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Signs of pregnancy: How to recognize them

You think you’re pregnant and you’re wondering how to be sure? The signs of pregnancy can be subtle and difficult to interpret. It is easy to confuse pregnancy symptoms with those of menstruation or other medical conditions. Don’t worry, La fabrique des mamans is here to help you! In this article, we will walk you through the physical and emotional signs of pregnancy, as well as the different types of pregnancy tests available and common mistakes to avoid. We’ll also give you tips on the next steps to take if you find out you’re pregnant. Whether you’re looking to confirm a pregnancy or just want to know more about the early signs, this article will provide you with all the information you need on how to know if you’re pregnant.


Early signs of pregnancy

The hormonal changes that accompany the start of a pregnancy bring about many physical and emotional changes.

Late periods: one of the most obvious and common signs of pregnancy

If you have a regular menstrual cycle and your period is late, it may indicate that you are pregnant.

The normal menstrual cycle lasts about 28 days, but it can vary from 21 to 35 days. During the cycle, the uterus prepares to receive a fertilized egg by thickening its wall. If the egg is not fertilized, the uterus removes this lining and blood during menstruation.

When a woman is pregnant, the fertilized egg implants in the lining of the uterus, which prevents the uterus from contracting to clear its lining and blood. Therefore, a late period is often the first sign of pregnancy.

However, it is important to note that a late period is not always a reliable sign of pregnancy. It can be caused by other factors, such as stress, hormonal changes, eating disorders, weight fluctuations, or thyroid disorders. Therefore, it is important to consider other signs and symptoms of pregnancy to confirm whether or not you are pregnant.

If your period is late and you think you might be pregnant, you can take a home pregnancy test. Pregnancy tests detect the chorionic gonadotropic hormone (hCG) produced by the placenta after the egg is fertilized. Home pregnancy tests can be done as early as the first week of a late period. If the test is positive, it is recommended that you see a health care professional to confirm the pregnancy and discuss the next steps in your prenatal care.

Nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are also common signs of pregnancy. Although morning sickness is generally more common in the first trimester, it can occur throughout the pregnancy. These symptoms are usually caused by an increase in hormone levels, particularly the chorionic gonadotropic hormone (hCG), which is produced by the placenta after fertilization of the egg. Nausea and vomiting can occur at any time of the day or night, but is often more frequent in the morning. For more info, check out our article: how to manage digestive disorders during pregnancy.

Nausea and vomiting can be a positive sign of pregnancy, but it can also be caused by other factors such as gastroenteritis, stress, hormonal changes, or eating disorders. It is therefore important to consider other signs and symptoms of pregnancy to confirm whether or not you are pregnant.

Breast sensitivity

Breast tenderness is another early physical sign of pregnancy. The breasts may become tense, painful and sensitive to touch. Once again, the cause is to be found in the hormones. Specifically, an increase in estrogen and progesterone levels causes the milk ducts and mammary glands to enlarge, which can lead to a feeling of swelling and tenderness.

However, it is important to note that breast tenderness can also be caused by other factors, such as taking hormonal contraceptives, premenstrual syndrome or stress.


Sudden fatigue when you are normally full of energy? During the early stages of pregnancy, the increased demand for energy to support the growth of the fetus, but also the hormonal upheaval can leave you knocked out…

Frequent need to urinate

Another sign that should tip you off is the need to urinate more frequently.

The increase in blood volume in your body leads to an increase in the volume of fluid circulating in your kidneys and bladder. This means you need to go to the bathroom more often.


Emotional signs of pregnancy


In addition to the physical signs of pregnancy, there are also emotional signs that may indicate that you are pregnant. Do you notice unusual mood changes? Are you more sensitive, emotional than usual, or more irritable and have trouble containing your emotions? It’s time to confirm the signs and take a pregnancy test!


Confirming the signs: Pregnancy tests

In order to know for sure if you are pregnant, it is best to take a test. Pregnancy tests are designed to detect the presence of the pregnancy hormone, hCG, in the urine or blood of a pregnant woman. Pregnancy tests are very reliable and can detect pregnancy as early as the first day of delayed menstruation, although results are more accurate after a few days of delay.

There are two types of pregnancy tests: urine tests and blood tests.

Urinary tests

Urine tests are the most commonly used and are usually available over the counter in pharmacies. Urine tests are simple to use and can give results in minutes. They work by detecting the presence of hCG in the urine.

  1. Read the instructions provided with the pregnancy test carefully to make sure you understand how to use the test and interpret the results.
  2. Collect the urine in a clean, dry container. You can use any clean container, but special urine collection cups sold in pharmacies can make the process easier.
  3. Remove the pregnancy test from the protective packaging. Make sure the test is at room temperature before use.
  4. Immerse the reactive end of the pregnancy test in urine, holding it upright. Make sure the urine level reaches the line indicated on the test.
  5. Lay the test flat on a clean surface and wait the time indicated in the instructions before reading the result. The waiting time may vary depending on the brand of pregnancy test, but generally, you should wait about 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Once the waiting time is over, check the result. If two lines appear, even if the second line is paler than the first, this usually indicates a positive result. If only one line appears, the result is negative.

Blood tests

Blood tests are more accurate and can detect lower hCG levels than urine tests. They are often recommended for women with a particular medical history, such as women who have had a miscarriage, women with endometriosis, women undergoing in vitro fertilization, or those with high hCG levels for a short pregnancy.

Blood tests are usually done in a doctor’s office or laboratory and can be either qualitative (yes or no) or quantitative (measuring the amount of hCG in the blood).

  • The quantitative test measures the exact amount of hCG in the blood. This test can detect very low levels of hCG and is generally more sensitive than the qualitative assay. The quantitative assay is often used to monitor the progress of the pregnancy, as hCG levels rise steadily during the first few weeks of pregnancy.
  • The qualitative test simply measures the presence or absence of hCG in the blood. If the test is positive, it means that hCG has been detected in the blood, indicating a pregnancy.

What to do when you are pregnant?

Your test confirmed your symptoms and you are pregnant? Congratulations! Here are the first steps to take:

  1. Make an appointment with a health care professional: As soon as you know you are pregnant, make an appointment with your gynecologist or a midwife to confirm the pregnancy and discuss future prenatal care.
  2. Adopt a healthy lifestyle: it is important to eat a balanced diet, take prenatal supplements and stay active. Also avoid alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
  3. Planning prenatal care: Your health care provider will inform you about recommended prenatal visits and prenatal screening tests throughout your pregnancy.
  4. Inform your employer: If you are working, inform your employer of your pregnancy as soon as possible to discuss future maternity leave and work arrangements.
  5. Get support: Pregnancy can be a stressful and emotional time, so it’s important to seek support from your partner, family and friends, or even from online or in-person support groups.


In conclusion, there are many physical and emotional signs that can indicate a pregnancy. They should be seen as encouraging signals of a new life in the making. Whether you are anxious or positive by nature, it is important to do everything possible from the first days of pregnancy to live well during these 9 months. By taking care of yourself and following proper prenatal care, you increase your chances of having a fulfilling pregnancy with precious memories!

La fabrique des mamans

La fabrique des mamans

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