Early Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy - FAQs
Here are the answers to the 6 most frequently asked questions about the most common early symptoms and signs of pregnancy
Don’t you wish you could find out that you’re pregnant the moment it happens? You’re not alone. Chances are, everyone who’s actively trying to conceive feels the same way.
Technology currently isn’t able to detect the moment you become pregnant. But there are certain early pregnancy symptoms to look out for while you wait to take a test.
Common early pregnancy symptoms
Implantation bleeding or spotting
We’ve always been told that a missed period is the main indicator of pregnancy. However, about 15 to 20 percent of women experience what is called “implantation bleeding.” Ironically, this can look a lot like a light period, which could lead you to think you’re not pregnant. In fact, the opposite is true.
Implantation bleeding is exactly what it sounds like—light bleeding or spotting as the fertilized egg attaches to your uterine lining. It occurs between 10 and 14 days after conception (which is, unfortunately, around the same time you’d start menstruating). Take a pregnancy test or consult your doctor if you’re unsure which one you’re having.
Tender, swollen breasts
Hormonal changes early in pregnancy can make breasts become swollen, sore, or tingly. They might feel heavy or full, and the areola could darken.
If you’ve experienced breast soreness related to your period, then you should be able to tell the difference. Often, pregnancy-related breast pain is a bit more intense, making this a pretty telling early pregnancy symptom. And if you’re very uncomfortable, don’t worry—you’ll feel better in a few weeks when your hormones level out again.
Feeling extra tired lately? You might be pregnant. Fatigue ranks very highly among common early pregnancy symptoms, which makes sense since you’re starting to grow a whole human inside of you!
If your fatigue is related to pregnancy, then you could start feeling it one week after conception. Take plenty of naps and eat foods rich in protein to try offsetting the negative effects.
Your blood levels rise during pregnancy, kicking your kidneys into overdrive. So, even though your baby isn’t pushing on your bladder just yet, you’ll still need to pee constantly. Get used to it—this is one of the early pregnancy symptoms that’s here to stay.
When you have achy breasts, are always tired, and can’t stop peeing, is it any wonder you’re moody? In all seriousness, feeling totally fine one minute and wanting to cry the next could be one of the first signs of pregnancy. It could also mean your period’s coming. Check to see if your mood swings are coupled with any other early signs of pregnancy before making a deduction.
Other than a missed period, this is a dead giveaway that you’re probably pregnant. And don’t be fooled by the term “morning” sickness, since it can happen during any time of day. Nausea can occur as early as two weeks after conception, though some women don’t experience it at all.
Those who do experience it can probably chalk it up to hormones. Changes to your hormone levels during pregnancy also change your sense of taste and smell. Food you once loved might now make you feel sick, and vice versa. Things other than food can trigger your nausea as well, like the smell of certain cleaning products. If you suddenly have unexplained nausea and think you might be pregnant, take a test.
When do early pregnancy symptoms start?
First, we need to remember that everyone’s pregnancy journey is different, and pregnancy symptoms vary from person to person. It’s also possible to go through your entire pregnancy without any symptoms at all. But for those with symptoms (and a keen awareness of their body), common early signs of pregnancy can appear as early as one week after conception.
Here’s the tricky part: Early pregnancy symptoms are nearly identical to menstrual cycle symptoms. It’s therefore impossible to know if you’re pregnant based on intuition alone. But if you really trust your gut, then the following are some of the first signs of pregnancy to look out for.
What are some less common signs of early pregnancy?
- Nasal congestion
- Dizziness and/or fainting
- Headaches and back pain
- Constipation and/or bloating
- Metallic taste in your mouth
What’s the difference between PMS and early pregnancy symptoms?
Pregnancy and premenstrual syndrome have many similar symptoms. So, how do you know which one you’re experiencing?
There are a few early pregnancy symptoms that are not also symptoms of PMS, like darkening areolas and frequent urination. However, these are not foolproof indicators. The only surefire way to know if you’re pregnant is with a pregnancy test.
When should you take a pregnancy test?
Typically, a home pregnancy test should be performed after your first missed period. This is because your body needs time to develop detectable levels of hCG (otherwise known as the pregnancy hormone). If you take a test too soon, it could come back negative even if you are pregnant.
If early pregnancy symptoms have you feeling confident, you could ask your doctor to conduct a blood test. These pregnancy tests can pick up hCG earlier than home tests and can give you a result six to eight days after you ovulate.
Can you have early pregnancy symptoms and not be pregnant?
Yes. Not only do several early pregnancy symptoms overlap with typical menstrual cycle symptoms, but they can indicate other medical conditions. You can even miss a period without being pregnant. Breastfeeding can also cause your period to stop (though, you can still get pregnant while breastfeeding!).
The only way to know for sure is by taking a test. If it’s before your missed period, ask your doctor about a blood test. If you’ve already missed a period, a home test should give you an accurate result.
When should you call your doctor?
You should book an appointment as soon as you get a positive result. This first appointment is usually with your GP to check in on your and the baby’s general health. Your doctor will likely recommend that you start taking pregnancy vitamins and supplements, like the Premama Prenatal Vitamin. Next, you should book an appointment with your OB for around the six- to eight-week mark.
Remember, it’s never too early to involve your doctor in your pregnancy journey, even as early as your first signs of pregnancy. Or if you’re trying to get pregnant, they can provide you with recommendations to set you on the path to success.