What are the signs of pregnancy? Whether you’re actively and anxiously trying to get pregnant, or just wondering about a mysterious missed period, getting some perspective on the signs of pregnancy is important. I say that perspective is important because not all signs of pregnancy are created equal. Many are ambiguous at best. For example, if I turned out to be pregnant every time I had breast tenderness or was fatigued, I would have more kids than the Old Lady Who Lived in the Shoe.
Additionally, every woman’s experience of each separate pregnancy is unique. But despite these shortcomings, the signs are good to know! The sooner you think/know you’re pregnant, the sooner you can begin caring for yourself and the baby. So with those disclaimers in mind, here are some of the most common signs of pregnancy.
Subtle Clues That You Might Be Pregnant
Growing a baby is hard work and requires your body to undergo big changes. Some women feel really tired, especially in the first few months as your body adjusts.
Your breasts start preparing for milk production early in pregnancy. This may mean your breasts are especially tender, your nipples are a darker color, you may notice more prominent veins, or they may get larger or heavier. Of course, many women also experience breast tenderness and heaviness prior to having their periods.
Nausea and Vomiting
The increased hormones involved in pregnancy can make women feel nauseous or even throw up. There is usually a pattern, most often occurring in the morning or other times of the day when your blood sugar is low.
Urinating More Frequently
Peeing more often can be because your uterus is changing size, putting more pressure on your bladder and therefore increasing the urge to urinate. This usually goes away during the second trimester, but comes back as you get closer to birth.
Your uterus grows bigger than your baby at first, so by 12 weeks it is usually reaching the top of your public bone. You may notice gentle swelling in your belly from these changes.
Bigger Clues That You Might Be Pregnant
A Missed Period or Irregular Period
Most all women stop having monthly bleeding once they become pregnant, but it isn’t uncommon for there to be some bleeding caused by implantation at around the time your period would usually come. Implantation bleeding would be more like spotting than a real period.
Elevated Basal Body Temperature
If you have been charting your fertility, one way to know that you might be pregnant is if your basal body temperature has remained high past your normal luteal phase length, or gone up to an even higher temperature level. This is especially neat because you can still notice this relatively early in pregnancy, and it is free!
A Positive Pregnancy Test
A positive pregnancy test is, of course, one of the obvious signs of pregnancy! Depending on the type of test, you may be able to get a positive reading around the time you miss your period, or in other words, at about 4 weeks.
Quickening/Feeling Baby’s Movement
This is when you, the pregnant one, start feeling the baby move inside your belly. First time mom usually notice a little later, but you might notice this as early as week 16.
Many women report that they simply feel pregnant. This may be physical or intuitive, but it is probably a pretty good sign that something is up!
Signs That You’re Definitely Pregnant
Other People Feeling Baby’s Movement
For many first time moms, it may only be in retrospect that they realize when they started feeling baby move inside. If women are connected to their bodies, there is no reason to doubt that they are feeling baby when they think they are feeling baby. It is, however, even more concrete when someone else can feel baby moving from outside. This is likely to happen around 20 weeks.
Hearing the Baby’s Heart Beat
Your baby’s heart beat can be heard with a piece of technology called a Doppler after about 10 weeks, and can be heard with a fetoscope (a special stethoscope to hear fetuses) after about 16 weeks, or once you have been feeling kicks. Congratulations!