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8 Early Signs of Pregnancy

Life comes with some big questions. One of the bigger ones may be, “Am I pregnant?”

How can you tell? The main sign of pregnancy is missing your menstrual period. Due to normal variance in menstrual cycle length, a missed menses is not a reliable indicator of pregnancy until 10 days after the expected date of menses. After two or more consecutive missed periods the probability of pregnancy is much greater.

Before that time, you might consider using a home pregnancy test. If a home pregnancy test is taken too early, before eight days after ovulation, the results can be unreliable. It may seem difficult at the time, but you may be better off waiting.

While you wait, watch for these signs from the National Institutes of Health that may indicate pregnancy. (Important note: Other medical conditions can cause these symptoms, so they do not necessarily mean you’re pregnant.)

  1. Fatigue — Feeling tired is normal. It may be noticed a week after conception. It happens because your body is going through changes to support a pregnancy including increased metabolism and producing extra hormones such as progesterone.


  2. Headaches — These can result from the increase in hormone production.


  3. Frequent urination — Another hormonal change boosts blood flow to your pelvic region. This change typically results in frequent restroom trips.


  4. Slight bleeding — This can happen from about 6 to 12 days after conception through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.


  5. Breasts and nipples become swollen, tender or tingly — This may be noticeable starting a week or two after conception. Your breasts may also feel heavier. Again, this is a result of increasing hormones; your body is getting ready for nursing.


  6. Nausea and/or vomiting — You may notice this starting between two and eight weeks after conception. It can happen any time during the day, so the old phrase “morning sickness” isn’t necessarily accurate.


  7. Mood swings — This is another change hormones bring on. The swings can start a few weeks after conception.


  8. Food cravings or aversions — You may notice you’re attracted to certain foods, or foods you normally like become unappealing. This can come and go or last throughout the pregnancy. Again, just because you have some of these symptoms, does not mean you’re pregnant.


If you know your normal ovulation time, wait the eight days mentioned previously before using a home pregnancy test. If you have questions about choosing a test, ask your pharmacist for a recommendation for an accurate, cost-effective home pregnancy test kit. The pharmacist is there to answer questions like this. Carefully follow the test kit’s instructions to obtain the most accurate result.

If you get a positive result or you simply have questions about pregnancy, see your health care clinician. Your clinician can do a blood or urine test to confirm pregnancy.

You have some options when it comes to your health care before and during pregnancy. It’s a good idea to visit with family and friends for suggestions. If you have health insurance, using a clinician that’s in-network can reduce your out-of-pocket costs.

Here are some health care choices you’ll want to make and options available.

  • Who will provide your care before and during pregnancy? Start with your primary care clinician. Some primary care physicians also provide obstetrical care. However, she or he may recommend an obstetrics and gynecology specialist. A gynecologist specializes in women’s reproductive health. An obstetrician focuses on caring for women during pregnancy. An Ob/Gyn does both.
    A good option for women with low-risk pregnancies is a midwife. This health care professional is highly trained to help mothers have a healthy, safe pregnancy and delivery. A midwife can be your coach and educator before and throughout your pregnancy and delivery. Some individuals with high risks pregnancies may need to be cared for by a maternal fetal medicine sub-specialist.
  • Where will you plan to deliver baby? Your health care clinician can help you work through this choice. Checking with family and friends can give you good guidance, too. Your options include your local hospital or birthing center. If you desire a specific provider you should check with their office regarding which hospital or birthing center they perform deliveries at.
  • Who will provide health care for your newborn? This can be the role of your primary care clinician. You may also want to consider choosing a pediatrician who specializes in the unique health care needs of children.


As you consider your choices for clinicians for you and your child, check the patient reviews on the Aurora Health Care website. On our Find a Doctor page, choose a specialty and add your city/ZIP. You’ll then see a list of providers near you. Under most names you’ll see ratings and a link to the clinician’s reviews. You can read the feedback patients have provided. The profiles give you additional information about the providers so you can make more informed decisions.

If you’re pregnant or planning to be, your health care professionals can help answer your questions every step of the way!

Meet the Author

Jessica A. Behrens, DO is an obstetrician and gynecologist at the Aurora Health Center in Milwaukee, WI.

Read more posts from this author

The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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