What Are the Earliest Signs of Pregnancy?

Early Pregnancy Symptoms Are Not Fool-Proof

When you're wondering if you're pregnant, sometimes you just don't want to wait for an at-home pregnancy test or a missed period to find out. Thankfully, there are some signs to watch for that sometimes appear before a test will work.

These symptoms are usually caused by the extra hormones flooding your body and some of them are caused by a growing uterus. Unfortunately, many of them are also easily confused with PMS.

These signs, however, are not fool-proof. Symptoms differ for everyone and even from pregnancy to pregnancy. You may experience all, some, or none of them even if you do conceive. The only way to be certain that you're pregnant is to take a pregnancy test.

In the table below are some statistics on the most-commonly reported first symptom of pregnancy. These are the things women usually notice first after conceiving. You'll see that a missed period, nausea, changes in the breasts, and fatigue account for 79% of most women's first clue.

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Most-Commonly Reported First Symptom of Pregnancy

% of Women
Missed Period
Tender or Swollen Breasts
Implantation Bleeding
Food-Related Symptoms
Headaches, Increased Urination, and Cramps
Data based on a study conducted by the American Pregnancy Association, "First Signs of Pregnancy." 2014

Missed Period

The most commonly-reported (and one of the most accurate) first symptoms of pregnancy is a missed period. Some of these other changes can happen in your body before you miss your period.

Changes in Your Breasts

Often, one of the first signs of pregnancy is sore or tender breasts. Sometimes the breasts may also become swollen. This can also be a PMS symptom but if you don't normally experience tender or sore breasts before your period, you could be pregnant.

Some women experience extra sensitive or darker nipples. Since it doesn't happen during PMS, darkened nipples are a pretty reliable indicator of pregnancy.


Nausea (morning sickness) is another early symptom. It may not always occur in the mornings, and you may not actually vomit. The nausea could last all day, be only after eating, or only be at certain times of the day. Some women never suffer nausea at all.

Heartburn is another common complaint during pregnancy and could be one of your early signs.


Feeling more tired than usual can be a sign of pregnancy. Some women describe it as extreme fatigue, like you've been hit with a truck. This can also be a symptom of PMS, however, and of many other conditions.

You might also feel under the weather or just not feel "right."

Less-Common or Reliable Symptoms

Cramps and Stiffness

You may find that your back is sore or stiff, especially the lower back, and you might have cramping. Lots of physical activity may induce cramps in the early stages of pregnancy.

Feeling Dizzy

Feeling faint, dizzy, or lightheaded is another common, early signal. Some women actually faint.

Acne and Metallic Taste

Some women experience a metallic taste and acne as a result of hormonal changes.

Elevated Body Temperature

A woman's body temperature naturally increases during ovulation but drops back down afterwards. Barring sickness, if your body temperature stays elevated after ovulation, it could mean you're pregnant.

Feeling Overly Emotional and Easily Irritated

This is the result of additional hormones in your body while you are pregnant. Again, this can be confused with PMS, but if you normally don't have these PMS symptoms, then it may be an indication of pregnancy.

Implantation Bleeding

About a week after becoming pregnant, a few women experience very slight bleeding or spotting that could be pink, red, or brown in color. If you don't normally spot between periods, this may indicate pregnancy.

Sensitivity to Smell

Sensitivity to smell is another early sign of pregnancy. Certain smells will even make you feel nauseous, even ones that you normally enjoy.

Many women are especially sensitive to strong fumes like gasoline or cleaners, cigarette smoke, certain foods, and perfumes while pregnant. This is a pretty accurate early pregnancy symptom if you experience it.

Increased Frequency of Urination or Constipation

As your uterus grows, it places additional pressure on your bladder. This will have you running to the bathroom more than usual. Hormones are usually to blame for constipation as well.

The Only Way to Know for Sure

A pregnancy test is the only way to know for sure if you're pregnant. If you are experiencing any of these, a home pregnancy test is usually accurate about two weeks after conception.

If the test results are negative, wait another week. Sometimes home pregnancy tests can produce false negatives, especially if used too soon.

What Should I Do?

