5 Signs You May (or May Not) Be Pregnant



Back in my TTC days, (that’s “trying to conceive,” for those of you who may not frequent fertility message boards) I was acutely tuned into my signs of fertility, my menstrual cycle, and particularly any potential early signs of pregnancy. I’m sure I’m not the only person who experienced this heightened level of awareness brought on by a desire to become pregnant, but I always envied those Type B conceivers- you know, those people who said things like, “We’re not trying to get pregnant, but we’re not not trying!” Those laid-back, well-adjusted bastards.

Anyway. I am no longer trying to conceive, but it seems that old habits die hard. Even though I am relatively certain that every 28 days, good old Aunt Flo will be arriving on my doorstep with her shitty mood and suitcase full of junk food, I still manage to convince myself that I simply must  be pregnant.

Have you ever noticed how similar the early signs of pregnancy are to garden variety PMS? What a joke, especially for those optimistic fertility enthusiasts! Sore breasts? You’re definitely pregnant! Or, you’re about to get your period. You know- one of the two. Back in my days of daily temperature monitoring, I could never tell if my tender boobs were from an actual pregnancy or from me squeezing them every 45 seconds in an effort to determine if they were sore. The old “chicken-or-the-egg” conundrum: pregnancy symptom edition. (Do I keep fondling my boobs because they are sore, or are they sore because I keep touching them?)

It is hard not to fall victim to the pregnancy symptom mirage when you are the type of person who has been religiously monitoring her fertility signs, as I had been doing with each of my pregnancies. I could read my cervix like a psychic reads tea leaves. How could I not notice all these subtle changes happening within my body? Or was it wishful thinking? At any rate, I was certain that when I was no longer trying to get pregnant, I would stop being so preoccupied with potential “early symptoms”. I was wrong.

Here are some of the most vexing “symptoms” that I become aware of on a monthly basis:

1. Nausea. As it turns out, I am vaguely nauseous and slightly hungry a majority of the time. I have forced myself to pay more attention to this condition, and it seems to happen regularly with no rhyme or reason, and during times at which it is physically impossible for me to be pregnant. Maybe I need to have a good colon cleanse or something. Or go gluten-free. Or (shudder) lay off the coffee.

2. Fatigue. Hello? I have two kids, both of whom have the irritating tendency to wake up at dawn. Of course I’m tired. Next!

3. Food/Smell Aversions. I have decided I can attribute this “symptom” to my bothersome and irrational paranoia of food spoilage. Sure, I’ve had food poisoning a few times, but there really is no logical explanation for why I am so vigilant about expiration dates, produce that is disturbingly “flaccid,” and dairy products that smell a bit “off.”

4. Food Cravings. I’m certain that the cause of this condition is my unconscious desire to continue to indulge my thrice weekly post-bedtime cookie ritual.

5. Mood Swings. Let’s get real- I am always looking for a reasonable explanation for my emotional reactivity, irritability, and weepiness. Pregnancy is just a convenient excuse. (I must be pregnant, or why would I be crying about this horse wearing a jacket? Because you have PMS, idiot.) 

Does anyone else suffer from this monthly lapse of judgment? Surely I am not the only woman who manufactures pregnancy symptoms even when she is trying not to get pregnant! Perhaps I am doomed until I hit menopause, at  which point I will finally stop experiencing these phantom signs of pregnancy. But I fear that even years after my uterus gives up its monthly foray into crying-over-commercials hell, I will still convince myself that those hunger  pangs are really morning sickness.


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  1. 1

    Nelma says

    YES! I’m currently going through an ultra paranoia stage at the moment! Haven’t had a period since Mother’s day, boobs hurt, nauseous, exhausted, mood swings, junk food cravings, heartburn and “a weird abdominal tickle.” Am I pregnant? Well, according to 3 pregnancy tests – nope! Just paranoid and I’m guessing that the stress of thinking I might be pregnant (just gave birth in December) has shut down my system! But – besides the recent lapse in menses presence – I am constantly convinced I am pregnant. 9 times out of 10 I’ll take a test and end up getting my period the next day. So no, you are not alone! :D

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    • 2

      Athena says

      Same thing for me for years – stress over whather I was/wasn’t pregnant delaying my period. I’d keep a stock of pregnancy tests just so I could make my period hurry up when it was late (it would almost always start a few hours after I took the test). It worked like a charm until last January when I did my usual hurry up test and found out I was actually pregnant. I think I sat there stunned for about 5 minutes after the results popped up. Not excited or worried, just stunned because I was so used to having convinced myself I was pregnant and then getting a negative.

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      • 3

        Rose says

        Yes! This is so me and that’s exactly what happened last month. I took a test before my husband got home, just to tell myself my period was coming and when it turned positive, I was in absolute shock!!

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  2. 4

    Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes says

    Yup, my tell tale ‘hurrah you are pregnant’ sign was dizzyness and feeling faint.
    I felt the overly familiar faintness last Saturday and immediatly panicked until it occured to me thatit was 1pm and that I hadn’t eaten since 5.30 am…
    A sandwhich quickly cured both fear and dizzyness.

