1st Trimester | Pregnancy

15 Early Signs of Pregnancy You Should Know

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early signs of pregnancy - how to know if you're pregnant

Let’s talk about how Dairy Queen hot dogs are the best ever – well at least they were for me – as one of the earliest signs of pregnancy.

Aside from pregnancy cravings, you could experience morning sickness, food aversions, or even just a “feeling” that you’re pregnant. These early pregnancy symptoms are very real and could help you determine if you’re pregnant!

Finding out you’re pregnant can be an incredibly exciting and stressful time of your life.

Unfortunately, you can’t know for sure that you’re pregnant right away. It takes time for your hormones to climb and to be able to take a pregnancy test or see your baby on an ultrasound.

BUT – these are some pretty good early signs of pregnancy that you’ll want to know if you think you could be expecting.

Related: What To Do As Soon As You Find Out You’re Pregnant

Related: 1st Trimester Checklist

Related: The Secret About Home Pregnancy Tests

When Can You Find Out You’re Pregnant

The #1 way to tell that you’re pregnant is through an ultrasound. While seeing that little heart beat flicker and your baby for the first time can be a magical moment, you might not be able to see much on an ultrasound for a few weeks.

Typically, before you’d be able to see your baby on an ultrasound, you’d be able to test positive on a pregnancy test. False positives are not common, so if you see a big fat positive + , odds are – you’re pregnant!

So when can you take a pregnancy test?

A pregnancy test measures the amount of HCG in your urine. HCG is a hormone that is only made while you’re pregnant.

As your baby continues to grow your HCG levels will double (at least at the beginning of your pregnancy). Once you reach a certain HCG level, your pregnancy will show up on a test.

The best time to take a pregnancy test is after you’ve missed your period.

So try to hold off on taking a test until that time if you can!

This doesn’t mean you won’t get a positive test if you test a few days before your missed period, but your chances for a false negative will increase the earlier you take your pregnancy test.

15 Early Signs of Pregnancy

1. Nausea

Nausea and morning sickness can be a tell tale sign of pregnancy. Some women swear they start feeling nauseous the day after conception. While other women won’t start feeling sick until week 8 – and some not at all.

Tip: Try keeping crackers next to your bed and eat a few before you get up in the morning. Lemon drops or Preggy Pops are other good alternatives!

Tip: Try keeping crackers next to your bed and eat a few before you get up in the morning. Lemon drops or Preggy Pops are other good alternatives!

2. Crazy Dreams

With pregnancy, comes pregnancy hormones. This change in hormones can cause vivid, crazy dreams. One of the first signs of my pregnancy was these types of dreams!

Tip: Try to relax before bed. Create a routine to calm down and destress.

3. Tender Breasts

It’s those early hormones again! Another sign of pregnancy is tender or swollen breasts. If you’re noticing that they just don’t feel like they normally do – it could be an early sign of pregnancy.

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4. Late Period

If your period is late (and you’re usually pretty regular), there’s a good chance you could be pregnant.

Tip: Track your periods with an easy (and free) app to be sure that you can know what’s regular for you.

5. Fatigue

Feeling extra tired or exhausted for no reason could be a sign that you’re pregnant. Fatigue is often one of the first signs of pregnancy that many expecting moms experience in the first trimester.

If you have other children at home, you might really be tired. Take some time to relax and squeeze in a quick nap if you’re able!

Tip: Relax when you can. Try going to bed earlier if possible.

6. Food Aversions

Does the smell of broccoli suddenly make you want to run to the bathroom?

Food aversions, even to foods you might have previously loved, are another common sign of pregnancy. Your hormones are changing and certain food smells, tastes, or textures just might not be palatable for you right now.

Tip: While you might not be able to avoid it altogether, ask those you live with to avoid cooking certain foods or leave the room when you know a smell might bother you. You can also try B6 vitamins to help reduce your nausea.

7. Cravings

Does a Dairy Queen hot dog suddenly sound like the best food in the world? (This was my craving of choice with both my pregnancies – seriously you guys, SO GOOD.) And you need it right now?

Whether it’s pickles and ice cream, or maybe something normal like fruit – cravings can be very common for pregnant moms.

Related: What You Need to Know About Pregnancy Weight Gain

Tip: Try to find healthy alternatives to your cravings or set limits on how often you can indulge. The Belly Only Pregnancy has a complete meal plan to help you during pregnancy

8. Mood Swings

One second you’re happy and the next you can’t believe how made you are.

How about that sweet Christmas commercial that just aired and now you’re crying like a baby?

Mood swings are another joy of all those new hormones that are flooding an expecting mom’s body.

If your mood swings are out of control, make sure you talk with your doctor to make sure your hormone levels aren’t too out of whack (just the right pregnancy out of whack ;)).

Tip: Get exercise, eat well, rest, and talk with others. These tips can help relieve some of your mood swings, or at least help you cope with them. See a doctor if you notice these are severe.

9. Elevated Basal Body Temperature

This was one of the reasons I took a pregnancy test with my first baby!

I had been monitoring my basal body temperature over a few months and noticed that it was staying elevated when it should have dropped.

This, along with being close to when my period was due, prompted me to take a pregnancy test. I was so excited to see a prominent positive sign on the pregnancy test.

To learn more about taking your basal body temperature – read this post from the Mayo Clinic. It’s more than just taking your temperature every day!

Tip: Get a great thermometer (I used this one) and take your basal body temperature at the same time every day!

