Think you might be pregnant? Even if it's too soon to take a pregnancy test, your body can start showing signs and symptoms that it's growing a baby as early as two weeks after conception.
What are the first and very early signs of pregnancy?
TirednessThis is one of the first signs of pregnancy to hit as your body gears up to start supporting your baby and can even start within two weeks of conceiving. If you're feeling extra exhausted and can't work out why, this could be a sign your body is getting ready to grow a baby.
NauseaMorning sickness is caused by an increase in oestrogen and the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). For many, this is the first sign of pregnancy. Don’t be misled by its name - while the nauseous feeling is most common in the morning, it can strike at any time of day.
Missed periodAnother common indicator and one of the most concrete signs you're expecting. That said, if you have irregular or light periods, this can be an easy one to miss. What's more, some women still have periods after they conceive.
Spotting or bleedingThis might sound strange and is another one that can be confused with a period, but around a third of women experience some sort of implantation bleeding. Implantation bleeding is when the foetus implants into the lining of your uterus and causes a small amount of blood. This usually happens 6 to 12 days after you've concieved.
More toilet tripsAlthough your baby won't be pressing on your bladder just yet (a common side effect you'll experience later in your pregnancy), the hormone changes, plus a greater blood volume and your kidneys working harder could mean you find yourself rushing to the toilet more often right now.
Breast changesAnother extremely common early pregnancy sign is changes in your breasts. For some women, their boobs increase a full cup size within the first six weeks. For others, they find their boobs feel heavier and more tender than normal.
Nipple changesPregnancy hormones cause your body's melanin production to increase temporarly - you might notice this has caused your nipples and the area around them (the areolas) to turn a darker colour.
Bleeding gumsIf you've noticed blood when brushing your teeth, it could be that progesterone is to blame. This pregnancy hormone increases the flow of blood to gums, increasing sensitivity and causing them to bleed more easily.
Increased vaginal dischargeYou might notice your body is producing more milky white vaginal discharge - this is your body's way to preventing harmful infections from travelling upwards and harming your baby.
Changes in facial skin colourA slightly odd sounding symptom, but some women experience changes in facial skin colour during pregnancy. This is medically referred to as melasma, chloasma or 'mask of pregnancy' and is caused by a temporary increase in pigmentation.
Feeling lightheaded or faintingIt's thought that the pregnancy hormone progesterone makes your blood vessels relax and widen to increase blood flow around the body, cauisng low blood pressure.
Shortness of breathFeeling out of breath doing your usual exercise routine or walking up the stairs? The surge of progesterone your body produces when you're pregnant expands your lung capacity which means you'll find yourself needing to take more breaths.
Increased sense of smell or tasteIf you suddenly can't bear the perfume you've worn for years, or your colleagues choice of tuna sandwich, it could be another early pregnancy sign. This is down to the hormone oestrogen which is heightening your responses to things that might be harmful to your growing baby.
Back painIf you're already suffering from back ache, it could be caused by the pregnancy hormone relaxin, which makes your ligaments and joints relax and become looser so your body is ready to give birth.
Feeling pregnantSome women are so in tune with their bodies they report 'feeling' pregnant before taking a pregnancy test. You might have detected those early hormone changes, so it's worth checking!
Metallic taste in mouthAnother common early sign of pregnancy, this one even has it's own name: 'dysgeusia'.
Period-like crampsIt's the right time of the month and you have the normal period cramps. But wait, these stomach aches could be a sign you've conceived and the egg has implanted into the uterine wall, causing that familiar cramping sensation.
Excessive salivaMedically referred to as ptyalism, this is another one caused by those early hormonal changes.
HeadachesMany women experience headaches around the time their period, due to a surge in the hormone oestrogen. After conception, your oestrogen levels also rise, which could be what's causing that pounding head.
Food aversionsIf you suddenly can't bear the sight or even idea of a boiled egg, it could be that you are experiencing the first trimester pregnancy food aversions. Whilst the egg aversion is a common one, it can happen with any types of food - even your favourites.
CravingsThat said, as fast as you'll go off certain foods, you'll start to crave others. A strong desire for something as simple as a fizzy drink, or as unusual as a lump of coal, could be an indicator that you're pregnant.
HungerFeeling absolutely ravenous all of a sudden? This is a sign your body wants you to start eating for two!
Low libidoIf you're suddenly experiencing a really low sex drive after all of that baby-making sex, it could be a sign the job has been done!
Cold like symptomsAnother one caused by those pregnancy hormones (get ready to hear about them A LOT over the next nine months), if you're suffering from a blocked nose or cold it could be that those pregnancy hormones are cuasing swelling inside your nose, and increasing the amount and thickness of mucus.
Spots or acneIf you're blaming your period on those breakouts, you might be wrong. A surge of progesterone can make your glands produce more pore-blocking oily sebum.
More emotionalHave you found yourself weeping on the underground or sobbing at a TV advert you've seen hundreds of time before? Emotions tend to be all over the place during pregnancy (one word - hormones), so if you're on an emotional rollercoaster, it might be time to go and buy a pregnancy test!
