Trying to conceive

Early pregnancy signs: Heartburn, gas, tender breasts, and more

Think you might be pregnant? Here are the most common early pregnancy signs in the first month.

Early pregnancy signs: Heartburn, gas, tender breasts, and more

Photo: iStockphoto

When you’re hoping to be pregnant and you haven’t missed your period yet—or it’s a day or two late—it’s pretty easy to interpret nearly any physical symptom as a sign of pregnancy. It’s not uncommon to feel symptoms in the first week or two of your pregnancy—or even earlier. “Some women experience pregnancy symptoms from the moment of conception,” says Karen Nordahl, a general practitioner and obstetrician in Vancouver and co-author of Fit to Deliver.

“Usually, this is second- or third-time moms who remember a particular sensation, such as increased gas.” But many first-time moms miss these early pregnancy signs because the very first symptoms aren’t necessarily the ones we associate with having a baby on the way. So, yes, while some women experience nausea or hypersensitivity to smells, these seven symptoms are among the most common during the first few weeks of pregnancy.

Pregnancy sign: Heartburn

Digestive changes are one of the most common early pregnancy signs, says Nordahl. If you feel a burning sensation in your chest after scarfing down your usual black coffee and egg salad sandwich from the deli near your office, it might not be that the deli changed the recipe to include green onions or switched coffee brands; it could actually be pregnancy-related heartburn.

Young woman with pain of chest gpointstudio/ Getty Images

One telltale sign of heartburn is that the burning sensation can feel worse when you bend over or lie down. It’s safe to reach for an antacid to relieve the burning, but also try to avoid certain foods, such as citrus fruits.

Pregnancy sign: Sore breasts

Before you start cursing your bra for suddenly feeling more like a contraption from the hardware store than the lacy lingerie that took a serious chunk out of your paycheque, consider that your newly sore boobs could be a sign that you’re pregnant. Breast tenderness is another common early pregnancy sign, according to Nordahl.

This is typically one of the earliest pregnancy symptoms, though it often mimics the tenderness we feel from PMS.

Close-up Of A Woman's Hand On Breast AndreyPopov / Getty Images

For many women, what can make this symptom particularly confusing is that breast soreness is also a very common sign of your period. But early on in your pregnancy, your breasts may hurt because they’re expanding in preparation for producing milk.


Pregnancy sign: Increased gas

Being gassy—or, less eloquently, “farty”—is no problem when you’re chillaxing alone in your threadbare sweatpants, but it’s next-level horrifying when you’re out and about anywhere else. Unfortunately, it’s one of the more common early pregnancy signs. Expect flatulence during not only the first few weeks of pregnancy but also the next nine months.

Inevitably, your unruly gas will strike right in the middle of a work meeting or during a cool-down in your silent yoga class.

Person feeling unwell having a bad case of ulcer or digestive problems nicoletaionescu/ Getty Images

Pregnancy sign: Bloating

Can’t zip up those light-wash jeans that fit like a glove a few weeks ago? It could be that extra-large soda and popcorn you inhaled while transfixed on the onscreen hunk at the cinema last night, but it could also be a sign that you’re expecting. Like breast tenderness, abdominal bloating is a symptom that’s common before your period, making it hard to tell apart from monthly premenstrual symptoms.

 Cropped close up photo of unhappy sad upset girl eating unhealthy lot of sweets dessert holding hands on red pullover feeling ill isolated grey background InspirationGP/ Getty Images

The usual tactic to fight extra bloating and constipation is to ease up on excess salt and stay hydrated with water, both of which are good habits, whether you’re pregnant or not. But you might also want to buy a pregnancy test.

Not sure which one to buy? We suggest loading up on affordable pregnancy test strips like these. They're a fraction of the price of typical home pregnancy tests, just as accurate and allow for several budget-friendly tests in a short period of time.

Pregnancy sign: Lower pelvic cramping

Pelvic cramping as an early pregnancy sign? Yep, it can be, according to Nordahl. That might seem counterintuitive, as cramps are super-typical symptoms of Aunt Flow. You were probably hoping that being pregnant meant you could kiss cramps goodbye, but sadly that’s not the case.

Light cramps can be caused by early pregnancy hormonal shifts and implantation of the fertilized egg on your uterine lining. Here are some other reasons for cramps without a period.

Cropped shot of an attractive young woman lying down on her bed and suffering from period pains at home. dragana991/ Getty Images


Pregnancy sign: Fullness

The unusual sensation of feeling “full” is yet another early symptom of pregnancy. “Fullness can be experienced before a period is missed, but a first-time mom may miss it,” says Nordahl. “A second- or third-time mom may pick up on it right away, especially if she is actively trying to conceive.”

If you’re getting a feeling of déjà vu from previous pregnancies that you’re experiencing at the gut level (literally), congrats, you could be preggo! It is often one of the most reliable early pregnancy symptoms.

Funny Woman Feeling Full after Eating a Large portion of Food nicoletaionescu/ Getty Images

Pregnancy sign: A missed period

Well, duh, of course a missed period is the most common of early pregnancy signs. For many women who haven’t been pregnant before, this is usually the first symptom they notice, explains Nordahl. But hindsight is often 20/20.

“A first-time mom usually thinks back and realizes that a few things were different but wasn’t sure what they meant,” she says.

Young successful business woman is sitting in the modern office at work and is shocked by the results she received on her laptop computer about the company business for the past period Srdjanns74/ Getty Images

Pregnancy sign: fatigue

One of the earliest signs of pregnancy is a general sense of fatigue and tiredness. Nobody's really sure what causes this issue. However, during early pregnancy, the levels of the hormone progesterone quickly increase. Your blood sugar levels and blood pressure also tend to drop.

Together, these early signs could leave you feeling exhausted. The tiredness tends to persist through the first trimester but will usually improve by the second trimester.

woman looking tired sitting on sofa Tara Moore/ Getty Images


Pregnancy sign: Increased need to urinate

Frequent urination is a key—and annoying—sign of pregnancy. The exact definition of frequent urination will vary from person to person since everyone has different bladder needs. A typical person urinates between four and ten times a day. Some pregnant people experience only slight changes to their urination pattern, but others may feel like they are constantly in the bathroom.

This symptom often begins around the same time as your first missed period or about two weeks after conception. Make sure to drink enough fluids to compensate for the extra bathroom trips and avoid excess caffeine.

Woman hand holding her crotch lower abdomen and tissue or toilet paper roll. Disorder, Diarrhea, incontinence. Healthcare concept. spukkato/ Getty Images

Pregnancy sign: Nausea

In movies and TV, the audience often figures out that a character is pregnant when they rush into the bathroom first thing in the morning. That is just how iconic morning sickness is as a pregnancy sign. Despite the name, morning sickness can occur at any time of the day. It may or may not trigger vomiting.

Most people tend to experience morning sickness between one and two months after becoming pregnant. Some people have nausea before this, while others may not have it at all. The cause of morning sickness is still unknown, but experts assume it is due to the many hormonal changes that pregnancy brings.

Food aversions and hunger-related mood swings can also be added to this list.

Side View Of Woman Vomiting In Bathroom At Home Piotr Marcinski / EyeEm/ Getty Images

This article contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.

This article was originally published on Apr 01, 2019

Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with your baby's development, get the latest parenting content and receive special offers from our partners

I understand that I may withdraw my consent at any time.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.