The only way to know for sure if you’re pregnant is by taking a pregnancy test or getting an ultrasound scan – but some women start to feel very early signs of pregnancy before a pregnancy test can give a clear result, and it’s always fun to guess!
Just as every woman is different, so is every pregnancy. Some women start to feel symptoms almost immediately after the fertilized egg has implanted itself in the uterus and the pregnancy hormones start to flow – others don’t feel any changes until several weeks into their pregnancy.
But some early pregnancy symptoms can also be very similar to the symptoms you experience before and after your period; you can also be pregnant without experiencing any symptoms at all. If you’re actively trying to conceive, we can only recommend taking regular pregnancy tests to get a clear answer.
Nevertheless, there are some early symptoms of pregnancy that you can look out for:
Your period is late
One of the first clear tell-tale signs of pregnancy is a late period. After the fertilized egg is implanted, your body will start to produce the hormone hCG. This hormone helps your body maintain the pregnancy and tells your ovaries to stop releasing mature eggs every month, stopping your periods.
Women with very regular cycles will probably notice already when their period is a couple of days late, but for women with irregular cycles, it can be hard to tell for sure before there’s a positive pregnancy test.
A very, very early sign of pregnancy can be light spot bleeding. When the egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus, around 10-14 days after conception, it can cause small spots of bleeding, similar to the beginning of a normal period. It’s nothing to worry about, and not all women even get it or notice anything.
Feeling nauseated or sick during pregnancy is very common, especially during the 1st trimester; it’s commonly called “morning sickness”, but don’t be deceived – it can hit you any time during the day (and night!). Scientists aren’t entirely sure what causes morning sickness, but it’s generally thought that the hormonal changes happening in your body in early pregnancy are at fault.
Those early hormonal changes caused by pregnancy can make your breasts sensitive, swollen, and tender, and sometimes make your areolas darken. The hormones are slowly preparing your breasts for the breastmilk and breastfeeding to come, but since many women also experience tender breasts around the time of their period, this is also one of those tricky is-it-or-isn’t-it signs.
Some women start to feel exhausted as soon as one week after conceiving. As soon as the egg attaches itself to your uterine wall, your body starts pumping out hormones to help sustain the pregnancy. The hormone progesterone, in particular, is responsible for fatigue and the general slowing of your bodily functions during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, the total volume of blood in a woman’s body can increase by up to 50-60%! This process begins as soon as your body starts producing hCG; this added blood flow primarily benefits your growing uterus and baby, but can also affect other organs, including your kidneys; their primary task is to filter your blood and remove waste through your urine. The more blood you have in your body, the harder your kidneys work to get rid of more waste. So, while it can feel inconvenient that you have to pee all the time, it´s actually really good, for both you and your baby.
More sensitive sense of smell
The heightened levels of estrogen in your body during pregnancy can cause your sense of smell to become more sensitive. Unfortunately, this heightened sensitivity to smells can also trigger your morning sickness, so it’s a bit of an evil circle. What can you do about your sensitive snout? There’s really not much you can do, except try to avoid the smells that cause you discomfort, surround yourself with smells that you DO like, and make sure to air out the room you’re in on a regular basis.
Changed sense of taste
Because of – you guessed it! – hormonal changes, a changed sense of taste can be an early sign of pregnancy. You’ve probably heard of pregnant women craving strange combinations of food, and this sort of shift in your tastebuds is very normal. It can cause your favorite foods to suddenly taste weird, and foods you would normally hate to taste like heaven. Sometimes this change in your tastebuds can also come in the form of a sour or metallic taste in your mouth.