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Do you think you might be pregnant? That's only to be expected if you are trying to conceive and have already ovulated during this cycle. Assuming you and your partner are both fertile, every month offers you a new opportunity.

You could just continue hoping that you've hit the jackpot this month and will find out soon, or you could take up a new hobby: "pregnancy-sign watching"!  What are the earliest signs of pregnancy, really? You know, the ones that you can actually reasonably expect to show up before you miss your period? And how do you tell the difference between pre-menstrual symptoms and pregnancy signs?

Implantation bleeding

Women who notice a very slight bleeding that does not last longer than a day might be dealing with an implantation bleeding. Up to 20 percent of all newly-expecting women have this slight bleeding. You may notice a little bit of blood often brownish on their toilet paper after wiping, either once or several times. An implantation bleeding happens when the tiny embryo attaches itself to the wall of your uterus, between seven and 10 days following conception. Most women's menstrual cycles are set up in such a way that their period is expected 14 days after ovulation, and that means an implantation bleeding happens a bit before your menstruation is due. Don't confuse an implantation bleeding with menstruation, which is much heavier.

Sore, heavy breasts

Sore, heavy and tender breasts are a frequent very early pregnancy sign. The good thing about this early pregnancy sign is that it almost always starts up before you miss your period. The bad thing? Well, many women have tender breasts before they start menstruating every single month, so it's hard to tell if you are pregnant or just about to get a visit from "Aunt Flo". Only you know if your tender breasts are tender in a way that's more excessive than usual, or different than usual. If you are pregnant, you better get used to the current state of your breasts because it will stick around throughout your nine months and while you are breastfeeding.

Cramping and bloating

Oh, no! Another ambiguous symptom! Cramping and bloating are business as usual for most women who are days away from their menstruation. They're also pregnancy symptoms. This is one symptom you can't take too seriously before you actually miss your period. After you do, and your pregnancy test comes back positive, both symptoms are likely to stay with you for a while. Just know they're normal. Minor cramping without spotting or bleeding does not mean you will miscarry.

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It has probably been a while since you've napped during the day, but if you suddenly feel so tired that a siesta is an appealing idea you could well be pregnant! Extreme fatigue of the kind that makes you want to take naps, go to bed early, and get up late is a very suspicious symptom for a lady who's hoping she is pregnant. If you're days away from your period, you may just want to go buy one of those extra-sensitive early pregnancy tests.

Bathroom trips

Are you peeing much more often than you usually do? You could have a urinary tract infection, but then again, that usually comes with a burning sensation when you urinate. Is that missing? Pregnancy hormones cause newly expectant women to pee more often. Frequent bathroom trips mean you can officially get your hopes up.

Nausea and vomiting

Yes, morning sickness or pregnancy nausea as it's really called can strike women before they miss their period. Pregnancy nausea can hit you in the morning but can also come on and off throughout the day. In some women, it's even constant. Some women only feel nauseous, while others throw up. You can counter morning sickness by eating small, healthy snacks frequently. This keeps your blood sugar levels steady.

A heightened sense of smell

Can you smell things from miles away? Do some of these smells really bother you, while others are suddenly strangely appealing? A heightened sense of smell is a typical pregnancy symptom, that is related to pregnancy nausea in some way. It's unlikely that suddenly having magic smelling powers is causes by anything other than pregnancy if you are trying to conceive. Not convinced yet? Just hold on a few more days! A missed period followed by a positive pregnancy test are still the surest pregnancy symptoms of them all!

  • Photo courtesy of 123rf (stock photos)
  • Photo courtesy of 123rf (stock photos)

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