Trying to conceive can be such a mentally tasking time wondering if every small thing happening to your body could be an indication of pregnancy. I remember the wait from getting that positive ovulation test until finally taking a pregnancy test seeming like an eternity.
There are so many early pregnancy symptoms that could potentially hint towards a future positive test. And while these symptoms can have other causes, several combined may be the boost you need to make it through those long days before your missed period.
What was that cramp? Are my boobs getting bigger? Is my period starting or is it implantation bleeding?
You could drive yourself crazy analyzing every small symptom working if it really does point to pregnancy. And it takes time for your hormones to climb enough to get that positive on an at home pregnancy test.
But – these are some pretty good early pregnancy symptoms you should be on the look out for if you think you could be pregnant!
How soon can you tell if you are pregnant?
The most accurate way to test for pregnancy early is to get a blood test from your doctor’s office. This test will look for the levels of HCG in your blood produced by the placenta after implantation. This blood test can pick up pregnancy as soon as six to eight days post ovulation.
An at home drugstore pregnancy test works the same way by testing for HCG in your urine. Some tests can pick up levels of HCG as soon as five days before your period is expected. But not all tests are this sensitive and not all pregnancies will produce enough HCG to show a positive pregnancy test before a menstrual period. Many women will not have a positive test until AFTER their missed period.
For my first pregnancy, I had a dark positive pregnancy test exactly the day I was expecting to get my period. And on my second, it took almost 6 weeks to get that same dark line.
Have you taken a pregnancy test yet? These pregnancy tests are much cheaper than the digital versions and come in a pack of 30 simple strip tests and urine cups. Yes, they aren’t as fancy, but I personally think I saw a faint line way soon than with the more expensive brands.
You can also buy their ovulation tests if you are actively trying to conceive.
Very Early Pregnancy Symptoms Before Missed Period:
Are you tired all the time? And I’m not talking about your everyday I live a busy life tired with a job or kids or both. No, something is different about this type of tiredness. It is like a “hit you with a ton of bricks and can’t get out of bed in the morning” kind of tired.
I noticed this a lot more with my second pregnancy than with my first. It seemed to hit me almost overnight a few days before my missed period that I was just exhausted for no obvious reason. Extreme fatigue is an early pregnancy symptom that lasts through the first trimester and comes back roaring in the third.
It’s very common to just think you are having PMS symptoms, but mood swings are common in early pregnancy due to hormonal changes. In fact, I remember looking back after my first positive pregnancy test a few days earlier when I had a complete meltdown over something silly and could not stop crying. Trust me when I say it was ridiculous. It made me feel a slight bit better to blame the baby hormones!
You might feel like crying at the smallest thing or even quick to anger or frustration. And this is likely out of character for you even on your period.
It’s easy to miss mood swings in the moment because at that time you don’t feel as if anything is wrong. You’re just feeling grumpy or annoyed! Often, it’s your significant other that will notice these changes in you first.
Try to find ways to relax to help ease the mood swings. This could be something as simple as taking a walk outside, turning on some music, or reading a good book. Anything that can help calm you down and distract your mind can help you cope with the hormonal changes.
Implantation bleeding occurs when the fertilized egg reaches the lining of your uterus and attaches itself there to begin growing.
It is common to mistake this spotting as the start of your period and many women don’t realize they are actually pregnant because of this. This spotting can last several days, but usually is pinkish in color or very dark brown or black.
These days of spotting can be very confusing and appear to be a period. Here’s how to tell the difference between implantation bleeding and a regular menstrual period:
- Bleedings only occurs for a day or two, maybe a few days maximum
- Spotting happens between 6 to 12 days after conception (likely before your period is expected)
- Light bleeding only requiring a panty liner, not a tampon or pad
- Light cramping while bleeding, but not as strong as typical cramps
- Blood is either dark brown (old blood) or light pink (fresh blood)
Cramping is a common period symptom already, however early pregnancy cramping usually is very light. I normally have very painful period cramps but found the ones my first weeks of pregnancy to be barely noticeable.
If these cramps remain mild, they are nothing to worry about. This is a normal sign of the physical changes happening in your uterus as your baby implants and begins development.
Lower back ache can also accompany the cramping and can be treated using similar remedies like a warm bath, rest, and even Tylenol.
