There are an astonishing number of very early signs that you might be pregnant, so we’ve compiled the most common symptoms by asking hundreds of mums directly and in our forums, and analysing the latest scientific research.
Some symptoms are tantalisingly similar to pre-menstrual signs or when you’re having your period, which can be a tough call.
While some signs are well-known, others may come as a big surprise. Recognise this? “I started crying at stuff on the telly, I also kept getting really hot and not feeling hungry!”1sttimemummyyy tells us, before adding a more common symptom. “I also had sore boobs 5 days after ovulation that just got worse and worse.”
Here is our (and mums) list of the most common and earliest pregnancy symptoms and signs:
Tingly or darker nipples and sore, heavy boobs
Oh yes, a change to your boobs is the first sign of pregnancy for so many of our MFM mums, and can happen as early as 2 or 3 weeks of pregnancy. “I started to get a feeling I was pregnant about 1.5 weeks before I was due on, so pretty early,” says Tamarabell on our forum. “I had really tender nipples and sort of butterflies in my tummy for a few days. My test came up positive the week before I was due. The doctor didn’t believe it and made me do another one. I just sort of knew that something was different!”
DemWatson tells us, “I started getting really sore boobs and sore nipples 7-10 days after my last period finished. I thought it was due to my period because I was also experiencing cramping. I took a pregnancy test around 2 weeks later and it was positive!”
Breasts can also feel tender or sore, while nipples may be tingly or prickly, (although, as we mentioned these can also be normal monthly changes).
Other symptoms can include breasts that feel heavy, itchy, sore and, um, feel veiny. Plus your nipples may feel more sensitive, more bumpy and they may even look darker.
“I got veins on my boobs and my nipples changed colour. I tested and got a bfp [big fat positive test]” shares Jo1311.
Then again, everyone is different, and some won’t feel any breast changes until later in pregnancy.
“I tested because I had really sore boobies,” says ErinDsoontobeB. They were that sore that I had to wear a bra in the bath!”
Late or missed period
Being late or missing your monthly period is the most well-known first sign of pregnancy, although the rest of the symptoms in our list are ones that you may experience even before you miss your period.
If you’re trying to get pregnant, sadly a missed period doesn’t necessarily mean you’re pregnant. For many women, late and irregular periods can be the norm, which is why it’s useful to know other symptoms.
If your period is unusually late, it’s time to take a pregnancy test.
Feeling a little sick
Probably the most talked about symptom is, of course, morning sickness. Around 80% of women have nausea during their pregnancy, with 50% actually throwing up. You can actually start feeling queasy from as early as two weeks of pregnancy, due to changes with your hormones. Nausea won’t necessarily always happen in the morning, as afternoon, evening and night-time sickness can also appear.
“The first symptom I had was starting to feel slightly travel sick when in the car or on the bus,” says mamapink.
“I had morning sickness very early on, at about 3 weeks,” says Bride-carly-barley, “and my tastes changed. I couldn’t eat anything strong tasting and the smell of my husband making his morning coffee made me want to be sick!”
Find out when morning sickness is likely to start
There are all sorts of tummy pains, twinges and niggles that some women feel in the early weeks after conceiving. Here are the most common…
This is a confusing symptom, as it can happen exactly around the time that you would expect period pains. If you’re hoping you might be pregnant and then start feeling menstrual-type cramps, this may be a sign of pregnancy rather than your period. However, it’s one of the less common symptoms.
“I’m 5 weeks and having pains like I do on my period,” says firsttimemum88. “I found everyone says it’s normal and also a hot camomile tea helps my tummy.”
Rather than period-style pains, some women experience a bit of tummy cramping. This may be due to your ligaments starting to stretch as your uterus changes shape.
“At around a week after I would have ovulated (no idea when I did though, just a guess from my dates!) I got sharp stomach pains like a stabbing pain,” says gsmummy55. “Around the time of my missed af [Aunty Flo = period] I felt tired, with cramps – unusual for me as I rarely got af cramps but that’s what it felt like – and needed the loo more. And a week after that I started being sick!”
Find out more about cramps in early pregnancy
Tummy twinges, pulling and pinching
These are some of the terms our mums use in our forum when describing the sometimes curious feelings many of us have in our stomachs in early pregnancy. It might feel like your muscles are being stretched or even pinched from inside, and can be on one side and then the other.
“I had abdominal twinges at approx 5 weeks and panicked,” says MrsJohnstone in our forum. “But the doctor said it was just everything stretching and changing and not to worry.”
Spotting or light bleeding
It’s not unusual to have light spotting or bleeding in early pregnancy – in fact it can occur in around 20% of pregnancies. You may have some spotting when your fertilised egg attaches to your womb lining, which is called implantation bleeding. Confusingly, it can occur just before or around the same time your period is due but is usually a bit lighter.
“I had implantation bleeding 8 days after ovulating,” shares xFran82x. “I had some watery pink discharge when I wiped a few times and then found 2 dots of brown blood on my pants. I tested the next afternoon and got a faint positive result.”
