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15 Signs of Early Pregnancy Before a Missed Period

Think you’re pregnant? Signs of early pregnancy can help new parents tell if they’re pregnant without taking a test.

So what exactly are signs of early pregnancy? And how are they any different than what you might normally experience days before you get your period. Can you tell the difference? This post hopes to explain just that.

15 Signs of Early Pregnancy That You May Have Overlooked

The following are 15 signs of early pregnancy I have personally experienced in my pregnancies. Very early pregnancy is defined as 3 weeks pregnant until 5 weeks pregnant, more specifically the week after conception up until a positive pregnancy test.

1. Waking at Night to Pee

Before I was able to get a positive pregnancy test I found myself waking up at night to go pee. I had no idea I was pregnant so I was completely oblivious that waking up had anything to do with pregnancy. I was so frustrated I couldn’t “sleep through the night”! This could be because the body is starting to process more fluids than usual, or shifting hormones.

2. Intense Dreams

Did you know crazy dreams are a common part of pregnancy? For me, intense dreams (ahem… sex dreams) can start in early pregnancy. This may be the best symptom of all. 😉

Some women, however, may have emotionally intense dreams in lieu of sex dreams. Either way, they all seem very real and vivid!

3. Insomnia

Unfortunately, insomnia is another sign of early pregnancy. I hate insomnia! There is nothing worse than being awake in the middle of the night, tired, but unable to fall back asleep. In fact, I remember a time I was awake from 1:30 am to 5:00 wishing to be asleep! Ugh.

TIP: If you’re hoping to get some sleep when pregnant try cutting out caffeine (or limiting it to before 11 am), blacking out your bedroom at night, removing electronics from the bedroom, and even daily exercise. If none of those work, just know that it won’t last forever.

pregnant woman experiencing insomnia while her partner sleeps next to her in bed

4. Round Ligament Discomfort

Technically, this is a pregnancy symptom that typically arrives in the second trimester, but for me it is a very early pregnancy symptom. I wouldn’t call it round ligament pain, as it’s typically called, but discomfort. The time I felt this most was when I was turning from side to side or rolling out of bed.

TIP: A gentle flow yoga practice is a good way to combat this symptom.

5. Hip Joint Discomfort

Again, hip and joint discomfort is typically a symptom women experience later in pregnancy, however, I feel slight discomfort in my hips when I am newly pregnant.

The only idea I have as to why I feel this so early is because of the hormone released called relaxin. Relaxin is a hormone our body creates that prepares our joints for birth by making them all loosey goosey.

Again, a good yoga practice would be amazingly helpful. Yoga is great for the hips and other joints!

6. Spotting

Spotting can be one of the most confusing signs of early pregnancy because spotting is normal right before you get your period too! Spotting could be the beginning of your period, it could also be implantation spotting, or it could also be a sign of miscarriage.

If you’ve already missed your period and are continuing to spot, it’s easy to become concerned. However, spotting in and of itself is not a reason to assume the worst. In fact, I have two children and have had three miscarriages and in every pregnancy I’ve bleed or spotted. For me spotting was not a predictor of a sustainable pregnancy.

woman sitting on toilet unwrapping a pad

7. Cramping

Cramping, just like spotting, can also be one of the more confusing early signs of pregnancy. Feelings of cramping right before and during your period are typical, so again, in and of itself cramping is not a clear pregnancy symptom.

However, when I have been pregnant I have had cramping every time. Once a pregnancy is confirmed I always found myself visualizing a tiny baby burrowing in my uterus making all the cramping happen.

8. Dizziness

For me, dizziness and early pregnancy always go hand in hand. The dizziness I felt was very slight and nothing too dramatic, but I always felt it.

I chalk the dizziness up to blood pressure changes, dehydration, and hormonal shifts. Even if I didn’t take a pregnancy test, the dizziness was always a clear symptom for me as I felt it as early as 4 weeks pregnant.

9. Moodiness

Are you feeling like everything is terrible and nothing will ever change? Crying, mood swings, and irritability can all be very early pregnancy symptoms.

TIP: Make sure to go to bed at a decent time, eat, drink and take life one step at a time. Just know, things will be a little better tomorrow morning.

10. Fatigue

Falling asleep in your car on your lunch break? Coming home from work and can’t get off the couch? Waking up in the morning feeling like you didn’t get any sleep? Yeah… making a person is exhausting and can also cause one of the toughest parts of pregnancy.

Here are some ideas to combat pregnancy fatigue.

  • If you can, take a nap in the afternoon.
  • Keep a regular schedule and go to bed at the same (reasonable) time every night.
  • Try not to drink a lot of water right before you go to sleep because waking to use the bathroom all night long will only add to your fatigue!
pregnant woman with purple shirt resting on bed with large pillow

11. Breast Tenderness

Many women notice breast tenderness soon after conception. This is due to the hormonal fluctuations required to sustain a pregnancy.

Some women notice an increase in breast size, color changes of the nipple and/or areola, and even an appearance of blue veins. If you are noticing these symptoms you might be pregnant!

12. Increased Sense of Smell

Another sign is an increased sense of smell. I have a friend that started smelling odd things like burning dust on a lightbulb. She thought it was so strange to smell such a thing, and even asked her husband if he could smell it too. He couldn’t. Turns out she was pregnant!

