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Pregnant or PMSing? Prenatal Care

Pregnant or PMSing?

With similar symptoms, it can be tricky to tell whether it’s a bundle of joy or Aunt Flo on the way. But subtle differences can point to gestation or menstruation. Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale University School of Medicine, explains.

Breast tenderness
Sensitive ta-tas are an early indication of both pregnancy and PMS. The key distinction: Your girls will feel better once menses commences; they’ll stay sore for a while if you’re expecting.

Mood swings
Ah, the tell-tale indication of an impending period— you’re laughing one minute, crying the next and probably elated or enraged in between. Although you’ll ride the emotional roller coaster eventually if a babe is on board, it typically doesn’t get going until you’re further along.

Cramps
Abdominal discomfort is common during that time of the month, but it doesn’t often occur beforehand, so it’s probably not a sign of PMS. Light cramping in early pregnancy may occur, but if it’s severe, call your care provider—it could signal a problem.

Bleeding
That red flow below is an obvious sign of your period arriving, but about a third of expectant women also bleed in the first trimester. Of those who do, approxi- mately half go on to carry a healthy baby.

Bloating
A puffy tummy often goes hand-in-hand with PMS, so don’t mistake it for a budding bump. Bloating is unusual in the first weeks of baby-baking.

Nausea
It’s rare to feel queasy before starting your period, so if you’ve been hit with an urge to purge, it’s likely a tip that there’s a wee one in your womb. Some moms-to-be don’t experience nausea at all, though, so a lack of sickness doesn’t mean you’re not pregnant.