Need to talk? Call 1800 882 436.
It's a free call with a maternal child health nurse. *call charges may apply from your mobile

Is it an emergency? Dial 000
If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately.

beginning of content

Early signs of pregnancy

4-minute read

For women who have a regular monthly menstrual cycle, the earliest and most reliable sign of pregnancy is a missed period.

If your period doesn’t arrive as expected, you may be pregnant, but there can be other reasons for a missed period, such as illness, stress and strenuous activity.

Sometimes women who are pregnant have a very light period, losing only a little blood.

Some of the other early pregnancy signs and symptoms are listed below. Every woman is different and not all women will notice all these symptoms.

Feeling sick and vomiting

You may feel sick and nauseous, and you may vomit. This is commonly known as morning sickness, but it can happen at any time of the day or night. If you’re being sick all the time and can’t keep anything down, contact your doctor.

Feeling very tired

It’s common to feel very tired, or even exhausted, during pregnancy, especially during the first 12 weeks or so. Hormonal changes taking place in your body at this time can make you feel tired, nauseous, emotional and upset.

Changes in your breasts

Your breasts may become larger and feel tender, just as they might do before your period. They may also tingle. The veins may be more visible, and the nipples may darken and stand out.

Bladder changes

You may feel the need to pass urine more often than usual, including during the night. This is caused by pregnancy hormones and usually settles after a few months

Other signs of pregnancy that you might notice are:

  • constipation
  • an increased vaginal discharge without any soreness or irritation
  • a strange taste in your mouth, which many women describe as metallic
  • changes in what you want to eat, such as craving new foods and losing interest in certain foods or drinks that you previously enjoyed, such as tea, coffee or fatty food
  • losing interest in tobacco if you smoke
  • having a more sensitive sense of smell than usual, for example to the smell of food or cooking

Early signs infographic

Learn more about the most common signs of early pregnancy.

Am I pregnant?

As soon as you think you could be pregnant, you should check to find out if you are. There are several ways to find out if you are pregnant.

Urine tests

You can buy home pregnancy urine testing kits from your local pharmacy. The tests check for the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG).

With home pregnancy tests:

  • Make sure you follow the instructions on the test very carefully to get the most accurate result.
  • Wait until at least a week after your expected period before testing to get the most reliable result.
  • If you are taking fertility drugs or you are an older woman, you may get a false result.
  • If you use a home pregnancy kit, always see a doctor to confirm the pregnancy.

You can also have a urine test done by your doctor, or at a family planning clinic.

Blood test

A blood test will give you a reliable result, even at the earliest stage of pregnancy. Your doctor will order the test, which will check for hCG in your blood. You can have this test done as soon as you have missed your period.

Baby due date

Once you know you are pregnant, your doctor or midwife will help you work out when your baby is due (the ‘estimated date of confinement’ or EDC). This is done by adding 40 weeks to the date of the beginning of your last period. You can use our due date calculator to work out when your baby will be due.

Once your pregnancy is confirmed, you should start thinking about the type of care you want throughout your pregnancy and the birth. If you are in the workforce this is also the time to find out about your rights at work and about maternity leave.

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

Last reviewed: August 2020

Back To Top

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?

This information is for your general information and use only and is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes.

The information is not a substitute for independent professional advice and should not be used as an alternative to professional health care. If you have a particular medical problem, please consult a healthcare professional.

Except as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, this publication or any part of it may not be reproduced, altered, adapted, stored and/or distributed in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Healthdirect Australia.