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How Do I Know if I am Pregnant?

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Reproductive System related image Photo: Getty Images

Congratulations! You’re having a baby ... or at least you think you’re having a baby. How can you be sure? No matter how many signs you think you have, the only sure fire way to tell is to be tested -- preferably by a medical professional. Some, however, purchase an over-the-counter pregnancy test to find out quickly.

But if you suspect you’re with child, what signs should you be looking for? Additionally, if you are not pregnant but are still having certain symptoms, what could that mean?

Websites such as BabyMed and the American Pregnancy Association are very helpful when detailing any symptoms to look for. Of course, it is important to remember that each pregnancy is different, but below you will find the most common signs, time frames and conditions and/or diseases that might mimic pregnancy symptoms.

Spotting: caused by the embryo implanting itself into the uterine wall which may appear 8-10 days after ovulation
Other causes: actual menstruation, change in menstruation, change in birth control pills or infection

Nipple or breast tenderness: 3-4 weeks after conception
Other causes: hormonal imbalance, birth control pills, PMS

Fatigue and tiredness: 3-10 weeks after conception
Other causes: stress, depression, cold or flu

Vomiting or morning sickness: 3-10 weeks after conception
Other causes: food poisoning, stress, change in birth control or a known or unknown stomach disorder

Lower back pain: normally appears late in pregnancy but for some, it varies
Other causes: PMS, stress, other back problems or physical and mental strains

Frequent urination: usually after 1-2 months
Other causes: UTI or urinary tract infection, diabetes, increasing liquid intake or taking excessive diuretics

Darkened areolas (skin around nipples): after 14 weeks
Other causes: hormonal imbalance unrelated to pregnancy or may even be caused by previous pregnancy

Food cravings: 1-2 months after conception
Other causes: poor diet, deficiency in nutrients, stress, depression, illness or PMS

Of course, this list does not include all pregnancy symptoms, and as mentioned earlier, pregnancy differs with each individual. But the above can serve as a reminder so as to know what to expect.

Also, after confirming that you are pregnant, do make regular visits to the doctor as your physician will instruct you to. Prenatal care is very important to ensure the safety of you and your unborn child. Taking prenatal vitamins is strongly recommended during this time as well. And lastly, if you smoke or drink, it is best to stop to protect your baby’s health.


Pregnancy Symptoms – Early Signs of Pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association. Web. 14 October 2011.

Early Pregnancy Symptoms. BabyMed.com. Web. 14 October 2011

Dita Faulkner is a freelance writer who loves to blog. Feel free to check out the article, “Why Be Grateful?” Click on the link below:

Reviewed October 17, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.