Early signs of pregnancy

The most common first sign of pregnancy is a missed period but there are some others to look out for.

Every pregnancy is different so if you don't have any of these early signs, don't worry! If you notice one or more of these symptoms, take a pregnancy test.

Your period is late

This is one of the classic early signs of pregnancy. If your period is late, take a pregnancy test to check whether you are pregnant

Deep tiredness

Even though your baby is still smaller than a peanut, the first few weeks of pregnancy can be draining, both physically and emotionally. You may have extreme tiredness, caused by changes in your body. Early pregnancy tiredness is not like ordinary tiredness - you may feel completely exhausted after a normal day's activities. The best way to deal with it is to listen to your body and get more sleep.

Breast tenderness

Some women have breast tenderness or a tingly feeling in their breasts during the early weeks of pregnancy. The skin around your nipples may look bumpier than usual, too. These bumps are called 'Montgomery's tubercules' and they secrete an oily fluid to prepare your nipples for breastfeeding. Your breasts may also feel heavier. Many of these changes are because of the extra hormones that you have in your body during pregnancy.

Funny taste in your mouth

Have you suddenly gone off your favourite food or do you have a strange metallic taste in your mouth? These are signs of early pregnancy. Some women also complain about having too much saliva.


About eight to ten days after ovulation, you might have some cramps in your lower tummy. You may also have a slight pink, red or brown staining around the time you expect your period. This is caused by the fertilised egg settling into the lining of your womb.

Need to wee more often

In early pregnancy you may need to pass urine more often than usual because your womb is expanding and pressing on your bladder. The hormone progesterone also makes you need to wee more, as well as sometimes causing constipation.

Feeling nauseous and/or being sick

New pregnancy hormones are flooding your body and, for some women, the reaction to this is to feel sick. Some women feel slightly queasy and others may actually be sick. This is commonly called morning sickness but it can happen at any time of the day. If you can’t keep any food or water down talk to to your midwife or GP because there is a risk that you may become dehydrated.

Mood swings

Hormones are natural chemicals that help your body manage your pregnancy, prepare it for the birth and help produce milk for your baby. The hormones oestrogen and progesterone flood your body in the first 12 weeks. It is these hormones that can also make you feel more emotional than normal. You may find that you are laughing one minute and could be crying the next! Don’t worry, this is normal.

However, if you are a feeling down or anxious for a large part of the day and it seems to be lasting longer than one month it is important that you talk to your midwife or GP about how you are feeling.

Read about Emotional changes in pregnancy

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  1. NHS Choices [accessed March 2015] Tiredness in pregnancy. Review date 10/04/2015. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/tiredness-sleep-pregnant.aspx
  2. NHS Choices [accessed March 2015] Vomiting in pregnancy. Review date 16/9/16. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/severe-vomiting-in-pregnancy-hyperemesis-gravidarum.aspx
  3. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2014) Antenatal and postnatal mental health: clinical management and service guidance http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg192/chapter/1-recommendations#recognising-mental-health-problems-in-pregnancy-and-the-postnatal-period-and-referral-2


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Last reviewed on April 1st, 2015. Next review date April 1st, 2018.

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  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 2 Aug 2017 - 09:41

    I have had no period and I have most symptoms of pregnancy and I have done home test still came back negative what could it be

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 2 Aug 2017 - 09:52

    Hi Catherine
    It is difficult to say. You would be best to go to your GP to do a further pregnancy test there. Sometimes, if the pregnancy is very early, the HCG levels have not built up enough in the body, to be passed to the urine for a pregnancy test to show up as positive. Give it another week or so and re-test. Your GP can then refer you to your local midwifery services and ultrasound scan.
    If no pregnancy is confirmed, then the GP may need to refer you onto a Gynecologist for further investigations.
    Please feel free to contact us again if you need any further advice or information. Please take care of yourself

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 5 Apr 2017 - 22:07

    I've had 3 days where I've had very small amounts of dark blood in my mucus but only for one wipe each day (7-9 dpo). Can implantation spotting ever come in this form or does it have to be one continuous flow?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Apr 2017 - 11:56

    Hi, Even though 1: 10 women experience light spotting in early pregnancy, any bleeding should be investigated so I would recommend that you see your GP. https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/symptom-checker/i-am-bleeding-pregnancy

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