The first signs of being pregnant do not necessarily depend on having missed a period though this is by far the most common first sign of being pregnant. The majority of women will notice a missed period before any other pregnancy symptoms.
Most women will generally experience at least one early indicator that they are pregnant but it can be difficult to recognise the very first signs of being pregnant as they can be similar to menstruation or even stress. Trying to conceive a baby is one instance that will have you on high alert to the changes in your body and looking out for the first signs of pregnancy.
So what are the first signs of being pregnant?
Changes in breasts – this is probably one of the very first signs of pregnancy. Breasts may become swollen, painful and tender to the touch due to the sudden increase in hormones. There might be a tingling sensation or the breasts might be extremely itchy. The nipples might feel sore and the areola, the area surrounding the nipple may get darker. The veins on the breasts might become more obvious due to the increased supply of blood to the area in preparation for breast-feeding.
Fatigue – feeling tired can begin soon after conception and is caused by the hormone progesterone. Progesterone is necessary in preparing the lining of the uterus for implantation. Most expectant mums will experience some degree of tiredness at some stage during pregnancy but more commonly in the first and third trimesters.
Cramping – also known as implantation cramping occurs when the fertilized egg travels to the uterus and attaches itself or burrows into the uterine lining.
Can be felt a week to a few days before your period is due. Some women experience slight bleeding when this happens, also known as implantation bleeding and this can sometimes be mistaken for an early period.
More frequent urination – the body produces more blood soon after conception to ensure an adequate supply to the developing baby, uterus and placenta. When this extra volume of blood is processed through the kidneys, urine and other waste material is filtered out resulting in the need to visit the loo more often. This is one of the first signs of being pregnant that you might notice. As pregnancy progresses, the need to urinate more frequently is caused by the pressure of the uterus on the bladder.
While you may or may not notice any of the above signs of being pregnant, the easiest way to confirm a pregnancy is to take a pregnancy test. There are many different ones available and they work by measuring a specific pregnancy hormone called hCG, human chorionic gonadotrophin. Early home pregnancy tests are more sensitive than others and can detect very low levels of hCG. They can also give a positive reading before a missed period.