Skip to Local Navigation
Skip to Content
California State University, Long Beach
Health Resource Center, Student Health Services
Print this pageAdd this page to your favoritesSelect a small fontSelect a medium fontSelect a large font
 

Signs of Pregnancy

Could You Be Pregnant?

The signs and symptoms of pregnancy vary, even between different pregnancies in the same woman.  Some women may have no symptoms, whereas others have multiple symptoms. The length of time each symptom is present can differ depending on the person as well. Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms associated with pregnancy along with other possible reasons for these symptoms that are unrelated to pregnancy.

Missed period

This is one of the earliest and reliable signs of pregnancy. A woman should take into account how regular her normal menstrual cycle is when deciding if a late period is a sign of pregnancy.  By the time a period is 7 to 10 days late, enough time has passed to be able to take a home pregnancy test.

Other explanations for a missed period include weight gain or loss, hormonal changes, fatigue, tension, stress, and illness.

Nausea and/or vomiting

Although commonly known as morning sickness, nausea and/or vomiting can strike at any time of the day or night. Some women may experience nausea from smelling foods they ordinarily like. Nausea and/or vomiting affects about half of all pregnant women and is most common during the first trimester.

Other explanations for nausea/vomiting include illness, stress, change in hormonal birth control method, and stomach disorders.

Breast soreness or tenderness

Women may experience tenderness in their breasts during pregnancy. The feeling can range from mild sensitivity to intense pain. This normally ends by the second trimester, but the breasts will continue to enlarge as the mammary glands become more active.

Other Explanations for breast tenderness include impending menstruation, change in hormones, and hormonal birth control methods (the pill, the shot, the ring).

Frequent urination

One to two weeks after a missed period, women may notice that they find themselves urinating more often than usual. This feeling increases as the pregnancy continues.  Other explanations for frequent urination include use of diuretics, urinary tract infection (UTI), increased liquid intake, and diabetes.

Fatigue

During the first eight to ten weeks of pregnancy, metabolic changes occur as the body adjusts to the pregnancy.  This can cause exhaustion and is a normal symptom of pregnancy.

Other explanations for fatigue include the common cold, seasonal flu, stress, and depression.

If you suspect you are pregnant

If you have been sexually active and are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to take a pregnancy test. Pregnancy tests can be taken at home or in a health care provider’s office. At home pregnancy tests usually give accurate results, but a blood test conducted by a physician is the most accurate method for determining if you are pregnant. If you get a positive test result at home, you should make an appointment with your healthcare provider to confirm these results. If you are pregnant, you can consult with your health care provider to decide what options are available. There are three options for a pregnancy: have the baby, have the baby and give it up for adoption, or abortion. Pregnancy options counselors can be of assistance in providing more information about these options and referrals.

References

American Pregnancy Association. (2010). Pregnancy Symptoms- Early Signs of Pregnancy.  Retrieved November 10, 2011 from http://www.americanpregnancy.org/gettingpregnant/earlypregnancysymptoms.html

American Pregnancy Association.  (2010). Breast changes during pregnancy.  Retrieved November 10, 2011 from http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/breastchanges.htm

Office on Women’s Health. (2011). Knowing if you are pregnant.  Retrieved November 10, 2011 from http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/before-you-get-pregnant/knowing-if-pregnant.cfm

Last updated 08/2012