Signs of Pregnancy Before Missed Period

by DP Nguyen

in Pregnancy, Pregnancy Health

Signs of Pregnancy Before Missed PeriodThe very early signs of pregnancy before missed period can be subtle, and they can also strike one or two weeks before your menstrual period is scheduled to arrive.

Though a missed period is often the first clue that you have a bun in the oven, it’s not the only pregnancy sign you may notice. From implantation bleeding and cramping to extreme exhaustion, there are a number of very early signs of pregnancy that may pop up in the weeks leading up to your period.

Most women won’t notice these early pregnancy symptoms, but if you are trying to conceive, you may notice slight differences. For example, your pregnancy fatigue can be easily mistaken for PMS fatigue by some women, but women who are in tune with their body may notice that this fatigue feels different.

Implantation Bleeding and Cramping – the First Signs of Pregnancy

If you had unprotected sex during your fertile window (around the week you ovulated), there is always a possibility that you got knocked up. If this is the case, you may notice some menstrual cramps and even some light bleeding or spotting a week or two before your missed period. The symptoms you’re experiencing are implantation bleeding and cramping. Not all pregnant women experience them, but when they do occur, they are the very first pregnancy signs you’ll notice.


Implantation occurs when the fertilized egg attaches to your uterine wall. Your future baby is only a little ball of cells at this point – called the blastocyst, which is made up of an outer cell mass (the trophectoderm) that will develop into the placenta (the organ that will deliver oxygen and nutrients to the developing baby during your pregnancy) and an inner cell mass that will become the embryo (your baby).

When the fertilized egg implants in your uterus, you may notice implantation symptoms  – like spotting and cramping.

Implantation bleeding is light. You may notice a drop or two of blood in your underwear, or when you wipe after using the bathroom. It should only last hours to several days (at the most). Heavy vaginal bleeding is probably your period or a miscarriage. (Implantation bleeding is not heavy. So if you are worried about the amount of vaginal bleeding you are experiencing, contact your doctor or healthcare provider.)

Similarly, implantation cramping is also brief, lasting only a couple of days. After implantation has occurred, these very first signs of pregnancy before a missed period will disappear.

Implantation takes place between six to ten days after ovulation, so if you have a regular 28-day cycle, you may experience implantation bleeding and cramps during the third week of your cycle (day 20 to 24) – roughly a week or so before your missed period.

Very Early Signs of Pregnancy

In addition to your implantation symptoms, other signs of pregnancy before missed period include a rise in your basal body temperature (BBT),

1. Elevated Basal Body Temperature – One of the early signs of pregnancy before missed period is an elevated basal body temperature. Your BBT is only an accurate sign of pregnancy when you’ve been charting it for at least several months, and understand it’s normal rhythm.

Many women trying to conceive track their basal body temperature to help pinpoint when they ovulate. Before ovulation (week one and two of your menstrual cycle), your BBT will range somewhere between 97.2 and 97.7 degrees Fahrenheit. These temperatures are average BBTs for the pre-ovulation period.

Within one or two days after you ovulate, you will notice a spike in your basal body temperature of 0.4 to 1.0 degree. Your BBT goes back down once you have your period. However, if you are pregnant, your basal body temperature will remain elevated.

A one-day drop in your BBT the week after you ovulate (six to ten days after ovulation) is called an implantation dip, and it can mean that your baby has implanted in your womb.

Keep in mind that your basal body temperature can spike throughout your menstrual cycle, but if you notice that your temperature remains elevated, this is a sign you’re pregnant.

2. Fatigue – Unexplained fatigue can be one of the first pregnancy signs, even before you miss a period. If you are constantly tired for no reason, this might be a sign that you are pregnant.

There’s a dramatic increase in the hormone progesterone in early pregnancy, and this can make you sleepy and very tired all the time. Plus, think of all the changes occurring in your body. For one thing, you have double the amount of blood during pregnancy, to help support the growth of your developing baby, and this increased blood production can really sap your energy, especially if you aren’t getting enough fluids, iron, or B-vitamins in your regular diet.

