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Pms Early Pregnancy Signs

PMS or Early Pregnancy Signs: How to Tell the Difference

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and early pregnancy share many similar symptoms, which can make it difficult to determine if you’re about to start your period or if you’re pregnant. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you differentiate between the two:

Common Symptoms of PMS and Early Pregnancy

  • Breast tenderness: Both PMS and early pregnancy can cause breast tenderness and swelling.
  • Mood swings: Irritability, mood swings, and emotional sensitivity are common in both PMS and early pregnancy.
  • Fatigue: Feeling tired and run-down is a symptom of both PMS and early pregnancy.
  • Bloating: Abdominal bloating and gas can occur in both PMS and early pregnancy.
  • Headaches: Headaches are a common symptom of PMS and can also occur in early pregnancy.
  • Cramps: Mild cramps can occur in both PMS and early pregnancy.
  • Nausea: Morning sickness, or nausea, is a classic sign of early pregnancy but can also occur in PMS.
  • Spotting: Light spotting or bleeding can occur in both PMS and early pregnancy, but it’s more common in PMS.

Key Differences Between PMS and Early Pregnancy Symptoms

Timing: PMS symptoms typically start a few days before your period and subside once your period begins. Early pregnancy symptoms, on the other hand, usually start around the time of your missed period and continue throughout pregnancy.

Intensity: PMS symptoms are typically mild to moderate, while early pregnancy symptoms can be more severe and persistent.

Breast changes: In early pregnancy, breasts may become fuller, heavier, and more tender. This is due to hormonal changes that prepare the breasts for milk production. In PMS, breast tenderness is usually less pronounced and doesn’t involve changes in breast size or shape.

Nausea: Morning sickness is a common symptom of early pregnancy and is characterized by nausea and vomiting. In PMS, nausea is usually mild and doesn’t involve vomiting.

Cramps: Cramps in early pregnancy are usually mild and intermittent, while cramps in PMS can be more severe and persistent.

Spotting: Spotting in early pregnancy is usually light and occurs around the time of your missed period. In PMS, spotting is usually heavier and occurs closer to the start of your period.

Other Signs of Early Pregnancy

In addition to the symptoms mentioned above, there are other signs that may indicate early pregnancy:

  • Missed period: If you’re sexually active and your period is late, it’s a possible sign of pregnancy.
  • Frequent urination: As the uterus grows, it can put pressure on the bladder, leading to frequent urination.
  • Constipation: Hormonal changes in early pregnancy can slow down digestion, causing constipation.
  • Darkening of the areolas: The areolas (the dark circles around the nipples) may darken in early pregnancy.
  • Positive pregnancy test: A home pregnancy test can detect the presence of the pregnancy hormone hCG in your urine.

When to See a Doctor

If you’re experiencing symptoms that could be PMS or early pregnancy, it’s important to see a doctor to confirm the diagnosis. Your doctor can perform a physical exam, ask about your symptoms, and order a pregnancy test if necessary.


Differentiating between PMS and early pregnancy can be challenging due to the overlap in symptoms. However, by paying attention to the timing, intensity, and other key differences, you can increase your chances of accurately determining if you’re about to start your period or if you’re pregnant. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to see a doctor for a definitive diagnosis.

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