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Early Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms

Do you think you may be pregnant? Long before there were readily available drug-store pregnancy tests or sonograms, women knew they were pregnant by noticing a series of bodily changes that begin soon after conception has occurred. Even though many pregnancy signs and symptoms have causes unlinked to pregnancy, this list can help you figure out if you need to take the next step and book a free pregnancy test appointment.

Early signs of pregnancy tend to differ from one woman to the next. With that in mind, take a look at a few of the early signs of pregnancy.

Pregnancy Symptoms

The American Pregnancy Association (APA) recently conducted a survey on the first signs of pregnancy. Of the women polled, 29% reported a missed period and 25% reported nausea as the first symptom of pregnancy. However, if this is not your first pregnancy, you may notice subtle changes in your body before it is recommended to take a home pregnancy test.

Light Spotting/Bleeding

This symptom may or may not be associated with implantation bleeding. Implantation bleeding occurs after the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall and could be mistaken for a menstrual period, but there are some distinct differences. Some of the key differences include a smaller amount of bleeding, a shorter length of time, different in color, and an absence of clotting. (Note: Any bleeding that occurs after a pregnancy is confirmed should be mentioned to your healthcare provider.)

early pregnancy symptoms graphic with  blue background and hand holding positive pregnancy test

Missed Period

A missed period is often the very first sign a woman has that she may be pregnant. Many women begin seeking answers because they know they’re late for their next period. If your period is late by 7 or more days, you might consider this a possible indicator of pregnancy. However, this symptom in itself may not be accurate if you’ve had irregular menstrual cycles or have been under a great deal of stress. If you are more than a few days late, come in for a test and know for sure.

Tender or Swollen Breasts/Breast Changes

In the APA survey cited above, about 17% of women surveyed reported this as the first sign of pregnancy. You may experience tenderness or swelling/enlargement of the breast tissue. You may also notice a darkening of the areola. Once your body adjusts to the new hormonal changes, these feelings will likely decrease.


Nausea is quite common in the first trimester and may or may not be accompanied by vomiting. This is known as morning sickness, though it can be experienced at any time of the day. The severity and duration can differ from person to person.

Frequent Urination

Having to hop up and run to the bathroom in the middle of the night? Unless you’re hydrating like crazy, that could also be one of the pregnancy signs and symptoms to watch for.

Other Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms


The cramps women experience when pregnant may seem similar to those during PMS. However, these cramps would be present even after you’ve missed your period. Other pregnancy signs and symptoms include leg cramping and soreness in the lower back.


Headaches are common so this one can’t be relied upon alone. But if you are pregnant, a minor headache may be accompanied by lightheadedness and dizziness. These symptoms may be caused by hormonal changes and/or an increase in the volume of blood in your body. You should consider them in conjunction with other pregnancy symptoms you’re experiencing.

Sensitivity to Smell

Though there may be little scientific consensus on this one, it remains a commonly reported symptom. Sensitivity to smell is something that many women report, particularly in the early stages of pregnancy. It may also be one of the causes of nausea during this time. Some women also develop an increased ability to smell as well - think of it as your own personal superpower.

Change of Appetite

Does the Caesar salad you normally love seem a little off-putting? Or does your craving for potato chips and spicy salsa seem out of character? Change of appetite is common as an early sign of pregnancy. Often, the foods you normally desire won’t sound good to you at all. This may also be due to hormonal changes and changes in your senses.

Mood Swings/Fatigue

Mood swings and fatigue are also attributable to hormonal changes. Mood swings are considered normal, but if you are experiencing prolonged periods of sadness, please contact your healthcare provider.


This may be a symptom during early pregnancy due to hormonal changes, but it is also a common period symptom as well. This symptom alone is not an indicator of pregnancy.

What’s Next?

If you think you may be pregnant and have experienced a few of the symptoms above, come see us. We provide private and professional services for women who think they may be pregnant. In a safe, judgment-free place, you can explore the types of abortion, adoption, and parenting options available to you.

Take the next step and book your confidential appointment today.

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