Early signs and symptoms of pregnancy

So, what are the early signs of pregnancy?

If you think you might be pregnant, here are the tell-tale signs to look out for:

Missed a period

If you have regular periods, this is the most obvious and reliable sign of pregnancy. However, if you have irregular periods this symptom can be harder to spot. Either way, if you’re unusually late, or expecting a period that doesn’t show up, it’s worth taking a pregnancy test to find out once and for all.

Feeling nauseous and sick

Morning sickness affects everyone differently. It can be feelings of nausea or make you physically sick, and it can start a few weeks after conception or even after just a few days. If you’re lucky, you may not experience morning sickness at all.

And don’t be fooled by the name – ‘morning’ sickness can strike at any time of day or night, not just in the mornings!

Going to the loo a lot...or not enough

All of the hormonal changes your body goes through during the first trimester can make toilet stops more frequent. So if you notice you’re constantly running to the loo, it could be a sign that you’re pregnant.

On the other hand, hormonal changes can slow your digestion down, causing to you feel bloated and suffering from constipation.


Feeling shattered? One of the most common early pregnancy signs is a feeling of complete exhaustion. It happens as a side-effect of a rise in the levels of the hormone progesterone in your body. So if there’s no other real reason for you to be so tired, check if you’re experiencing any of the other early symptoms we’ve listed here.

A bad or unpleasant taste in your mouth

Some mums say that when they first became pregnant they got a funny taste of metal in their mouth. Other women develop an unexpected dislike for something everyday and familiar, like tea or coffee.

Changes to your breasts and nipples

The skin around your nipples is called areola and one sign of pregnancy can be that it becomes noticeably darker and bigger. Sore nipples are also common in pregnancy.

Vaginal discharge

You may notice you have more vaginal discharge in early pregnancy than usual.

Unexpected bleeding or cramps

Your fertilised egg will travel from your fallopian tubes and settle in your uterus to grow. This is known as implantation and happens between weeks 3 and 4. Implantation sometimes causes side effects, including cramps and some light spotting that’s red, pink or brown in colour.

How early can I take a pregnancy test?

You can get a reliable positive result using a home pregnancy test from the first day of your missed period. However, some tests can be used as early as 4 or 5 days before your period is due. Check the packaging of your test to find out when it can be used.

If you have regular periods, you'll probably know when your next period is due. If you're not sure, it's best to wait 3 weeks after you think you may have conceived before doing a test.

Had a positive pregnancy test?

If you’ve taken a pregnancy test that’s shown a positive result, you should book an appointment to see your GP, who’ll be able to give you advice about how to look after yourself during early pregnancy and fill you in on what happens next.

Discovering you’re pregnant can be a really exciting time. It can also be a very daunting one. However you’re feeling about it, telling someone you trust who can come with you to the doctors can help make things feel more manageable.


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  • Weekly emails with tips and advice for your stage
  • 1-to-1 support from our dedicated Careline team, 8.30am - 5.30pm Monday to Friday.

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