PMS or Pregnancy

image001While there’s of course a huge difference between being pregnant and suffering a bout of PMS, the two can actually feelvery similar. The early symptoms of pregnancy bear a great many similarities to those of premenstrual syndrome, which in turn means that unless you go ahead with a pregnancy test, it’s common to wonder whether you may in fact be pregnant. From late periods to periods skipped altogether and all manner of other apparent signs of pregnancy, PMS can give you all the reason in the world to think you’re pregnant – especially if there’s a genuine chance you could be. As such, the best advice in all cases is to consult your doctor if you’re in any way concerned about the situation. This article discusses the similarities and differences between pms and symptoms of pregnancy.

Is It PMS or Pregnancy?

Having so many symptoms in common, it’s easy to confuse PMS with pregnancy and vice-versa. It’s often true that the symptoms of early pregnancy will be much more severe than those of standard PMS, though this is far from a concrete rule to go by. One of the only natural ways to determine the difference between the two is to wait and see if a period is missed, which can then be followed by a pregnancy test.

Other than standard pregnancy tests, doctors on the whole recommend that women pay close attention to their bodies and acknowledge any changes. Every woman has a unique menstrual cycle and their body reacts in a unique way only they are familiar with. So as is the case with general health from head to toe, it’s a case of interpreting whether things feel or are acting different this time around – noting a difference in your PMS can help identify potential pregnancy.

Differences Between PMS and Pregnancy

  • The biggest difference of all between the symptoms of PMS and those of pregnancy is usually the severity of them. Generally speaking, a woman will know the usual boundaries of her monthly PMS bouts, which may include mood swings, a lack of energy and all manner of pain and discomfort. As such, when a woman notices that any of these symptoms are either worse than usual or different in any way, this should be interpreted as a sign of possible pregnancy. Minor differences can be insignificant of course, but when anything seems out of the ordinary it’s a good idea to get checked out.
  • For women that suffer from nausea during their menstrual cycles, this is often one of the symptoms that become notably more severe during the early stages of pregnancy. What’s more, fatigue usually sets in to a much greater extent – you may feel compelled to nap several times a day if you have in fact fallen pregnant. On the whole, any symptoms associated with PMS have the potential to become more severe and pronounced if pregnancy has begun.
  • Something else to keep an eye on it body temperature – in the event of conception it’s likely that a sharp rise in body temperature will be evident. This can of course occur as a symptom of PMS, but in the case of pregnancy will be much more intense and persistent.
  • Food aversions or food cravings are unique signs of early pregnancy. Besides, the increased need to urinate is also experienced during early pregnancy and is rarely a sign of PMS.

Explanation from One Mom:

“There’s no set pattern and no rule-book to follow as we’re all so different. We all suffer similar symptoms during PMS – sickness, bloating, achiness, moodiness – but to what extent differs hugely. So it’s difficult to say exactly where to draw the line and take a pregnancy test, but on the whole if you’re finding yourself sick for prolonged periods, feeling faint more than you usually would or generally having trouble staying awake, it’s time to get tested just to be sure.”

                                                                                                                   Alexandra T, Boston

Comparison of PMS and Pregnancy Symptoms

PMS Symptoms

There are certain symptoms of PMS that largely all women will share, though severity varies enormous from one woman to the next. The most common examples include:

Anxiety and Tension

Bouts of Depression

Poor Motivation


Acne Breakout

Sleep Issues


Tender Breasts

Mood Swings

Diminished Attention Span

Achiness and Fatigue


As stated previously, the key lies in paying attention to what your body tells you each month in order to identify any difference when and where they may occur.

Pregnancy Symptoms

In terms of signs of early pregnancy, there are again certain symptoms that are more common than others, which include the following:

Aversion to Food or Food Cravings

Early pregnancy can lead a woman to suddenly develop a strong distaste for food and drinks she usually enjoys. Even the smell of a certain food can trigger strong nausea. Pregnancy can also make you crave certain foods.

Mood Swings

Most women experience mood swings during PMS due to hormone imbalance, but during the early stages of pregnancy they can be particularly wild.


Again, bloating is a common symptom of PMS but in the case of early pregnancy can be extremely pronounced and uncomfortable.

Changes in Urine Passing

One of the key signs of early pregnancy is that of passing urine more frequently than normal. This is triggered by hormonal changes having an effect on the kidneys.


It’s normal to feel tired and sluggish during a bout of PMS, but if it becomes clear that fatigue is much more severe than normal, it could be a sign of early pregnancy.

Breast Tenderness

Excessive hormone levels can lead to sensitivity of the breasts and the surrounding tissue, which often happens during PMS but becomes much more severe when pregnant.


Nausea can kick in at any time during pregnancy and is also common as a symptom of PMS. This is however one of the easiest symptoms to notice any intensification of.

Missed Periods

Not a universal sign of pregnancy, but one of the most common and reliable signs of all is of course a missed period.

Elevated Body Temperature

Most women heat up for a short time during their menstrual cycles, but when body temperature spiked and stays high for a prolonged period of time, it can indicate pregnancy.

Positive Tests

Last but not least, the most concrete symptom or sign of all is of course to take a pregnancy test and find out for sure is it’s PMS or pregnancy.

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