Early Pregnancy Symptoms

    1. Early Pregnancy Symptoms Overview

    2. When Do Early Pregnancy Symptoms Appear?

    3. Early Pregnancy Symptoms Timeline

    4. I think I'm pregnant, now what?

    Early Pregnancy Symptoms Overview

    Early pregnancy symptoms are caused by the pregnancy hormone hCG or "Human Chorionic Gonadotropin." Even though hCG is not usually detectable in large quantities in blood or urine until after a missed menstrual period, early pregnancy symptoms can sometimes happen before a missed period and before a positive pregnancy test.

    Early pregnancy signs and symptoms differ from one woman to the next and from one pregnancy to the next. Some women experience early pregnancy signs within a week after ovulation, fertilization and conception. In other women, early pregnancy symptoms may develop much later, well after a missed period and / or positive pregnancy test. Other women may not have early pregnancy signs at all.

    The most significant early pregnancy sign is a late or missed menstrual period, but the only definitive diagnosis is a positive pregnancy test.

    When Do Early Pregnancy Symptoms Appear?


    Small amounts of hCG enter the blood stream several days after implantation, about 8-10 days after ovulation and before a missed period. Therefore, pregnancy symptoms do not typically appear until the hCG has reached sufficient levels, about 1-2 weeks after you miss your period (3-4 weeks after ovulation, or 2-3 weeks after implantation). Though pregnancy symptoms may suggest that a woman is pregnant, a positive pregnancy test is needed to confirm a pregnancy.

    Read more about the day-to-day appearance of pregnancy symptoms on the Pregnancy Symptoms Timeline Page.

    Early Pregnancy Symptoms Timeline:  

    Pregnancy Symptoms Timing of Pregnancy Symptom
    Temperature drop (dip) Implantation day
    Implantation bleeding or spotting:(a slight staining of a pink or brown color) 8-10 days after ovulation
    Lower abdominal cramps / Implantation cramps / hot flashes 8-10 days after ovulation
    A positive blood hCG pregnancy test 10 days after fertilization/ovulation
    A positive urine home pregnancy test (HPT)
    10-14 days after ovulation/fertilization
    An elevated BBT 15+ days without a menstrual period
    No period. A missed menstrual period
    Your period is supposed to come 14-16 days after ovulation
    Nausea 2-4 weeks after ovulation
    Nipple or breast tenderness 3-4 weeks after conception
    Fatigue and tiredness 3-10 weeks after conception
    Vomiting 3-10 weeks after conception
    Food cravings 1-2 months after conception
    Frequent urination Usually after 1-2 months
    Softening of cervix 6+ weeks after LMP
    Constipation Later
    Lower-back pain Later
    Breast changes After 14 weeks
    Fetal heartbeat on sonogram 8-9 weeks after conception
    Fetal movements 18-20+ weeks

    I think I'm pregnant, now what?

    As soon as you think you might be pregnant, you should visit your OBGYN or a pregnancy clinic or help center for a pregnancy test. If you are pregnant it is important to:

    • Learn what to expect from pregnancy and how to care for yourself and your growing baby. 
    • Take a prenatal vitamin containing the recommended vitamins and minerals (including folic acid).
    • Ensure your nutritional needs are being met by learning about pregnancy nutrition and what foods you should and should not eat during pregnancy. 
    • If you smoke or drink alcohol, you should stop immediately — tobacco and alcohol can harm your unborn child.
    • Take inventory of your prescribed and over-the-counter medications and make sure they are safe to take during pregnancy. Certain medications can harm the fetus.

    Have a negative pregnancy test but think you could be pregnant? Read about the chances that you are pregnant with a negative pregnancy test.