Who can wait for a pee stick? When you're trying to get pregnant, you want to know right now. Annoyingly, it can be difficult to tell if you're expecting or just about to get your period. "It is hard to know if symptoms are premenstrual or early pregnancy, and a woman may not know until she misses a period," Mary Rosser, M.D., Ph.D, an OBGYN with Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y., tells Fit Pregnancy. In addition, "each woman is different, so women may not have the same early symptoms and signs of pregnancy." Although you really can't tell for sure until you get that second pink line, your body does send you subtle clues that you might be able to pick up on if you know what to look for. Check our list to see if any of these sound familiar!
You may have heard that cervical fluid really starts flowing during ovulation. If you get pregnant, you can expect tons more immediately thanks to elevated estrogen. "White, milky discharge usually increases right after conception," Rosser says. According to her, this is one symptom you can notice even before a positive pregnancy test!
Faster Nail Growth
If you notice all of a sudden that you need a new manicure, it could be that pregnancy hormones are causing your nails to grow more quickly. "Faster nail growth may been seen before a positive pregnancy test," Irina Burd, M.D., Ph.D., an OB and maternal-fetal medicine specialist from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, tells FitPregnancy.com.
If you notice you have a heightened sense of smell or certain foods all of a sudden don't taste good, it may be because baby hormones are changing your body's sensory input. How this will affect you varies from person to person, but you might be having deja vu if it's your second pregnancy. "If a woman has been pregnant before, she may experience the same aversion to foods or heightened sense of smell," Rosser says.
For many women, boob ache is the first sign they have a baby on board, as your body prepares to make milk. "Breast swelling and tenderness can occur even before a missed period," Rosser says. If your breasts normally hurt before you get your period, it may be hard to tell the difference, but, Rosser says in pregnancy the tenderness may be accompanied by sensitive nipples. Ouch!
Constipation and Bloating
Morning sickness isn't the only way early pregnancy wreaks havoc on your tummy. "Bloating and increased waist line are common," Burd says. All that pregnancy progesterone can slow down digestion, which backs you up, puffs you up, and makes you gassy. So while it may not be a real baby bump yet, you may be on your way!
The sight of blood might make you sad that your period is here—but wait to see if it turns into a full flow first. "Some women may experience spotting or light bleeding at the time of an expected period," Rosser says. "This is usually due to implantation of the embryo."
A sense of vertigo could be the result of "low blood sugar or dehydration" during pregnancy, Rosser says. Even very early pregnancy takes a toll on your body, so if you're trying to conceive, make sure you stay hydrated and eat when you're hungry!
You might think your period is on the way—but you might be wrong. "Due to implantation, you might have cramping," Rosser says. As the embryo burrows into your uterine lining, it can cause the same sensation as when the lining sheds during your period.
Sleepiness and Headaches
If you just.can't.keep.eyes.open, it may be more than just a bad night's sleep. A dull headache may also make you want to lie down. "These effects are related to hormonal changes," Burd explains. If you think you may be pregnant, take it easy and get extra shut-eye.
OK, so this is another one of the signs of pregnancy that sounds suspiciously like PMS. "The symptoms do overlap, but symptoms are more severe or extreme with pregnancy," Rosser says. The influx of baby hormones means you may be prone to smiling one minute and crying the next. Welcome to the world of pregnancy!