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Kylie McConville

Most Common Early Signs Of Pregnancy

Think you might be expecting? From sore boobs to bloating and food cravings, here are the top 10 pregnancy signs.

When you’re trying to conceive, any slight new symptom can get your heart pounding. So what are the early signs of pregnancy you should be looking out for? How common are these pregnancy symptoms, and what can you do to help ease them? Read on for answers.

In this article:
Sore breasts
Darkening areolas
Frequent urination
Missed period
Morning sickness
Sensitivity to smell

Pregnancy Sign: Sore Breasts

Tender breasts and nipples are often the first pregnancy sign (like when you get your period, only worse).

Why does it happen?
The increased blood flow (caused by surging hormones, what else?) to your chest is probably making your breasts swollen and sensitive to the touch.

Is it common?
Don't worry, you're not the only one dealing with chest pain. For some it lasts just a week, but for others it could happen throughout your entire first trimester.

What should you do?
Get a supportive bra. Talk to a professional who can help you with fittings—and be sure to leave a little extra room. Trust us, they’re going to keep growing.

Pregnancy Sign: Darkening Areolas

Your areolas—aka the area around your nipples—can start to appear darker and larger as early as a week or two after conception. You might also notice little bumps popping up around the edges of your areolas. They’re called Montgomery tubercles and are designed to help lubricate your nipples once baby is here and ready to nurse.

Why does it happen?
Like so many early pregnancy symptoms, darkening areolas are a result of surging pregnancy hormones. Your body is preparing your breasts to feed baby (which is a good thing!).

Is it common?
Darker areolas will be one of the first changes you'll notice, and it's extremely common. And it doesn’t stop there: Your areolas may grow and deepen in color as your pregnancy progresses. Sometimes the changes are permanent, sometimes they're not.

What should you do?
Before you call your doctor, the deepening color shouldn't be a cause for concern. It's common and harmless—but if you're really worried, your doctor should have a look.

Pregnancy Sign: Spotting

Light bleeding can happen five to 10 days after conception—it’s called " implantation bleeding" and is a sign the embryo has implanted itself in the uterine wall (home for the next nine months).

Why does it happen?
It means you've got a baby on the way! A few days after conception, the fertilized egg will start digging into the walls of your uterus (but don't worry, it's not painful). It's a good thing: It means baby's getting ready to grow.

Is it common?
Spotting might not happen for every mom-to-be, but that doesn't mean you should ring the alarm if it happens to you.

What should you do?
If you notice you're spotting, call your doctor and schedule a pregnancy test. Spotting should only happen five to 10 days after you've conceived, so if it continues, you'll definitely want to be checked to make sure everything is okay.

Pregnancy Sign: Frequent Urination

Peeing a lot more than usual? This tends to kick in about two to three weeks after conception. After the embryo has implanted in your uterus, your body produces a hormone known as hCG, which leads to more frequent urination.

Why does it happen?
Once baby has implanted in your uterus, the hCG hormone starts being produced, which can make you feel like you've got to use the restroom every five minutes. hCG (known as human chorionic gonadotropin) releases estrogen and progesterone, which are hormones you need to sustain your pregnancy. Another cool fact? Heightened hCG levels in your pee also detect pregnancy, which is how you'll get a positive on your home pregnancy test.

Is it common?
Every pregnant woman will have increased hCG levels, but not everyone will have that frequent urge to pee. There's no cause for concern, though, since hCG levels are a good thing. The further along you go in your pregnancy, the bigger baby gets and the more pressure is put on your bladder, so you might as well get used to making multiple trips to the bathroom.

What should you do?
If you're slipping away to visit the ladies' room all night, pick up a pregnancy test and call your doctor. Chances are you probably have a baby on board!

Pregnancy Sign: Fatigue

Loss of energy—we’re talking total exhaustion—sets in thanks to hormones and your body’s efforts to nurture baby's development.

Why does it happen?
Your body is working overtime to make sure baby has everything he or she needs to grow for the next nine months.

Is it common?
Oh yeah. But if you think you're tired now, just wait until you're chasing after a toddler all day.

What should you do?
Don't be afraid to press snooze or take that early evening nap you've been daydreaming about. The better you feel, the better baby will too. You can also check out these other tips for how to cope with first trimester fatigue.

Pregnancy Sign: Missed Period

You might want to invest in a pregnancy test. Find out the best time to take it to get the most accurate result.

