While a missed period is often the biggest indicator of pregnancy, there are often many other signs and symptoms of early pregnancy that you may experience even before getting that positive test result.
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From sensitivity to smells to mood swings, there are several subtle pregnancy symptoms that occur shortly after conception. However, experiences and symptoms can vary between women, and even between pregnancies, as no two pregnancies are the same. Here are some of the most common early pregnancy symptoms to look out for…
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Breast changes and discomfort
One of the earliest and most obvious symptoms of pregnancy is an alteration in breast size. It won't be a dramatic change at this stage, but you may notice that your bra seems a little tighter than usual. Your breasts may also be slightly tender or sore. A change in the colour of the areola or the appearance of fine veining are also common signs that may clue you in.
Urinating more often
Many women report needing to urinate more often during pregnancy, but the symptom can actually start very soon after conception. Increased hormones and extra blood flow are to blame for the excessive trips to the bathroom, especially during the night. Meanwhile, the NHS also states that some women may experience constipation.
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Do you fall into bed exhausted each night although you haven't changed your routine? Don't worry, general fatigue is a common consequence of hormonal changes occurring in the body during the first trimester – the first three months of pregnancy.
It sounds like a cliche, but morning sickness is one of the surest symptoms for detecting a possible pregnancy and it's unlikely to stop until the second trimester. That said, "morning sickness" may not be the best name for it: during the first six weeks you're likely to feel sick at any time of day.
Rochelle Humes revealed she had a tough time with her third pregnancy as her morning sickness actually lasted all day. Sharing a sweet photo of herself enjoying a hug from her daughters Alaia-Mai and Valentina, the This Morning star said: "Today has by far been one of the hardest days to get through...this ‘morning’ (or all day) sickness really isn’t budging."
Some women may experience several signs aside from a missed period
Headaches, backache and cramps
The headaches are due to hormone changes, while backache is caused by the muscles of the lower back relaxing slightly as the body gains weight and the centre of gravity changes. Cramps tend to be similar to those associated with premenstrual syndrome and are an indication that the uterus is changing to adapt to the coming baby.
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Joking about her own pregnancy, Millie Mackintosh told HELLO!: "Hugo has actually started to have really vivid dreams so he's picking up on pregnancy symptoms just from being around me. He's also had back pain – but that's more to do with helping lift me up from the sofa!"
You may wake up feeling angry only to find yourself weeping into your cornflakes shortly afterwards; then maybe you're perfectly chirpy again by coffee time. No, you're not going crazy: it's the hormones again, undergoing a silent revolution during the early weeks of pregnancy and incidentally setting you off on a roller coaster of emotions. Relax: it's only a phase.
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Sensitivity to smells
Just like a new Marvel Comics superhero, you suddenly notice even the slightest scent or smell. You probably haven't just acquired a superpower, it's just one more of those early warning signs of pregnancy.
Every pregnancy is different, so while some women may experience most of the signs above, others may notice none. But if you're tired, you're noticing more headaches and you can smell the kitchen bin from the bedroom, maybe you should drop into the chemist for a pregnancy test.
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