How to tell if you’re pregnant (without taking a test)

Shutterstock: Roman Samborskyi

Pregnancy tests are the best way to tell if you’re pregnant, but that doesn’t mean you always have access to one. Luckily, there are plenty of obvious symptoms that can lead you in the right direction. If you’re showing any of the following signs, take a pregnancy test, or talk to your family doctor.

Missing Your Period
If you’re pregnant, your body will not go through the menstrual cycle. A missed period is the strongest sign of potential pregnancy. However, missed or delayed periods can also be caused by stress or weight changes. If you missed your period because of stress, thinking that you’re pregnant could exacerbate the problem. Take a pregnancy test to be sure.

Unexplained Period Symptoms
One sign of pregnancy that many women aren’t aware of is an abundance of period-like symptoms without the actual period. You might experience sudden mood changes, cramping, or pain in your lower back. If you feel like you have PMS but your period doesn’t happen, pregnancy might be the cause.

Many pregnant women also experience spotting, which is light bleeding that occurs during an unusual time in your cycle. Spotting happens when the egg successfully implants in your uterus. It’s usually accompanied by light cramping or a pinching feeling. Pregnancy isn’t the only potential cause of these symptoms, so contact your doctor as soon as you notice them.

Morning Sickness
The hormones caused by pregnancy result in an extremely sensitive stomach. You may find yourself vomiting immediately after you wake up in the morning or at random times in the day. A stomach bug isn’t the same thing as morning sickness, so take care not to confuse the two. Morning sickness usually occurs three weeks after fertilization and continues to happen even if you don’t feel sick.

Frequent Urination
For various reasons, pregnant women have to pee more often than normal. If you find yourself in the bathroom every thirty minutes, pregnancy is one potential cause – especially if you have the other symptoms on this list.

High Body Temperature
Your basal body temperature is the lowest body temperature that you reach over a 24-hour period. High basal body temperature is usually a sign that a woman is ovulating. Many couples use BBT to help conceive a baby. A high BBT two weeks after ovulation is a good sign of pregnancy. If you haven’t been tracking your BBT, don’t use this method to see if you’re pregnant; you need at least a month of body temperatures to compare against.

Skin Discoloration
Did you know that getting pregnant can actually change the color of your skin in certain areas? Many pregnant women notice that their palms get redder and their nipples get darker. Some women also notice dark spots on their face, usually on the upper lips, forehead, or nose. This discoloration is caused by hormones and will go away after the baby is born.

Hormonal Changes
Many of the signs of pregnancy are caused by hormonal changes in your body. You may notice some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Sore or swollen breasts
  • Exhaustion
  • Appetite changes
  • Cravings
  • Sensitive gums
  • Dry skin
  • Sinus congestion
  • Acne
  • Itching
  • Spider veins

It’s important to recognize that many of these symptoms can also be caused by a medical issue or by the normal hormonal fluctuations of your menstrual cycle. Even if you meet every symptom on this list, you might still not be pregnant. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to find out what’s going on.