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Understanding PMS and Pregnancy Differences

Are you trying to conceive, and experiencing symptoms that make you unsure if you should be getting out the tampons or popping some champagne to celebrate?

Here are some common symptoms that can affect both those PMSing and those expecting.

Breast Pain

What happens: Whether you’re PMSing or in the early stages of pregnancy, you may experience breast pain. Your breasts may feel full, tender, lumpy, or achy.

Why: Your hormones are fluctuating. Estrogen causes your ducts to enlarge, and progesterone makes your milk glands swell -- whether you’re pregnant or not.

How to deal: Wear the right bra for your size, and make sure it’s a comfy one! Apply warm or cold compresses. Chaste Tree Berry can support your relief from breast swelling and pain; try it in our Total PMS supplement, PMS Tea, Fertility Support supplement, and Fertility Tea.


What happens: During PMS, you shouldn’t be bleeding (yet! Hence premenstrual). In early pregnancy, around week 4, you may experience dark brown or pink bleeding or spotting that lasts for a day or two; this is called implantation bleeding.

Why: In early pregnancy, your soon-to-be baby (the fertilized embryo) burrows into the lining of your uterus, nestling in for the exciting next several months.

How to deal: If you haven’t already confirmed that you’re pregnant, time to grab a pregnancy test!


What happens: Mood changes, such as crying spells, anxiety, and irritability, are common symptoms of both pregnancy and PMS.

Why: Hormones, of course. Before your period, your estrogen levels rise and fall, which may cause mood swings. While pregnant, estrogen and progesterone are flooding your system, affecting both your mood and your body.

How to deal: Make sure to get plenty of sleep and exercise to help ward off moodiness. If your feelings of sadness last more than two weeks, talk to your doctor.


What happens: Both PMS and pregnancy may cause you to feel listless and tired.

Why: Fatigue before your period may be linked to a dip in serotonin. If you’re pregnant, increased progesterone could be causing you to feel tired.

How to deal: Exercise can help energize you if you’re experiencing PMS fatigue. If pregnant, try to get plenty of sleep and eat well.


What happens: Morning sickness can be one of the earliest signs of pregnancy! Nausea and vomiting are typical signs of morning sickness. You may also feel queasy if you’re PMSing.

Why: Morning sickness is generally caused by increased hormone levels and reduced blood sugar; it can be exacerbated by stress and fatigue. While PMSing, cramps, headaches, and hormonal changes could make you feel nauseous. 

How to deal: Vitamin B6 and Ginger can support your relief from morning sickness and nausea (Try our Morning Sickness Sweets, Morning Sickness Tea, and Nausea Sweets). Saltine crackers, acupuncture, and hypnosis may also help with nausea.


What happens: We’ve all been there: You want ice cream, dark chocolate, grilled cheese, french fries, and wine … all at once. That’s PMS. If you have very unique cravings, or are totally uninterested in foods and smells you once liked, you may be pregnant.

Why: For PMS, estrogen can affect cortisol levels, which can stimulate the appetite. That drop in serotonin levels mentioned earlier can also make you crave carbs. While pregnant, cravings may be a result of hormonal changes, or the fact that your body’s feeding two!

How to deal: Whether pregnant or PMSing, keep your blood sugar levels in check by eating smaller, more frequent meals that include complex carbs, like whole-grain foods, and healthy fats, like avocado. Avoid sugar and salt. If you’re pregnant, seek out healthier alternatives or smaller portions of the foods you’re craving.


What happens: 24 to 48 hours before your period, you may experience cramping in your lower abdomen; some women have light cramping, while others’ may be debilitating. If you’re pregnant, you may feel light cramping in your lower stomach or back.

Why: During PMS, prostaglandin, a hormone, triggers uterine contractions to shed the lining and start your period. You may experience cramping for weeks or months if you’re pregnant; if you’re concerned, or if you also have bleeding or watery discharge, talk to your doctor. 

How to deal: Take a bath, or use a hot water bottle. Do yoga. Try our Total PMS Gummies.

Sources: Healthline, Healthline, Healthline, Healthline,, Healthline, Healthline, Healthline, Healthline,, Healthline, EverydayHealth, Healthline, WebMD, Healthline,, WebMD

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