So if you think you might be pregnant, it’s a really good idea to start taking prenatal vitamins daily.

If you are feeling very tired, try not to cope with caffeine. Take it easy and get enough sleep to help combat your exhaustion.

Keep in mind that fatigue can be caused by other health conditions, such as hypothyroidism, anemia, or an illness, so don’t automatically assume you’re pregnant based on this symptom alone.

3. Sore, Tender and Heavy Breasts – Breast changes are another very early sign of pregnancy. From the second you conceive, hormones send signals to your breasts to start changing – to get ready for breastfeeding in 40 weeks!

In the very early stages of pregnancy, the blood vessels in your breasts will dilate and grow. Your breasts will get larger (a perk for smaller breasted women), but as they grow, the areolas – the dark circles around your nipples – are also going to get bigger and darken in color. Women usually start noticing their bras getting tighter at 6 to 8 weeks of pregnancy – or a few weeks after they’ve missed their period.

In the early weeks of pregnancy, or even right after you conceive, before your missed period, a pregnancy symptom you might notice is tingly, sore, and swollen breasts. Your breasts might even feel heavy and uncomfortable. They may be sore to touch. This early pregnancy sign is similar to how your breasts may feel during PMS, but it can feel much worse.

If you’re noticing breast changes, make sure you take a home pregnancy test when your period is late and doesn’t show up.

4. Bloating and Pants Feel Tight – One of the early, early signs of pregnancy is bloating. Your stomach might pooch out; your pants might feel a little too tight. You may have to unbutton the top of your pants to be able to breathe a little easier. You might even start to look pregnant, even though your baby is only a blastocyst – or a ball of cells right now – and your uterus is still pretty tiny. Bloating can definitely make you start to show early.

Feeling bloated, or heaviness in your stomach can be uncomfortable, but it’s definitely a very common pregnancy sign before a missed period. You can blame the hormone progesterone for this symptom.

It can be pretty common for gas (burps and farts) to accompany early pregnancy bloating. The hormone progesterone can slow down your digestion and cause all sorts of digestive issues – including constipation and flatulence, especially after eating a large meal.

If you are feeling boated, it might help to eat smaller meals throughout the day – it’s easier on your body to digest these foods, rather than eating a huge meal at once. Eating healthier foods and avoiding fatty and fried foods can also help you feel less bloated.

5. Nausea – Feeling nauseous is a classic early pregnancy sign, called morning sickness. It can strike as early as the week of your missed period, before some women even know they are pregnant. You might feel sick, dizzy, and just overall pukey. Not all women will throw up (nausea can occur with or without vomiting), but it’s not a fun feeling.

Though it’s called morning sickness, your queasiness can strike anytime of the day or night, but women often report that it’s worse in the first hours after they wake up. An estimated 75% of women will experience some form of morning sickness when they are pregnant, though the severity of the symptoms varies from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy. It is said to be worse in first pregnancies, and get better in subsequent pregnancies.

Like with the other early pregnancy signs, your hormones are to blame. In the case of nausea, it may be partly be due to the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG for short), which spikes in early pregnancy. Nausea tends to start around the time that the levels of hCG go up in the body.

Nausea often eases up after the first trimester, but there are unfortunately pregnant women who are nauseous throughout all nine months.

6. Drooling and Excess Saliva – This isn’t an early pregnancy sign that is discussed a lot, but it can be a symptom that affects some pregnant women. Some women notice they produce more saliva in their mouths than before they were pregnant. Excessive saliva production in pregnancy is called ptyalism gravidarum.

This early sign of pregnancy is often related to morning sickness and heartburn. Nauseous women often don’t swallow as often, which allows the extra spit to build up in their mouths. Or perhaps, they notice their saliva more when they are feeling queasy, because they just feel a generous ill ease. In addition, if you have heartburn, you have an excess of acid and your body may produce more saliva to combat this – saliva is alkaline (pH is higher than 7.0) and it can actually neutralize the gastric acid in your body to combat the heartburn.

