The earliest symptoms of pregnancy can appear in the first few weeks immediately following conception. Here's what you might experience, from nausea and tender breasts to dizziness and mood swings.
Are you wondering if you might be pregnant? Even before you miss a period, you might suspect a pregnancy. Every woman is unique, and so are her experiences of pregnancy. Not every woman has the same symptoms or even the same symptoms from one pregnancy to the next. The following signs and symptoms are the most common experiences of pregnancy. However, these symptoms can have other causes and do not necessarily mean you are pregnant. The only way to know for sure is by taking a pregnancy test.
Classic Pregnancy Symptoms
The most obvious early sign of pregnancy is a missed period. However, not all missed or delayed periods are caused by pregnancy. Hormonal changes, weight gain or loss, and stress may also effect your period. Starting or stopping birth control (which affect hormonal balances) also cause some women to miss their period. While a missed period is no guarantee of pregnancy, if you have missed a period and pregnancy is a possibility, it is wise to take a pregnancy test.
Changes in Breasts
Hormonal changes in early pregnancy might make your breasts tender, sensitive, tingly, or sore. Or your breasts might feel fuller and heavier. Sometimes, the ring around the nipples (called the areola) may darken.
Nausea (Morning Sickness)
“Morning Sickness” is a famous symptom of pregnancy, but the name can be deceptive. Nausea with or without vomiting may occur at any time of the day or night and may begin as early as three weeks after conception. While the exact cause of morning sickness is still unclear, pregnancy hormones likely play a role. Pregnant women might also find that smells that never bothered them before now cause nausea.
Food Aversions or Cravings
Closely related to morning sickness, pregnancy hormones may also result in strong food cravings or aversions. While it is possible that nausea, cravings, and food aversions last the entire pregnancy, these symptoms typically lessen during the fourth month.
You might find yourself urinating more often than usual.
A woman may feel unusually tired as soon as one week after conceiving. High levels of the hormone progesterone are likely the culprit. As with all these symptoms, however, it is important to remember that other causes may be at work. Fatigue is common to many physical and emotional causes.
Less Common Pregnancy Symptoms
Minor Spotting (Bleeding)
Sometimes a small amount of spotting or vaginal bleeding (referred to as “implantation bleeding”) is one of the first signs of pregnancy. Implantation bleeding occurs when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus between 6 to 14 days after conception. Implantation bleeding is usually much lighter than menstrual bleeding, but occurs around the time of a menstrual period.
Some women experience mild uterine cramping early in pregnancy. Like implantation bleeding, uterine cramping may resemble menstrual cramps, so some women mistake them and the bleeding for the start of their period.
The flood of hormones in your body in early pregnancy can make you unusually emotional. Mood swings also are common.
Dizziness and/or Fainting
Pregnancy causes your blood vessels to dilate and your blood pressure to drop. As a result, you might find yourself feeling lightheaded or dizzy.
Hormonal changes cause your digestive system to slow down, which can lead to constipation.
Are You Really Pregnant?
Unfortunately, these signs and symptoms aren’t unique to pregnancy. Some can indicate that you’re getting sick or that your period is about to start. On the other hand, you could be pregnant without experiencing any of these signs and symptoms. Nevertheless, if you miss a period or notice any of these symptoms and pregnancy is a possibility, you might want to take a pregnancy test. Mosaic offers free pregnancy tests and our advocates are available to provide help in the event that you test positive.
Note: Content for this page was collected and compiled from the Mayo Clinic and Web MD.