How to know when you are pregnant

In order to be certain you are pregnant, you should make an appointment with your OB GYN or take a home pregnancy test if you must wait to get an appointment. In the meantime, our website provides information on several symptoms of pregnancy, as well as providing alternate explanations for experiencing these symptoms in the absence of pregnancy.

  • Implantation Bleeding: Between 6 and 12 days after conception, the embryo is implanted in the uterine wall. When this occurs, many women experience spotting (light bleeding) and cramping. Implantation bleeding resembles a light version of your period; it does not occur in all pregnant women.Alternate explanation: Light spotting and cramping could be the result of changes in your birth control pill, your actual period, an altered version of your period, or an internal abrasion from sexual intercourse.
  • Delay or Difference in Menstruation: Most women first suspect they are pregnant after they “miss” their period. After you become pregnant, you may experience light bleeding or cramping, but you will not experience your normal menstrual period.Alternate explanation: Changes in weight (either extreme weight loss or gain) can change your period and cause you to miss it one month, stopping or starting a new birth control pill will likely alter your period, and changes in levels of hormones due to stress, fatigue or diet can also lead to an abnormal period.
  • Swollen or Tender Breasts: As soon as 1 to 2 weeks after you become pregnant, your breasts may begin to swell and become very tender to the touch. Your breasts may seem larger and can be sore.Alternate explanation: Swollen and tender breasts sometimes occur due to a hormonal imbalance, birth control pills or PMS.
  • Fatigue or Tiredness: Feeling extremely tired or fatigued is common as early as 1 week after conception.Alternate explanation: Many illnesses cause you to feel extremely tired or fatigued including a cold or flu, stress, exhaustion, depression, etc.
  • Nausea or Morning Sickness: Morning sickness is a well-known symptom of pregnancy, that can begin anywhere between 2 and 8 weeks after conception. Morning sickness does not only occur in the mornings, women who experience morning sickness may be affected at any time of the day, and often for a very long portion of their pregnancy.Alternate explanation: Frequent nausea or sickness may be the result of food poisoning, an undiagnosed food allergy or sensitivity, stress, the flu or a stomach disorder.
  • Backaches: Early on in pregnancy you may begin to experience backaches, specifically pain in your lower back. This discomfort can continue or worsen throughout pregnancy, as the baby grows larger and heavier.Alternate explanation: Backaches could be the result of impending menstruation, strain from exercise or heavy lifting, stress or other back problems (i.e. slipped disc, scoliosis).
  • Headaches: When you become pregnant your body experiences a dramatic change in hormone levels, which can cause headaches. This hormonal imbalance also contributes to a general feeling of achiness, as well as the fatigue you may be experiencing.Alternate explanation: Headaches are a very common ailment that may also be the result of dehydration, eyestrain, caffeine withdrawal, or a chronic headache condition.
  • Frequent Urination: Somewhere between 6 and 8 weeks after conception you may begin to feel the need to urinate frequently. This is partly due to the change in your diet and fluid intake to accommodate your baby, and also results from your baby’s body pressing down on your digestive tract and other internal organs.Alternate explanation: Frequent urination may occur due to an increase in fluid intake, a urinary tract infection, or excessive consumption of diuretics.
  • Darkening of the Areolas: Pregnant women often find that the skin around their nipples becomes darker during pregnancy, although this does not happen to all women who are pregnant.Alternate explanation: A woman may notice that her areolas are still darker from a previous pregnancy, or darker areolas could stem from an unrelated hormonal imbalance.
  • Food Cravings: Not all women experience bizarre food cravings during their pregnancy, but the effect of having another human growing inside of you, as well as the extreme hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can lead to certain food cravings or aversions. Food cravings and aversions can last throughout the entire duration of your pregnancy.Alternate explanation: Many women experience cravings for certain foods (especially sweets or salty snacks) right before they are about to begin menstruation. Poor diet, a nutrient deficiency, stress, depression or certain common illnesses may also be the cause of a food craving or aversion.