There are so many new experiences to prepare for when you are expecting. For anyone that has been pregnant, you can attest that many of the “firsts” actually happen in the first two weeks. It can be a painfully drawn out waiting game. There are many confusing signs and symptoms that can make you decide you are pregnant, think you are severely PMSing , decide you are pregnant again, and then finally decide that you just can’t wait any longer to pee on a tiny stick that hold the answers to your future like a crystal ball in  a fairy tale. And this all happens in the two weeks before you have even missed your period (which is the most obvious indication of pregnancy usually). So here is a list of what you can expect in the first couple of weeks when you are expecting.

#1 Breast Tenderness

Ouch. This is one of the most surprising to people that are primagravida (pregnant for the first time). We always hear about morning sickness and missed periods, but breast tenderness is actually one of the first noticeable symptoms of pregnancy. Breast tissue is sensitive to the changes in hormone levels in early pregnancy, so you may find that you can’t find a comfortable position to sleep in or that taking off your bra at night feels like you are releasing your girls from the shackles of a high security prison. One difficultly with this symptom, though, as an early indication is that many women also experience breast tenderness with PMS.

#2 Implantation Bleeding

This sign is one that is frequently confused with a light period. For this reason, it is common for physicians to initially misidentify a due date (since a due date is usually assigned based on the date of the last menstrual period). And for couples that are trying to achieve a pregnancy, seeing bleeding can be a terrifying moment that is mistaken for signs of an early miscarriage. Rest assured. About 10% of women will have very light bleeding 5-7 days after conceiving due to the implantation process (at this time, the fertilized egg is burrowing into the uterine lining).

#3 Implantation Mucus

Mucus during implantation also occurs about 5-7 days after conceiving. This is a sign that is more difficult to pick up on for many women. But for those using Natural Family Planning (who are obsessed with charting gross things like mucus discharge, because we are sadists), randomly seeing mucus late in the luteal phase can be confusing! You may start questioning if you actually ovulated. Once again, rest assured. About 25% of women will see this sign during implantation.

#4 Cramping

Isn’t this a fun one? Cramping is another symptom that many women experience in each cycle at this same time due to PMS. So it may be unreliable to chalk it up to a pregnancy. However, you may notice some different types of cramping and pelvic pain. With changing hormone levels, cramping can happen more continuously and can be accompanied by low back or pelvic girdle pain. (If you don’t know what regions exactly to expect pain, look up the pubic symphysis or the sacroiliac joints.)

#5 Fatigue

Cut yourself some slack on this one. In the first two weeks of pregnancy, your body is working in overdrive to create the life-support needed for your new baby. Then again, fatigue is another symptom commonly associated with PMS, so once again, don’t assume you are pregnant after only a couple of days needing a cat nap.

#6 Nausea

Most women don’t have full on “morning sickness” (which you should know can actually strike at any time of day) by this point. That usually hits around the time of a missed period. But in the first couple of weeks following conception, fleeting nausea or the start of cravings and food aversions can definitely begin popping up.

So there you have the list of the early signs of pregnancy that you can expect, even before a missed period. Keep in mind, for women that become pregnant while on the Birth Control Pill, you may not be able to rely on identifying pregnancy based on a “missed period” if you typically suppress normal menstruation with the Pill. If you are experiencing some of the symptoms listed above, you may be pregnant and should consult with a medical provider.

For women wanting to become more aware of fertility, a method of family planning based on fertility awareness can be a great place to start. Some benefits to learning a natural method include an increased awareness of these signs of fertility and early pregnancy. And, of course, you can use natural family planning methods to either avoid OR to achieve pregnancy, which is something that no method of contraception can claim.