Women who produce more saliva or normal (ptyalism gravidarum) often have a hard time swallowing the saliva, so they end up spitting it out. Many say that their saliva tastes bad. This pregnancy sign can really make your life difficult, but it’s not as common as the other signs of pregnancy before missed period, but it does occur.

7.The Need to Pee – One of the first signs of pregnancy before missed period is frequent urination. It’s a classic pregnancy symptom, and it can start even before you take your first home pregnancy test. It’s not uncommon for you to suddenly need to pee a lot … or all the time. You might be getting up multiple times during the night to pee, or going to the bathroom more than normal during the day. It’s annoying to have to pee so much, but it’s such a normal pregnancy experience.

Right after conception, all those hormonal changes and all the extra blood you’re producing (twice as much during pregnancy) can contribute to frequent urination in pregnancy. Your kidneys have to filter twice the amount of blood, so this will fill up your bladder more often, so you’ll be taking more pee breaks than before.

8. Food Aversions – If you suddenly start to notice that foods that you used to love – whether it was seafood, chicken, or beef – start to make you turn up your nose or even cause you to feel nauseous or queasy, this is another common early pregnancy sign. The smells of certain foods and even the look of your old favorite foods can make you feel ill, or queasy.

Food aversions are so common among pregnant women – an estimated 85 percent experience this early pregnancy symptom in the first trimester. For some moms, your food aversions can last throughout your pregnancy and even beyond. Most women get their appetite for their favorite foods back in the second or third pregnancies. But every woman is different!

Food aversions in pregnancy are typically linked to morning sickness, but not always.

You can blame pregnancy hormones for this sign of pregnancy. If you are indeed pregnant, just make sure that you get enough healthy and balanced food in your diet to have a healthy baby!

9.  Feeling Dizzy – Lightheadedness and dizziness can be an early sign of pregnancy, caused by low blood pressure. It’s pretty normal to feel a little dizzy occasionally when you’re pregnant, because your blood vessels are dilated and your blood pressure is steadily decreasing in the first trimester. (Your blood pressure is the lowest in the second trimester, and then it goes back up to normal by the time you have your baby.)

Being dizzy can be normal, however if your dizziness is accompanied by abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding may be a sign of something more serious, like an ectopic pregnancy.

10. Moodiness and Mood Swings – Are your emotions going crazy? This is another early sign of pregnancy before missed period. Like with all the other pregnancy symptoms, it’s caused by the hormonal changes in your body, which affect the neurotransmitters in your brain, contributing to heightened emotions – from weepy and crying spells to sudden bursts of anger that seem to come from nowhere. The smallest things can set you off.

Since you are so emotional in the first few weeks of pregnancy, just try to take it easy. Get lots of rest. Talk to someone about how you are feeling, and try to talk to your partner or husband and ask him to be more understanding during this crazy time of emotions.

11. Headaches – Because of all the hormonal changes in the first weeks of pregnancy, it’s common for newly pregnant women to suffer from achy headaches.

Take a Home Pregnancy Test

All of the early signs of pregnancy before a missed period described above can also be symptoms of other health problems, not just pregnancy. So if you are having unprotected sex and you think that you might just be pregnant, take a home pregnancy test starting on the day that your period is late.

A home pregnancy test is the only sure way to know whether or not you’re expecting. Symptoms may give you a clue, but testing will help alleviate your worries and give you some answers.

If you get a negative result and you’re sure that you’re pregnant, wait a few days or another week and test again. Good luck!

About

DP Nguyen is founder and editor of Hip Chick's Guide to PMS, Pregnancy and Babies. She’s an expert pregnancy and women’s health blogger. She is NOT a medical doctor and does NOT offer medical advice. Connect with her on Google+, Twitter and Facebook.

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