Looking for the first signs of being pregnant can be exciting, frustrating and filled by mixed feelings of hope and despair.
If you are charting your BBT (basal body temperature), it is entirely possible to notice the first signs of pregnancy already before your menstruation is due, probably during the fourth week of pregnancy. Most other symptoms (like tender breasts, for example) might just as well indicate that your period is about to start if they appear during the first two weeks after ovulation.
In any case, there are some symptoms that are pretty clear indicators of pregnancy, while others may be a symptom of something else entirely. Let’s take a look at some of these.
The Most Important Signs of Pregnancy
BBT Temperature Rise & Implantation Bleeding
Some women do get indications of being pregnant before menstruation is late. The two most common (but still quite uncommon) pregnancy symptoms that occur really early are:
- Implantation bleeding
- A raised BBT (Body Basal Temperature) in connection to or right after the implantation (bleeding or not).
The implantation of the egg into the uterus lining occurs on average 9 days after ovulation. In any case, it occurs when you are 4 weeks pregnant, more or less.
Some women (but not the majority) get a small bleeding at the time of the implantation, called implantation bleeding. For most women, however, experiencing bleeding 9 days after ovulation is, unfortunately, a sign that menstruation is on its way.
But if you do BBT charting and notice a second temperature rise at around the 9th day after ovulation, then this is a very interesting sign of being pregnant. I actually got an indication for two of my three pregnancies that way. Again BBT charting can be difficult to get completely right and the temperature can vary for many reasons. But if you are a veteran BBT charter, and you get a second temperature rise around 9 or 10 days after ovulation AND a small implantation bleeding, then it might actually be quite a certain sign of pregnancy.
Lack Of a Menstrual Period
For most women, the first thing noticed is the lack of a menstrual period. This is one of the signs of being pregnant that is a pretty clear indicator. There may of course also be other reasons for a missed period, such as stress or if you have been on a very extreme exercise regimen.
Another sign of being pregnant is nausea or so-called morning sickness. Not everyone experiences this symptom and it is not always in the morning. Morning sickness can strike at any time. Usually, it only lasts for a little while each time and subsides at around 10 weeks pregnant. There may be other reasons for feeling ill such as a virus or the onset of the flu, but they will usually be accompanied by other symptoms as well.
While hard to endure, morning sickness is actually a good sign. You can read about the benefits of morning sickness here.
Also remember that there are at least some remedies for morning sickness that are proven to be effective.
One of the earlier signs of being pregnant may be feeling unusually tired. This is due to the changes your body is beginning to go through. For many women, tired is not enough to describe the feeling; they are completely exhausted! Falling asleep at 7PM on the couch night after night, is actually a sign of being pregnant 🙂
During the first trimester, the main reason for this exhaustion is due to hormonal changes. There is not much to do about that other than adapt, sleep more and eat well. You are highly likely to feel better in a month or two.
Somewhat later in pregnancy, iron deficiency is another common reason for feeling weak and exhausted.
While it is very common to feel tired during early pregnancy, it is not a certain sign of pregnancy, as you may be tired for many other reasons as well.
Many women experience heartburn when they become pregnant. They may not have ever had it before, but suddenly they are getting heartburn frequently. Although this is one of the signs of being pregnant, there are other causes. Spicy foods will cause it for some people. Acid reflux can develop and cause heartburn. It is best to check with your doctor for recurring heartburn.
Swollen And Tender Breasts
Swollen and tender breasts similar to the onset of a period may occur. If your period is late by several days and you continue to have sore breasts, then it is definitely time to do a pregnancy test!
Cravings For Certain Foods
Cravings for certain foods are also a sign of pregnancy. According to research, some 60% of all women experience some sort of food cravings during pregnancy.
A theory is that the body is making sure that it gets every type of nutrient that it needs for the development of the fetus. Fruits, milk, milk products, salty foods, and chocolate are among the most common cravings among pregnant women.
Aversion To Certain Foods
Coffee lovers suddenly can’t stand the taste of coffee. Meat lovers become nauseated by the smell of meat. Aversion to certain foods is yet another pregnancy sign.
Interestingly, Valerie Duffy, Ph.D, an associate professor in the School of Allied Health at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, has found that women tend to have an intensified perception of bitterness during
the first trimester. The assumption is that this prevented the pregnant women in old times from consuming toxic plants and fruits, that often have a bitter taste. For today’s woman, it may also warn women not to consume alcohol during this very sensitive phase of fetal development.
Mood swings may be one of the signs of being pregnant. This is due to the hormonal changes the body is going through.
The bouts of crying and feeling sad are just normal parts of the changes. Keep in mind that in and of itself this is not a positive sign of pregnancy. You could be having mood swings due to PMS (premenstrual syndrome), depression or something more serious.
These are the nine most common early signs of pregnancy. One by one, they may not be a very certain pregnancy indicator, but if you experience several at the same time, buying a pregnancy test might be a good idea. 🙂
If you want to learn more about fertility, have a look at the books below. And please share your pregnancy signs by commenting below or by sharing your experiences in our poll on pregnancy signs.
Fertility Book Tips
- Taking Charge of Your Fertility, 20th Anniversary Edition: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health
- The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant
- It Starts with the Egg: How the Science of Egg Quality Can Help You Get Pregnant Naturally, Prevent Miscarriage, and Improve Your Odds in IVF