Early signs of pregnancy

How do you know if you're pregnant? The most common first sign of pregnancy is a missed period. Find out what else to look 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 a classic sign of pregnancy. If your period is late, take a pregnancy test to check whether you are pregnant.

You can keep track of your period by marking the days in a calendar or by using an app.

Cramps

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 known as implantation bleeding and is caused by the fertilised egg settling into the lining of your womb.

‘I thought I'd had a period when I'd actually missed it and it was cramps/spotting.’ Tanya, mum-to-be

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 rest.

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.

Some women also report being more sensitive to smells

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 known as morning sickness but it can happen at any time of the day.

You might be more sensitive to smells, including food and cooking.

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.

Cravings

Not all mums-to-be will get strange cravings but hormonal changes can trigger them in some women.

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, then crying the next. Don’t worry, this is normal.

Pregnancy brings anxieties and stresses as well as happiness. However, if you are a feeling down or anxious for a large part of the day and it seems to be lasting longer than a couple of weeks it is important that you talk to your midwife or GP about how you are feeling.

The much talked about glow of happiness can actually make women who are not feeling this very isolated. It is common to feel stress and anxiety in pregnancy and you need to keep an eye on your emotional well-being as well as your physical well-being.

Download our Wellbeing Plan [PDF] to help you talk to your midwife about this.

Other symptoms

The symptoms above are just some of the most common but there are many others. Your pregnancy will be unique to you and your symptoms might be too. If you’re trying to get pregnant, listen to your body and look out for any changes.

‘One of my earliest signs is a rumbling tummy and feeling constantly hungry!’ Clio, mum of two

What to do next

If you’re experiencing one or more of the symptoms above, take a pregnancy test. However, if you haven’t missed a period yet it may be too early to tell, or your test result may be inaccurate.

Positive pregnancy test

If you have done a test and it was positive, read about the five things to do when you find out you’re pregnant.

Negative pregnancy test

A negative result might not be reliable if you took it too soon.

If you do a home test very early and have a negative result, do another test in two to three days' time if you still haven't had your period. If you continue to get negative results and still don't have a period, talk to your doctor.

Getting pregnant can take longer than you were expecting. Find out how conception works.

Read more about early pregnancy

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    You may have heard about morning sickness and extreme tiredness, but what about these other common but less talked about pregnancy symptoms.

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    Your first antenatal appointment with a midwife is called a 'booking' visit and will take longer than later visits.

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    Morning sickness - information and support

    It's very common to feel sick during the first few months of pregnancy, and sometimes for a bit longer.

Sources

  1. NHS Choices, 'Tiredness in pregnancy'http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/tiredness-sleep-pregnant.aspx [accessed 29.03.18]
  2. NHS choices, 'Signs and symptoms of pregnancy': http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/signs-and-symptoms... 10/04/2018] 
  3. NHS Choices, 'Severe vomiting in pregnancy': http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/severe-vomiting-in... 10/04/2018]
  4. NICE (2014), 'Antenatal and postnatal mental health:clinical management and service guidance'; 1.5.4: http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg192/chapter/1-recommendations#recognis...
  5. Royal College of Psychiatrists, Mental health in pregnancy, London RCP, 2015: http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/problemsdisorders/mentalhealthinpr...[accessed 10/04/2018]
  6. NHS Choices, 'How soon can I do a pregnancy test?': http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/948.aspx?CategoryID=54&SubCategoryID=140 [accessed 10/04/2018]
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Last reviewed on April 10th, 2018. Next review date April 10th, 2021.

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Comments

  • By Liz (not verified) on 7 Sep 2018 - 18:03

    I have very sort breasts tiredness mood swings Miss period

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 11 Sep 2018 - 16:39

    I would advise that you do a pregnancy test-if it is positive, please contact your GP or maternity unit for a referral to start your antenatal care. If the test is negative please discuss your symptoms with your GP as there may be other causes for them

    Tommy's Midwife

  • By Sangeetha (not verified) on 11 Jul 2018 - 10:21

    Every time I have my period regularly but this month I have only 2 days period but it seem to be brown pinkish blood. Once my period over in 2 days but my stomach is bloating and my left side of wormb is hard it seem to be like pregnant. Help me pls

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Jul 2018 - 15:40

    Hi Sangeetha,
    If you have been having intercourse then it is possible this bleeding is an implantation bleed and you could be pregnant. I would advise for you to do a pregnancy test to see if you are pregnant or not. If this is positive then do see your GP if you are having pain on the left hand side. If you are bloated and left side seems hard then it could be that you are constipated, therefore drink water regularly and eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, with regular exercise to ease this.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Doris (not verified) on 26 Jun 2018 - 17:22

    Two days ago,I was very dizzy and weak, when I take off my bra,I see heaviness on my breast and I'm feeling back pains on the upper right side. My period is supposed to come in 4-6days time. Please what could this mean?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 28 Jun 2018 - 11:20

    Thank you for your message
    It is possible that you are pregnant from the breast symptoms you describe. I would advise that you wait to see if you have your period in the next few days; if it is late or not a normal period for you I would suggest you do a pregnancy test. There are also pregnancy tests that you can use before a period if you would like to know sooner what is happening.
    I have attached a link with more information for you
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/planning-pregnancy/taking-pregnancy-test
    Hope this helps
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Angela (not verified) on 25 May 2018 - 00:41

    I'm supposed to see my period for four days but it stopped on the second day.i also feel pain in my abdomen.could it be that am pregnant?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 25 May 2018 - 10:39

    Hi Angela,
    It could be possible that you are pregnant and that the bleeding you have been experiencing is an implantation bleed however the only way to know for sure if to take a pregnancy test.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwives

  • By sarah (not verified) on 3 May 2018 - 02:28

    I have period every month I came of my period last Friday but my boobs were sore for over a week I seem to have mood swings very often I have long wees and now I have a bit of cramping in lower back and stomach I have had no morning sickness

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 May 2018 - 16:21

    Hi Sarah, Thank you for your comment.
    If you are still having regular periods and you haven't missed a period then it is highly unlikely that you are pregnant. Sore breasts, mood swings, and cramping can be signs that you are about to come on a period and can be confused with pregnancy symptoms. If you are having unprotected sex and you are worried that you may be pregnant then you can always take a pregnancy test or speak to you GP for further advice. Hope this helps, take care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Lauren Davies (not verified) on 8 Jan 2018 - 22:12

    I’m 3 days late on my period and ever since I’ve had the Implant taken out my periods have become regular finally but 3 days ago I was supposed to come on my period. Help!! Am I pregnant?!

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Jan 2018 - 11:09

    Hi Lauren. Having the implant taken out can and does, affect your cycle for a least 1 or 2 cycles. Its a hormonal change and will always cause some change when it is first removed. If you have not had unprotected intercourse in this time, then please do not worry. If you have, please do a pregnancy test to be sure.
    Please take care
    Sophie, Tommy's Midwife

  • By Chelsea (not verified) on 20 Oct 2017 - 05:41

    Hi I'm feeling sick in the mornings sharpe pain in left nipple/breast I'm getting sharpe pain in lower belly above the vagina and the extra tiredness and urinating loads and drinking much more than usual. Getting left hip pain to. Im due on today or next Monday or tuesday.

  • By Catherine (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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