Early detection: 10 early symptoms of pregnancy

Woman in activewear with ponytail

“What are the first, very early, signs of pregnancy?” we hear you ask. Come sit by us as we spill many, many baby-making beans.

While many women don’t notice any symptoms in those very early days, others report significant shifts which tipped them off to the big changes going on within. These symptoms are top of the list:

10 early symptoms of pregnancy

1. Mild pelvic cramping and spotting

Once an egg is fertilised, it implants itself into a woman’s uterine lining. This can cause implantation bleeding which sometimes feels a bit like a dodgy period – right down to the cramps. (Hello! It isn’t a period!) 

2. Sore or tingling breasts

Hormonal changes officially hit boobs after week four of pregnancy, but anecdotally many women notice these changes sooner. Breasts continue to change right through pregnancy, too, so this is the beginning of a long period of adjustment!

3. Nausea

Again, hormonal changes are responsible for the misleadingly named morning sickness, which can occur at any time of the day. Experts recommend eating dry crackers before getting out of bed, keeping fluids up and seeking help from a doctor if symptoms just won’t abate.

Young woman holding pregnancy test

4. Missed period

Everybody knows this pregnancy sign and it happens in the very early weeks after conception, sometimes signalling excitement (or conversely panic.)

5. Needing to pee

The blood pumped through a woman’s body increases when she’s pregnant which causes her kidneys to process more fluid. This means her bladder fills up much more quickly/more often and results in this early pregnancy sign.

6. Bloating

Hormonal changes can play havoc with digestion, slowing things down and/or causing constipation. Both these conditions lead to bloating – another of our top ten signs of early pregnancy! Oh hurrah!

7. Mood shifts

Guess what? Hormones can affect your moods, too! No sheet, Sherlock!  Both oestrogen and progesterone levels increase when you’re pregnant and this can play havoc with how a woman feels emotionally. Probably not a good idea to point this out to her, however…

8. Temperature changes 

A woman’s basal body temperature – the body temperature attained at rest – will be higher when she’s pregnant due to… those surging hormones again! If a woman has been monitoring her temperature, in the hopes of conceiving, this shift is a hint that something might be going on pregnancy-wise.

9. New sensitivities

This is another non-science-y anecdotal one, but that doesn’t mean it’s untrue. Many, many women report being super sensitive to various smells from very early pregnancy, with nausea and vomiting the most common responses. These smell sensitivities often pre-empt food aversions and it could be anything from coffee to bacon that trips the nausea switch.

10. Fatigue

Hello hormones. Again. Sheesh. Surging progesterone in early pregnancy can make women feel extra sleepy – and it’s this dead tired feeling that often signals something’s shifted within.

If you suspect you are pregnant and/or are feeling unwell, your doctor can advise you further. Check in with them to get the care you need.


How about you? Have you ever experienced any of these early pregnancy symptoms? Or perhaps there are others you’d like to add to the list? We’re all ears.

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