10. Bloating & Constipation

Let’s talk about bloating.

This can be early sign of pregnancy, along with constipation. Both bloating and constipation have to do with your body changing and your digestive tract slowing down during pregnancy.

If you notice excessive constipation or bloating, be sure to talk with your doctor.

Tip: Exercise when you can. Even going for a walk can help get your digestive system moving better. The Belly Only Pregnancy has a full workout plan for pregnant women – no matter the trimester – that will help!

11. Increased Urge to Pee

While you might not be able to poop, you might suddenly be feeling like you need to pee – ALL THE TIME.

If your lifestyle and drinking habits have remained relatively unchanged, but you’re suddenly noticing the urge to to use the bathroom frequently (and actually are going to the bathroom), you just might be pregnant.

Usually feeling the urge to urinate more often is due to your growing uterus and baby. However, early in pregnancy it could be from all your changing hormones again.

Tip: Increase your water intake during the morning and slowly decrease it in the evening. You’ll find yourself waking up less to use the bathroom this way.

12. Diarrhea

On the opposite side of the spectrum, some women may experience diarrhea as an early pregnancy sign instead of constipation.

This is again due to a change in hormones and how those changes are affecting your body. Continue eating healthy and drinking lots of water.

Diarrhea can cause dehydration if it occurs too often. If you notice excessive diarrhea, consult your doctor.

Tip: Drink from a large water bottle to stay hydrated during the day.

13. Implantation Bleeding

Not all women experience implantation bleeding – but some do.

Implantation bleeding is like light spotting that occurs when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterus.

If you notice more than light bleeding or spotting, it could be your period returning or a potential sign of an early miscarriage.

Tip: Use panty liners during implantation bleeding.

14. Dizziness and Headaches

When you become pregnant, your body needs to start pumping more blood to your uterus – you’re making a baby after all!

You’ll have more blood flowing, need more water in your diet to keep you hydrated, and have more hormones running throughout your body.

These factors are important ones that can contribute feeling dizzy or having a headache. For some women, fainting or feeling dizzy can be the first sign that they’re pregnant!

Tip: Make sure you’re setting water goals during the day and trying to meet them! A large water bottle, like this one, or naturally flavoring your water can help you drink more.

15. Increased Heart Rate

Remember how we just talked about all that extra blood that’s getting pumped throughout your body?

The increase in blood flow and pumping action your heart is doing, is going to increase your heart rate. This may be almost completely unnoticeable by some, especially if you don’t track your heart rate regularly.

However, if you are used to wearing a FitBit or another device to track your heart rate, you might notice a slight rise in rate.

This was another sign I noticed with my first pregnancy!

If you’re pregnant with multiples, your heart rate might increase even more than someone pregnant with a single baby.  

Tip: Take it easy. Take time to rest as needed or take a break from exercise if you’re feeling extra winded.

What Can Affect These First Pregnancy Symptoms

Unfortunately, these pregnancy signs are not a sure fire way to know that you’re pregnant. There are several other factors that could affect these early pregnancy symptoms.

Stress

If you’re having high levels of stress in your life, your body will respond. Your hormones will fluctuate and your vital signs will respond. You could showcase any or all of these symptoms due to increased stress.

Medications

Certain medications can also cause changes within your body. Whether your medications are hormonal or not, they are working within your body and may affect you in ways you may not always expect.

Be sure to read the side effects of your medications and discuss any concerns that you have with your physician.

Changing Birth Control Methods

If you recently changed your birth control or stopped birth control you could experience some of these early pregnancy symptoms. Your body is either trying to change certain hormones or regulate the hormones currently in your body.

What affects first pregnancy symptoms: Medications

No Signs of Pregnancy?

What if you’re not experiencing any of these early pregnancy symptoms?

That’s okay!

Some women feel no different during the early stages of pregnancy – some even swear they’ve never felt better!

I remember googling several times “pregnancy no symptoms” – only to have nausea the next day – whoops.

So if you’re not experiencing any of the early signs of pregnancy and just have a “feeling” – go ahead and take a pregnancy test, you never know what you might find out.

What If You’re Not Pregnant

If you find out that you’re not pregnant and are experiencing unusual symptoms talk with your doctor about what could be going on. He or she may run hormone tests or examine your medications.

*If you’re healthy and under 35 years old, most doctors will recommend that you try for a year before seeing a fertility doctor.

*If you’re over 35 years old, it’s recommended to wait 6 months and then consult a fertility specialist.

There are a few times however, that you will want to consider seeing an infertility specialist right away.

These include:

  • If you’re over 40 years old
  • You have known reproductive issues
  • You have a thyroid issue
  • A history of multiple miscarriages
  • Significant medical history
  • Other unusual symptoms such as irregular or painful periods, or no periods at all – also called amenorrhea.

For more on when to see a fertility doctor check out this article from FitPregnancy.

Early Pregnancy Signs & Symptoms - See Your Doctor

The First Signs You Could Be Pregnant

Whether you have a gut “feeling” that you’re pregnant or you’re totally surprised, these early pregnancy symptoms might just hold you over until you’re able to take that pregnancy test or see your little one on an ultrasound.

So what’s the verdict? If you’re pregnant, you might want to check these great resources out:

Pregnant? Don’t miss this free Beginning Prenatal Class

I wish I had done a better job of documenting my first pregnancy! Check out this awesome Pregnancy Journal {that you can print instantly} to help you keep track of all the special moments during your pregnancy.

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