13. Elevated Basal Body Temperature

Some women keep track of their cycles and fertility by “charting” and monitoring slight temperature fluctuations with a sensitive thermometer. After ovulation the body’s basal temperature increases by one degree or so, which if sustained over a period of a few days shows a thermal shift or an elevated basal body temperature. If this temperature stays elevated even past when you were supposed to get your period, you’re probably pregnant!

14. Missed Period

Missing your period may be one of the most obvious very early pregnancy symptoms. However, it’s typically only obvious to women who have very reliable and regular menstrual cycles. If you’re anything like me, the days in any given cycle are all over the place.

The only way I know if I will be “late” is by adding 12 days (the number of days in my luteal phase, which is the portion of your cycle after you ovulate until right before you get your period) to the date I ovulated. This is the only way I know how to predict when I’m going to get my period. If I don’t get my period by then, then I might be pregnant!

red marker circling date on a calendar

15. Positive Pregnancy Test

Last but certainly not least, a pregnancy test is the mother of all early signs of pregnancy (and the most obvious!). I know women who have seen positive pregnancy tests as early as 7 days past ovulation. Personally, I was only successful at a positive pregnancy test at 11 maybe 10 days past ovulation.

Curious as to what my favorite pregnancy test is? It’s THIS ONE. A close runner up are these cheap pregnancy tests on Amazon!

woman on toilet looking at a pregnancy test one of the most obvious signs of early pregnancy
First Response Early Result Pregnancy Test, 3 Count(Pack of 1)(Packaging & Test Design May Vary)
$12.78 ($4.26 / Count)
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03/14/2024 12:36 am GMT
Wondfo Pregnancy Test Strips - HCG Detection 25 MIU/ml, Home Test of Reliable Result - 25 Count
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Just to re-cap, these are signs of early pregnancy that you may have overlooked.

  1. Waking at Night to Pee
  2. Intense Dreams
  3. Insomnia
  4. Round Ligament Discomfort
  5. Hip Joint Discomfort
  6. Spotting
  7. Cramping
  8. Dizziness
  9. Moodiness
  10. Fatigue
  11. Breast Tenderness
  12. Increased Sense of Smell
  13. Elevated Basal Body Temperature
  14. Missed Period
  15. Positive Pregnancy Test

Want More?

Make sure to check out Mother Rising’s first trimester archives, for more articles about the very beginning of pregnancy!

Check out the morning sickness archives, one of the most challenging parts of early pregnancy!


Sunday 15th of January 2023

I saw my period on 19th of December 2022,. When next should I expect my period.


Tuesday 30th of June 2020

I had a kid almost 8 months ago , and I didn’t have. in a year in 3 months , but I recently had sex almost a month ago , but I had sex the day my period came off . I been having cramps , my would have pain in my back . I would get dizzy but not that dizzy . It’s been hard for me to use the bathroom . I would have little headache that would come & go . I normally don’t have yeast infection and I had one the other day . & I been staying up all day till like 5 in the morning can’t sleep for nothing . took a pregnancy test came out negative. should I wait till another week or so ? & my sister been 3 dreams of me being pregnant with a little girl . when I was pregnant with my son I didn’t have no symptoms didnt know I was pregnant until I went just for a regular check up and I was 4 in a half weeks pregnant. didn’t start having the symptoms till after I found out .


Thursday 22nd of August 2019


I've been having all the similar symptoms like cramping, spotting, frequent urines, insane insomnia & the most vivid dreams?? I feel like a rabbit as I'm constantly feeling aroused & I feel like something is sitting on my pelvis??

I took a pt 10 days after ovulation but came back negative but I haven't taken another yet as my periods are irregular? So I just thought I'd take another test in a couple more weeks?

The problem is, is that I was told by the Dr not to fall pregnant due to the fibroids that had developed earlier in my life (which they told me it was rare as I was 22yrs old) but now it's grown so I stopped trying? Now what do you know, the second I stop trying, I get all the symptoms. Now I'm scared to know cz of the fibroids??? Do you think I should do another test now as it's been over 3 wks after ovulation?

T. Dixon

Sunday 4th of August 2019

I have a question, but I don’t know where to ask it. I’m on birth control. I finished my period and immediately started feeling weird. I had a migraine for a couple days. It’s been two full weeks since and the last three days I’ve been nauseous. At random. I’ll get nauseous walking too. The insomnia is legit. The last three days I could not fall asleep, my boobs are tender but I’ve had tender breast during the “ovulation week” portion of the birth control. I’ve never missed a day. And even though I’m nauseous, I’m often nauseous because I’m hungry. And today I’m forever hungry. I cannot get full and stay full.

I have no idea if I’m pregnant or not. I took a test. It it came up negative. Should I wait until my next period to take a test? Or is this something I should see a doctor for? Also, my grandma had her period for five months while she wasnpregnant with my mom.


Wednesday 15th of May 2019

I feel out of breath. Like something I feel the need to take bigger breath. I’m very tired, I could sleep all day long, but I can’t get comfortable when I sleep at night. My hips and thighs are sore/ I feel like this pressure(i don’t know how to explain it. ) feeling a bit of pressure on my stomach. I’m very gassy. I can’t go #2. I pee like crazy, and very thirsty at night.. I feel like I get heartburn. I don’t know if I’m pregnant yet. Could I be pregnant?