Why does it happen?
Here’s a little refresher: You get your period every month when your egg isn’t fertilized. The egg breaks apart, causing hormone levels to drop, and your body sheds the lining of your uterus. If you skip your period, it’s a good sign there’s a baby on board, busy nestling into your uterine wall.

Is it common?
Most women skip their period when they're expecting (does the phrase 'I'm late' sound familiar?), but it doesn't mean that every woman will miss a period when she's newly pregnant.

What should you do?
If you're regular, skipping a period is one of the first ways to know you're expecting, so try taking a pregnancy test (or calling your doctor) to confirm. If your periods are irregular, maybe you just skipped a month—or you could be pregnant. A pregnancy test will help tell.

Pregnancy Sign: Morning Sickness

The one-two punch of nausea and vomiting strike some women very early in their pregnancy, but for most sufferers the fun begins around week six. Morning sickness is a bit of a misnomer—while you’re likely to feel more nauseous on an empty stomach (like in the morning before you’ve had breakfast), that queasiness can pop up at any time of day.

Why does it happen?
There’s no clear answer as to why nausea occurs during pregnancy, although some think it’s due to hormonal changes (that seems to be the answer to everything these days).

Is it common?
Experts think anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of pregnant women get morning sickness, so if you're one of them, you're in good company.

What should you do?
In most cases, the nausea isn’t too overwhelming, so listen to your body and try to stay calm. Yvonne Bohn, MD, co-author of The Mommy Docs’ Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy and Birth, suggests eating frequent small meals, nibble on some crackers before getting out of bed, take vitamin B6 or B12 and take ginger tablets, tea or ginger ale. But if you’re losing significant weight or can’t keep anything down, those may be signs of a more serious problem (like hyperemesis gravidarum), so talk to your doctor. Get more morning sickness tips to help minimize any nausea and vomiting.

Pregnancy Sign: Sensitivity to Smell

Your newly increased powers of smell can make your favorite dish suddenly smell like dead fish.

Why does it happen?
There's no scientific research to back it up, but many women report increased powers of smell when they become pregnant.

Is it common?
It won't happen to everyone, but that doesn't mean something's wrong if you're getting overwhelming whiffs of everything from cheese to your cubicle-mate's lunch.

What should you do?
If it's really bothering you, try to stay away from those strong smelling odors. You can also try doing an extra load of laundry. Washing your clothes often (since odors cling to fibers) and switching to unscented cleaners and toiletries may be enough to curb those unpleasant smells.

Pregnancy Sign: Cravings

If you’re expecting, chances are you might experience strong food cravings, especially in the first trimester. Some common pregnancy cravings? Sweet, spicy, salty and sour.

Why does it happen?
Experts aren’t sure why, but some think cravings are just your body's way of telling you what it needs. So, if you're craving pickles, that could mean your body wants something salty. You can blame raging hormones (again!) for messing with your senses of taste and smell.

Is it common?
Around 90 percent of moms-to-be crave something when they're pregnant, so if you've got the urge for Thai one minute and then Italian the next, it's totally normal.

What should you do?
Moderate indulgence is fine (and totally inevitable), but watch your intake of empty calories, especially if they start to replace important nutrients. There are easy (healthy!) ways to give your body the nutrients it needs without downing three quarts of ice cream.

Pregnancy Sign: Bloating

A boost in progesterone and estrogen causes many women to swell up early in pregnancy. Abdominal pain or tightening, belching, farting and other nasties are all typical signs of gas and bloating.

Why does it happen?
Progesterone (one of those pregnancy hormones) is relaxing smooth muscle tissues all over your body, including in your gastrointestinal tract. This makes your gut work slower, giving your body more time to snatch up nutrients from your food and take them to baby...and that translates into gas for you.

Is it common?
Consider this par for the course (sorry). The March of Dimes reports that nearly every mom-to-be will feel bloated at some point during her pregnancy (even if she doesn't feel it right at the beginning).

What should you do?
Eat small, regular meals and stay away from foods that tend to give you gas, like fried foods, sweets, cabbage and beans. Eating and drinking slowly will keep you from swallowing excess air (you'll later use this technique when feeding baby), and loose clothing will keep you comfy. Yoga classes can also help settle things down. But if your gas is really intense, talk to your doctor before taking medication.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Am I Pregnant? Take Our Quiz to Find Out!

Best Pregnancy Takes to Take at Home

When Should I Take a Pregnancy Test?