Very vivid dreams are another common early pregnancy symptom (and often continue throughout pregnancy) that you may not realize points to pregnancy until after your positive test.
I have never been one to have dreams I remember at all, but during those first few weeks after my positive test I remember waking up so many times remembering all of my dreams from the night before.
Even if you do regularly remember dreams, you may find them to be more visual and detailed than you have previously experienced.
Headaches can be due to a number of causes, both pregnancy and non-pregnancy related. If it is an early pregnancy symptom, your headache is likely caused by hormonal changes as well as the increased blood volume your body is creating.
It can also be caused by dehydration or nasal congestion, which is another early pregnancy symptom.
Ibuprofen is not recommended during pregnancy, so you should avoid it if you think you might be pregnant. Try opting for Tylenol or other nonpharmacologic pain relief methods such as ice, fluid, or essential oils instead. You should consult a physician for any advice related to pregnancy safe methods to treating headaches and other symptoms.
The number one talked about early pregnancy symptom is “morning sickness” or nausea, and for good reason! This can begin shortly after conception or take a few weeks into your first trimester to set in. And for you few lucky ones that don’t get at all, I envy you!
This nausea is caused by the pregnancy hormones in your body as well as other factors such as low blood sugar and changes in blood pressure and metabolism.
While it can’t be completely prevented, there are several natural morning sickness remedies you can try to make your symptoms more manageable. I personally swear by these morning sickness wrist bands. Don’t ask me how, they just work!
Pregnancy hormones cause your digestion to slow significantly causing constipation.
If you already get similar symptoms with PMS, you may have constipation in the first few weeks of pregnancy. For most women, however, this may take several weeks into your first trimester to truly kick in.
The best remedy of course is hydration! Throughout your pregnancy drinking plenty of water is very important for keeping you healthy, and in this case keeping constipation to a minimum.
Other preventative measures include eating a high fiber diet and drinking prune juice to keep everything moving. I know it sounds disgusting, but I promise the prunes are a lifesaver when you are desperate!
Gas and Bloating
Similar to many of the other early pregnancy symptoms already mentioned, excessive gas and bloating is due to the increase levels of progesterone. And I am not talking just a little bit of gas. Oh honey trust me when I say you will know when things are moving differently through your digestive system!
My best advice would be to avoid food that can cause excess gas like beans, fried foods, or carbonated drinks. Other wise Gas X worked wonders for me!
Tender or Swollen Breasts
Are you tired of me saying that hormones change everything? Because they do! The hormones running through your body can also cause swelling and tenderness in your breasts even before that faint line shows on your pregnancy test.
Even though your new little baby is just a few days into growing, your body is already gearing up to breastfeed that little one in the future. This will cause increased blood flow to the area, increased fat content, as well as your milk glands getting bigger.
So, if you put on your bra this morning and thought “this just doesn’t feel right” or you can’t wait to take it off at the end of the day, I promise there is a reason!
Food Aversions or Cravings
Did you always have to have fruit with your morning toast but now can’t stand the thought of it? Or maybe you’ve never been a fan of tomatoes but now can’t enough of them to eat? Girl you may be having food aversions or cravings which is an indicator you could be pregnant!
In general, if your pallet for food or drinks has noticeably changed, this is definitely an early pregnancy symptom that is hard to miss.
While science disagrees exactly why this happens it likely comes down to you guessed it, hormones. It also could be due to changes in your senses, such as smell, which is often heightened by pregnancy.
Whatever the reason, enjoy the excuses to eat those wonderful cravings no matter how weird they may be. After all, you may just be eating for two!
I hope you found this list helpful in your quest to relieve those anxieties before it’s time to take that stack of pregnancy tests. Remember, it is just as common to not have any of these symptoms before your missed period, so don’t stress if you are symptom-free.
At the end of the day, the surest way to know if you are pregnant is to get a positive pregnancy test and confirmation from your doctor at your first prenatal visit.
If you do get a positive test, congratulations! I’m so excited for you to begin this journey, whether it is your first baby or your sixth! There are tons of products I love that helped me survive these symptoms and more during my first trimester. If you’re interested, check out this post on the 7 first trimester must haves to survive the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.
Good luck mama!