The 70 early signs of pregnancy
On this pageOverview
First 72 hours
1. Late period, 2. Positive pregnancy test, 3. Implantation bleeding, 4. Tiredness, 5. Bloating, 6. Twinges and cramps, 7. Swollen ankles, 8. Excessive vaginal discharge. 9. Increased sense of smell, 10. Metallic taste in the mouth, 11. Nausea (morning sickness), 12. Weight gain, 13. Skin colour changes, 14. Gagging while brushing teeth, 15. Increased basal body temperature, 16. Vivid dreams, 17. Baby brain, 18. Thickened hair, 19. Tingling on stomach, 20. Itchiness on stomach, 21. Feeling hot, 22. Thirsty, 23. Dry mouth, 24. Bleeding gums, 25. Nose bleeds, 26. Constipation, 27. Burping, 28. Increased appetite, 29. Food cravings, 30. Catching colds, 31. Aversion to meat, 32. Aversion to coffee, 33. Glowing, 34. Emotional, 35. Spotting, 36. Back pain, 37. Poor sleep, 38. Increased heart rate, 39. Sweating, 40. Weight gain, 41. Heartburn, 42. Shortness of breath, 43. Dizziness, 44. Headaches, 45. Weak core, 46. Swollen, tender breasts, 47. Dark nipples, 48. Mood swings, 49. Nesting, 50. Frequent urination, 51. Reduced libido, 52. Cigarette smoke aversion, 53. Haemorrhoids, 54. Varicose veins, 55. Restless legs, 56. Exhaustion, 57. Fainting, 58. Craving cheese, 59. Poor appetite, 60. Lower abdominal pain, 61. Brittle nails, 62. Tinnitus, 63. Heavy limbs, 64. Dry skin, 65. Anxiety, 66. Anaemia, 67. Uncomfortable lying down, 68. Vulvar varicosity, 69. High blood pressure, 70. Urinary tract infection
There are many early signs of pregnancy that women may have. Not all women will experience these early signs of pregnancy; they vary from woman to woman and from each pregnancy. A lot of women will follow their mother's experiences of pregnancy.
Learn how to ensure a smooth and healthy pregnancy by reading My Pregnancy Guide.
The first 72 hours of pregnancy
The first 72 hours of pregnancy symptoms are: late period, positive pregnancy test, implantation bleeding, tiredness, bloating and twinges/cramps.
The hidden signs of pregnancy
The hidden pregnancy signs are: tiredness, bloating, twinges/cramps, mood swings, weight gain, reduced libido, anaemia and high blood pressure.
1. Late period
One of the earliest signs of pregnancy is for the menstrual cycle to be late.
2. Positive pregnancy test
The most obvious sign of pregnancy is a positive pregnancy test. Most pregnancy tests are accurate and pick up levels of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormone.
3. Implantation bleeding
Some women will experience implantation bleeding around 7 days after ovulation. Although this is rare and most women will not have implantation bleeding.
Tiredness is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy and the most common.
Bloating is actually a new layer of fat on the lower abdomen that helps to keep the uterus warm from the external cold, helping blood flow to the foetus.
7. Twinges and cramps
It's quite normal to feel twinges and cramps in early pregnancy. Even during the early weeks of pregnancy, as the increased blood flow and the growing of the placenta and the foetus sac all cause things within the uterus to move around and this applies pressure on surrounding parts of the body, causing twinges and sometimes pain.
6. Swollen ankles
Swollen ankles (oedema) is due to poor circulation in the body. Keeping your legs raised will help with this.
8. Excessive vaginal discharge
Extra thick vaginal discharge is the cervix plug being formed by pregnancy hormones. A plug of thick mucus seals the uterus preventing any foreign bacteria from entering the uterus and harming the foetus.
9. Increased sense of smell
An increased sense of smell is an animalistic sign that would have helped protect pregnant women in the wild thousands of years ago. It can still be used in modern times to help women avoid harmful pollutants such as smoking or chemicals.
10. Metallic taste in the mouth
Some woman may experience a strange taste in your mouth, like a metallic taste, which is normal.
11. Nausea (morning sickness)
Nausea (morning sickness) is a well-known sign of pregnancy, however not all women will experience it. Feeling sick can happen at any time of the day, day or night and not just in the morning. Generally, it stops around 12 weeks, but many women can still experience it after 12 weeks gestation. Eating dry foods every 2 hours will help to reduce this sign.
