Should you take a pregnancy test? 10 signs

Many of the early signs of pregnancy can be nonspecific and easily mistaken for other causes. For this reason, it may be difficult to know when or whether to take a pregnancy test.

In this article, we list 10 early signs that can indicate a person should take a pregnancy test.

1. Missed period

Multiple pregnancy tests
A person should take a pregnancy test if they miss a period.

The most common reason to take a pregnancy test is a missed period.

While there are many reasons why people may miss periods, if a person is sexually active, it may be due to pregnancy.

Most pregnancy tests are very accurate when taken after a missed period, but sometimes the hormone levels might not be high enough to trigger a positive result.

If a person misses a period and has a negative pregnancy test, they should repeat it after a few days.

2. Breast changes

Sore and swollen breasts are very common in early pregnancy, but they often occur just before a period, as well.

Some people also notice that their nipples become larger or slightly darker in early pregnancy.

3. Light bleeding

Some people experience implantation bleeding, which is light bleeding that happens when the embryo attaches to the uterine wall.

Implantation bleeding tends to be lighter and shorter than that of a menstrual period.

4. Cramps

Cramps are common just before or during a menstrual period, but some people also get cramps when implantation occurs.

A person who experiences cramps around or before their period but does not start bleeding, or has a much lighter period than usual, may want to take a pregnancy test.

5. Nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are potential signs of early pregnancy.
Nausea and vomiting are potential signs of early pregnancy.

Morning sickness, or nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy, tends to start between the 2nd and 8th week of pregnancy occurring.

Nausea does not just happen in the morning — many women feel nauseated all day or into the evening.

Feeling nauseated for no apparent reason, especially when combined with other symptoms, may be a sign that a person should take a pregnancy test.

6. Fatigue

Fatigue is a common symptom of early pregnancy if there are no other likely causes, such as stress or lack of sleep. It may be difficult for a person to make it through the day without a nap or the opportunity to rest.

Fatigue during early pregnancy is usually due to changes in the hormone progesterone.

The fatigue usually eases, and pregnant women may find they have more energy starting in the second trimester.

7. Food aversions or cravings

Unusual cravings and food aversions are common in the first trimester, though they sometimes persist through the entire pregnancy.

Some people crave non-food items, such as dirt or ice. It is best to see a doctor if experiencing cravings for things that are not food.

8. Changes in bathroom habits

Gastrointestinal symptoms common in early pregnancy include:

Many people also experience frequent urges to urinate and notice increased amounts of urine.

9. Feeling different

Woman thinking and contemplative, sad and anxious in bed
Some people can sense that they are pregnant and should take a test for confirmation.

Many people report feeling “different” and having an awareness that they are pregnant before taking the test.

Physiological and hormonal changes during pregnancy may cause this “gut feeling”.

If a person has a feeling that they might be pregnant, they should take a pregnancy test for confirmation.

10. Missed contraception

People should consider taking a pregnancy test if they are sexually active and have had a birth control mishap within the last month.

While most birth control options are effective in preventing pregnancy, a broken condom or missed birth control pill can increase the risk of conception.

When to see a doctor

People should see a doctor if they get a positive pregnancy test. The doctor can confirm the results of a home pregnancy test with a blood test or schedule an early ultrasound.

If a person is pregnant, it is also vital to start prenatal care or discuss other options as early into the pregnancy as possible.

It is also best to speak to a doctor if a person misses a period, but they are not pregnant. The doctor can help diagnose a possible underlying cause.

Pregnancy tests are available in pharmacies and online.

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