Pregnancy – how do I know I'm pregnant?

Key points about recognising the early signs of pregnancy

  • Even if it’s very early on in a pregnancy, there are some changes you may notice in your body.
  • One of the most obvious signs of pregnancy is a missed period.
  • However, if you haven’t missed your period yet, there are some other signs that may indicate you’re pregnant.
  • Remember, everybody is different and symptoms can vary greatly.
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Missed period

This is the most obvious sign you’re pregnant. If you’ve missed your period and suspect you might be pregnant, you should take a pregnancy test. These are widely available – you can get them at the chemist, the supermarket, online or you can visit your healthcare provider or Family Planning Clinic. It’s recommended you wait until after you've missed a period to take a pregnancy test. If you take it before then, you may not get an accurate result

Feeling sick/vomiting

Feeling sick or actually vomiting (being sick) is a common sign of pregnancy. However, some women don’t experience nausea or vomiting at all. You may feel sick or vomit any time during the day or only at particular times such as late afternoon or early morning.

Tender/swollen breasts

Hormonal changes early on in pregnancy can make your breasts tender or swollen. They may feel sore, fuller or heavier. The area around your nipple may get darker and bigger.


Pregnancy can make you feel exhausted. You may feel wiped out and like you constantly need to nap. This overwhelming tiredness tends to reduce in the second trimester, then return again in the last trimester.

Mood swings

Pregnancy can make you feel emotional due to the changes in your hormones. Also, you may be a lot hungrier, which can make you feel irritable or 'hangry'! Hormones aside, the prospect of becoming a parent naturally stirs up a wide range of emotions. It’s a huge life event so it can seem somewhat overwhelming.

Frequent weeing

You may find yourself having to urinate more often than usual. This is due to hormonal changes. 

Light spotting and cramping

Sometimes in early pregnancy a small amount of spotting or bleeding is normal. This is caused by the fertilised egg attaching to the lining of the uterus. However, see your GP or nurse if it’s heavy or persistent. Mild cramping can also occur in the early stages.

Food cravings or aversions

While not everybody gets cravings, you may suddenly feel an overwhelming desire to eat a certain type of food. It can range from things you don’t normally eat to something you’re familiar with. You may also find your sense of smell and taste become more sensitive and you may not want to eat foods you usually enjoy. 

Metallic taste

One of the more unusual symptoms of pregnancy can be a strange metallic taste in the mouth. This is known as dysgeusia. It can even occur before you have a positive pregnancy test. The cause of the taste is thought to be hormonal, particularly the increased oestrogen associated with pregnancy. This sensation usually improves greatly or ends entirely after the first trimester.


Symptoms of pregnancy(external link) Mayo Clinic, US, 2021

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