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Early signs of pregnancy

8-minute read

Key facts

  • A missed period is the main sign that you are pregnant.
  • You might also have morning sickness or breast changes.
  • You can do a pregnancy test at home or see your doctor.
  • Your doctor can advise you on the best ways to look after yourself during pregnancy.
  • If your pregnancy is unplanned, you have the option to continue or end the pregnancy.

What are some of the early signs that I am pregnant?

You might have signs or symptoms of pregnancy within a few weeks of becoming pregnant.

The most common symptom of early pregnancy is a missed period. If you have an irregular menstrual cycle it will be less obvious.

You may notice physical changes such as:

  • morning sickness — nausea and/or vomiting that may come and go throughout the day
  • sore breasts
  • an increase in breast size
  • feeling tired
  • dizziness
  • food cravings
  • needing to pass urine (wee) more often
  • abdominal pain or bloating

You may experience several of these changes. It's also possible that you won't feel much different to usual.

If you have pregnancy symptoms that are bothering you, ask your doctor what you can do to feel better.

Your emotions during pregnancy

The hormonal changes in early pregnancy can also cause changes to your mood. You may feel emotional and cry more easily. These feelings are very common in early pregnancy.

If you are finding it difficult to manage your emotions and feelings about pregnancy talk to a friend or ask your doctor for help.

What should I do if I think I'm pregnant?

If you think you may be pregnant, you can check using a home pregnancy test. Home pregnancy tests are easy to use. You can buy them at a pharmacy or supermarket.

My home pregnancy test is positive

If your home pregnancy test is positive, you should see your doctor or visit a family planning clinic for a blood test.

The blood test can confirm your pregnancy by measuring a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).

Once they confirm that you are pregnant, your doctor will give you information about what comes next. They can give advice on the best ways to look after yourself during pregnancy.

My home pregnancy test is negative

If your home pregnancy test is negative, but you still think you may be pregnant, you can see your doctor for a blood test to check. Your symptoms may be due to something other than pregnancy.

To find a doctor or clinic near you, use the Service Finder tool.

Early signs of pregnancy

Learn more about the most common signs of early pregnancy.

What should I do while I'm waiting to find out if I'm pregnant?

While you are waiting to confirm whether you are pregnant, it's a good idea to behave as you would if you were pregnant.

This means you should:

How do I work out when my baby is due?

Your pregnancy is counted in the number of weeks since the start of your last period.

Most babies are born about 38-weeks after conception. Since many conceive (get pregnant) about 2 weeks after their last period, this adds up to about 40 weeks since the beginning of their last period.

Most babies are born between 37 weeks and 42 weeks after your last period.

If you have a regular 28-day cycle you can estimate the due date for your baby by counting 40 weeks from the first day of your last period.

This may not be so simple if you:

  • have long or irregular menstrual cycles
  • don't remember when you last had a period
  • became pregnant while taking contraception that affected your cycle

You can use Healthdirect's due date calculator to estimate your due date.

If you're not sure when you conceived, you can go for a dating scan. This is an ultrasound scan that measures your baby to work out when they are due. You will need a referral from your doctor for a dating scan.

What should I do if I didn't plan to fall pregnant?

Unplanned pregnancies happen to people of all ages and backgrounds.

If your pregnancy is unplanned you may choose to:

  • continue your pregnancy and become a parent
  • plan for adoption or foster care after the baby is born
  • terminate the pregnancy (abortion)

The sooner you find out if you are pregnant, the more time you have to think about your options.

It can be helpful to discuss your options with someone you trust, such as your partner, a family member or close friend. Your doctor or local family planning clinic can also give you information and advice.

You will want to think about:

  • your personal circumstances
  • what support you have available
  • how many weeks pregnant you are

What is reproductive abuse?

Reproductive abuse is when you are not able to make your own choices about your reproductive system. This includes being pressured into decisions about sex, pregnancy and birth.

Some examples are:

  • forcing you to become pregnant or have a baby
  • pushing you to have an abortion
  • stopping you from using birth control
  • limiting your access to healthcare

Reproductive abuse can be a form of domestic or family violence.

Your doctor will always explain your options and tell you what you need to know so that you can give informed consent.

Resources and support

For pregnancy information in languages other than English visit:

You can get counselling and support for family violence from 1800Respect. They also have an interpreter service that can be reached on 13 14 50.

Speak to a maternal child health nurse

Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: October 2023

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Call us and speak to a Maternal Child Health Nurse for personal advice and guidance.

Need further advice or guidance from our maternal child health nurses?

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