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Pregnancy Signs

Read about symptoms of pregnancy

One of the first signs of pregnancy that many women notice is a missed period. However, skipping a cycle can also be caused by other factors, including stress, a nutritional deficiency, or missing or switching to a new birth-control pill, so on its own it cannot be considered proof of pregnancy.

Similarly, vaginal bleeding or spotting can be indicative of the embryo implanting itself in the uterine wall, but it can also be caused by a disruption or change in oral contraception, by unusually aggressive sexual activity, or even by no particular reason that is ever identified.

Morning sickness often arrives very early in pregnancy but can also come as a side effect of medication, from anxiety or as a result of eating some bad takeout the night before.

Other early signs of pregnancy that may appear well before a missed period are also well-known symptoms throughout pregnancy, such as breast sensitivity, fatigue, food cravings and changes in sense of taste, and the need to urinate more frequently.

In isolation, none of these symptoms should be taken as definitive evidence that you are pregnant, but if you notice that you are experiencing several of them simultaneously, it should raise your suspicions that you may have successfully conceived.

Confirming Your Symptoms of Pregnancy

Some women claim, in retrospect, that the clearest sign of pregnancy they had was that they "just knew" they were pregnant. But as noted above, the problem with the most common physical signs of pregnancy is that they can also be caused by a number of other conditions. If you are experiencing several symptoms and think you might be pregnant, your best plan of action is to take a home pregnancy test, and then ask your doctor to order blood work to confirm the results.

All pregnancy tests look for the presence of a hormone known as human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which occurs naturally only in the urine and bloodstream of a pregnant woman. If you are pregnant, the home pregnancy test should pick up on the presence of HCG in your urine and will likely yield one of your surest pregnancy signs yet: a "+" or number of dots or lines.

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