MoodinessFeeling extremely grumpy and short tempered? A combination of pregnancy symptoms can wreak havoc with your moods.
Constipation and windIt might be an embarrasing symptom you'd rather not talk about, but wind could actually mean your digestive system is adapting to those baby hormones.
BloatingIf that pre-period puffiness hasn't disappeared, it could actually be the pregnancy hormone progesterone at play. Feeling bloated? It might be worth taking a test!
30 early signs of pregnancy:
This is one of the first signs of pregnancy to hit as your body gears up to start supporting your baby and can even start within two weeks of conceiving. If crawling under your desk is suddenly more appealing than your comfy bed just because it’s nearer, or you fall asleep every time you sit down, your body could be up to something - using up all your energy to grow a baby, perhaps?
Feel like you’re on a rocking boat while you’re standing still? Wake up feeling nauseous? This could be down to an increase in oestrogen and the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). For many, morning sickness is the first sign of pregnancy and don’t be misled by its name - while the nauseous feeling is most common in the morning, it can strike at any time of day.
3. Missed period
The indicator that most often springs to mind, and one of the more concrete signs you’re expecting. This is easier to pick up on if your periods are usually quite regular. However, some women may still have a period after they conceive, but it’s likely to be lighter than usual.
4. ‘Spotting’ or bleeding
It may sound strange, but spotting or bleeding could also indicate a baby on board. Obviously, if you’re used to heavy periods, a dramatic change in flow to a very light period, or a change of duration from five days to one, for example, could signal a pregnancy.
Around a third of women experience implantation bleeding. This is when the foetus implants into the uterine lining and could cause a small amount of blood. This usually happens around 6 to 12 days after you’ve conceived, so if you’ve experienced a small bleed around this time, it could be a sign that you’re expecting.
5. More toilet trips
Rushing off to the toilet unusually frequently may also signal a pregnancy. Obviously later in pregnancy, the baby presses on the bladder, a clear cause of needing to visit the toilet regularly. This early in a pregnancy, however, there isn’t as clear a cause, although it’s likely that hormonal changes are to blame, a greater blood volume and your kidneys working harder.
6. Breast changes
Among common very early pregnancy signs are also changes to your breasts. For some women, breasts can increase a full cup size within the first six weeks of pregnancy. Your boobs can feel more tender and heavy and, as the blood supply to them increases, caused by hormonal changes, the blue veins may become more prominent.
Many women also say that their boobs become more sensitive. Again this is because of an increase in the blood supply. Just as the rest of your body adapts to a new life inside, your boobs need to prepare to feed a baby, so milk glands become larger too.
7. Nipple changes
Have you noticed a strange tingling in your nipples and is the area around them (the areolas) turning a darker colour? Pregnancy hormones cause the body’s melanin production, which is responsible for the pigment in your nipples and other areas, to increase temporarily, so with more pigment, nipples become darker.
8. Bleeding gums
If you notice blood when you’re brushing your teeth and are convinced you haven’t brushed them any more vigorously than usual, perhaps it’s progesterone to blame instead. This pregnancy hormone increases the flow of blood to gums, increasing sensitivity and causing them to bleed more easily when they’re being cleaned.
9. Increased vaginal discharge
If you notice a slight increase in the milky white vaginal discharge, it could be a sign that your body is beginning to take action to protect a baby! It’s thought that the body produces more to help prevent potentially harmful infections from traveling upwards.
10. Changes in facial skin colour
What you thought was a bit of a tan might turn out to be a hint that you’re pregnant. If you’re darker skinned, you may notice your skin has patches of darker areas around the forehead and cheeks and upper part of the face.
This phenomenon is called melasma, chloasma or ‘mask of pregnancy’ and is caused by a temporary increase in pigmentation. It runs in families too, so ask your relatives if they experienced it in their pregnancies.
11. Feeling lightheaded or fainting
Did you put that sudden dizziness down to standing up too quickly? It could be caused by pregnancy hormones and low blood pressure. It’s thought that the hormones (progesterone) make blood vessels relax and widen to increase blood flow around the body causing low blood pressure and it’s the low blood pressure that causes expectant mums to feel dizzy or lightheaded.
12. Shortness of breath
That same surge of progesterone the body produces when you’re pregnant both expands your lung capacity and causes you to take more breaths. This is to make sure your growing baby gets the oxygen it needs, so having to stop halfway upstairs you usually have no trouble climbing could be a subtle pregnancy sign.
If you smelled that tuna salad all the way across the office, or suddenly can’t bear your favourite perfume, it could be another pregnancy sign. This time it’s the hormone oestrogen that’s to blame and it’s thought it functions to heighten your responses to things that might be harmful to you and therefore your foetus.
14. Back pain
Back pain can sometimes be caused by a pregnancy hormone, this time one called relaxin. Just like its name suggests, it makes ligaments and joints relax and become looser as the pregnancy progresses so the body is ready when it’s time to give birth.
15. ‘Feeling’ pregnant
Some women are incredibly in tune with their bodies, without even realising it, so don’t dismiss a ‘feeling’ of pregnancy that you can’t quite put your finger on as wishful thinking. You could just have detected the subtle hormonal changes of pregnancy before even a test can.
