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How to Tell if You’re Pregnant: 10 Early Signs to Keep an Eye On

how to tell if you're pregnant

Think you’re pregnant? You don’t just need to pee on a stick. Look out for these 10 signs if you’re looking for how to tell if you’re pregnant.

Whether you are trying for a baby or not, understanding how to tell if you’re pregnant is useful and important for any woman to know. If you know what to observe, you’ll be more likely to discover that you’re pregnant much earlier. The sooner you know you are pregnant, the sooner you can start planning for it.

How to tell if you’re pregnant – Common signs in early pregnancy

Often women who don’t realize they are pregnant continue to live a lifestyle that could potentially be dangerous for a baby. In order to make sure both you and your unborn child remain healthy and happy, learning what the earliest signs of pregnancy are is crucial.

So, if you’re wondering how to tell if you’re pregnant, let’s look at some of the most common signs of early pregnancy.

#1 Missed period. Missing your period is by far the most obvious sign you are pregnant. Especially if you are late and had unprotected sex, take a pregnancy test as soon as possible. Of course, for some women it can be difficult to tell whether they missed their period or not.

Knowing the length of your cycle helps with this. Your cycle starts on the first day of your period and lasts until the first day of your next one. The average woman’s cycle is 28 days, though can be anywhere between 21 and 35 days long.

If you are trying for a baby, understanding your cycle helps you know when you are likely to be most fertile and gives you the best chance of conceiving. [Read: 13 great relationship apps you need to get today]

#2 A positive pregnancy test. Another obvious sign is taking a pregnancy test that comes up positive. However, it is important to remember it is possible for a pregnancy test to show a negative result when you are pregnant, and vice versa. Pregnancy tests work by measuring the level of HCG in your urine. HCG is produced when you become pregnant. However, if you take a pregnancy test too early, the levels of HCG may not be sufficient to show a positive result.

If this happens to you, but your period still has not arrived a few days later, it’s a good idea to take another test. Or purchase a more sensitive pregnancy test to see if the result changes. If you still get a negative result and your period still does not arrive, seek medical advice.

Unfortunately, there are instances where a false positive also occur. This could be due to a very early miscarriage, which sadly is more common in early pregnancy. Signs of a miscarriage include spotting and bleeding with blood clots and heavy menstrual type cramps. If you think you are having or have had a miscarriage, it is important to contact your doctor immediately. [Read: 8 very effective ways to increase your chances of getting pregnant]

#3 Cramping and spotting. Though you may associate cramping and spotting with the arrival of your period, it also could be an early pregnancy sign. This is known as implantation bleeding.

It is often difficult to know the difference between your period and this type of bleeding. Cramps will usually be milder than period cramps and the spotting very light and pink or light brownish in color. Spotting caused by implantation bleeding should also stop after one to two days. [Read: 15 things they don’t teach you in sex ed]

#4 Sore/sensitive or changing breasts. In the early stages of pregnancy, sore and sensitive breasts is a very common sign for lots of women. The feeling is different for everyone. You may experience tingling or itchy nipples, a feeling of heaviness to your breasts, mild achy feelings, or extremely sore and sensitive breasts to the point where wearing a bra, or even taking a shower can be extremely painful.

Other changes in your breasts are also a sign. You may notice your nipples changing shape or darkening, or veins being more noticeable under the skin. Breast changes throughout your pregnancy can be expected, though often breast sensitivity and pain reduces after the first trimester.

#5 White vaginal discharge. A white discharge also signals early pregnancy. It is important to note however, that there are many different kinds of vaginal discharge. Knowing whether it is a pregnancy sign could be tricky. Discharge associated with early pregnancy tends to be thin and milky in consistency and have little or no odor at all.

This can be confusing as many women experience a thicker, white discharge when they are about to start their period. Any thick or foul smelling discharge is more likely to be some sort of infection. Again, you should seek advice from a medical professional if this is what you experience. [Read: 7 problems “down there” that you shouldn’t ignore]

#6 Feeling or being sick. Many women start to feel sick in the early stages of pregnancy. This is commonly known as “morning sickness” though it can actually occur at any time of the day or night *unfortunately*. Some women don’t experience any morning sickness at all. Even for those that do, it usually subsides after the first trimester.

Morning sickness also varies in severity from woman to woman. Some may just feel slightly queasy, others may physically be very sick. Eating first thing in the morning, before getting up helps, and eating when you feel sick also helps with morning sickness too. Make sure you keep snacks on you at all times!

#7 Backache. If you’re wondering how to tell if you’re pregnant, having a sore back can be another early sign that’s easy to notice. When you become pregnant, your body begins changing right away, so if your back feels stiff and sore, this may be another indication you have a baby on the way! [Read: Everything about egg freezing and how to do it right]

#8 Tiredness. Many women report feeling extremely tired during the early stages of pregnancy. If that workout that usually gets you pumped up and raring to go feels difficult, or you simply feel as though you can’t get through the working day without wanting to crawl under your desk and have a good old nap, it may be that you are pregnant.

Your body works overtime when you are pregnant to prepare for the baby, so it’s no wonder you don’t have any energy. Doing mild exercise, eating the right food, and getting plenty of rest helps you stay healthy throughout.

#9 Feeling emotional. Feeling hormonal and emotional is hugely common during pregnancy and lasts throughout. In early pregnancy, if you feel unusually emotional it may be a sign you are pregnant. [Read: 9 amazing benefits of having sex while you’re pregnant]

#10 Frequent urination. Lots of women find they need to go to the toilet far more frequently than usual when they are pregnant. This is due to the increased amount of blood in your body causing the kidneys to work overtime, and you rushing to the loo every five minutes!

[Read: Pregnancy experiences – the stages for mothers-to-be]

A pregnant woman could have all of these symptoms, or just a few of them, or perhaps even none at all! All women are different, however, so if you’re wondering how to tell if you’re pregnant, keep an eye on these symptoms and talk to your doctor to find out for sure.

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Bethany Locke
Bethany Locke
Bethany was born and raised in Scotland and now resides in Brighton where she lives with her partner and rather disobedient cocker spaniel pup. She works as a f...
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