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  3. 5

    Janine Huldie says

    I think we all do this at least once a month around this time of the month. About 6 months ago, I had a stomach virus for about a week and felt literally the same way I felt with both of my girls when I was pregnant with them. Thankfully, it turned out to be just a stomach bug, but damned if I was freaking out just a bit!!

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  4. 6

    Crystal says

    I’m pregnant with our fifth and LAST child. My mood swings this time around have been off the charts. Seriously. I’m one step away from all out Lara Croft. My family is considering moving into a hotel until after the baby is born! :) Great post! You made me smile this morning.

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  5. 7

    Debbie says

    I’m sorry you are going through this every month. I would say you either are secretly hoping to be pregnany or scare to death that you might be.
    What ever the reason life to to short to stress ourselves out. This is a habit that you need to STOP!!! Just kidding, but it is a habit.

    When you start thinking about it, try thinking about something else.
    Tell your self that this is a habit you are going to stop.

    If you like this habit keep it up, after all the touch of the boobs can be fun, but i would start having my hubby do the touching and telling him if it hurts. Sounds like more fun!!!

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  6. 9

    Andrea says

    ME TOO!!!! Plus I have been going through menopause before we were finished having kids. And I’m so sorry to tell you this but you still get the symptoms if not the visit from Aunt Flo! I KNOW I’m not pregnant but my boobs are sore, or I’m nausous. And the disturbing thing it’s not the same symptom every month so you then think oh I must be pregnant b/c I didn’t feel this way last month! Oh one of the many joys of being a woman! It’s better than being a man I suppose! LOL

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  7. 10

    Menopausalmother says

    This is so funny and it brings back a lot of memories. Oh gawd I remember going through this trickery every time I was trying to get pregnant. Not to be gross, but every time I’d go to pee, I’d check…and check… to see if there was a drop of period blood and prayed there wouldn’t be IF I wanted to be pregnant. And yes, checking the boobs every couple of minutes to see if they were tender–well, Of COURSE they were tender from being squeezed so much!!!

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  8. 13

    Kristi Campbell says

    This is great and congratulations for being over here on SM! So cool. Hilarious post and you are not alone. I, too, seem to suffer from being “vaguely nauseous and slightly hungry” ALL OF THE TIME. What’s up with that anyway? Ugh. There was one month when I thought we were “trying but not trying.” I thought I was hoping that I’d “accidentally” become pregnant. When I thought I actually might be? TOTAL panic, friend. Total. Panic. Whew. That was like being 17 all over again – embracing the period!

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  9. 14

    Anita @ Losing Austin says

    I go through the same thing! We aren’t planning to have any more, have good BC, and yet I still get that *uh oh* feeling quite often. While we were trying, I’d had that so often that I finally took the successful pregnancy test in a gas station bathroom, because I’d finally accepted that I wasn’t really experiencing pregnancy symptoms, and it turns out I was. So I’ll forever remember that gas station bathroom!

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  10. 15

    Emily says

    These “phantom” pregnancy symptoms are all so true! I had another one too for a few years…I could swear I felt kicking in my abdomen!! I know, that’s weird, but after carrying 3 little kickers 3 separate times over the course of 6 years, it was a symptom that stayed with me for a while….great post!

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  11. 17

    Jessica Smock says

    I had sort of the opposite problem, Steph, when we were deciding to get pregnant. I had gone for my entire life without one pregnancy scare so I was convinced that I might not be able to get pregnant. Even after I missed my period and took a pregnancy test (positive), I was still in denial. When I went to the doctor to confirm the pregnancy, she laughed at me when I kept saying things like, “Well, if I am pregnant…” I started feeling nauseous and tired all the time, and I STILL kept thinking to myself that it might not be true.

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  12. 18

    Karen Blair says

    Oh Lord, right on the money, although I hate to admit I'm one of those "I'm not trying, but I'm not not trying" fertile turtles. Pregnancy tests are bought every single month (THANK the Lord for the 88 cent ones at WalMart) until DH decides to get that vasectomy he's been promising since my youngest was born, he's almost two. What a shocker this month when, SURPRISE! number three is on it's way. Needless to say DH finally went into the doctor's three days after a positive test.

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  13. 20

    Hillary says

    I find myself in the same boat! I would love to add another baby to the mix but my husband doesn’t feel the same way. So, until he gets the big V, I’ll keep hoping that that pre-period boob tenderness is heralding the arrival of something other than a period.

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  14. 21

    Katie VanderWal says

    This article could not have come at a better time in my life. We have been trying to conceive for over 5 months to no avail. It's the same story every freaking month…cramps, nausea, food aversions, moodiness…I Google every symptom and then systematically become disappointed when the damn test turns out to be a big fat negative…I drive myself (and my husband) bonkers every month. And every time I get my period, I tell myself: "Myself, this month we are not going to obsess over it." And just like that, once the 2 week wait commences, I obsess over it! Thanks for the read! Made my day. Now to go Google: "Pinches and pokes in uterus at 13 dpo." :-)

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  15. 23

    Lisa @ The Golden Spoons says

    At his point, I think I would literally pass out if I really thought I was pregnant. However, I definitely experience the cravings, mood swings, and fatigue every month!

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