While a test can confirm your pregnancy, you may want to know if you are pregnant before taking the test itself. From missed periods and tender breasts to dry skin, your body might show some signs that indicate pregnancy.
In this MomJunction post, we have listed some of the most prominent signs and symptoms that might confirm your pregnancy without doing a test. However, except for the missed period, these signs are not the same for all the women, and it is not necessary that you will have them.
15 Signs That You Could Be Pregnant
Below are some of the indications your body could give when you are pregnant. Some women may have a few or all of these symptoms, while some may not have them at all.
1. Missed periods
This is the first solid sign of pregnancy. If you had unprotected intercourse during the fertile days of your menstrual cycle and missed your period, then it could probably mean you are pregnant.
However, you can miss your period for several other reasons such as sudden weight gain or loss, regular usage of contraceptives, stress or overexertion, and eating disorders or any gynecological problems. Therefore, you should do a home pregnancy test or consult a doctor about seven to ten days after your missed period.
If you notice a few drops of blood after one or two weeks of your last period, this could be implantation bleeding. Spotting occurs when the embryo implants itself in the uterus wall (1). But it does not happen with every mom. Also, it may be difficult to know if the spotting is due to implantation or any other reason.
3. Nausea and vomiting
Some women might have nausea and morning sickness as early as three weeks from conception. You might feel nauseous at any smell, taste, or the thought of food. It is an indication that the hormonal levels are rising, and is a sign that your body is preparing for pregnancy (2).
Not all women have it so early during pregnancy. You may not have it at all in the first month.
4. Constipation and bloating
Women might have gas, bloating, flatulence, constipation, and excessive belching due to the rising progesterone levels, which relax the smooth muscle tissue in the gastrointestinal tract affecting the digestion process (3). It makes you feel full even after small meals.
Pregnancy is not the only reason for bloating. You could have this feeling also due to indigestion, acidity, etc.
5. Sore breasts and tingly nipples
A few women complain of sore, tender, and painful breasts. The areolas and nipples might turn darker, and there could be small spots around the nipples area. You may also see some pimple-like white spots around the areola (4).
These changes in breasts could be mistaken to be a PMS symptom or vice-versa.
6. Frequent urination
In some cases, hormonal changes could increase the blood flow and water retention, filling the bladder more frequently than before. Also, the growing uterus exerts pressure on the bladder causing frequent urination (5).
This sign could be confusing, especially in the winters when the cold climate naturally increases your urge to pee. Some other reasons for frequent urination are urinary incontinence and an overactive bladder.
7. Back pain
Your lower back could ache just like how it does before and during a period. It occurs around the sacroiliac joint (6).
However, the pain is similar to that you get during your period. Therefore, this is not a clear indication of your pregnancy.
Headaches are likely to occur during pregnancy (7). But headaches are so generic that they cannot be considered a standalone symptom of pregnancy. You may check for other signs of pregnancy and relate the headaches to it.
9. Irritability or mood swings
You could feel oversensitive, grumpy, and tearful due to hormonal changes altering the levels of neurotransmitters or chemical messengers to the brain. This could result in heightened emotions, both good and bad (8). But such feelings could be too similar to your PMS symptoms.
10. Food aversions/cravings
Craving for some foods or developing an aversion to some smells could be a sign of pregnancy. You may have these cravings and aversions at any time during pregnancy (9).
11. Fatigue and sleeplessness
The rising progesterone levels, nausea, and frequent urination could lead to sleeplessness and fatigue. You will feel energetic in the second trimester, and tiredness might return in the third trimester (10).
12. Palmar erythema
In some cases, you may notice redness on your palms, also referred to as red palms. An increase in estrogen along with increased blood volume causes the redness (11).
13. Nasal congestion
Rising hormonal levels and blood production will affect the mucous membranes in the nostrils to swell, dry, and bleed. This will, therefore, lead to a runny or stuffy nose (12). Just like headaches, nasal congestion is a generic symptom and not unique to pregnancy. Therefore, you need to check this in conjunction with other pregnancy symptoms.
14. Low sexual desire
Pregnant women covered in various research studies have observed that their sexual desire had come down in the first trimester and then progressively decreased as the pregnancy progressed. However, the evidence is retrospective (13).
An increase in hormonal activity might result in acne break-outs just like it could happen during menstruation (14).
The symptoms listed above could be the signs of pregnancy but they can occur due to other health reasons as well. Also, you may not have any of these symptoms and still be pregnant.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Are the natural signs of detecting pregnancy accurate?
The natural signs may or may not indicate a pregnancy because they might overlap with the symptoms of other health issues or could happen due to general hormonal fluctuations before the menstrual period.
A home pregnancy test or a blood test is the best way to confirm that you are pregnant.
2. After how many days can pregnancy be confirmed?
Pregnancy can be confirmed as early as a week after a missed period if you are taking a home pregnancy test. A blood test can give you the result sooner. The presence of hCG hormone in the urine could take time to show that the hCG present in the blood.
3. When to visit a doctor to confirm pregnancy?
You may visit your doctor once your home pregnancy test shows positive or if you missed your period for two consecutive cycles. Mostly, doctors suggest you visit around eight weeks of pregnancy unless you have any medical condition or had problems with your previous pregnancy.
4. Can you use non-medical ways to confirm that you are pregnant?
Non-medical ways have been in vogue since long and were being used when pregnancy tests kits were not in use. However, they may not be accurate and do not have any scientific backing.
These signs and symptoms are not related to pregnancy alone. They may also indicate the start of your menstrual period. Moreover, you may also be pregnant without having any of these symptoms. Therefore, the best way to confirm your pregnancy is to get a pregnancy test done.
Have you observed any of these symptoms in your case? Let us know about them in the comments section below.
2. Noel M. Lee and Sumona Saha; Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy; Gastroenterol Clin North Am (2013)
3. Magan Trottier et al.; Treating constipation during pregnancy; Can Fam Physician (2012)
4. Normal breast development and changes; University of Rochester Medical Center
5. Frequent urination; Rush University Medical Center
6. Jennifer Sabino and Jonathan N. Grauer; Pregnancy and low back pain; Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med (2008)
7. Headaches in early pregnancy; University of Rochester Medical Center
8. Lori L. Altshuler et al.; An update on mood and anxiety disorders during pregnancy and the postpartum period; Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry (2000)
9. C.N.M. NYARUHUCHA; Food cravings, aversions and pica among pregnant women in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Tanzania Journal of Health Research (2009)
10. Cristina A Reichner; Insomnia and sleep deficiency in pregnancy; Obstetric Medicine
11. Gilvan Ferreira Alves et al.; Dermatology and pregnancy; An Bras Dermatol (2005)
12. Wei Wei et al., Non-surgical interventions for nasal congestion during pregnancy; Cochrane Library
13. Pamela C Regan, et al.; Pregnancy and chances in female sexual desire: A review; Social Behavior and Personality, Society for Personality Research (2003)
14. Acne can put a damper on hopes of glowing skin during pregnancy; American Academy of Dermatology