Pregnancy Symptoms or PMS?

Posted on December 4th, 2009. Written by .

Trying to decipher what are pregnancy symptoms and what are PMS symptoms is a predicament for any woman who is trying to conceive. This question can fluster and befuddle even the most levelheaded woman during the seemingly endless two week wait. The problem is that nearly every early pregnancy symptom is also a PMS symptom. The best thing to do is to get organized and take control. So how do you do this?

The key to this whole dilemma is tracking. Once you know what is normal for you each month you will be able to easily see when something is different. It is when you get to know yourself and your body that you can start to feel empowered. And this is just what you need to keep you from getting unhinged during your luteal phase!

The keys to figuring it all out:

  • Find changes in your symptoms 
  • Find changes in number and frequency of your symptoms

Changes in Your Symptoms

Every month you need to pay attention to your body and keep track of every symptom that occurs. Track each symptom for each day past ovulation. Do this from ovulation day until your period arrives. The idea is to become familiar with what are normal PMS symptoms for you – (since every woman’s signs will be different). This way when you are actively trying to conceive you will be able to easily spot any unusual symptoms that may indicate a forthcoming positive pregnancy test!

Even if you are not actively trying to conceive it is a good idea to track what symptoms you have now so you have a good baseline to compare against when you do start trying.

PMS symptoms that are normal for you many indicate pregnancy in someone else. Again, the key is to find changes in symptoms.

Changes in the Number and Frequency of Your Symptoms

If you are in fact pregnant, you may notice an increase in the types of symptoms you experience or how long normal symptoms last. Many women find they experience a larger array of symptoms as well as having them occur more frequently (i.e.: more days than usual).

Let’s look at some data.

Based on all the data amalgamated from (which includes well over a quarter of a million symptoms recorded) it shows that during a non-pregnant cycle on average women will experience 41 symptoms (these can be considered normal PMS symptoms). But during the cycles of women who were indeed pregnant the average is much higher at 66 symptoms. So not only are you looking for changes in what symptoms occur but also the number of symptoms and their frequency.

Don’t forget that sometimes things can swing the other way completely. The lack of a particular symptom can be a good sign, but so can a lack of symptoms all together. Sometimes when we are looking too hard for something we fail notice the “lack” of symptoms.

Case Study

Here is an excerpt from one woman’s tracking records. It illustrates how valuable it is to have multiple cycles tracked for comparison.

8 Days Past Ovulation

Symptom Not Pregnant #1 Not Pregnant #2 Pregnant!
Nausea - - x
Bloating x - x
Dry Mouth/Increased Thirst - - x
Tender Breasts x x -
Fatigue x x x

Notice how on this day past ovulation she experienced nausea and dry mouth during her pregnant cycle, but not in the others. Also notice that during her pregnant cycle she did not experience tender breasts which occurred during both of her non-pregnant cycles.

10 Days Past Ovulation

Symptom Not Pregnant #1 Not Pregnant #2 Pregnant!
Nausea - - x
Bloating - - x
Dry Mouth/Increased Thirst - - x
Tender Breasts x x -
Fatigue - - x
Vivid Dreams - - x

Here we notice a few new symptoms, including vivid dreams, during her pregnant cycle. Her fatigue continues, when during her non-pregnant cycles this symptom would have disappeared by 10 days past ovulation.

Start Tracking

It’s quick and easy to do – a few minutes a day and you’ll start to understand your body’s signals and patterns.

Create a free symptom tracking account at Countdown to Pregnancy and start tracking your signs and symptoms. Remember, it’s never too early to speculate.

This entry was posted on Friday, December 4th, 2009 at 2:26 pm and is filed under Early Pregnancy Symptoms, TTC Tools.
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6 Responses »

  1. I been using an instrate injection for 5 years, i stop using it and the Doctor prescribe the oral contraceptive for me to regulate my menstruation period. it is now 10 months not using the injection and it is now 4 months not using the oral contraceptive but i am still having a problem with my menstruation which i don’t get usually some times a month can pass not having my period. I am doubting whether i can conceive. I real need a baby but my periods are not regular. Help me.

  2. Hey all if this website is correct about pre-pregnancy signs and symptoms then I think I can expect a BFP this month…

  3. 1st month TTC.
    Tracking symptoms with countdowntopregnacy TWW.
    PMS can be a “B”, 44 symptoms.. not fair wonder what the man goes thru. :-p
    Hopefully this is my month, I usually don’t have many symptoms other than gas, and ovary pain… this month its a little bit longer than usual. This forum was very useful.

  4. Agreed Katie. I would love an app (for droid please) :-)

  5. there needs to be a countdowntopregnancy app!

  6. This tracking record is very useful. I’ve got to share this to my friends. We can’t deny it that some women really want to track their pregnancy.

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