, constipation, frequent urination, headaches, heartburn, bloating, stronger sense of smell, bloating, heartburn, dizziness, mood swings, however it's been 2 weeks since unprotected sex, took the morning after pill the next day (7 - 10 hrs after sex) and got a 'period' however it was lighter and shorter than the last, and the plan B pill that i took has be known to give a false period, since then the symptoms have been slowly increasing, ive taken a pregnancy test today - negative, but will be taking another in a weeks time, just to be certain, it the symptoms get to irritating i'll be paying my doctor a visit for a blood test.

Mack on September 12, 2015:

I've started my period but I'm still feeling pains I'm using not cramping could I be pregnant ?

brittnay on August 11, 2015:

Well I haven't had a period since May 23rd it is now Aug 11. I have taken about 6 pregnancy test at different times they all come out negative but yet no period or even a sign of one. My stomach seems a Lil bigger but it could possibly be all in my head although Ive gone stretch marks on my stomach. IDK if it's because of weight gain or something. I've shown no pregnancy symptoms. But that's strange. Could I be pregnant

Kelly on April 25, 2015:

I went on the injection the 27 of march and the sex day my period finished and I was spotting for about three days had unprotected sex the sixth day can I get pregnant bcuz am having symptoms of been pregnant

kemisola on October 05, 2014:

Am 9 days past ovulation,white watering discharge breast little painful am I pregnant?

ngozi ruth on September 01, 2014:

I am pregnant but don't feel like am pregnant..the only sign I see is heaviness of my breast

alex on June 05, 2014:

I have a question, I was pregnant once, list the baby, I think im pregnant again...Im waking up during the night and in the morning with horrible heartburn and feeling dizzy and my pee is bright yellow and all I drink is water. I have birth control but I ran out 1 1/2 weeks ago and haven't gotten it filled since I had my period, could I be pregnant again?

shardha on April 24, 2014:

is lose motion is also sign of pregnancy ?

Erlica on March 23, 2014:

But I had blood not like spotting but covered 3/4 of my thong

Christina vagedes on November 11, 2013:

Hello I have a very important question....a few days a ago i had spotting on the date I'm supposed to start my period...I took a pregnancy test and it showed up negative...this morning I woke up and my nipples are very sore and sensitive... In not having any sickness but I feel nausous sometimes. I thought my nipples are sore because I'm about to start my period.......but about 90% of the time I have brown discharge before I actually due. So sore nipples and spotting is not a common sign for me.... Please I need answers could I be pregnant???????

Alexie on June 19, 2012:

I have a regular period, & i'm now 1 week late. im experiencing some of those early signs but it can also be signs of PMS. I took pregnancy test & the result says negative. But i just have a hunch that i might be pregnant. What you guys think, am i pregnant or not??

emdi on January 23, 2012:

Very nice hub. I have written a hub about a related topic which is not covered in this hub- gassing during early pregnancy. May be readers of this hub would find this short article about gassing during pregnancy, funny and informative

nakhoa from Ha Noi on September 11, 2011:

Great information. I just wrote a related hub, please advise

jaanu on February 25, 2011:

great hub and very good advice thank you

ocbill from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice on May 05, 2010:

great review on the symptoms. it seems to be a never-ending question women have; and unfortunately teens too.

Hello, hello, from London, UK on May 05, 2010:

Great hub and very good advice. Thank you.