How can a woman know if she is pregnant?

If a woman is tuned in to her body, she might begin to suspect that she is pregnant within the first few days of pregnancy. Most women, however, don't suspect they are pregnant until they miss a period. A few don't suspect or believe they are pregnant for months after conception.

A woman should take a pregnancy test if she misses a period. Early prenatal (before the birth) care is important to the health of the mother as well as the baby. A woman should see a doctor right away if she is pregnant.

What are five common signs of pregnancy?

The following are five very common signs of early pregnancy. Women might experience all, some, or none of these symptoms. Pregnancy symptoms vary from woman to woman.

  • A missed period: Missing a period is the most clear-cut sign of pregnancy. However, it is not always a sign of pregnancy. Stress, excessive exercise, dieting, hormone imbalance and other factors might cause irregular periods.
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom: Even before missing a period, many pregnant women report having to urinate more often. A woman might even have to get up during the night to go to the bathroom. A frequent need to urinate occurs after the embryo has implanted in the uterus and begins producing the pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone triggers frequent urination.
  • Fatigue: Feeling extremely tired is a very early sign of pregnancy. Fatigue is a result of high levels of the hormone progesterone.
  • Morning (and noon and night) sickness: Feeling queasy isn't limited to mornings. Most pregnant women who experience morning sickness feel slightly nauseated at other times during the day. Nausea can begin two weeks to two months after conception. About half of pregnant women have vomiting. However, very few have severe enough morning sickness to develop dehydration and malnutrition.
  • Sore (and enlarging) breasts: In pregnancy, a woman’s breasts will probably become increasingly tender to the touch. The soreness may be similar to the way breasts feel before a period, only more so. The nipples might also begin to darken and enlarge. Once a woman’s body gets used to the increase in hormones, the pain will subside.

What are some other signs that a woman is pregnant?

Other signs of pregnancy can include:

  • Spotting (also called implantation bleeding): Some women experience a light spotting or a brownish discharge from the vagina. This spotting can occur about the time the regular period would occur and can last for a few days to a few weeks.
  • Food cravings and constant hunger: Some women begin to crave certain foods, constantly feel that they are hungry, or might avoid foods that they previously liked.
  • Metallic taste in the mouth: Many women complain of a metallic taste in their mouths during the early stages of pregnancy.
  • Headaches and dizziness: Headaches and the feelings of lightheadedness and dizziness are common during early pregnancy and are the result of hormonal changes and changes in blood volume.
  • Cramping: Some women experience period-like cramps. If cramps are felt mainly on one side or are severe, it's important to contact a doctor immediately.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/19/2019.


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