Medically reviewed by
Dr. Nicolette Natale
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
The first signs of pregnancy differ for different people, and it's easy to mistake early signs of pregnancy for something else. This can cause some uncertainty when you start to notice changes in your body. If you notice one or more of these pregnancy symptoms, err on the side of caution and take a home pregnancy test. Better yet, talk to your health care provider. If it turns out that you're pregnant, you can start your pregnancy off on the right track.
When you first become pregnant, your body starts making a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which causes the ovaries to stop releasing eggs. This also causes your menstrual period to stop. Since some women don't have regular periods, it may not seem usual if you don't get your period one month.
To be sure, take a pregnancy test if you have a missed period. A home pregnancy test works by detecting your hCG levels. If they're higher than average, it probably means you're pregnant and should make an appointment with your health care provider.
One of the early signs of pregnancy is having sore or swollen breasts. You might notice that your bra feels tight. For some women, it feels like it does before getting your period, like an aching tenderness. Your body's sudden hormonal change causes this during early pregnancy. Breast tenderness is uncomfortable but will probably subside once your body is used to the pregnancy hormones.
You've probably heard of "morning sickness" as one of the common signs of early pregnancy. It usually starts at 4 to 6 weeks and is likely caused by hormones. The truth is that nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy may not only happen in the morning. They could strike any time, even in the middle of the night.
For some pregnant women, the feeling is mild, but for others, it can be severe. Fortunately, it usually gets better during the second trimester. Remember to drink lots of water, but call your healthcare provider if you can't keep fluids down.
During early pregnancy, many pregnant women feel a drop in energy levels. This is probably due to an increase in progesterone that occurs and remains elevated during pregnancy. It stops your body from releasing more eggs during pregnancy. When progesterone drops after you give birth, it triggers an increase in prolactin, which causes lactation.
Pay attention to what your body tells you, and ensure you get enough sleep. Your basal body temperature also rises when you're pregnant, which could affect your sleep. Keeping your bedroom a bit cooler at night might make you more comfortable and allow you to sleep better.
Sudden changes in your mood are a common symptom of early pregnancy. Many pregnant women experience rapid and unpredictable changes between feeling depressed, euphoric, irritable, and anxious. High estrogen and progesterone levels are likely responsible for these changes. It's common to experience sudden bouts of overwhelming emotion, possibly coupled with unexplained weepiness.
Bloating and cramping are common signs of early pregnancy. Hormones may cause your digestive system to slow down, which often leads to constipation, cramping, and bloating. It's easy to interpret this as a reasonably normal—yet uncomfortable—symptom, but don't ignore it. Talk to your doctor.
A sensitivity to eating or smelling certain foods is a common early pregnancy symptom. If you suddenly develop an aversion to a type of food that never used to bother you, or if it even makes you feel sick, you might be pregnant. A sudden craving for a kind of food or a specific combination of foods could also indicate pregnancy.
Many of these signs might seem perfectly normal —they could even go unnoticed—but once they've come to your attention, don't ignore them. If you are pregnant, it's best to find out early so you can plan for the future for yourself and your baby. The right time to prepare for your baby is as soon as possible. Take a pregnancy test and talk to your doctor about planning a healthy pregnancy.
It's never too early to plan for the birth of your child. Consider banking your umbilical cord blood and tissue. It contains powerful stem cells that could save your child's life.
Anja Health is the first affordable Stem Cell Safe that makes it easy to harvest, freeze, and store your umbilical cord blood and tissue to use if your child develops one of several severe conditions like lymphoma, heart disease, lung disease, sickle cell anemia, multiple sclerosis, or leukemia. The stem cells found in cord blood could be the key to treating or reversing these potentially life-threatening conditions when nothing else works.
Instead of throwing your cord blood and tissue away, consider banking it for later use. Before your due date, order a stem cell collection kit from Anja Health and store it at room temperature until your due date. When you arrive at the hospital, let the admitting nurse know that you plan to collect your cord blood and tissue. At the time of your delivery, tell a health care professional you have your kit ready for collection.
Anja Health will pick up your kit from the hospital and deliver it to our AABB-certified laboratory to be processed and stored.