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Difference Between PMS and Pregnancy Symptoms


The difference between PMS and pregnancy symptoms are often difficult to distinguish. A wide number of symptoms are similar and can affect women who are both pregnant and not pregnant, causing confusion. There are some key differences to note that can help determine whether you are experiencing PMS or pregnancy.

Symptom Similarities

Many women will feel tired, breast tenderness, and mood swings prior to menstruation. Some women may also experience cramping and spotting, or light, irregular bleeding, before menstruation begins. Though these are all common to symptoms of PMS, they are also pregnancy symptoms.

Symptom Differences

Feeling tired is a symptom of PMS but is usually more pronounced during pregnancy, often causing fatigue and difficulty sleeping.

The breast tenderness that some women experience prior to menstruation is often more painful during pregnancy due to hormonal changes bringing an increased blood flow to the breasts. The areola, the area surrounding the nipples, may also start to darken in color if pregnant.

Easy mood changes accompany both PMS and pregnancy but do not subside as quickly in pregnancy. Because of this, many women find themselves unusually emotional for the first trimester.



Nausea or feeling nauseous is also usually a symptom unique to pregnancy.

“Possible Symptoms of Pregnancy.” NetWellness Homepage. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Feb. 2011.

“Pregnancy Symptoms — Early Signs of Pregnancy : American Pregnancy Association.” Promoting Pregnancy Wellness : American Pregnancy Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Feb. 2011.

“Signs of pregnancy :” GERMS, They’re Good for You! : N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Feb. 2011.

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