“I had a regular 28 day cycle and it [implantation bleeding] was about a week before I’d have expected my period. Mine was some pink CM [cervical mucus] for a couple of days – enough that I needed a panty liner,” says BabyGirlsMummy.
Find out how long implantation bleeding or spotting can last
Yes, it’s that pregnancy hormone progesterone that can give you a bump before your baby does. Your tummy can fill full and swollen, especially after a meal.
Find out which foods are bloat villains!
When it comes to trips to the lav, there are many changes that can come with pregnancy…
Frequent trips to the loo
Often one of the most common early signs, you’re going to have to get used to this one. The loo may become your new best friend over the next few months.
Find out just how many times you may be visiting the toilet
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Confusingly, frequent trips to the loo can also be a sign of a urinary or bladder infection. And even more confusingly, both can be more likely when you’re pregnant due to your changing hormones. If you think you’ve got a UTI, visit your GP – find out why it’s important to treat a UTI when you’re pregnant.
Not as funny as it sounds, in fact not funny at all. Trapped wind can give you a painful bloated feeling in your stomach or under your ribs, even in very early pregnancy. Of course, trapped wind can also become passed wind – farting and burping – which can make you feel better afterwards, but maybe not those close by!
Read how our mums-to-be relieved their trapped wind
Been regular and suddenly no-show poo? It’s another symptom of pregnancy and often an early one, due to changes in your hormone progesterone.
Find out what foods you should eat and ones to avoid if you’re bunged up
Yes, the pregnancy gods have a sense of humour. If you’re not constipated you might have the runs. This can happen at any point in pregnancy, but is one of the symptoms several of our mums had in the first few weeks.
Find out what you can do to stop the trots when you’re pregnant
Change in cervical mucus
Some of our MFM mums find their cervical mucus changes – usually that they seem to have more mucus than usual. In very early pregnancy, your mucus may be thinnish and slippery for longer than usual (its texture changes across your normal monthly cycle) and will then thicken due to the increase in progesterone. It’s usually a pale colour, but don’t worry if you see a brownish discharge – this is also common. It’s usually harmless, but if you’re worried, have a chat with your GP.
Thrush is another pregnancy symptom that is affected by the increasing level of the hormone progesterone – around 25% of pregnant women will get it. A sign of thrush can be increased cervical mucus but this is also a sign of early pregnancy. Thrush also has other symptoms – your mucus will be thicker and creamier, and you may also have itchiness and soreness, and possibly a stinging sensation when you wee.
Check which anti-thrush medication is safe to take
Symptoms in your mouth are some of the more unusual signs…
Strange or metallic taste
One of the most unexpected symptoms of early pregnancy is a sour or metallic taste in your mouth. Yep, once again it’s due to your progesterone hormone and it even has its own name – dysgeusia. “The strong metallic taste happened to me about 5 weeks in, and was like I sucked a 2p piece,” explains Deli3.
Several mums found certain drinks suddenly tasted different.
“My first sympton was an aversion to diet coke which I normally love! It just seemed to taste funny. Then there was a bizarre dizzy feeling followed by extreme tiredness,” explains Hushpuppy.
I had a problem with coffee, “recalls bev6. “It tasted stronger if not bitter and I could not drink it. I also had a horrible film in my mouth that I could not get rid of – it lasted for weeks”
There can be other reasons why you have a strange taste in your mouth – find out what these are
Another weird one – you may find you have more saliva in your mouth or notice a bit of drooling when you fall asleep!
And then, you may get the opposite to excess saliva – a dry mouth. You may find you’re more thirsty than usual, which is normal but occasionally may be a sign of gestational diabetes.
Not a pretty symptom – when you brush your teeth you may find you bleed a little.
Find out why you should brush your teeth more often
Did you know your sleep can be affected in a number of ways?
From feeling a bit rundown to experiencing complete fatigue (here at MFM we call it pregxhaustion), sleepiness can be a very early sign that you’re pregnant. One MFM mum-to-be explained, “My tiredness was so bad that I recently made a cake with salt instead of sugar. I was so exhausted I didn’t check the labels!”
Yummymummyalli felt exhausted at different times of the day. “I am exhausted when I wake up (but sort myself out by the time I get to work. Then by 7pm I’m tired again, been going to bed 1 or 2 hours earlier than usual.”
Find out how to combat pregxhaustion
Adding to early pregnancy fatigue comes sleeplessness in early pregnancy. Yes, the pregnancy gods don’t play fair. Even if you don’t know you’re pregnant, you may find your mind races and body just doesn’t want to push up zzzs.
“I got my first symptoms days after conception – they were things like severe insomnia (still being awake at 7am!), nosebleeds (never had one in my life) and shooting pains down my legs,” shares Lulu-K-82. “I never had any sickness or anything though. In fact, as soon as I got my BFP [Big Fat Positive result] all my symptoms disappeared!.”
Well known as a peculiar pregnancy symptoms, vivid or weird dreams can happen in the first few weeks according to our mums.
