Your period’s not due for another two weeks, but you’re feeling kind of queasy, and man, do your boobs ache. Could you be...pregnant? While there’s no way to know for sure without taking a test, there are lots of early symptoms that can potentially signal a bun in the oven.
True: any of these signs could absolutely have another cause—that nausea could be from a bad burrito, for instance, and sensitive breasts due to PMS. On the flip side, you could be knocked up and experience none of the symptoms.
Still, “I have patients who swear they can tell they’re three or four days pregnant,” says Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale Medical School. Here are the six things you might experience in early pregnancy.
RELATED: What Pregnancy Does to Your Health
You're SO tired
This may be the most common side effect of conception. After all, even in the earlier stages, your body is already gearing up for a whole lot of growing, stretching, and changing. Says Dr. Minkin: “One of my standard lines is, ‘You’re sleeping for two.’”
You’re feeling awfully queasy
“This is the number-one thing that people complain about,” Dr. Minkin says. Though no one really knows exactly why nausea is so linked with the early days of pregnancy, some surmise it’s because of all the hormonal changes going on in your body during that period. It might not just be “morning sickness,” either, but could also set in at noon or night or anywhere in between. The queasiness tends to subside by the second trimester, though not always. For some women it lasts throughout pregnancy.
Your breasts feel especially heavy or sore
Those swirling hormones are absolutely to blame for this pregnancy symptom. “Estrogen is going up, progesterone is going up, prolactin is going up—they can all contribute to discomfort,” Dr. Minkin explains. Your areolas may also start to darken.
Your temperature’s a smidge higher
When you ovulate, your temperature goes up half a degree, thanks to a surge in progesterone, and back down when you get your period. Unless you don’t get your period because the egg you released was fertilized, in which case that progesterone stays raised, and your body temperature too. That’s probably not a big enough difference enough for you to feel—but if you’re charting your daily basal body temperature (which is your temperature reading right when you wake up) while trying to get pregnant, you’ll almost certainly notice it.
In fact, tracking basal body temperature can help you get pregnant if you're actively trying because knowing exactly when you ovulate can help you time sex optimally. (Romantic, we know.)
You’re spotting a little
Don’t let this freak you out: It’s totally normal to see a little blood in your undies after you conceive, and it doesn’t mean anything’s wrong. In fact, it happens to about a third of women in their first trimester, Dr. Minkin says, probably as fallout from the fertilized egg implanting in your uterus.
You’re craving pickles and ice cream…
...or sardines and mustard, or anything else off your usual menu. Sounds like a cliché, but lots of women really do report this, or conversely, they say they're suddenly disgusted by foods they’d normally eat. Some pregnant women even develop a condition called pica, in which people begin to crave strange food items like ice or even clay, which may be linked to iron-deficiency anemia, Dr. Minkin says,