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Common signs and symptoms of early pregnancy

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Common signs and symptoms of early pregnancy

If you are trying to get pregnant or suspect you might be, you're probably waiting for the right time to take a pregnancy test. Besides a missed period, there are several early signs of pregnancy. Still, people tend to mistake them for PMS symptoms.

75% of women experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) during their reproductive years. Common PMS symptoms include but are not limited to breast tenderness, abdominal bloating, fatigue, acne flare-ups, and weight gain.

Coincidentally, the very early signs of pregnancy often look and feel very similar to PMS symptoms. Have you missed your period and begun wondering what to do next? It's best to take a pregnancy test to ensure, but below are a few common early pregnancy symptoms.

What Are the Early Signs of Pregnancy?

Besides a pregnancy test, there are several early signs to look for if you think you might be pregnant. Remember, however, that you can experience any one of or a combination of these symptoms. Here are the most common early signs of pregnancy:

  • A missed period

A missed period is one of the most telltale signs of early pregnancy. If it's been a week or more since the usual start of your period, you may be pregnant. Remember, however, that missed periods can be rooted in other causes, such as stress or illness. Contact your OBGYN or primary care physician if you're concerned about your missed period.

  • Cramping

During implantation, you might experience cramping when your uterus tightens and prepares for pregnancy.

  • Tender or swollen breasts

When you're pregnant, your body experiences significant changes in hormones. This change can contribute to breast tenderness. The rush of early pregnancy hormones (estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin) makes your breasts tender and sore as your body adjusts to the pregnancy. This symptom typically improves by the second trimester, but until then, consider trading up your bra for a larger size to find extra comfort.

  • Nausea

Throughout the first trimester, many women complain of persistent nausea with or without vomiting. Commonly — and mistakenly — known as "morning sickness," pregnancy-related nausea can strike anytime within a month or two of conception. While many women report nausea improving after the first trimester, some experience it throughout their pregnancy and some never experience nausea at all.

  • Frequent Urination

If you've found yourself using the restroom more than usual, you might be in the early stages of pregnancy. During pregnancy, your blood volume increases by 20% to 100%, averaging a 45% increase. This increase means that your kidneys have to process extra fluid that ends up in your bladder. Also, pregnancy often increases thirst, which can be partially to blame for the additional trips to the bathroom.

  • Fatigue

While it's true that PMS symptoms often include fatigue, so do very early signs of pregnancy. Medical professionals are still trying to understand what causes fatigue during the first (and third) trimesters of pregnancy, but surging hormones may be to blame. When you conceive, your body produces increased quantities of progesterone, which can make you feel tired.

Contact Your Doctor

Again, it's easy to mistake PMS symptoms for early signs of pregnancy. While the best way to know if you are pregnant is through a pregnancy test and a trip to your doctor's office, be on the lookout for the early signs of pregnancy to help you prepare. Contact your OBGYN or primary care physician for more information on early signs of pregnancy.