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Early Signs of Pregnancy

By Carolyn (Carrie) J. Lee, PhD, CNE, RN

Early Signs of Pregnancy

Your body has a lot of ways to let you know you’ve got a baby onboard.

Nothing beats a pregnancy test when it comes to knowing if you’re pregnant. Your body may give you some early signs that you’ve got a little one developing inside. Not all women experience these early signs or symptoms in the same way. These signs are typically caused by pregnancy hormones and can change as your pregnancy continues.

A Missed Period

The most obvious sign is missing your period, especially if your cycles are typically regular. This might be your first clue.

Increased Urination

You may also notice you need to urinate more frequently as your uterus grows, but you should not have any other symptoms other than the urge to go. Any burning or irritation may actually be signs of an infection.

Tender, Sensitive Breasts

If your breasts begin to feel tender, heavy, sensitive, increase in size or darken around the nipple, you may be pregnant. All of these signs are normal; just let your partner know if this affects your intimacy, and choose some cute new bras that will support your growing and changing breasts.


Perhaps you can’t keep your eyes open—even after a full night’s sleep. You may have unrelenting fatigue or feel woozy. Not just an everyday kind of tired—we’re talking feeling wiped out! The hormone progesterone is thought to be the culprit, and your blood pressure may be dropping a bit in early pregnancy.  Respond to what your body is telling you with extra sleep, quiet time and staying well hydrated.

Nausea & Gas

Does the world suddenly stink and really turn you off? You may find you’re sensitive to certain smells and foods. You may even feel “gassy”, nauseous and experiencing vomiting. Extreme or persistent vomiting isn’t normal; tell your healthcare provider if you can’t keep food down. For most women, this gets better as the weeks pass.

Coping through Early Pregnancy

If you’re seeing these signs, it’s time to grab a pregnancy test. If you experience bleeding, leaking fluid, cramping, headaches or feeling very sick please contact your care provider right away!

Meantime, know that these early symptoms and signs are normal. Some women find enjoying smaller meals and snacks helps with the nausea and fatigue. Keeping active, following a healthy diet rich in protein and staying hydrated will also help you cope.

Read: Powerhouse Pregnancy


Carolyn (Carrie) J.  Lee, PhD, CNE, RN, is a professor at the University of Toledo College of Nursing in Toledo, OH, and an expert advisor to Healthy Mom&Baby.

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