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13 early signs of pregnancy and symptoms

Woman sitting on bed waiting for results of pregnancy testWhen I first fell pregnant it was ‘sore breasts’ that sent me to the chemist to buy a pregnancy test. But there is a range of early pregnancy signs and symptoms and everyone is different.

Pregnancy signs and symptoms vary from person to person — even from pregnancy to pregnancy — so you may experience just some of these symptoms and in differing degrees of intensity.

Aside from these signs and symptoms, if you think you are pregnant, the first step is to take a reputable home pregnancy test and if that’s positive, visit your doctor.

13 Early Signs of Pregnancy

1. Missed or late period

Usually a missed period is the first sign that you could be pregnant. This means you conceived when you last ovulated — usually 14 days before your period was due.

2. Tender and/or swollen breasts

Early in pregnancy you’ll notice your breasts will become sore and tender. This is due to increased blood supply among other things as your breasts are gearing up for quite a growth spurt in preparation for feeding your baby.

3. Extreme tiredness

Being pregnant is exhausting! There are a few reasons for such extreme tiredness in early pregnancy — one being the increase in pregnancy hormones — and it usually does subside towards the end of the first trimester.

4. Increased need to go to the loo to pee

Frequent urination is another early pregnancy sign. And as your uterus grows in size during the pregnancy it is not a symptoms that relents. Make sure you still drink plenty of water though!

5. Nausea or feeling nauseous

This is one of the nastier symptoms of early pregnancy. Morning sickness can vary from person to person and even from pregnancy to pregnancy. It can range from slight nausea to frequent vomiting and despite the name is rarely confined to the period before noon! For many women it begins to subside around the end of the first trimester. If you’re losing weight and unable to keep any food down see your doctor as this may be a more severe type of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum.

6. Sudden aversion to particular foods or sudden craving for particular foods

Pregnancy is a confusing time. For some women the sight of their once-favourite meal now sends them running in the other direction! For others all they want to eat is hot chips with tomato sauce. You can blame your pregnancy hormones for this one too!

7. Increased sensitivity to smell

All of a sudden you have a bionic-like sense of smell! Pregnancy hormones (yes, again!) are making you extra sensitive to the smells around you. In some cases this can contribute to your morning sickness. Try to avoid those smells that turn your stomach.

8. Slight bleeding or cramping

You could experience a light bleed which is known as implantation bleeding. This is light spotting and occurs when the egg implants in the uterus, usually around 14 days after conception (about the same time you’d expect to get your period if you weren’t pregnant).

9. Increase in size and darkening in colour of the areolas

You breasts in general will change during pregnancy — growing and gearing up for milk production. Specifically though, you’ll notice changes to your nipples as well as an increase in size and darkening of the dark area around the nipple — called the areolas.

10. Constipation

It is thought that constipation occurs because your digestive system slows during early pregnancy. Make sure you drink plenty of water so that your bowel motions don’t become hard and difficult to pass.

11. Mood swings, making you particularly emotional or weepy

If you’re feeling a bit emotional then you can blame that on pregnancy hormones too. They are up to all sorts of things in your body and it is only natural that they’re making you a bit emotional as well.

12. Faintness and dizziness

Many women experience dizziness or lightheadedness during the first weeks of pregnancy. This is thought to be related to the increase pressure on the cardiovascular system.

13. Mild headaches

As well as feeling sick and tired you might get headaches in early pregnancy too. There are a number of possible reasons including dehydration, hormonal changes, increase in stress or even withdrawal from caffeine if you’ve cut back on you coffee intake recently.


If you’re having any of these early pregnancy signs or symptoms, a good idea is to take a pregnancy test. Visit our pregnancy info hub for more details of what to do next and make use our handy pregnancy due date calculator.

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6 Comments so far -
  • An says:

    Hi Ladies,
    I went off the pill at the start of January, my period come EXACTLY on time in Feb, only lasting 3-4 days. It’s now March and I was due yesterday but still no sign of AF. I took a HPT but it came back negative. Do you think I could be pregnant, or my period is deciding to be irregular, even though it come on time last month?

    • Hi An. Perhaps it was just too early to test. Not all pregnancy tests are the same. I would suggest trying a different brand and perhaps waiting. Time will tell. All the best xx

  • Mette says:

    I tested a faint positive on prognosis pregnancy test
    I’m due to get period in 4-5 days
    Can I be pregnant?

  • tiffany perry says:

    Getting headaches and lightheaded, and cravings always hungry

  • Kathrine says:

    I knew when I started to feel sick, but not throwing up, so it’s nausea and a positive home pregnancy test.

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