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Some signs and symptoms may be present before you take a pregnancy test. As your hormone levels change, others will show up weeks later.

Missed period

Missing periods are one of the most common signs of pregnancy. A missed period does not necessarily mean that you are pregnant, especially if you have irregular periods.

There are other health conditions than pregnancy that could cause a missed or late period.


Early pregnancy is a common time for headaches. Headaches are usually due to altered hormone levels or increased blood volume. If your headaches persist or become particularly severe, consult your doctor.


Light bleeding and spotting may occur in some women during early pregnancy. Most often, this bleeding is caused by implantation. Implantation is usually performed one to two weeks following fertilization.

An infection or irritation can cause early pregnancy bleeding. This can often cause bleeding to the surface of your cervix, which is extremely sensitive during pregnancy.

Bleeding may indicate a serious pregnancy problem, such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Always contact your doctor if you’re concerned.

Weight gain

In the first few months of pregnancy, you can expect to gain anywhere from 1 to 4 pounds. Your second trimester will see weight gain more clearly.

Pregnancy-induced hypertension

Hypertension (high blood pressure) can sometimes occur during pregnancy. There are several factors that can increase your risk of hypertension, including:

  • being overweight or obese
  • smoking
  • with a history of pregnancy-induced hypertension or a relative


Sometimes hormones that are released during pregnancy may relax the valve connecting your stomach and oesophagus. Heartburn can occur when stomach acid leaks.


Early pregnancy hormone changes can slow down your digestive process. You may feel constipated as a result.


You may feel a tugging sensation similar to menstrual cramps as your uterus muscles begin to stretch. It could indicate a miscarriage, or an ectopic baby.

Back pain

Early pregnancy back pain is most commonly caused by hormones and muscle tension. Your weight gain and shifting centre of gravity can lead to back pain later in life. Half of pregnant women experience back pain during pregnancy.


Anemia is more common in pregnant women, who are at greater risk for dizziness and lightheadedness.

This condition can cause premature births and low birth weight. Anaemia screening is a common part of prenatal care.


Between 14 to 23 percent of pregnant women experience depression during pregnancy. Many of the emotional and biological changes that you experience during pregnancy can contribute to depression.

Tell your doctor if your symptoms aren’t the same as your normal self.


Another common sign of early pregnancy is insomnia. Hormonal changes, stress, and physical discomfort can all be contributing factors. Good sleep habits, a balanced diet, and yoga stretches can all help to get a good night of sleep.

Breast changes

One of the most obvious signs that you are pregnant is a change in your breasts. Your breasts can feel tender and swollen even before you are able to have a positive pregnancy test. You may notice a change in the size and sensitiveness of your nipples, as well as a darkening of the areolae.


Many women suffer from acne during pregnancy due to increased levels of androgen hormones. These hormones can make skin oilier and can clog pores. Most acne that occurs during pregnancy is temporary and resolves after the baby is born.


The common symptom of morning sickness is vomiting. It usually occurs within the first four months. Morning sickness is often the first sign you are pregnant. The main reason is hormones that are higher in early pregnancy.

Hip pain

Hip pain is common in pregnancy, and tends to get worse in later pregnancy. There are many causes of hip pain, including:


During pregnancy, diarrhoea is a common problem. There are several possible causes. These include hormonal changes, diet changes and increased stress. Diarrhoea that lasts longer than a few days should be reported to your doctor. This will ensure you don’t become dehydrated.

Stress and pregnancy

Although pregnancy can be joyful, it can also cause stress. A new baby can bring about major changes in your body, relationships, and finances. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t be afraid to ask your doctor.

The bottom line

These signs and symptoms are not enough to confirm that you might be pregnant. A home pregnancy test, or a visit to your doctor for laboratory testing, can help confirm that you are pregnant.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can cause many of these symptoms. Find out more about early signs and symptoms of pregnancy, including when they will appear after your period.

Signs You Might Be Pregnant

Signs You Might Be Pregnant

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Week by week

Pregnancy Weeks are divided into three segments, each with milestones for you and your baby .

