Planning your pregnancy? Congratulations! Whether you’ve been trying for a month or a year, you’re likely dying of anticipation… not only to welcome a new little bundle into the world, but, more immediately, to find out whether this is the month you are officially positive.
(Psst: Check out a roundup of our favorite devices and apps to help you get pregnant.)
Pregnancy tests use antibodies to detect human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a substance made by the developing placenta. Using ultra-sensitive early pregnancy tests, you’re most likely to start being able to detect pregnancy starting at four to five days before your missed period, although the tests are only about 50 to 75% accurate this early.
Those days between TTC and getting a positive result can be both super exciting and nerve-wracking. While there’s no guarantee, there are certain changes you can look out for during this time.
Here are some early signs that you may be pregnant:
Give me all the chocolate.
Hormonal changes may cause food cravings or aversions early in pregnancy. These changes in your food preferences may last throughout your pregnancy.
Whose boobs are these?
If you find that your girls are more voluminous, changing in color, or super sensitive to touch (ouch!), this could be a red flag that you are expecting. And maybe a sign to indulge in a new bra, too.
Hold on, I have to pee. Again.
There may not be a baby kicking your bladder yet, but that doesn’t mean the never-ending pee breaks won’t start as early as a few weeks after conception. Your kidneys are working overtime to rid your body of toxins and, yes, your hormones are playing a role, too. Keep drinking plenty of water and fondly think of your potty breaks as a way to chill for a few more minutes throughout the day.
P.S. If your increase in bathroom trips is accompanied by a burning sensation when you pee, give your doctor or midwife a call, because you could have a urinary tract infection.
I’m just going to rest my eyes. For 14 hours.
If you’re working, going to school or taking care of a family and kids, you are probably already pretty beat. But we’re not talking about the usual craving for a quick Sunday nap. We’re talking about the overwhelming need to sleep... at work, at school or at the dinner table. Progesterone produced during pregnancy can make you extra sleepy (and not at all picky about where you are willing to snooze).
I don’t feel so good, guys.
Although morning sickness (aka any-time-any-place sickness) doesn’t usually appear until around six weeks into pregnancy, it can strike as early as three weeks. Because fatigue is related to more nausea, take any opportunity you can to sleep, or at least lie on the couch and binge on Netflix. If you’re taking a pre-pregnancy prenatal vitamin, it’s possible that it might be making you a bit queasy. Try taking it at night, with food and a calcium-based tummy soother. Vitamins with extra B6 may also reduce nausea. For more severe morning sickness, talk to your doctor. There are medications she can prescribe to help you tame your upset stomach.
Your basal body temp doesn’t come down.
If you’re taking your morning temperature in order to chart your cycle, you might have noticed that your temperature often dips the day before your period arrives. If you notice that your basal body temp is staying high even when you are expecting your period—you might be pregnant!
So, what’s the earliest you can find out you’re pregnant?
Your doctor could always run a blood test, which can typically detect pregnancy as early as one week after conception.
Of course, if you can be slightly more patient, home pregnancy tests can let you know pretty early, too!
Some of the fancier early home pregnancy tests can be used as soon as five days before your missed period (although their accuracy maxes out at 50 to 75%). If you can wait until the day of your missed period, the accuracy of these tests usually hits 99%. Hmm… maybe that’s why they put two tests in the box. ?