Early Pregnancy Symptoms

Pregnancy symptoms vary greatly in intensity and duration from one woman to another. They also vary from pregnancy to pregnancy. For most women, a missed period is the first clue of pregnancy, followed by nausea and/or vomiting (morning sickness) and breast tenderness. But if you don’t have regular periods, you’ll have to watch for other symptoms.

Some women start to notice symptoms within days after conception, while other women’s symptoms may develop over a few weeks. A lucky few may never feel any symptoms or have any discomfort at all. Most pregnancy symptoms occur due to rapid hormonal changes in your body following implantation of the egg in the lining of your uterus.

Knowing and understanding pregnancy symptoms is important because each symptom may be related to something other than pregnancy, including pre-menstrual symptoms and illness. Early pregnancy symptoms can be confusing and often misleading, either making you believe you are pregnant when you are not, or not pregnant when you are in fact pregnant.

If you have one (or more) pregnancy symptom and suspect you may be pregnant, the next step is to take a home pregnancy test or better yet, have a blood test done at your doctor’s office. Most home pregnancy tests can be taken about 10-14 days after conception or the day following when you expected your period. Blood tests can usually detect if you are pregnant even sooner.

Earliest Pregnancy Symptoms (first trimester):

  • Implantation bleeding or spotting (usually before your period is due)
  • A missed period, a shorter, lighter period
  • Breast tenderness or swelling
  • Tingling, sore nipples, darkening of areola (skin around nipples)
  • Skin changes, breakouts
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Constipation, flatulence (gas)
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue, sleepiness
  • Food cravings, food aversions, appetite loss
  • Moodiness, irritability
  • Backaches
  • Headaches
  • Increased sense of smell
  • Mild lower abdominal cramps, bloating
  • Continuous elevated basal body temperature
  • Dizziness, fainting
  • Sensitive, bleeding, or swollen gums, excessive salivation
  • Heartburn, indigestion
  • Cervical, vaginal changes (tissue color), sensitivity of the cervix

Later Pregnancy Symptoms:

  • Weight gain
  • Mild edema (swelling of ankles, hands, feet, and face)
  • White vaginal discharge (leukorrhea)
  • Increased appetite
  • Quickening (earliest fetal movement)
  • Nasal congestion and ear stuffiness, occasional nose bleeds
  • Expanding waistline
  • Abdominal achiness
  • Visible veins, varicose veins
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Breast enlargement
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Leg cramps
  • Dark line down abdomen (linea nigra)
  • Itchy, dry abdomen
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