16. Period-like cramps
It’s the right time of the month and you have the usual cramping symptoms of your period. Roll on next month! But wait. Those cramps could be a sign that you’ve conceived and the egg has implanted. As it attaches to the uterine wall it may stretch a little, causing that feeling of cramp.
17. Metallic taste in mouth
Does your mouth taste like you’ve just been sucking on an old coin? That metallic taste is a common early sign of pregnancy and even has its own name: dysgeusia.
18. Excess saliva
Ptyalism is the name given to the condition of excess saliva found in expectant mums. Its cause is thought to be hormonal changes and perhaps swallowing less frequently to control feelings of morning sickness.
You can put headaches down to a lot of factors: lack of sleep, stress, hunger, dehydration and… pregnancy! Many women experience headaches around their period which is due to a surge in the hormone oestrogen, but after conception your oestrogen levels also rise and can cause that pounding head.
20. Food Aversions
When you’re suddenly appalled at the very idea of a boiled egg for breakfast and can’t even be in the same room as one, you could be experiencing a pregnancy food aversion. The majority of women have a strong food aversion in their first trimester, but while the egg aversion is a common one, it could be any food item you feel like you even utter the name of, let alone stomach.
Some believe the reason for this is the body protecting itself from possible food poisoning by rebelling against the foods most likely to cause illness, or it could be the hormones at work again.
While we’re on the subject of food, an overwhelming desire to eat certain things that you usually wouldn’t take a second look at could also be a pregnancy sign. You’ve probably heard of pregnant women with bizarre cravings for coal and chalk, but a strong desire for something as simple as a fizzy drink could be an indicator that you’re pregnant. This is because the body starts to ask for things that it needs for you or your growing baby.
If you’re feeling a bit nauseous, carbonated drinks can settle a queasy stomach, which is why your body may be demanding one. Pickles are a really common craving and some believe this is because your body may be craving extra salt to help regulate your body’s changing fluid levels in early pregnancy.
Sticking with the food theme, are you absolutely ravenous? Eating your usual breakfast, lunch, dinner and feeling like you could eat it all again? It could be a sign that your body wants food for two! A baby grows rapidly in the first 20 weeks and needs nutrients and calories to do it, so your body begins to demand more.
23. Low libido
If you’ve been actively trying to get pregnant, then you’ve probably been having a lot of sex. Now, if it’s the last thing you feel like you want to do, your baby-making work could be done. Your body has a lot of adjusting to do to accommodate and support a growing baby and feelings of nausea and tiredness could also kick your libido into touch.
24. Blocked nose/cold-like symptoms
Got a stinking cold, or could you be pregnant? It may sound strange, but those sniffles could actually be a sign that you’ve conceived. It’s the hormones at work again, swelling the inside of your nose and increasing the amount and thickness of mucus, causing congestion and cold-like symptoms. It’s so common, it even has its own name - pregnancy rhinitis.
25. Spots or acne
If you’ve ever experienced a breakout of spots just before your period is due, you’ll know how hormonal changes can affect your skin. As pregnancy is all about hormones, and a surge of progesterone can make glands produce more pore-blocking oily sebum, your spots could be a sign of a pregnancy instead.
26. More emotional
Pass the hankies! If the slightest thing is setting you off, from a TV ad to a tiny work criticism that would normally be water off a duck’s back, there could be an underlying cause. Emotions tend to be all over the place in early pregnancy (of course, it’s those hormones again) so if you’re surprised at your reaction to things and you feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster, it might be time to go and buy that test.
Grumpy and short-tempered? A combination of pregnancy symptoms can wreak havoc with your moods. Lack of sleep, hormonal surges, headaches, aches and pains can all affect how bright you’re feeling, even if you haven’t had positive confirmation of the cause of those grumps yet!
28. Constipation and wind
Pardon me! It might be embarrassing, but wind could mean your digestive system is having to adapt to baby hormones. Muscles are more relaxed, including your bowel, so food doesn’t move through the body so quickly, causing a delightful trio of constipation, bloating and wind.
If that pre-period puffiness doesn’t disappear, it could be the pregnancy hormone progesterone causing it. Before your period, progesterone causes your digestion to slow, so you may feel bloated. When your period arrives it causes progesterone levels to return to normal and that bloated feeling disappears. Bloat won’t budge? It could be a sign!
30. Temperature changes
Pregnancy causes an increase in blood volume and the body starts working harder to support a growing foetus. It burns off more energy and therefore creates more heat. So if you’re feeling extra hot, or perhaps your partner notices you’re warmer under the covers than usual, it could be an early sign of pregnancy!
Whether you’ve got one, a few, or lots of these signs of pregnancy, the best way to find out for sure is a simple pregnancy test. They’re so advanced these days that you can take an early pregnancy test 6 days before your period is due and expect a result that’s around 99% accurate.
I'm pregnant, what next?
Congratulations! Now's the time to start planning. Work out when your baby should arrive by using our due date calculator and learn more about what to expect by reading through our pregnancy week by week guide.