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To try and determine whether there’s a baby on board or not, women will often analyze every detail of their physical well-being, hoping for some sort of unusual early pregnancy signs–a runny nose, abdominal pain, mild cramps, and more.
At least that’s how it worked for me.
How Do You Know if You Are Pregnant?
After both of my IVF cycles, I became a slave to the Google machine.
I spent hours each day pondering various ‘symptoms’ I thought I might be experiencing. It didn’t matter what I felt; everything was a possible sign of pregnancy.
If you could see my search history from those times, you would think you were reading the psychotic ramblings of someone coming unhinged:
- Is back pain an early pregnancy sign?
- How soon do pregnancy cravings start?
- What does discharge look like if you’re pregnant?
- Was that a small baby movement, or am I just hungry?
The list goes on-and-on.
And the most frustrating part is that so many early pregnancy symptoms, like mood swings, abdominal pain, and feeling bloated, are also symptoms of PMS.
Thanks for that, universe. Awesome move there, really.
While an eye twitch or toe pain might not be early pregnancy signs, there can be uncommon pregnancy symptoms during the first month. You can look for these symptoms as you drive yourself crazy waiting to take a home pregnancy test (HPT).
If you’re sitting there asking yourself, “How do you know if you are pregnant,” we’ve got several great suggestions to help you along.
How Early Can You Tell if You Are Pregnant?
While some women will tell you they had a ‘gut feeling’ they were pregnant the moment they conceived, this isn’t exactly the most reliable information.
Most medical professionals stand by the belief that women will not get reliable pregnancy test results until the first day of their missed periods, when pregnancy hormones have properly developed.
This occurs approximately two weeks after ovulation – hence, the “two-week wait.”
While some over-the-counter pregnancy tests boast an ability to detect pregnancy up to five days before a woman’s missed period, these aren’t always dependable.
Waiting until your missed period will typically yield more valid results.
If you take a test that turns out negative, but you’re still having “pregnancy-related” symptoms like food aversions, wait another week and then test again.
Okay, we know you can’t stand it. At least wait 2 days.
And make sure you take your tests with your first morning urine.
While false positives are rare, false negatives often occur if a pregnant women test too early.
Unusual Early Pregnancy Signs
When you’re watching a movie and the main character is pregnant, the lead up to the big reveal usually goes one of two ways.
- The character casually glances at her calendar and then gets that far-away look in her eyes as she realizes that she’s missed her period. OR
- She wakes up in the morning, violently throws up, and reality sinks in.
This is it. Hollywood would have us believe that missed periods and morning sickness are the only ways a pregnant woman can tell that she’s expecting.
On the contrary, however, there are several unusual early pregnancy signs that many women don’t even realize can occur.
If you’re struggling to get through your two-week wait and you’re searching your body for conception clues, be on the lookout for the following 15 early pregnancy symptoms:
If you’re feeling more tired than usual and can’t seem to keep your eyes open during the day, this can be one of the early signs of pregnancy in the first 2 weeks.
I’m one of those strange people who doesn’t enjoy naps. When I was pregnant with my first child, however, I would come home every day from work and pass out on the couch for an hour or two. I should have realized something was up, right then!
2. Implantation bleeding
In regards to pregnancy, we fear blood–it seems like it’s always a bad sign.
In reality, though, small amounts of blood can be quite reasonable in the early days after conception. Many women experience something called ‘implantation bleeding.’
This symptom can be confusing, though, because it often mimics the light bleeding that can occur before your period starts. Still, darkish blood that appears near the end of your two week wait could be implantation bleeding.
3. Breast-related symptoms
Many women start feeling tenderness or sharp pains in their breasts in the very early weeks of pregnancy.
Some of the most common ‘breast-related’ side-effects include:
- Sore and tender breasts
- Veiny breasts
- Many women notice dark blue veins that run over their breasts during the early parts of pregnancy.
- Darker areolas than normal
4. Round ligament pain
It’s a sensation women feel when their uterus contracts and grows to support the growing baby in their bellies.
Despite being a common symptom during pregnancy, round ligament pain isn’t usually discussed amongst friends.
While round ligament pain is most often felt during the second trimester, it can also be one of the unusual early pregnancy signs some women experience.
If you’re in your two-week wait and notice a strange tugging, pinching, or cramping within your stomach, it might be your uterus beginning to stretch. This can manifest as tugging, cramping, or low back pain in early pregnancy.
Editorial note from Katy: including miscarriages, I’ve been pregnant 5 times. A tugging pain in my lower left abdomen when I move suddenly, cough, or sneeze has been the first symptom (before a positive pregnancy test) every single time.
During pregnancy, your blood vessels will dilate, which can lead to a drop in blood pressure.
This effect can cause lightheadedness as early as the first trimester.
