Sometimes, you just cannot wait until you miss a period to find out whether you are pregnant or not. And you shouldn’t have to wait. This isn’t the 1800s; there are plenty of ways to tell you are pregnant before your missed period, and even before you take a pregnancy test (and lots of pregnancy tests, even the most advanced once can’t even tell you for certainty that you are pregnant until well after your skipped period). Keep in mind that these signs may also just mean that your period is late. One by itself is not necessarily a sign of pregnancy, but several together may be.
Random nausea, if caused neither by last night’s bad shrimp nor too much milk in your morning coffee, may be an early sign of pregnancy. It’s a pretty common indicator of pregnancy across the board, all the way up until labor, but especially in the early pregnancy. One sign that it’s a baby in your uterus and not mild food poisoning is that it comes on quickly and departs soon after it’s made you vomit, usually in the morning, but also late at night.
Tender or Swollen Breasts
Tender breasts are a common sign that your period is on its way (or even, in full swing), but when that pain is more intense than you’ve ever felt before, it might be time to start considering the possibility of pregnancy. This pain may occur as soon as two weeks after conception, far before you miss your period, and is a signifier that your body is preparing to not only grow, but also care for a baby once it has been born. Some women experience a pins and needles sensation, while other feel an increased fullness or soreness.
Again, this symptom is shared equally between a new pregnancy and an oncoming period. Fatigue means that your body is working overtime. So while you can’t say you’re pregnant just because you’re a little more tired than you usually are, compounded with some of these other symptoms, it might be a definite indicator.
Aversions and Cravings
Expectant mothers have keener and more discerning noses than those who are not with child. Heightened estrogen levels allow pregnant women to not only smell more smells, but also be repulsed by more of those smells. Though this is commonly expected of women in their second and third trimesters, a sudden sensitivity to smells and tastes that you did not have before is a good indicator that you are newly pregnant. Plus, sudden cravings, even for an irrational combination of foods (for my mother, it was mustard and ice cream), are also a sign that at some point in the future, you will see a positive pregnancy test.
Spotty Bleeding and Cramps
You make think you’re periods come early, but in reality, it’s just the uterus letting off a little blood as a fertilized egg attaches to its wall. It is usually a few days before you would normally expect your period, is much lighter, a little spottier, and doesn’t last the full four to seven days. Don’t just assume that you period has decided to take a break this month. Most women believe that once they’re pregnant, bleeding will stop altogether, but in reality, you’re still going to see some light, spotty bleeding in the first month or so. Your doctor can do an ultrasound, or you can wait a few more weeks until a pregnancy test can tell you for sure.
Again, another symptom that also indicated a period. Both pregnancy and period flood your body with hormones, which can make you off-the-wall excited and weepy at the same time. If you are experiencing more irritability than you normally do, you may be pregnant. If it’s about your same level of PMS, it’s more likely Mother Nature is just leaving her monthly gift.
In order to send more blood to your growing baby, your body will dilate your blood vessels and your blood pressure will drop. When this happens, you will be dizzy, not only when you stand up too quickly, but also when you’re just walking around, or even, often when you’re sitting still. This is one of the only symptoms that is not also typical of women on their period. Though you are shedding blood during your period, your body is not rushing blood to your uterus in the same way. Low blood sugar, which can call dizziness, is another indicator of pregnancy, especially if you do not normally have low blood sugar.
Because your body is a little preoccupied at the moment, and under an increased level of stress, your digestion system may not be working at its regular pace. Of course, plenty of women also see constipation right before their time of the month, but, as with most of these symptoms, if the constipation is worse than it normally is, it may be time to start picking up some pregnancy tests.
Pregnant or Period?
In the end, only time will tell when it comes to determining whether these symptoms are the result of an early-stage pregnancy or whether they are just normal signs of your period. If your symptoms are worse than they ever have been before, or if you see symptoms you normally don’t have, that is when you might be pregnant. Of course, to be absolutely sure, you will have to wait until you do miss that period, take a pregnancy test, and get confirmation from your doctor.