Pregnancy can trigger all sorts of changes in your body. Cramping, a missed period, and whitish discharge are some signs that may indicate that you’re pregnant.
But there are many symptoms of pregnancy, and just because you have some, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re expecting a baby.
Read on to learn more about other signs of pregnancy.
Not all pregnant women experience the same symptoms. While some notice changes right away, others might not recognize the signs for weeks or even months.
A missed period is usually the first and most obvious sign of pregnancy. If a week or more has passed since your period was due, there’s a chance you could be pregnant. But, this isn’t always the case, as many women have irregular periods.
Cramping is another common sign of pregnancy. The cramps may feel similar, possibly a little milder, to what you normally experience during your period.
However, there may be other causes for abdominal cramping, like gas or digestive ailments. These cramps are normally sharp and you may feel them in your lower abdomen, but they typically don’t last too long.
You may also notice changes to your vaginal discharge during the early stages of pregnancy. These changes can begin as early as a week or two after conception.
You may notice that you have more discharge than normal, and that it’s whitish-yellow in color. These changes can be subtle, and they can be slightly different from one person to the next.
Other common symptoms of pregnancy include:
- nausea or vomiting
- tender, aching breasts
- increased urination
- spotting, also known as implantation bleeding
- nasal congestion
- food cravings or aversions to certain foods
- mood swings
- dizziness or fainting
- metallic taste in the mouth
- larger, darker nipples
While missed periods, with or without pain or cramping, may be a sign of pregnancy, they can also be caused by other factors like those listed below.
Endometriosis happens when tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside the uterus. The condition can cause cramping, abnormal bleeding, infertility, and painful intercourse.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection that can occur when bacteria enters the vagina and spreads to the uterus and upper genital tract. It’s usually transmitted through sexual contact.
Symptoms of PID include heavy discharge, pelvic pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The infection can also cause irregular periods.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that can trigger infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods. It’s also a common cause for infertility.
Uterine fibroids or polyps
Uterine fibroids and polyps are noncancerous growths in or on the uterus that can cause heavy bleeding or pain during menstrual cycles. They can also lead to irregular periods.
Perimenopause is the time prior to menopause when a woman’s body gradually begins to make less estrogen. You may experience irregular periods along with hot flashes or night sweats.
Stress or other lifestyle factors
High levels of stress can affect your menstrual cycle. Additionally, excessive exercise, extreme weight loss, illnesses, and eating disorders can cause your periods to stop for a time.
Birth control pills and other medications
Starting or stopping the use of birth control pills can affect your monthly cycle. Some women have irregular or missed periods up to six months after they stop taking the pill.
Certain medications, such as antidepressants, steroids, or blood thinners, can also affect your menstrual cycles.
Other medical conditions, including uterine cancer, cervical cancer, pituitary disorders, anemia, and thyroid disease, can cause irregular periods.
If you think you may be pregnant, it’s important to see your doctor and to start getting prenatal care as soon as possible.
It’s also important to see your healthcare provider if you’re not having regular menstrual periods. Your physician can order certain tests to figure out what’s causing your unpredictable cycles.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you have symptoms of abnormal discharge, which include:
- yellow, green, or gray discharge
- discharge that has a strong or foul odor
- discharge that’s accompanied by itching, redness, or swelling
Cramping can be a normal sign of menstruation but it’s important to call your doctor if your cramps:
- don’t go away or get worse
- affect one side of your body
- are accompanied by a fever or other symptoms
A missed period, cramping, and increased discharge can all be signs of pregnancy, but they can also signal other medical conditions.
A pregnancy test, with an at-home kit or at your doctor’s office, is the best way to find out if you’re expecting a baby.