Whether you're trying to get pregnant or not, it's always a good idea to keep an eye out for the subtle early signs of pregnancy. These are the early symptoms that can reveal you're preggers before you feel the need to pee on a stick. And yes, they can crop up fast.
So, you might be wondering, how early is "early"? As fertility expert Dr. Jaime Knopman says, "Once the pregnancy hormone is present in the body your organs take notice. Some woman can even feel different days before they miss their period."
Of course, everyone is different and some women feel nothing at all. There's also the whole issue with PMS and pregnancy symptoms being very similar. (Sore boobs, cramps, headaches, etc.) It really can be tricky to tell. While you have to wait for your missed period to do a home pregnancy test (or at least five days beforehand, for some brands), the subtler signs might help tip you off that's something's up.
If you spot any of the signs, and you're planning on seeing the baby to term, start taking care of yourself ASAP. "The earlier you realize you are pregnant the earlier you can take action," Knopman says. She recommends ceasing your wine habit, starting a prenatal vitamin regimen, and talking to your doctor ASAP. Read on for some signs it may be time to do just that.
1. You're Too Thirsty To Go On
If you're beyond thirsty, it may be time to whip out the pregnancy test. As natural infertility expert Kristin N. Burris says, "Patients will report that no matter how much water they drink, they simply can't get hydrated." So definitely take note if it feels like you've recently crawled out of the desert.
2. You Are Suddenly All Sorts Of Nauseated
Everyone knows about "morning sickness," but pregnancy nausea can occur any time of day, Gerardo Bustillo, MD, OB/GYN, tells me. It's also one of the biggest give aways in early pregnancy. "When nausea and vomiting recur daily, especially with no other signs of intestinal problems such as fever or diarrhea, pregnancy should be suspected."
3. Your Boobs Hurt Somethin' Awful
PMS can cause breast tenderness in the days leading up to your period, as can early pregnancy. The key is to know the difference. "Tenderness may occur early in pregnancy, and as the pregnancy progresses, breast enlargement is common, as well as some leaking of early milk formation from the nipples," Bustillo says. Got it?
4. You Suddenly Want To Live In Bed
There's tiredness after a long day of work, and then there's exhaustion. Pregnancy fatigue tends to be the latter, where it feels like you simply can't get out of bed. This type of fatigue occurs in up to one-half of all pregnancies and can begin early, Bustillo tells me.
5. You're Always Running Off To Pee
Another early sign of pregnancy is frequent urination, Burris tells me. If you feel like you are living in the bathroom, it may be that you've had one too many coffees. Or, it could mean an embryo has taken up camp in your uterus.
6. You Think Everything Smells Weird
Pregnant women will often complain about things smelling bad, like their food or the garbage (that no one else can smell). As Knopman says, "Elevated hormones like hCG and progesterone can immediately impact your smell." Strange, but true.
7. You Suddenly Can't Stand Your Favorite Foods
Food cravings (you know, the whole "pickles and ice cream" thing) is a well-known pregnancy complaint. But did you know it's possible to experience food aversion, too? As Bustillo tells me, you might find yourself turned off by certain foods. And yes, even ones you used to love. (Sad face.)
8. You've Noticed Color Changes In Your Skin
Have you noticed that your nipples look darker, or maybe the pigment in your face? If so, Bustillo tells me this could be an early sign of pregnancy. "Skin changes include redness of the palms (palmar erythema), increased pigmentation of the face, darkening of the linea alba (line on the front of the abdomen running through the belly button to the pubic area), and darkening of the nipples," he says. Who knew?
9. You Are Dizzy As Can Be
Thanks to changing hormones, you may start to be a little unsteady on your feet. And it's one sign that can start super early, Knopman tells me. So if you go to stand up and the room starts spinning, it may be a sign.
10. You Have What Feel Like Period Cramps
Cramps are one of the biggest indicators that your period is on its way. And yet, they can also happen during early pregnancy. (Annoying right?) While PMS cramps will likely be pretty rough, Bustillo tells me pregnancy cramps often feel like a minor discomfort. Good to know.
11. You Have Some Strange Bleeding Going On
If you notice some bleeding, don't immediately assume it's your period — especially if the blood looks different. "Many women think bleeding, of any sort, means you cannot be pregnant," Knopman says. "[But} ... even a change in the color or consistency of your bleeding (darker, spottier, or lighter) can signify that you are pregnant."
Before you panic (or jump for joy) be sure to take a pregnancy test. If it's coming up negative but you really feel pregnant, don't hesitate to talk to your doctor or go to Planned Parenthood. They can help confirm a pregnancy and give you a whole host of options as to what to do next.
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