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A woman looks at her positive pregnancy test.

What Are the Early Signs of Pregnancy?

Nov 20, 2020

The most obvious sign that a woman may be pregnant is the absence of a period. However, some women may experience bleeding or spotting throughout pregnancy. Learn the most common early signs of pregnancy even before your missed period to get a heads up that you may need to take a pregnancy test soon. 


Also known as “morning sickness,” nausea is a common sign of pregnancy. The progesterone and other hormones your body releases during pregnancy cause your stomach to empty more slowly and can make you feel queasy.   

Change in Breasts

One of the early signs of pregnancy is changes in your breasts. Due to the estrogen and progesterone, your breasts may become achy, tender, swollen, and heavier. Your nipples may darken in color as well. This is your body’s way of preparing you for breastfeeding.  


The amount of energy your body needs to develop the placenta and a supportive environment for baby can leave you feeling exhausted. If you notice you need to take more naps than usual or have a harder time getting up in the morning, your body may be preparing for a 9-month visitor. 

Increased Frequency of Urination

During pregnancy, your kidneys have to process more urine. This doesn’t mean you should cut back on drinking plenty of fluids. The hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormone increases the flow of blood to your kidneys to help get rid of your—and eventually your baby’s—waste more efficiently. Your bladder may also be experiencing pressure from a growing uterus, causing you to run to the bathroom more than usual.

Food Cravings or Aversions

Your cravings and aversions during pregnancy give you insight into what nutrients your body needs and what it needs you to avoid. Your hormones are playing a part in what is making you rush to the grocery store for pickles or toss out snacks you now find repulsive.

With your changing hormones, your body’s unique way of preparing for pregnancy is unpredictable. Other common early signs of pregnancy include:

  • Spotting
  • Cramping
  • Bloating
  • Headaches
  • Lower backaches
  • Mood swings
  • Lightheadedness

When Should You Take A Pregnancy Test?

A pregnancy test uses either a sample of blood or urine to find traces of the hCG hormone. Your placenta develops this hormone 10 days after fertilization.

Blood tests performed by healthcare professionals are very accurate and can detect pregnancy the second week after conception. At-home pregnancy tests using urine are 97% to 99% accurate and can detect pregnancy two weeks after conception or around the time your next period is due. 

Make an appointment with your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group OBGYN to verify your pregnancy and receive advanced prenatal care throughout your exciting journey.

Signs of Pregnancy/The Pregnancy Test
American Pregnancy Association
What To Expect