Early Signs of Pregnancy


How do I know if I am pregnant?


Whether you are eagerly anticipating the day you find out you are expecting a baby or if it is a complete shock, there are common physical signs most women experience early in pregnancy. Some of these will disappear near the end of the first trimester; others will ebb and flow throughout pregnancy.


Here are the early signs you may experience:


  • Missed period

  • Tender swollen breasts

  • Nausea with or without vomiting

  • Increased urination

  • Fatigue


Somewhat less common early-pregnancy signs are moodiness due to a change in hormones, bloating (also hormones), light spotting as the fertilized egg attaches, mild cramping, constipation (thanks again, hormones), and food aversions (I could not bear to even be in the same room with tomato sauce).


Of course, many of these are not unique to pregnancy (especially the part about being tired), so if you are experiencing any of these, the next step is to take an at-home pregnancy test.


Taking a home-pregnancy test can be exciting—and a little nerve-wracking. The best time to take one is the week after you have missed your period. You will get the most accurate results this way because the test measures the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Early in pregnancy this hormone doubles every two to three days. So waiting about a week after that missed period ensures there is enough hCG in your body for the test to detect. Also, make sure the test is not expired and that you follow all the instructions.


There are lots of options on the market, so here are four highly-recommended tests, each with a special benefit:


#1 With the Clearblue Rapid Detection Pregnancy Test, you can have the results in about a minute.

#2 First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test is the most sensitive, giving the best results earliest in your pregnancy.

#3 Saving your money to splurge on cute baby clothes? Clinical Guard hGC Pregnancy Test doesn’t include an applicator (it has paper strips you dip in urine), making it the cheapest.

#4 A newer product, the Natalist Pregnancy Test is 99% accurate (and, 100% plastic neutral).



Once you have a positive home test, set up an appointment with a doctor or midwife. They can confirm the pregnancy and help you get off to a great start!


This is also a good time to explore Tennessee Family Doulas’ Childbirth Classes and other services. Our childbirth classes are designed to help you feel motivated and empowered to make decisions about the birth experience you wish to have. From these early days of pregnancy to the first days at home with your new baby, we would love to support you throughout the journey!


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