Pregnancy And PMS Symptoms: What’s The Difference?
PMS symptoms can look a lot like pregnancy symptoms. It can be rather difficult to tell the difference sometimes. If you have been wondering whether you are pregnant or just a few days away from your period, here are all the answers you have been looking for.
Here is a list of specific symptoms that are well-known to indicate pregnancy that you can look out for.
Is There A Way To Tell The Difference Between Pregnancy And PMS?
The only way to tell if you’re pregnant and not just experiencing PMS symptoms is by taking a pregnancy test. The good news is that you don’t have to wait too long to find out - home pregnancy tests today can detect 90% of pregnancies by your expected period date.
Note that any positive pregnancy test should be followed up with a blood test by your healthcare provider to confirm it.
What Symptoms Occur In Both Pregnancy And PMS?
Some symptoms occur in both pregnancy and PMS. Here are a few examples:
- Mood Changes
Feelings of sadness, irritability, anxiety, or having crying spells can be experienced in both cases. However, for PMS, these symptoms disappear once your period begins. If the mood swings persist and you miss your period, you may be pregnant.
Note that persistent feelings of irritability and sadness may also indicate depression, so talk to your healthcare provider if this is the case.
2. Breast Tenderness
Tenderness, heaviness, pain, bumpy breast tissue, and swelling of the breasts can occur in both cases. However, breast-related symptoms in PMS are usually most apparent just before a menstrual period, and they improve through the course of the period.
Tiredness and fatigue in PMS should go away on their own once your period starts. However, they can persist sometimes especially if you experience heavy periods. Fatigue in pregnancy is also a common early symptom. For many women, excessive tiredness persists throughout the first trimester.
4. Back Pain And Headaches
This is usually caused by fluctuating hormonal levels in both cases.
Bloating is yet another common symptom that results from the changes in the levels of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone.
The changing hormone levels in PMS and early pregnancy usually slow down bowel movements, leading to constipation. For women with PMS, though, the problem will go away once their periods come.
It is not uncommon for both women with PMS and early pregnancy to crave fatty or sweet foods. This is likely due to changes in the levels of the hormones progesterone and estrogen. Pregnant women will usually have more specific food cravings, as well as strong aversions to others.
Symptoms Unique To Pregnancy
Here are the symptoms that are unique to pregnancy. If you experience any of these, you are likely pregnant and should do a pregnancy test as soon as you can:
- A missed period: this is one of the first signs of pregnancy especially if you usually have regular periods.
- Change in your nipples: you may notice changes in your areolas - they typically darken and increase in diameter and become “bumpier” than usual.
- Nausea: nausea affects the majority of pregnant women in the first trimester.
- Implantation bleeding: this is a small amount of bleeding or light spotting that occurs around 10 to 14 days after conception.
- Peeing frequently: the need to pee more often can begin as early as four weeks after conception.
Think you might be pregnant? Take a home pregnancy test. If you get a positive result, book an appointment with your doctor to get a confirmation and consider the next steps. If you get a negative result but you still don’t get your period, you should also still see your doctor.