9 Early Pregnancy Symptoms that may be Confused with Your Period

Michelle Jones


Getting pregnant starts very similarly to getting your period. This is why so many women get confused and have no clue that they are pregnant. Even though each woman and body are unique, there are still many symptoms that we share. After all, our bodies conceive naturally the same way following a certain process. Not all of us experience the same symptoms, of course, but here are some of the most common symptoms that may cause you to believe that you are having your period when truth is, you might be pregnant.

1. Bloating

The reason you might bloat around your period is due to the hormonal chemical changes that come with your menstrual cycle. It’s all about the hormones which we cannot control, and it happens in pregnancy too! The increase of progesterone, which starts early in pregnancy, has a lot to do with it. It slows contractions within the intestinal muscles causing gas retention and digestion to slow down = bloating. In some cases, stress can also be an added factor to bloating so you can tell why it’s hard to distinguish from your menstrual cycle and pregnancy.

2. Cramps

During the first trimester, your body is preparing for the growing a baby. There are many changes in your body that may cause mild and temporary cramping which are often considered normal. Of course, it is always recommended that you speak with your Dr. if you think you might be pregnant or are experiencing any cramping other than not being on your period. Remember that since your body is preparing to grow and nurture a baby, first there is the implantation that could potentially cause these cramps, then your uterus starts expanding, causing the ligaments and muscles that support it to stretch. You can sometimes even feel it a bit more when you sneeze, cough, or change positions.

3. Breast tenderness

Once again, your hormones estrogen and progesterone deserve most of the credit for breast tenderness. However, there are other factors like good and needed fat that's building up in your breasts and increased blood flow to the area. Remember your breasts are also preparing to nurture your baby with milk and these steps are essential for its production.

4. Headaches

In early pregnancy, one of the major reasons you might experience headaches is your body experiencing a surge of hormones along with an increase in blood volume. With these two changes alone, frequent headaches may develop. However, stress, having a poor posture, poor nutrition, or changes in your vision also takes its toll and if these are present, headaches may be increased. Reducing work, meditating or moving your body will help to decrease these headaches and make you feel much better overall.

5. Spotting

Any kind of bleeding, other than your normal period, is a reason to call your doctor and make sure everything is okay. It is said that it is common to have some bleeding during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. One of the most common causes for it includes implantation bleeding which can also, like mentioned above, cause cramping. What basically happens here is that the fertilized egg implants itself in the lining of the uterus causing it to bleed. This is why it can easily be confused with your period and why many women do not realize they are pregnant because they think they are starting their period.

6. Nausea & vomiting

This one might be a bit tricky because not all women get nauseas or vomit when their period comes along. If you do, then you might think it’s part of your normal cycle. Pregnancy nausea most commonly starts around week 6 of pregnancy. If this is your first pregnancy, you probably wouldn’t have a clue of what might be going on because before week 6 you might not experience any nausea or vomiting at all. If you’re lucky, you might not experience ANY nausea or vomiting at all throughout your whole pregnancy.

7. Mood swings

Yes, us women go through mood swings during our period. This is a huge reason why pregnancy can pass by unnoticed. Some of the causes for these mood swings include the following: changes in your hormone levels (of course, why not, right? Blame it on the hormones), fatigue, stress, physical changes and anxiety. The good news for mamas dealing with ever-changing emotions: mood swings are temporary. Eventually you will feel like your even-tempered self again. Yay for whoever lives with you! Well, and you too, of course.

8. Constipation

Reason? Yup, hormones are at it again. It’s progesterone, in particular, which makes your bowel more relaxed and sluggish. Just like bloating, there are certain hormonal changes that your body makes in order to be able to grow a baby. It is important to have a healthy diet throughout your pregnancy and should try to consume dietary fiber each day to stay regular and healthy. Some healthy choices include fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, lentils, bran cereals, prunes, and whole-grain bread. Hopefully this will help regularize constipation.
*Note: If you tend to be constipated normally, then it is vital for you to start eating more fiber for you to release the bloating and for your digestive system to do its work.

9. Abdominal pain

Although it is related to cramping, it is different. Of course, constipation may play a big role for abdominal pain but remember like I mentioned in the beginning, your body is changing. In the early weeks of pregnancy, you might feel abdominal pain for that same expansion of your uterus that is causing cramping. Trapped wind or gas might also cause abdominal pain but it should not feel anything more than a mild period pain. If there is severe pain it may be a cause of something else. Always check with your doctor with any kind of pain you are having or if it’s an uncomfortable pain. After all, that’s what they are there for. To care for their patients.

The symptoms you experience during pregnancy are not easy most of the time, but they are well worth of the outcome. You will know once you meet your bundle of life.

Stay well and healthy,



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Every mom has her struggles and I know how hard it can be lacking the support a mama needs to keep pushing. This is why I'm devoted to write about the honest, unfiltered and the non-sugar coated side of Motherhood; the chaos, the beauty and the blowouts. My intention is for moms and moms-to-be feel supported and empowered in order to thrive at Motherhood one step at a time. I share what has worked and works for me to make it easier for them. It's all about Honest Motherhood.

San Antonio, TX

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