12. Weight gain
Women put on average around 12kg of weight during pregnancy. This is normal.
13. Skin colour changes
The midline of the stomach below the belly button becomes darker and is known as the linea nigra.
14. Gagging while brushing teeth
Some women may gag and dry heave while brushing their teeth. This can lead to vomiting.
15. Increased basal body temperature
Due to increased levels of progesterone, a woman's body temperature is increased and will remain high throughout pregnancy.
16. Vivid dreams
A lot of women experience vivid dreams while pregnant. Some may even dream of their baby.
17. Baby brain
Brain baby is common and is caused by tiredness. It can affect memory and cognitive function.
18. Thickened hair
A woman's hair thickens during pregnancy. After labour, some women may notice an increase in hair loss as many aged hairs will shed, which is partially caused by rapid hair growth during pregnancy.
19. Tingling on stomach
Tingling on the stomach is also known as butterflies as a woman starts to feel her baby move inside her.
20. Itchiness on stomach
Itchiness on the stomach is often caused by the skin stretching as the baby grows.
21. Feeling hot
Woman will become warmer and warmer as they get further into their pregnancy. Some may feel hot, especially when the weather is warm or at night time.
Due to an increase in body temperature, women can feel thirsty, especially in the afternoon and evening time.
23. Dry mouth
Due to an increase in body temperature and progesterone, some women will experience a dry mouth in pregnancy.
24. Bleeding gums
Some women may experience bleeding gums during pregnancy, which is known as pregnancy gingivitis. Bleeding of the gums may be caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make the gums more vulnerable to plaque, leading to inflammation and bleeding. It does not mean that you have a lack of calcium or necessarily gum disease.
25. Nose bleeds
Due to an increase in heat, some women may experience nose bleeds, which is normal.
Constipation is common during pregnancy affecting around 20 per cent of women. It is often caused by constriction of the intestines by the baby, increased transit time, increased water absorption, decreased bulk, increased levels of progesterone and iron supplements.
Pregnancy will often upset the digestive system in most expecting mothers. This can manifest as burping in some.
28. Increased appetite
An increased appetite is normal as pregnant women need to eat for two. Ideally, a pregnant woman should consume 1,800 calories a day in the first trimester, rising to 2,200 calories a day in the second trimester and 2,400 calories a day in the third trimester.
29. Food cravings
Another well-known early sign of pregnancy is food cravings. Most women will experience this. A lot of pregnant women will start of well eating healthy foods and then will crave other foods.
30. Catching colds
During pregnancy, a woman's immune system is lowered allowing the embryo to implant and the foetus to grow. This can mean it is easier for pregnant woman to catch colds.
31. Aversion to meat
It is common for some pregnant women to go off foods such as meat in favour of other food groups.
32. Aversion to coffee
It is normal to not want to drink coffee in pregnancy and it is better for the baby is the expecting mother doesn't drink coffee.
Glowing in pregnancy is caused by an increase in blood levels, heat and happiness.
Being emotional in early pregnancy is normal with some woman crying at the tiniest of things.
Spotting small amounts of blood can be normal and is not a sign of a miscarriage. Changes taking place within the uterus can cause pockets of blood (often polyps or cysts) to become dislodged, which then rupture causing bleeding. The bloody discharge is either red or dark red in colour. Sometimes there will be pain too as these pockets of blood push on surrounding body parts. This is actually a good thing as the pregnancy is helping to clean up and heal the uterus.
Back pain can be experienced in early pregnancy which is the kidney energy being drained by the foetus. This is normal.
37. Poor sleep
Some pregnant women may sleep for longer in their first trimester as they are tired, while others may find it hard to sleep at night. This is normal.
38. Increased heart rate
Due to increased blood volume and heat, the pulse can increase in rate too.
39. Increased sweating
Due to increased heat and progesterone levels, some women may sweat more, which is normal.
40. Weight gain
Women will gain weight, which is normal. Women can put on 11-16kg (25-35lb) of weight during pregnancy.
Heartburn (acid reflux) usually occurs further into the pregnancy when the baby grows and pushes the stomach up, compressing it, causing heartburn, although some women may experience heartburn earlier.
42. Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath can be caused by tiredness or the lungs being compressed by the growing baby.
Dizziness is normal, especially when sitting up. It can be caused by tiredness or a lack of blood.
Some women will experience headaches during pregnancy. The reasons for this are unknown in Western medicine. In Chinese medicine, additional heat caused by the growing baby and being physically drained during pregnancy can lead to headaches.
45. Weak core
A pregnant woman's core, the abdominal muscles, split apart, leaving no core. This can make it difficult to sit up.
46. Swollen, tender breasts
Increase levels of hormones (progesterone) causes the breasts to become swollen and tender. A woman's breasts can increase in size between 25 and 50 per cent.
47. Dark nipples
Nipples can become darker in colour, which is normal.
48. Mood swings
Hormonal changes, tiredness and nausea can cause mood swings, which is normal.
A lot of pregnant like to nest. This involves getting their home ready for the new baby's arrival.
50. Frequent urination
Frequent urination is caused by pressure being applied to the bladder, making a woman want to urinate more often.
51. Reduced libido
Some woman will have a reduced libido, which is normal. This can be caused by tiredness, bloating and general discomfort.
52. Cigarette smoke aversion
A lot of women will by hypersensitive to all types of smoke including cigarette smoke and can smell it from far away.
Haemorrhoids are commonly seen during pregnancy and postnatally. They are an enlargement of the haemorrhoidal vein caused by constipation, the weight of the uterus and the process of giving birth.
54. Varicose veins
Varicose veins are common in pregnancy and usually reduce and disappear after giving birth. They are caused by the baby restricting blood flow.
55. Restless legs
Restless legs syndrome is an overwhelming urge to move your legs, usually at night-time when you are trying to sleep (12). Some women feel strange sensations and may experience involuntary movements of their legs. It can be caused by tension in the muscle, which obstructs nerve signals. The body tries to relieve these nerve signals and tension by moving the legs.
Exhaustion is a form of extreme tiredness. This is often seen in early pregnancy. Women will go to bed very early and will need to nap in the daytime.
Fainting is caused by tiredness and a lack of blood. This often happens in the first trimester.
58. Craving cheese
Some woman will crave eating cheese and they need more protein in their diet. This is normal.
59. Poor appetite
Poor appetite is often caused by nausea and morning sickness.
60. Lower abdominal pain
Lower abdominal pain is caused by pressure in the lower abdomen and is not necessary a sign of a miscarriage occurring. A miscarriage is often a combination of pain and bleeding.
61. Brittle nails
Brittle nails is a sign of a lack of blood. Ironsupplements should be taken to remedy this as it's a possible sign of anaemia.
Tinnitus is a sign of physical exhaustion. A pregnant woman with tinnitus should rest, eat and sleep as much as they can.
63. Heavy limbs
Heavy limbs is a sign of tiredness, which is normal.
64. Dry skin
Dry skin is caused by a lack of blood and excessive heat in the body.
Being anxious is common during pregnancy. Worrying about the pregnancy is normal. Women can also feel a great sense of responsibility once pregnant, as they are the ones 'carrying the baby' and are responsible for its growth and health. The pressure to do and eat the right things can cause anxiety, pressure and stress.
Anaemia is a lack of blood. Taking low doses of iron is recommended to counter this. The recommended daily amount of iron increases in pregnancy from 14mg to 27mg.
67. Uncomfortable lying down
Feeling uncomfortable lying down is normal and is caused by bloated and changes in the uterus.
68. Vulvar varicosity
Around 10 per cent of pregnant women will experience genital varicose veins. These can be caused by increased blood flow to the genital area together with heat and blood stasis - when blood slows down due to restriction of movement.
69. High blood pressure
A rise in blood pressure during pregnancy can be a sign of pregnancy-induced hypertension. If you have high blood pressure, or hypertension, your heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body.
70. Urinary tract infection
Some women may experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) while pregnant. Symptoms include blood in the urine, needing to urinate suddenly or more often than usual, pain or a burning sensation when urinating and smelly or cloudy urine.
My pregnancy guide
To ensure a healthy pregnancy and labour I've written a self-help guide that will support you all the way through your pregnancy. The self-help book is titled My Pregnancy Guide.