15 Early Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms
Updated: Feb 22
Do you think you may be pregnant? Long before there were readily available drug-store pregnancy tests or sonograms, women knew they were pregnant by noticing a series of bodily changes that begin soon after conception has occurred. Even though many pregnancy signs and symptoms have causes unlinked to pregnancy, this list can help you figure out if you need to take the next step and book a free pregnancy confirmation appointment.
Early signs of pregnancy tend to differ from one woman to the next. With that in mind, take a look at these 15 early signs of pregnancy.
Pregnancy Symptoms Weeks 1-3
The American Pregnancy Association (APA) recently conducted a survey on the first signs of pregnancy. Of the women polled, 29% reported a missed period and 25% reported nausea as the first symptom of pregnancy. However, if this is not your first pregnancy, you may notice subtle changes in your body long before you can take a home pregnancy test.
This is known as implantation bleeding and occurs after the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall. Implantation bleeding could be mistaken for a menstrual period, but there are some distinct differences. Some of the key differences include a smaller amount of bleeding, a shorter length of time, lighter color, and an absence of clotting. (Note: Any bleeding that occurs after a pregnancy is confirmed should be mentioned to your healthcare provider.)
A missed period is often the very first sign a woman has that she may be pregnant. Many women begin seeking answers because they know they’re late for their next period. If you’ve had a missed period of about one week, you might consider this a possible indicator of pregnancy. However, this symptom in itself may not be accurate if you’ve had irregular menstrual cycles, have recently been on antibiotics, or have been under a great deal of stress. If you are more than a few days late, come in for a test and know for sure.
Tender or Swollen Breasts/Breast Changes
In the APA survey cited above, about 17% of women surveyed reported this as the first sign of pregnancy. However, this can occur between four and six weeks into pregnancy. You may experience tingling, aching, and swelling/enlargement of the breast tissue. You may also notice a darkening of the areola. Once your body adjusts to your new hormonal changes, these feelings should subside.
Nausea is quite common in the first trimester and may or may not be accompanied by vomiting. This is known as morning sickness, though it can be experienced later in the day as well. The severity can differ from person to person.
Having to hop up and run to the bathroom in the middle of the night? Unless you’re hydrating like crazy, that could also be one of the pregnancy signs and symptoms to watch for. Also, due to hormonal changes, it’s possible to experience this even before missing your period.
Women will experience an increase in estrogen and blood flow which leads to an increase in vaginal discharge. It’s a completely normal and common early pregnancy indicator.
Other Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms
The cramps women experience when pregnant may seem similar to those during PMS. But just as we mentioned above with implantation bleeding, implantation cramps are different. These cramps would be present even after you’ve missed your period. Other pregnancy signs and symptoms include leg cramping and soreness in the lower back.
Headaches are so common that this one can’t be relied upon alone. But if you are pregnant, a minor headache may be accompanied by lightheadedness or dizziness. These symptoms would be due to hormonal changes in your body. You should consider them in conjunction with other pregnancy symptoms you’re experiencing.
Sensitivity to Smell
Though there may be little scientific consensus on this one, it remains a commonly reported symptom. Sensitivity to smell is something that many women report, particularly in the early stages of pregnancy. It may also be one of the causes of nausea during this time. Some women also develop an increased ability to smell as well – think of it as your own personal superpower.
Change of Appetite
Does the Caesar salad you normally love seem a little off-putting? Or does your craving for potato chips and spicy salsa seem out of character? Change of appetite is common as an early sign of pregnancy. Often, the foods you normally desire won’t sound good to you at all. This may also be due to hormonal changes and changes in your senses.
Constipation and Bloating
Speaking of hydration, that’s not a bad idea considering this symptom can be very uncomfortable! If you’ve had fewer than three bowel movements in a given week, you may be dealing with pregnancy constipation. Hormonal changes can be the culprit behind bloating and constipation.
Mood swings and fatigue are also attributable to hormonal changes. This is because your body is producing a hormone called progesterone. This hormone supports the pregnancy and is responsible for milk production in the breasts as well. As soon as one week after conception, you could experience fatigue due to your body working harder to pump additional blood to support this new life.
Heartburn and/or Indigestion
These symptoms usually appear in the second and third trimesters but some women report this as the first clue they were pregnant. However, it’s generally considered to stem from your increase in progesterone levels, so don’t rule it out. Especially if it’s not something you normally experience.
Also described as a “bitter” taste, it’s a lesser known (and less common) side-effect of pregnancy. The change of taste during pregnancy is called dysgeusia and usually occurs during meals.
A very common side-effect of pregnancy but also one of the most common period symptoms as well. This symptom alone is not an indicator of pregnancy.
If you think you may be pregnant and have experienced a few of the above symptoms, come see us. We provide private and professional services for women who think they may be pregnant.
Take the next step and book your confidential appointment today.