We’ve all heard stories of women who didn’t know they were pregnant until they actually went into labor. While it might sound like fiction, it really can happen. More common are situations when women make it through their first trimester without realizing they’re pregnant. Understanding pregnancy symptoms can help you know if there’s an above average chance you’re pregnant.
Pregnancy Symptoms to Watch For
While a missed monthly period is often the first clear indication you might be pregnant, some women do in fact experience “cryptic pregnancies,” during which they may not noticeably miss their periods. More on that below.
So, just because you continue experiencing monthly signs of a period, don’t take for granted that you’re not pregnant, particularly if you experience any combination of other common pregnancy symptoms. These include sore breasts, frequent urination, nausea and throwing up, aches and muscle soreness, difficulty breathing, tiredness and loss of balance.
Most women experience at least some of these symptoms within the first three months of pregnancy.
“Cryptic pregnancies,” pregnancies in which a woman doesn’t realize she’s pregnant until very late in the pregnancy or even until the time of birth, are extremely rare. When they do occur, it’s typically either in women who have irregular periods or who misinterpret implantation bleeding as their typical monthly menstruation.
Women with irregular periods, which can be due to their natural body rhythms, stress, medication, medical issues or other factors, may not notice that they’ve missed a period. In some cases, for multiple months. Without noticing a missed period, and if they’re unfamiliar with or unattuned to other pregnancy symptoms, these women may not realize they’re pregnant.
Other women may misinterpret pregnancy-related bleeding or intermittent spotting as being their periods, particularly if they do not typically experience heavy menstrual bleeding. In reality, this can be implantation bleeding, caused when a fertilized egg implants into the uterine lining. Even in some healthy pregnancies, it’s possible to have intermittent spotting and bleeding throughout, which may be mistaken for light periods.
When to Get a Pregnancy Test
If you’re sexually active and experience two or more early pregnancy symptoms, it’s always worth getting a pregnancy test. While home pregnancy tests are a good first step, a medical pregnancy test is the only way to know for sure. Plus, if you’re experiencing these symptoms while still seeing signs that you’re having your period as expected, it’s a good idea to talk with a healthcare professional to ensure you’re otherwise healthy.