First trimester

During the first trimester (weeks 1-6), a baby’s growth is rapid. The brain, spinal cord and organs of the fetus begin to develop. The baby’s heart will also start to beat.

The likelihood of miscarriage in the first trimester is high. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, about one in 10 pregnancies ends in miscarriage. This is approximately 85 percent of all cases.

Get immediate medical attention if you have symptoms of miscarriage .

Second Trimester

Your healthcare provider will most likely conduct an anatomy scan ultrasound during the second trimester (weeks 13 through 27).

This test is used to check the baby’s development. If you want to know the gender of your baby before it is born, the test results may also reveal their sex.

Your baby will likely start to move, kick and punch within your uterus.

A baby born in utero after 23 weeks is considered viable. This means it can survive outside your womb. Many babies born so early have serious medical problems. The longer you can carry the pregnancy, the better your baby’s chances of being healthy.

Third trimester

The third trimester (weeks 28-40) will see a rapid increase in your weight and may cause you to feel tired.

Your baby will now be able to sense light and open and close their eyes. They are also developing their bones.

You may feel some discomfort in your pelvis as labor nears. Your feet may also swell. Braxton-Hicks contractions are the ones that do not lead to labor. They can start in the weeks leading up to your delivery.

The bottom line

Each pregnancy is unique, but the general trend will be the same. To learn more about the changes your baby will experience throughout each trimester, sign up for the I’m Expecting newsletter and receive weekly pregnancy guidance.

Pregnancy tests

After the first day of your missed period, home pregnancy tests can be very accurate. You should immediately schedule an appointment with your doctor if you receive a positive home pregnancy test result. To confirm and date your pregnancy, an ultrasound will be performed.

The body’s level of human chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) is used to diagnose pregnancy. The pregnancy hormone, also known as hCG, is created upon implantation. It may not be detectable until you miss your period.

The hCG levels rise rapidly after you have missed a period. You can test for hCG by either taking a blood or urine sample.

Urine tests can be administered at a doctor’s offices and are the same as those you can do at home.

A laboratory can perform blood tests. Home pregnancy tests do not have the same accuracy as hCG blood tests. Blood tests can be ordered up to six days after ovulation.

It is important to confirm your pregnancy as soon as possible. Early diagnosis can help you take better care your baby’s well-being. Find out more about pregnancy tests and how to avoid a false negative result.

Vaginal discharge and pregnancy

A rise in vaginal discharge can be a sign of pregnancy. You may notice an increase in vaginal discharge as soon as you are pregnant.

You’ll see an increase in the amount of discharge as your pregnancy progresses. You will notice that the discharge becomes thicker and more frequent. It is usually the last trimester of your pregnancy that it becomes most severe.

Your discharge may show streaks of blood and thick mucus during the last weeks of pregnancy. This is known as “the bloody show” and can indicate labor. If you experience bleeding, it is important to let your doctor know.

Normal vaginal discharge or leukorrhea is thin and clear. It is also mildly scented.

A yellowish, green or gray discharge with an unpleasant odor is considered abnormal. An abnormal discharge could indicate an infection or a problem in your pregnancy, particularly if it’s red, itchy, or has vulvar swelling.

Your healthcare provider should be notified immediately if you suspect you may have abnormal vaginal drainage. Find out more about vaginal discharge in pregnancy.

Pregnancy, Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs),

UTIs (urinary tract infections) are the most common pregnancy complications. Bacteria can enter a woman’s urinary tract or urethra and move up to the bladder. The bladder can become clogged by the fetus, which can lead to infection.

UTI symptoms include frequent urination, pain, burning, and frequent urination. Other symptoms include:

A staggering 18% of pregnant women experience a UTI. These infections can be prevented by regularly emptying your bladder, especially after sex. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Avoid harsh soaps and douches in your genital area.

If you experience symptoms of a UTI, contact your healthcare provider immediately. Preterm labor can be dangerous due to the increased risk of infection.

Most UTIs can usually be treated early with antibiotics that are safe to use during pregnancy but effective against bacteria. To prevent UTIs from ever happening, follow the instructions here.

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