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What are the early signs of pregnancy?

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Man and woman embrace her pregnant belly in the shape of a heart.

Think you’re pregnant?

Starting your pregnancy journey can be both exciting and confusing. Your body will go through lots of changes in a short amount of time.

As a mom of three, I know just what to look for!

Here are some of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy, what they mean and how to prepare!

Early Pregnancy Symptoms

Most pregnancy symptoms do not appear until after your first missed period.

This may actually be weeks into your pregnancy, around 5 or 6 to be exact. (Despite popular belief, pregnancy is calculated starting with the first day of your last menstrual cycle, not your missed period.)

But, before weeks 5 and 6, you may feel mild cramping and experience light bleeding or spotting.

This can last through the first 12 weeks.

Why do you bleed in early pregnancy?

Bleeding in early pregnancy is usually due to implantation which is when the embryo attaches to the uterus 7-14 days after conception.

Implantation blood is more likely to be light pink or brown, with accompanying:

  • Mild cramps
  • Headaches
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sore and/or swollen breasts

When should I be concerned about bleeding?

If you’re heavily bleeding or producing more than a tablespoon of dark red blood at a time, you’re likely experiencing a menstrual cycle or very early miscarriage.

Period symptoms and the signs of early pregnancy are very similar. Lots of women experience early miscarriage and never even know they’re pregnant.

Any pregnancy loss can be devastating, no matter how far along. But, if you experience heavy bleeding before your first missed period, there is likely no need to see a doctor.

If bleeding occurs one or more weeks after a missed period, you should contact your doctor to see if medical intervention is needed.

What happens next?

The biggest sign of early pregnancy is a missed period. This is when you’ll want to take a test to confirm your pregnancy.

This is also right around the time you’ll start to feel first trimester symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, food aversions, cravings and bloating.

Schedule an appointment with your doctor to begin your prenatal care.

You should also begin to educate yourself on the details of pregnancy, labor and beyond.

You can start with this ultimate guide for the first time mom!

You’ll find amazing products to add to your baby registry checklist, information on the best first time mom books, baby names and everything else you need to know!

Pregnant woman holds belly on bed.
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