The topic of reproduction can trigger a host of emotions for a woman: excitement, elation, and fear. Wondering about your fertility and questioning whether you are pregnant can be anxiety-inducing. If you think that you are pregnant, there are many tools on the market today to help you determine if you have conceived. If you are trying to become pregnant, these same tools can help you determine when your best chance of conception is. Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to make informed decisions about your health.

Symptoms of Pregnancy

Many women report that they recognize changes in their bodies early in pregnancy, and this serves as their first indication that they should take a test. It is not always possible for a woman to tell if she is pregnant without confirmation from a test, but here are 10 early signs of pregnancy that should arouse your suspicions:

Missed Period

One of the first signs that many women notice is amenorrhea (absence of the menstrual cycle). If your period is MIA, and you are used to being able to set a watch by its consistent appearance, then you may want to take a pregnancy test. If your period is often irregular, then the lack of a period may not be an obvious indicator of pregnancy for you.

Implantation Bleeding, Spotting, and Cramping

You may not notice that you have missed a period if you experience implantation bleeding, spotting, or cramping. Implantation bleeding occurs when the embryo attaches to the wall of the uterus following fertilization. This bleeding is usually lighter and lasts for a shorter duration than your period, but women often confuse these symptoms with menstruation.

Sensitivity to Smells

Pregnancy can heighten your sense of smell to the point where odors you might normally find neutral or even pleasant – like citrus, fresh apple pie, or chocolate – become repulsive.

Milky Discharge

As the uterine lining thickens to create a hospitable environment for the fertilized embryo, some women notice a thick white discharge. If you are experiencing abnormal discharge, it could be a symptom of pregnancy. If it is accompanied with a bad odor or an unusual color, it may be a sign of another gynecological condition, and it warrants a trip to the doctor.


Many women report feeling more tired than normal after they become pregnant. This symptom can set in early in the pregnancy, and on its own, it may not register in your mind as a symptom of pregnancy. As your body is flooded with the hormone progesterone, you may feel run down.

Cravings and New Food Dislikes

Your senses of both taste and smell change during pregnancy. This can lead to a sudden dislike for foods you used to enjoy, as well as the stereotypical “weird food cravings” we often talk about pregnant women having.


The first trimester is generally when morning sickness sets in, and it is generally at its worst in the first three months. Some women experience little to no nausea, while others feel sick for the duration of their pregnancy.

Breast Tenderness

Your breasts may undergo changes early in pregnancy. Your areolas (the dark areas around the nipples) may become darker post-conception. You may also notice that your breasts seem more swollen, tender, or achy than normal.

Frequent Urination

As a fetus grows, it begins to push on the bladder, which can cause you to have to urinate more often. The kidneys also produce more urine during pregnancy, further compounding the problem.

Positive Pregnancy Test

It’s not a sure sign, since false positives do happen. However, if you have a positive result on a home pregnancy test, it’s very likely you’re pregnant. Get thee to a doctor!

Modern Pregnancy Tests

If the list of symptoms resonates with you, then you should take a pregnancy test. Pregnancy test technology has come a long way since the 1970s, when the first home pregnancy tests were marketed. Blood tests are more sensitive to detecting hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) than urine tests, but blood tests are usually done at a doctor’s office. Unless you are actively trying to conceive with medical assistance or you have had a pregnancy symptom that sends you to a doctor, it is likely that you will confirm your suspicions with a urine test.

If you are suspicious that you might be pregnant, you can pick up an easy-to-use home pregnancy test at almost any store that sells healthcare items. The ubiquity of these tests makes it easier address your concerns sooner rather than later. Different brands have various indicator symbols to help you ascertain whether or not you are pregnant. Be sure to follow the instructions that come with the test precisely in order to interpret your results. Digital pregnancy tests that display “pregnant” or “not pregnant” in the result window make it easier than ever to interpret your results.

Pregnancy test strips are also available for a much lower cost. These are less convenient to use because you have to urinate into a cup instead of directly onto a stick, but if you are actively trying to conceive, the strips can give you the information for a fraction of the price.

Pregnancy test technology today is so powerful that you can tell that you are pregnant up to four days before your expected ovulation date, although many tests recommend that you wait at least 7 days after your expected ovulation date to get a more accurate result. Read the test package to determine the appropriate test for you.

Possible Misreadings

Even though home pregnancy tests are more accurate than ever, it is possible to get false results. If you test too early, your test may state that you are not pregnant even if you are because you do not have enough hCG in your urine at the time of testing. If your test is expired or you do not adhere to the specific instructions on the box, then your reading may also be incorrect. There is also a chance that you may have a chemical pregnancy in which you become pregnant but miscarry soon after conception. Your urine may still contain enough hCG to trigger a positive result.

Pregnancy Apps

Technology has made it easier than ever to track your fertility and take care of your body. There are a plethora of apps on the market today that are designed to support you.

Every woman needs to keep track of her menstrual cycle regardless of whether conception is a goal. The free app, Period Tracker, My Calendar by Simple Design Ltd. enables you to record data about your reproductive health. Based upon the data that you enter, it can help you determine when you ovulate, which is when you are most likely to become pregnant.

The Mobile Mom Pregnancy Due Date Calculator by Rebellion Media compiles data about your menstrual cycle to determine a possible date of conception and a potential due date. This app is also freely available for iTunes and Android users.

The Pregnancy++ app is available for $3.99. If you already know that you are pregnant, then this app can give you insight into your baby’s development day by day. You can also track some of your own health data, which can be handy for all those prenatal doctor visits.

The symptoms of pregnancy manifest differently for everyone. You can use knowledge and observations about your body, tracking information in different apps, and the latest in home pregnancy test technology to feel empowered about your health. Knowing whether or not you are pregnant at an early stage can allow you to take appropriate actions to support your health and your baby’s health.

It is also important to remember that the symptoms of pregnancy could indicate that something else besides pregnancy is going on with your body. It is best to speak with a medical professional if you are having these symptoms – even if your pregnancy tests are negative.

dean bertoncelj /

dean bertoncelj /