Pregnancy affects every woman differently, which means not all women will experience the same early symptoms and signs of pregnancy. Before you rush into buying a pregnancy test, it helps to familiarize yourself with the first signs of pregnancy so you can determine whether you may be pregnant or your symptoms are a sign of another condition.
Do all women get early symptoms of pregnancy?
Many women don’t know they’re pregnant until they miss a period. Even then, irregular menstruation is common and may not necessarily indicate that you’re pregnant, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Many early pregnancy symptoms are similar to those of menstruation. Women can have spotting, breast tenderness, headaches, fatigue, mood swings, and bloating early on, according to the NIH All these symptoms are also early symptoms of impending menstruation.
The best way to know if you’re pregnant is to take a pregnancy test or to see your doctor, who can confirm pregnancy by using a blood or urine test. Until then, understand that not all women experience early symptoms of pregnancy, which is why it’s important to track your menstrual periods and seek treatment if you experience any irregularities.
5 Symptoms of Pregnancy
A missed period is usually the first clue that you might be pregnant, reports the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Your fertility window occurs a few weeks before your period, which means that if you become pregnant during that time, you will miss your period when you’re expecting it a few weeks later. However, a missed period may also be caused by factors including polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), eating disorders, extreme fluctuations in weight, stress, and the use of certain medications, reports the DHHS.
Make an appointment with your doctor following a missed period if your pregnancy test comes back negative. Your doctor may order other lab tests to identify the root cause of your menstrual irregularity and talk to you about your available treatment options.
Spotting and cramping
Spotting affects an estimated 25% of women at the beginning of pregnancy, occurring about six to 12 days after conception when the fertilized egg is implanted, reports the NIH. The blood released during spotting is generally lighter in color than normal menstrual blood and may also be accompanied by menstrual cramps.
Your breasts and/or nipples may become more tender, swollen, and sensitive as early as one to two weeks after conception, reports the NIH. This occurs due to hormonal changes that prepare the breasts for pregnancy and breastfeeding. Throbbing, soreness, tingling sensation, heaviness, and a sense of fullness are common early pregnancy symptoms that may affect your breasts.
Pregnancy will cause your body to produce higher amounts of progesterone, which is a hormone that promotes a healthy pregnancy and stimulates breast milk production. Higher progesterone production can often make you feel fatigued and more tired than usual, even if you’re not physically exerting yourself. According to the NIH, pregnancy fatigue can begin as early as one week after conception.
Nausea (morning sickness)
During early pregnancy, the hormone fluctuations you experience can cause frequent bouts of nausea, also known as morning sickness. However, nausea can strike at any time of day. According to the NIH, morning sickness usually begins anywhere between two to eight weeks after conception and continues until weeks 14 to 16, though some women experience nausea throughout their pregnancies.
Morning sickness is one of the least desirable symptoms you may experience during early pregnancy, though you may be able to reduce its frequency and severity by eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, and avoiding secondhand smoke, and unpleasant odors.
Other early symptoms of pregnancy
The hormone fluctuations that occur when you’re pregnant will cause you to experience a wide range of symptoms during the earliest days and weeks. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center and NIH, additional early pregnancy symptoms you may experience include:
- Frequent urination
- Food cravings or aversions
- Abdominal bloating
- Darkening of the skin around the nipples
- Mood swings
- Increased body temperature
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Weight gain
- Heartburn and indigestion
- Acne and other skin problems
Many early pregnancy symptoms are temporary and will go away by the end of your first trimester. However, some women may experience these symptoms for a longer period or the entire pregnancy.
If you think you may be pregnant or feel that something is “off” about your health, consider taking a pregnancy test and making an appointment with your OB-GYN—especially if you are experiencing one or more symptoms of early pregnancy.
Frequently asked questions
Is spotting a sign of pregnancy?
Spotting can be an early sign of pregnancy and may occur as early as six to 12 weeks after conception, reports the NIH. Some women may continue to experience spotting off and on throughout their pregnancies, though it is most common during the first 12 weeks.
Is cramping a sign of pregnancy?
Abdominal cramping is another early sign of possible pregnancy that usually accompanies bloating or spotting during the first six to 12 weeks after conception, reports the NIH.
How soon can you get symptoms of pregnancy?
Pregnancy symptoms can begin as early as one to two weeks after conception, according to the NIH. However, some women may not experience pregnancy symptoms for several days or weeks following conception.
How do you know if you are pregnant?
A missed period is usually the first tell-tale sign that you may be pregnant. However, the most effective way to find out if you’re pregnant is to take an at-home pregnancy test or a urinalysis ordered by your doctor.
Where can I get a pregnancy test?
At-home pregnancy tests are sold by many retailers, including grocery stores and pharmacies. However, the accuracy of at-home pregnancy tests can range from poor to highly reliable based on factors including brand, age, and expiration date of the test, and the user. The best way to get an accurate diagnosis is to take a pregnancy test at an urgent care center or walk-in clinic where a medical professional can administer the test and talk to you about your symptoms.
Use Solv to find highly rated providers in your area that offer pregnancy tests. Solv is convenient and hassle-free and allows you to make a same-day or next-day appointment. Solv can also provide you with resources about other lab test services in your local area.
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- What are some common signs of pregnancy? (January 31, 2017)
- Knowing if you are pregnant (January 30, 2019)
- Period problems (March 16, 2018)
- Morning sickness (October 8, 2021)
- Signs of Pregnancy/The Pregnancy Testhttps://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=85&contentid=P01236