I want to start by saying that the only sure way you are going to know if you are pregnant is by taking a pregnancy test. If you can hold out, taking it the day AFTER your period is due will get you the most accurate results.
We all know the common signs of early pregnancy, right? Missed period, tender breasts, morning sickness, and being tired ALL. THE. TIME.
And of course the ones for PMS too: cravings, cramps, mood swings, tender breasts, and fatigue.
Did you also know, that you can have all of those symptoms for either situation?? So how can you tell whether it’s pregnancy or PMS? The truth is, you really can’t.
The hormone progesterone contributes to tiredness and fatigue before a period. Fatigue typically goes away once the period begins.
For women with heavy periods, excessive tiredness can last throughout the period. It may also be a sign of iron-deficiency anemia.
Fatigue is also a common symptom of early pregnancy. It often persists throughout the first trimester, and some women feel tired for the full 9 months. Difficulty sleeping and frequent nighttime urination can make pregnancy fatigue worse.
PMS: During PMS, breast swelling and tenderness can occur during the second half of your menstrual cycle. Tenderness ranges from mild to severe, and is usually the most severe right before your period. Women in their childbearing years tend to have more severe symptoms.
Breast tissue may feel bumpy and dense, especially in the outer areas. You may have a feeling of breast fullness with tenderness and a heavy, dull pain. The pain often improves during your period or right after, as your progesterone levels decrease.
Pregnancy: Your breasts during early pregnancy may feel sore, sensitive, or tender to the touch. They may also feel fuller and heavier. This tenderness and swelling will usually happen one to two weeks after you conceive, and it can last for a while as your progesterone levels rise due to your pregnancy.
The hormone progesterone can lead to digestive disturbances including constipation. Because levels of progesterone rise during the second half of the menstrual cycle, constipation can be present in women with PMS or an approaching menstrual period. Likewise, the hormonal changes of early pregnancy may also cause constipation.
Premenstrual cramping is probably something that most of us are familiar with. It is one of the more unpleasant side-effects of PMS; however it can also occur in early pregnancy.
In pregnancy, cramping appears as the lining of the uterus starts to stretch, making room for new growth. This can feel very similar to PMS cramping, but it normally happens lower in the abdomen, sometimes triggering pain in the back as well
Bleeding or Spotting
Light spotting or bleeding can occur in early pregnancy. This is called implantation bleeding, and it typically occurs 10–14 days after fertilization.
Many women do not experience implantation bleeding. Others may not notice it. It is much lighter than menstruation.
PMS does not typically cause spotting, although a period can be very light on the first day. Low progesterone can cause spotting the day before your period starts and/or the day after it ends. Usually, menstrual bleeding lasts for 4 or 5 days (normal range is 3 to 7 days), and it causes more significant blood loss than the spotting of implantation.
Hormonal changes can cause back pain in early pregnancy and before the menstrual period.
The back pain with period may range from mild discomfort to more debilitating pain that may interfere with your daily activities. Back pain during period may start a few days before the beginning of your menses and get better after the menses are over. It is typically muscular in nature and caused by hormonal changes.
Though period and back pain go hand in hand, lower back pain may be a symptom of early pregnancy. It may be present in some women even before they miss their period or before a positive pregnancy test. The cause of back pain during pregnancy may be that the ligaments in your body naturally become softer and stretch to prepare you for labor. This can put a strain on the joints of your lower back and pelvis, which can cause back pain. Hence, when considering lower back pain — period or pregnancy, period pain may start a few days before your periods and subsides after your periods are over.
You may get low back pain due to early pregnancy around the fourth week of your pregnancy. You may continue having the pain for weeks or months while you are pregnant. The symptom of back pain during pregnancy may be associated with other symptoms of early pregnancy such as light vaginal spotting or bleeding, nausea, and breast tenderness. If you know about your pregnancy and you have symptoms of heavy vaginal bleeding or watery discharge, visit your doctor immediately.
PMS: When you have PMS, you’ll likely notice that your eating habits change. You may crave chocolate, carbohydrates, sugars, sweets, or salty foods. Or you may have a ravenous appetite. These cravings don’t happen to the same extent when you’re pregnant.
Pregnancy: You may have highly specific cravings, and you may be totally uninterested in other foods. You may also have an aversion to certain smells and tastes, even ones you once liked. These effects can last throughout pregnancy.
You could also have pica, in which you compulsively eat items that have no nutritional value, such as ice, dirt, dried paint flakes, or pieces of metal. If you have cravings for nonfood items, talk to your doctor right away.
PMS: You shouldn’t expect nausea or vomiting if your period is late but some digestive discomfort such as nausea can accompany symptoms of PMS.
Pregnancy: Morning sickness is one of the most classic and clear signs you’re pregnant. Bouts of nausea often begin a month after you get pregnant. Vomiting may or may not accompany the nausea. Despite the name, morning sickness can occur at any time of the day. However, not all women experience morning sickness.
If you think that you may be pregnant, please do not consume alcohol or illegal substances. Take a test 2 weeks after ovulation, or the day after your missed period.
Make sure you grab a copy of my FREE guide Trying To Conceive Language & my FREE Self-Care Mini Course. You can access either one by clicking on the title. These are packed full of information that you can begin implementing today to put yourself one step closer to getting pregnant, naturally.
If you’re looking for a group of like-minded women with which to share your fertility wellness journey, be sure to check out my Whole Body Fertility & Wellness Facebook group today!
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