Many countries have seen a decline in birthrates with the progression of the modern age, leaving them at below-average replacement rates (the population is dying off faster than babies are being born). The U.S. is no exception. CNBC reports that the nation’s birth and fertility rates dropped in 2020 to the lowest they have been since 1979. That said, according to NPR, there were still a significant number of births that year, approximately 3.6 million. Out of all these, Parents.com states that approximately one in 475 of the expecting mothers may not have realized they were carrying until 20 weeks in, and one in 2,500 may not have recognized their condition until actually entering labor. Some do not realize they are pregnant due to lack of symptoms. Others do not recognize the signs as indicative of pregnancy, while some individuals deny their state due to underlying psychological issues. Pregnancy may display itself differently in each woman’s body and some manifestations may mimic signs of other conditions. There are some common early warnings that may signal the need for pregnancy testing.

1. A Rise in Urination Frequency

Having to visit the bathroom more often than normal is generally one of the first signs to appear. This increase in peeing occurs because of hormone changes and increased fluid levels, both of which stimulate the kidneys to produce more urine to filter out the body’s excess waste. As the pregnancy progresses and the baby grows, it may exert extra pressure on the bladder, raising the urge to urinate even more.

2. Sudden Bursts of Nausea

While this is usually referred to as morning sickness, it may actually happen at any time of day. It really just depends on the person and can start early or late into the pregnancy, though some women may not experience it at all. The strength of the feeling also varies greatly among expecting mothers.

3. Excessive Tiredness

Just as hormones may induce a spike in urination frequency, they may also lead to exhaustion. Both estrogen and progesterone, whose levels rise during pregnancy, may behave similarly to a sedative. Other changes (stress, anxiety, heartburn, peeing more often, etcetera) may also reduce energy levels and cause fatigue. Growing another human being is simply a draining process, both emotionally and physically.

4. Random Breast Changes

Some women find their breasts become sore and tender to the touch due to the hormone changes. This alteration is often temporary. Enlarged breasts or swollen, darkened nipples are also possible signs of conception.

5. A Missed Period

This is the obvious hint most women look for to see if they are pregnant. It is a very clear indicator because the body stops ovulation and uterus lining shedding once a woman conceives. It is important to remember though that even though this is a common sign of pregnancy, it may be due to other factors such as exhaustion so it is not absolute.

These are common early signs that a woman has a baby gestating in her belly. However, they may also be caused by other things such as the beginning of the menstrual cycle or illness. It is important to take a test or consult a medical professional before assuming anything.