Pregnancy causes many changes in your body, and you might notice some of them very soon after you become pregnant. Signs of pregnancy are:
- You may have some bloody spotting several days after conception, when the embryo attaches to the wall of your uterus. This is called implantation bleeding. You may also have some cramping at this time.
- Your first symptom may be that you have to go to the bathroom more often. Pregnancy hormones cause frequent urination. You may notice this even before you miss a period.
- Changes in your hormones can also cause you to feel much more tired than usual.
- Another sign is feeling sick to your stomach. This is called morning sickness, but the queasiness, nausea, or vomiting can happen at any time during the day. About half of pregnant women have morning sickness.
- Your breasts may start feeling more tender to the touch. They will also usually get bigger. The breast soreness will become less noticeable as your body gets used to the pregnancy hormones.
- You may notice that your clothes fit more tightly.
- A missed period is the clearest sign of pregnancy, but it is not a sure sign because other things, such as illness, stress, or losing too much weight, can affect when you have a period. Pregnancy may cause your period to be delayed or much lighter and shorter than normal. If you have missed 1 or more periods, or have had 1 or more abnormal periods, you should find out if you are pregnant.
Some women may not see any changes until they miss a period, and the missed period may be their only symptom.
How can I know if I am pregnant?
If you think you might be pregnant, you can buy a home pregnancy kit to test for pregnancy. The test looks for a pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Some home pregnancy tests can be done as soon as the day your next period should start. The test will be more accurate, however, if it is done 2 weeks after the day your missed period should have started. If the test is positive there is a good chance that you are pregnant. Make an appointment with your healthcare provider to confirm the test result and begin prenatal care. Your provider may do a blood test that is more sensitive than a urine test. Blood tests can pick up hCG earlier in a pregnancy than urine tests can. Blood tests can tell if you are pregnant about 6 to 8 days after release an egg from an ovary (ovulate).
If the home test is negative and you had your last period less than 6 weeks ago, repeat the test in 1 or 2 weeks. If the test is still negative, you are probably not pregnant. Something else may be causing you to miss your periods. If your period is 6 to 8 weeks late, you should see your healthcare provider even if the test is negative.
It is possible in some cases to have a positive home test even though you are not pregnant. Be sure to see your healthcare provider right away to confirm the test results.
What other symptoms are caused by pregnancy?
Pregnancy can cause a number of other symptoms, such as headaches, increased vaginal discharge, bloating, and strange cravings. All of the signs and symptoms of pregnancy can also be caused by other medical conditions. This is why it is important for you to test for pregnancy either at home or at your healthcare provider’s office to see if pregnancy is the likely cause of your symptoms.