Some women feel sure they are pregnant before they miss their period. But it is important to keep in mind that the only way to know for sure if you are pregnant is to take a professionally administered pregnancy test at a medical facility. While there are some signs of pregnancy you can look for if you’ve missed a period, these signs alone will not tell you for sure if you are pregnant because they vary from woman to woman and they can indicate other physical conditions.

To be sure, start out by taking a home pregnancy test or coming in to LifeCare Center for a free test. Then follow up with your doctor to confirm its accuracy. In addition to the free pregnancy test, LifeCare can also talk to you about what to do after you find out you’re pregnant NOW WHAT? and walk you through WHAT TO EXPECT during your pregnancy.

The following are some signs of pregnancy that you can watch for:
MISSED PERIOD
This may be your first sign of pregnancy, especially if you are normally quite regular.

TENDER BREASTS/NIPPLES
If you are pregnant, you will notice that your breasts and nipples become tender around three weeks after conception (when your period is about one week late). They may also feel swollen – similar to the way they feel when you expect your period.

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NAUSEA AND VOMITTING

If you are pregnant, you may find quite early on – as early as a week after conception – that you are experiencing morning sickness. And you may also find that morning sickness is a misnomer. Nausea can occur any time – day or night. The severity of sickness varies from woman to woman, with some experiencing no or only mild nausea and others throwing up numerous times a day.

SPOTTING OR CRAMPING
If you are pregnant, light pink spotting can occur at the time of implantation – when the embryo attaches to the lining of the uterus. This happens around eight to ten days following ovulation, a bit earlier than your menstrual period is due. Menstrual-like cramping can also be common in early pregnancy.

DARKENING AREOLAE
In very early pregnancy, around the time of your expected period, you may notice that your areolae (the darker areas that ring the nipple) begin to darken and increase in diameter.

EXTREME FATIGUE
If you are pregnant, a very common symptom in the first eight to ten weeks is being extremely tired. When you are pregnant, your body is going through significant metabolic changes. Your entire body needs to adjust to the new process of growing a baby. For most women, the fatigue starts to go away by the 12th week of pregnancy.

FREQUENT URINATION
By the time your period is one to two weeks late, you may find that you are peeing more frequently than usual. This is because the baby growing in your uterus is putting pressure on your bladder.

CONSTIPATION
You may notice a change in your bowels in early pregnancy. The extra hormones produced during pregnancy cause the intestines to relax and become less efficient.

By: Beth Wechter
Information provided by: Michelle Michele Faehnle, RN