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6 early signs of pregnancy (before a positive pregnancy test)

While there's no guarantee, there are certain early signs of pregnancy you can look out for almost immediately.

how early can you tell you're pregnant

Wondering what the early signs of pregnancy are? Whether you've been trying to get pregnant for a month or a year, you're likely wild with 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.

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 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 6 early signs of pregnancy before a missed period or pregnancy test:

1. Cravings

Hormonal changes may cause food cravings or aversions early in pregnancy. These changes in your food preferences may last throughout your pregnancy.


2. Breast changes

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.

3. More frequent pee breaks

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.


4. Fatigue

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).

5. Nausea

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 provider. There are medications she can prescribe to help you tame your upset stomach.

6. Raised basal body temperature

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!



How soon can you take a pregnancy test?

Your provider 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.

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