What is the First Sign of Pregnancy?

When you’re trying to get pregnant, you’ll probably want to know as soon as it happens. How quickly can you tell that you’re pregnant and what are the first signs that you should be looking out for?


Missing Your Period

The first sign of pregnancy for many women is a missed period. The reason your period usually comes every month is that you’re not pregnant. All of the preparations that your body has made in case you conceived need to be reversed, so the thickened womb lining must be shed. This is your period. If you are pregnant then the thick womb lining needs to stay in place, so you won’t have a period.

Although this sounds like an obvious sign, you might still find it tricky to spot. Our cycles aren’t always so regular that we know right away that our period isn’t coming. It could take several days or even a week before you’re sure you’ve missed your period. In some cases, you might even think that you’ve had your period if you experienced some spotting or light bleeding around the time when it was due.

Most women will notice that they’ve missed a period early in their pregnancy. However, you will already have been pregnant for a while when you miss your first period. Conception usually happens a couple of weeks before your period is due and we actually date pregnancies from the start of your last period. This means that you will be considered about 4 weeks pregnant when you miss your period.

Not getting your period is usually the most obvious sign of pregnancy and it is often the first clue that you will see. However, it isn’t always the first symptom of pregnancy that you will experience. If you know what to look out for then you might be able to recognise some earlier signs.

Earlier Signs of Pregnancy

Although your missed period might be the first sign of pregnancy that you notice, your body will already be undergoing changes to prepare it for the months ahead. You can begin to see the first signs of pregnancy as soon as you conceive, even in the couple of weeks before you have missed a period.

The tiny embryo in your womb is releasing powerful hormones that will circulate in your bloodstream. These pregnancy hormones can affects man different parts of your body, causing a wide range of symptoms. If you know what you’re looking for, you might be able to recognise these as the very first signs of pregnancy, even if you haven’t missed a period yet.

You might notice some or all of the following early signs of pregnancy:

  • Tender or sore breasts, or the skin around your nipples getting darker
  • Feeling sick
  • Unusual taste in your mouth, changes in what you want to eat or food tasting strange to you
  • Feeling more tired than usual, even if you aren’t doing anything different
  • Needing to pee more often
  • Constipation or diarrhoea
  • Twinges or mild cramps in your tummy
  • Backache
  • Headache
  • Bloating
  • Mood swings

However, if you do have these early pregnancy symptoms before you miss a period, you might not realise what they mean. Many of us experience these kinds of symptoms anyway, especially in the run up to our periods. You might just think that they are signs your period is one the way, instead of a signal that it isn’t actually coming this month.

Since the early signs of pregnancy are so similar to pre-menstrual symptoms, it can be a big surprise when the expected period doesn’t come. If you’re trying for a baby, you might think that you’ve missed your chance for this cycle as your period is about to appear. You could then find out you’re already pregnant just as you’re getting ready to try again the next month.

The First Sign You Might See

You can experience a range of different pregnancy symptoms in the first weeks before you miss a period, but what is the first possible sign of pregnancy?

It’s usually impossible to pinpoint exactly when conception happens. The sperm and egg meet in the fallopian tube and unite to become a single celled embryo. This embryo will then make its way down into your womb, where it will attach itself to the uterine lining.

Throughout this journey, the pregnancy will be affecting your hormone levels, but these effects are very easy to miss. However, there is one possible sign that can happen when the embryo implants in the womb that can be easier to recognise. Some women will notice some spotting or very light bleeding when the embryo attaches. It is known as implantation bleeding.

Implantation bleeding usually happens before your period is due and it is a lot lighter than a normal period. If you notice some pink or brown discharge or a few spots of blood that aren’t followed by your usual period, then this could be caused by implantation bleeding. However, this can be very similar to the start of your period, so it’s easy to get confused.

It could be implantation bleeding if:

  • It’s unusually early for your period (implantation happens at around day 22-25 of the average 28 day cycle)
  • There’s much less blood than you usually get on your period
  • It only lasts for a couple of hours or days, but is usually shorter than your period
  • The blood is usually pinkish or brownish, rather than the bright red you see on your period

Although implantation bleeding usually looks quite different to your period, it is possible to confuse the two. If you have very short, light periods, you might even think that you’ve had one when you are actually pregnant. Spotting can also be a sign of other things, such as an infection. It’s also important to realise that it doesn’t happen for everybody, so you could still be pregnant even if you don’t see it.

What was the first signs that made you think you might be pregnant?

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