6. Increased vaginal discharge
When it comes to early signs of pregnancy, discharge can help you determine what’s going on inside your body.
Pregnancy-related discharge, also known as Leukorrhea, is milky white and has little smell. It’s no different than normal discharge you might experience throughout the month, but there does tend to be more of it.
This increase in discharge is caused by the increased blood flow to the pelvic area, due to heightened estrogen levels.
If your discharge gets thicker or smells, be sure you don’t have a yeast infection. These vaginal infections are more common during pregnancy due to hormones changing the pH balance of your vaginal discharge.
While bloating is common during your regular menstrual cycle, it can also be one of the early signs of pregnancy in the first two weeks.
In fact, I remember moments of looking more ‘pregnant’ during my first two months than I did a little later on, due to bloating. It’s also common for women to bloat more throughout the day and appear noticeably “fuller” at night.
8. Metallic or Strange Taste in Your Mouth
Does it suddenly taste like you’ve been sucking on a mouthful of pennies?
Nope, you didn’t forget chomping down on some change; this is probably just one more of the unusual early pregnancy signs we’re talking about.
The medical term for this condition is dysgeusia. It’s most noticeable during the first trimester but can occur throughout the remainder of your pregnancy.
In fact, up to 93% of women notice strange tastes in their mouths throughout different moments during gestation.
Do you suddenly feel like you’ve time-traveled back to your awkward teenage days of problem acne?
No worries, this isn’t an episode of Outlander! You’re probably just noticing pregnancy-related pimples caused by the shift in hormone levels your system is experiencing.
10. Constipation (Or Diarrhea)
Tummy troubles are a regular part of pregnancy for many women.
If it’s not progesterone-induced constipation, you could be experiencing unpleasant diarrhea from food sensitivities.
While these troubles can start as early as the first few weeks of pregnancy, they tend to last throughout all three trimesters.
11. Mood Swings
Darn those pesky hormones! They seem to be the root factor in most of these uncommon pregnancy symptoms in the first month – including mood swings.
If you find yourself crying over spilled milk or raging at your partner for no particular reason, cut yourself some slack.
Your body is probably trying to adjust the heightened level of hormones now flowing through your system.
12. Bleeding Gums
While certainly not the most attractive early pregnancy symptom, bleeding gums are quite common.
While you’re pregnant, you have an increased amount of blood pumping through your system. This can cause gum swelling, which then leads to bleeding while doing things like brushing your teeth.
13. Sensitivity to Smells
If you’re looking for early pregnancy signs in the first 2 weeks, pay attention to your sense of smell.
When you’re suddenly noticing scents that weren’t there before, you could be experiencing one of the most common pregnancy symptoms.
Be careful, though! If you’re suffering from morning sickness, too, heightened smells might not sit well with your stomach.
Right after both of my IVF cycles, I suddenly noticed I was getting terrible headaches on an almost daily basis.
Apparently, I was not alone.
When hormone levels begin to change in the first trimester, it can lead to unpleasant headaches.
Sometimes these eventually taper off, but many women continue to have them throughout the rest of their pregnancy.
15. Feeling Dizzy
As your pregnancy progresses into the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, drops in blood sugar can cause lightheadedness and dizziness. This does not mean, however, that women can’t also experience it early on.
For some women, getting dizzy might even be the first pregnancy symptom they notice.
16. Vivid Dreams
Don’t usually have such crazy dreams? If you’re in the two week wait, this could be an early pregnancy sign. Many women’s subconscious brains start spinning at this time.
17. Sinus-Related Symptoms
Feeling a stuffy nose? A little drainage? Hormonal changes can cause your mucus membranes to swell, which can cause sinus congestion and drainage in early pregnancy.
How Did You Know You Were Pregnant?
One of the easiest ways of answering the question “how do you know if you are pregnant?” is a missed period. Before that occurs, however, you might experience other unusual early pregnancy signs in the first 2 weeks.
Every woman will experience pregnancy a little bit differently.
When it comes to early signs of pregnancy, discharge, headaches, and mood swings are all par for the course. We make pregnancy sound so glamorous, don’t we?
If anything concerns you, though, be sure to speak with your doctor and find out if what you’re feeling is normal.
What were your first early signs of pregnancy?
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- 7 Weeks Pregnant: Signs and Symptoms
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- 2ww TTC: How to survive the 2 week wait
- How tracking fertility changed my life
- Strange early pregnancy symptoms stories
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- Implantation bleeding vs. period quiz
Kristen Bergeron is a freelance writer from Florida. In addition to writing, she is a wife, mother of two beautiful girls, Hadley and Scarlett, and a part-time photographer. After overcoming infertility and having two successful IVF cycles, she’s made it a personal goal to help educate men and women on the realities of fertility struggles. She is passionate about supporting fellow women who are trying to navigate the complicated world of conception, pregnancy, and learning to be the best mothers we can be.