“My main symptoms this time were vivid dreams before my positive test, plus a metallic taste and feeling dizzy and light headed,” says Autumn_79. “With my 1st pregnancy I had no symptoms at all apart from the dreams.”
Find out what your pregnancy dreams might mean
Aches and pains play a part throughout pregnancy but can be surprisingly early symptoms…
Back pain, particularly in your lower back, is a symptom described by several of our mums – even right at the beginning of pregnancy. Although you don’t have a bump at this early stage, the pain can be caused by hormones that relax ligaments in your back, which can make it ache.
“I had lower backache about a week before my period was due,” says xlittlemissx.
Our mums share their tips to soothe aching pregnancy backs
Although more common during the latter part of your first trimester and then into your second, headaches can start early.
Find out which painkiller is safe to take in pregnancy to combat headaches
Achy hips, legs and arms
Yep, it’s not just your back – your hips, legs and even arms may also ache at different times during pregnancy due to hormone changes.
“Yesterday I had a achy left leg and a achy right arm and I was like, ‘Am I falling to pieces?’ And then this morning I got a BFP [Big Fat Positive test]. At least I know why!” explains Sparkling_DiamondButton.
A frequent symptom (around 33% of women get leg cramps at some point during pregnancy), our mums say this is also a frequent early sign. Usually early cramping is not as severe as later on.
Hopping and standing on a cold floor are two cramp-soothing tips from our mums – read more here
Would you believe your nose can be an early indicator of pregnancy?
Sensitivity to smells
Can you suddenly smell damp? Does your pet have a new whiff about them? And have you started thinking your partner might like some cologne? Oh yes, your sense of smell may be so heightened that you can smell things that you didn’t even know had a smell. The downside; the slightest odour can make you feel queasy.
“My sense of smell increased and I couldn’t stand the smell of coffee,” remembers sammyc.
“7 days after ovulating, I started to get a strong sense of smell. I could smell absolutely everything,” adds MadForNO5.
Try these 4 breakfasts to help morning sickness
On the other hand you may find you’re suddenly coping with a bunged up nose.
Are Vicks and Sudafed decongestants safe to take during pregnancy?
Yes, you may find that you develop a runny nose or have more, um, mucus and this can start in the first few weeks.
You may not have had a nosebleed for many years, but they’re a common occurrence in pregnancy. “My nosebleeds started as soon as I got pregnant (although I didn’t know I was at the time) and I get them quite badly, says kelsy1978. “My midwife suggested I carry a small bottle of Lucozade with me at all times so that after the nosebleed it gives me a little pick me up. “
Find out the best way to stop a nosebleed when you’re pregnant
Food, not glorious food…
Ouch. While heartburn is a very frequent pregnancy symptom, a few mums-to-be experienced it in their first few weeks. That burning feeling in your throat can be safely soothed with Gaviscon.
Find out which foods to cut down if you’re suffering from heartburn
In those first few weeks of pregnancy, your appetite may be affected. Many MFM mums found they were suddenly less hungry than before, sometimes because they were feeling a bit queasy, but sometimes their hunger just wasn’t there.
More hungry or thirsty
And then other mums-to-be suddenly find they’re ravenous and have an urgent desire to eat certain foods. Or drink lots…
“Thirst – I wondered how much I could actually drink before drowning myself. Even hubby had nearly asked if I was drinking for two before I tested,” says bleurgh.
There’s almost no part of your body that’s left untouched by pregnancy – hence you may find changes to your skin…
Spots and acne
Remember those outbreaks that peppered your teenage years. Well, they could be back now you’re pregnant. Given the hormonal changes in early pregnancy, it’s no surprise that one of the first signs can be an eruption of spots.
“I got little bumpy spots on my forehead a few days before my period was due,” mamapink tells us.
Discover what you can do if you have a breakout
You know we said you might suddenly sprout spots in early pregnancy. Well, the opposite can also happen. If you’re someone unlucky enough to normally experience a few zits around your monthly period, then pregnancy can reverse this. So for some mums, the absence of spots can mean a baby is on the way.
A rising heat creeping up your skin? While it’s usually considered a menopause side effect, it can also be a pregnancy symptom.
Find out which pregnant celebrities had hot flushes
A more unusual early pregnancy symptom – one that tends to occur in the second and third trimesters – dizziness and feeling faint is a sign that several of our mums noticed.
One MFM mum, Supersquish, explained, “I was queuing in Primark and felt faint all of a sudden, and it suddenly hit me! I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God!’ and dropping my items and running to Boots! I knew it was going to be positive.” And it was!
Discover if your dizziness may be due to a lack of iron
Oversensitive, grumpy or tearful
Can’t watch Bake-Off without tearing up? Find niggly things have become super niggly? It’s all perfectly normal thanks to your changing hormones oestrogen and progesterone (which also cause PMT).
Are you having the same mood swings as other MFM mums?
Finally, sometimes there’s not a specific ‘thing’ that’s different, it’s just you don’t feel quite, well, the same. Pregnancy can work in mysterious ways, and sometimes you just have a gut feeling. Time to take a test if you haven’t already.
Find out how soon you can take a pregnancy test