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7 Subtle Signs of Pregnancy

If you’re trying to conceive, you’re probably constantly on the lookout for any indication that you’re pregnant. You may be hoping for obvious signs of pregnancy such as weight gain, morning sickness and implantation bleeding. However, there are many subtle signs of pregnancy you should also be aware of.

Many of the early, more vague signs of pregnancy are ignored. Many women may assume these symptoms are due to their period or diet when, in reality, their body could be signaling that they’re expecting.

This post covers 7 subtle signs of pregnancy.



Although increased discharge may seem like an obvious sign of pregnancy, some women may mistake it for ovulation discharge. The pregnancy hormone hCG will leak into your bloodstream after implantation, which is what causes the milky white, thick, odourless discharge. The excretion can occur a couple days after implantation, but may not be noticeable until around the time of your first missed period. This is usually one of the first signs of pregnancy, although not all women will experience this discharge.

This leakage, called “leucorrhea,” will continue and increase throughout pregnancy. So, what’s the purpose of this discharge anyway? The cervix and vagina become softer throughout pregnancy and the secretion helps to fight any infections that may make their way from the vagina to the womb. If the discharge is yellow, has a bad smell or causes an itch or burn, the secretion is likely due to an infection instead and you should see your healthcare provider.


Heightened Sense of Smell

If you feel like you’re more sensitive to smells and tastes, it’s time to take a pregnancy test! If you’ve been pregnant before, you may develop the same likes and dislikes again, so this symptom may be easier to spot. However, if it’s your first time conceiving, you may just assume that your preferences are changing.

Many women report that scents that never bothered them before now make them feel nauseous and may even cause vomiting. According to a 2014 scientific review, women experience the most changes in their perception of scents in the first trimester. These can be the smells of food, beauty products or any household item.

The aversion to certain smells may also cause you to avoid certain foods. Dishes you found delicious before, you may now find disgusting. There is little research to suggest why this happens during pregnancy. However, some experts believe that an increased blood flow causes the scents to reach your brain much quicker and in larger quantities.

In some cases, an expectant mother’s aversion to scents wears off nearing the end of her pregnancy, according to the review. The paper theorized that this is because of nasal congestion that occurs in the late stages of pregnancy.


Breast Changes

Tender nipples and aching breasts are one of the most common signs of pregnancy. However, for women who have sensitive nipples before their period, this subtle sign may be ignored. If this is the case, a good indicator is if your nipples hurt more or are more tender than usual.

As with other pregnancy symptoms on this list, breast changes are caused by changing hormones and increased blood flow to the breasts. This causes your breasts to swell and become sensitive (especially when touched). This symptom can last a quick week or until the end of your first trimester.

Another breast change you may notice within the first week or two after conception is darkening and enlarged areolas. The reason for the darkening color is because progesterone and estrogen can cause your body to produce more pigment. Similarly, pigment changes can come in the form of random darkened patches on your skin.


Nail Growth

Are your nails growing faster than usual? Good news: You might be pregnant. You may notice faster nail growth before your first missed period, especially if your nails usually grow at a slow pace. Pregnancy hormones, including estrogen, increase blood circulation and boost the nutrients given to your nails.

While this can be a positive symptom for women who want long nails, if your nails grow too fast, they can become thin, brittle and prone to breakage. If this happens, make sure you’re taking a vitamin and eating foods that contain biotin, which can improve nail strength. Some foods that contain this vitamin include eggs, avocados, bananas and nuts. You can also use gloves to protect your nails while washing dishes or doing other household chores. Steering clear of nail polish and acetone may also prevent quick-growing nails from thinning.


Loss of Energy

If you’re generally a tired person or have low iron, this pregnancy sign may be too subtle for you to notice. However, if you feel even more exhausted than usual, a baby might be on the way! You may notice that simple chores start to feel like daunting tasks, that you are more sluggish in the morning and by the end of the day, you’re racing to bed at an earlier hour.

There are a couple reasons for the extreme lack of energy during pregnancy. It’s likely your blood sugar levels are lower and your increased progesterone levels can also bring on fatigue. Your body also needs to produce more blood so it can provide nutrients to your baby. Basically, you may not even know it yet, but your body may be working extra hard.

Unfortunately, you may feel this way throughout your entire first trimester. The good news is that your energy will usually increase by the second trimester. Later on in your pregnancy, the fatigue will likely return.

If you feel that this symptom is impacting your daily routine, you can try to regain energy by exercising, eating nutritious foods and cutting out activities that drain your energy. Also, remember that there is no substitute for rest — and you’ll need a lot more of it if you’re pregnant.


Emotional Instability

If you suffer from PMS, you’re probably no stranger to mood swings. When you notice that your emotions are a little off-kilter, you may assume you’re about to get your period, when, in reality, you could be pregnant.

A good way to tell the difference between PMS mood swings and pregnancy mood swings is to evaluate how severe they are. Do you feel more anxious or depressed than usual? Are you very happy one minute and crying only moments later? Do you feel irritable and less patient than usual? If the answer is yes, your emotional instability could be a subtle sign of pregnancy.

If you’re pregnant, your high estrogen and progesterone levels can cause these intense feelings. Mood swings can also be caused by other pregnancy symptoms. For example, if you’re feeling exhausted, your emotions may also take a hit.



Many women experience bloating, so this subtle sign of pregnancy may be ignored. You may assume your bloating is caused by something you ate or that your period is on its way. You may also blame it on constipation; however, constipation can also be an early sign of pregnancy.

So, how do you tell the difference between normal bloating and pregnancy bloating? It can be difficult, but if you feel more bloated than usual, take a pregnancy test. If you’re pregnant, the increase of progesterone in your body slows down your digestion. In one way, this is good: It gives the nutrients more time to reach your baby. However, this can cause digestive issues such as bloating, farting, burping and constipation. Your changing hormones cause your uterus lining to thicken, which may also lead to bloating.

If you’re experiencing bloating, make sure to drink plenty of water and eat smaller meals. Try to avoid foods that contain a high amount of salt and don’t eat large quantities of beans (they’re healthy but are known to cause gas).

If you’re constipated, getting enough exercise, water and fiber each day can help get things moving.


Should I Take a Pregnancy Test?

It’s important to note that none of these symptoms alone indicate that you’re pregnant. Rather, if you experience a symptom to a large degree or in conjunction with other signs of pregnancy, you should take a pregnancy test.

How soon a pregnancy test can work depends on a few factors including how sensitive the test is. The packaging will indicate the test’s sensitivity in mIU/ml (milli-International Unit per milliliter). The lower the number, the earlier it is able to detect if you’re pregnant.

It’s recommended that you take a pregnancy test when your period would normally arrive. If you are still experiencing symptoms after a negative pregnancy test, you may take another test or see your doctor.


Do you have any of these symptoms? If so, comment below which signs you’re experiencing and what your pregnancy test revealed. If you have friends or family members who are trying to conceive, share this post with them, too!

P.S. If you received a positive pregnancy test after reading these symptoms, we have some awesome news: You can soon listen to your baby’s heartbeat at home! Our fetal dopplers give you a better bonding experience.



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About Mithu Kuna

Mithu is a tech-savvy entrepreneur. He is a founder of Baby Doppler and enjoys incorporating AI driven technology in baby and maternity IoT devices.

One thought on “7 Subtle Signs of Pregnancy

  1. Okay so i have been feeling moody, lazy, hungry, I’ve increased more acne then usual I am extremely curious of what might be going on with me also I have had pelvic pains lower back aches gassy constipation my sex drive decreased. But also my period is suppose to be here within two more weeks I’m just so confused I realy need some advice !!

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