If you believe that you are pregnant, but it is too early to confirm it with a test, take care of your body as if you are pregnant. Early signs of pregnancy should never be taken lightly. Get plenty of rest and eat healthy.

Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, cigarette smoke, and drugs. Check labels for any dangers of over-the-counter medications and supplements and start taking a quality vitamin and mineral supplement. Call your doctor if you are taking any prescription medications to see if you should stop or change dosage.

If you are not trying to get pregnant, call a health center to discuss your options. Most likely you will have to schedule an appointment to come in and take a pregnancy test as soon as it will be accurate. Until then, try not to do too much Internet research.

Comments 18 comments

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Great hub and very good advice. Thank you.

ocbill profile image

ocbill 6 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

great review on the symptoms. it seems to be a never-ending question women have; and unfortunately teens too.

jaanu 5 years ago

great hub and very good advice thank you

nakhoa profile image

nakhoa 5 years ago from Ha Noi

Great information. I just wrote a related hub, please advise

emdi profile image

emdi 4 years ago

Very nice hub. I have written a hub about a related topic which is not covered in this hub- gassing during early pregnancy. May be readers of this hub would find this short article about gassing during pregnancy, funny and informative

Alexie 4 years ago

I have a regular period, & i'm now 1 week late. im experiencing some of those early signs but it can also be signs of PMS. I took pregnancy test & the result says negative. But i just have a hunch that i might be pregnant. What you guys think, am i pregnant or not??

Christina vagedes 2 years ago

Hello I have a very important question....a few days a ago i had spotting on the date I'm supposed to start my period...I took a pregnancy test and it showed up negative...this morning I woke up and my nipples are very sore and sensitive... In not having any sickness but I feel nausous sometimes. I thought my nipples are sore because I'm about to start my period.......but about 90% of the time I have brown discharge before I actually due. So sore nipples and spotting is not a common sign for me.... Please I need answers could I be pregnant???????

Erlica 2 years ago

But I had blood not like spotting but covered 3/4 of my thong

shardha 2 years ago

is lose motion is also sign of pregnancy ?

alex 2 years ago

I have a question, I was pregnant once, list the baby, I think im pregnant again...Im waking up during the night and in the morning with horrible heartburn and feeling dizzy and my pee is bright yellow and all I drink is water. I have birth control but I ran out 1 1/2 weeks ago and haven't gotten it filled since I had my period, could I be pregnant again?

ngozi ruth 2 years ago

I am pregnant but don't feel like am pregnant..the only sign I see is heaviness of my breast

kemisola 2 years ago

Am 9 days past ovulation,white watering discharge breast little painful am I pregnant?

Kelly 18 months ago

I went on the injection the 27 of march and the sex day my period finished and I was spotting for about three days had unprotected sex the sixth day can I get pregnant bcuz am having symptoms of been pregnant

brittnay 14 months ago

Well I haven't had a period since May 23rd it is now Aug 11. I have taken about 6 pregnancy test at different times they all come out negative but yet no period or even a sign of one. My stomach seems a Lil bigger but it could possibly be all in my head although Ive gone stretch marks on my stomach. IDK if it's because of weight gain or something. I've shown no pregnancy symptoms. But that's strange. Could I be pregnant

Mack 13 months ago

I've started my period but I'm still feeling pains I'm using not cramping could I be pregnant ?

CC 11 months ago

Very informative and detailed article!

I've been getting a lot of these symptoms, fatigue, high sensation of nausea only after eating, temperature, cramps, constipation, frequent urination, headaches, heartburn, bloating, stronger sense of smell, bloating, heartburn, dizziness, mood swings, however it's been 2 weeks since unprotected sex, took the morning after pill the next day (7 - 10 hrs after sex) and got a 'period' however it was lighter and shorter than the last, and the plan B pill that i took has be known to give a false period, since then the symptoms have been slowly increasing, ive taken a pregnancy test today - negative, but will be taking another in a weeks time, just to be certain, it the symptoms get to irritating i'll be paying my doctor a visit for a blood test.

Melly Ortiz 6 months ago

I'm having wired cravings and left side of my stomach hurts could i be pregnant

Joy 6 months ago

Is abdominal pain a sign of pregnancy

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