What is the earliest that I can feel early pregnancy signs and symptoms?
Many women wonder how soon and how early you can feel pregnancy symptoms, what the earliest pregnancy signs and symptoms are, and whether you can feel implantation, conception, or loss of appetite. The simple answer: you can get early pregnancy symptoms and signs even before you have a missed period. The earliest you can feel early pregnancy signs and symptoms is right after implantation, and even before a missed period.
How Soon Do You Get Pregnancy Symptoms?
Early pregnancy symptoms such as implantation bleeding, loss of appetite, breast tenderness are often among the first signs and symptoms of pregnancy. If you think you may be pregnant, you should watch carefully for these symptoms early on as they could be present even before a positive pregnancy test. The earliest pregnancy symptoms in the order of appearance are:
- Implantation bleeding
- Implantation cramps
- Positive blood pregnancy test
- Positive urine home pregnancy test
- Elevated basal body temperature chart
- A missed menstrual period
- Breast tenderness
- Frequent urination
- Difficulties sleeping
Nausea and tiredness are among the first typical pregnancy symptoms, though for most women, missing a menstrual period is usually the very first sign that they are pregnant. Typical pregnancy symptoms are related to the pregnancy hormone hCG. They usually do not appear until later on in pregnancy, often weeks after implantation, when hCG is high enough to induce these symptoms.
"How early can pregnancy symptoms start?"
The first appearance of the pregnancy hormone hCg depends on implantation, the attachement of the fertilized egg in the uterus. Implantation occurs on average 8-10 days after ovulation (range 6-12 days). The egg is fertilized by the sperm inside the fallopian tube, usually within 12 hours after ovulation. The embryo then travels down towards the uterus, increasing in size and cells along the way. Right after fertilization, when there is only one cell, it's called a "zygote", and as it divides it becomes first a "blastomere" until it reaches about 30 cells, and about 5 days later, shortly before implantation, it's called a "blastocyst".
Early pregnancy symptoms and the process of implantation
Only after implantation is the pregnancy hormone hCG excreted into the blood and symptoms can appear.HCG first appears in the blood about 3-4 days after implantation, or at the earliest 9-10 days after ovulation. Before you miss your period, and before a positive pregnancy test, it's difficult to assume that certain physical symptoms are pregnancy-related.
Unless a woman is trying to become pregnant and watching closely for physical changes in the body, a missed menstrual period may be the first clear indication of pregnancy. Nonetheless, some women may notice physical changes in the body before missing their next menstrual period. These early signs of pregnancy are especially important for women who have irregular menstrual cycles.
Do you think you have early pregnancy signs and symptoms and you could be pregnant? Then take a pregnancy test to find out.
Why am I showing so early?
Not every pregnancy is the same, but when mom notices her tummy is bloating within the first 10 weeks and she looks like she is 4 or 5 months, she may wonder if she is having twins or more. Not all early baby tummies mean a multiples pregnancy. There are very physical reasons why a pregnancy will show early one time and not another.
The Tummy Muscles
One of the most common reasons why the tummy grows more quickly is a lack of muscle tone in the abdomen. After having one or more babies, the muscle strength does not return to what it was when the first pregnancy occurs. There is also the age factor to take into consideration. The older the expectant mother, the less muscle tone she may have in the abdomen.
Progesterone - The Mother of Bloat
If the abdomen muscles are not strong enough, the bloating caused by progesterone will simply look larger than it would in other cases. The stronger the abdominal muscles are, the more apt they are to hold in that pregnancy bloat.
The Power of Timing
Many women have no idea that "showing" begins about the 12th or 13th week of pregnancy. At first, it will appear as just a tiny bump, but it will grow over time. If pants are a bit tighter around the 3rd month of pregnancy, mom can rest assured this is normal and she is not alone.
If the mother was overweight in a previous pregnancy and is not overweight with this pregnancy she will notice the changes in the belly much sooner. The pregnancy bump is just something she may not be familiar with as it was hidden during previous pregnancies.
Am I Having Multiples?
In all reality, the size of the belly does not reflect multiples until the second trimester. For the woman pregnant with twins, the changes in the body may appear more profound, but many of these changes are noticeable only to mom. Once the baby belly begins to show, however, the rate of growth will be faster with multiples than with a single pregnancy.
Plain, Old Fashioned Weight Gain
When a woman is told she is pregnant there is a bit of release that happens in regards to her diet and exercise regime. It could be because she is a bit scared about continuing exercise in the beginning of the pregnancy or that she feels she needs to eat more to feed baby. This could lead to regular, old fashioned weight gain. The tummy could be growing due to these life changes and not baby at all.
A growing belly is the proudest thing mom notices when she is pregnant. It signals to the world that there is a bundle of joy on the way. When mom starts showing early, the first thought is often multiple pregnancies. With such a small rate of multiples being born compared to singles, the chances of that happening are slim.
Pregnancy symptoms you can feel
Just a few days after the fetus is conceived, it implants in the uterus. This is when the first physical signs of pregnancy start. Women may feel cramping and experience spotting at this early stage. If spotting occurs, it may not show until one to two weeks after the fertilized egg is implanted. Spotting is called implantation bleeding and can be mistaken for your period, but is not as heavy as your period.
Around the same time implantation bleeding occurs, women may feel changes in their breasts, including swelling, tenderness and tingling. Some women report breasts feeling heavier or full.
One of the more common physical changes women often feel in early pregnancy is fatigue. When conception occurs, progesterone levels rise. Progesterone can cause early pregnancy fatigue.
Estrogen levels also rise in early pregnancy. Estrogen can cause the stomach to empty more slowly, causing nausea and loss of appetite. Nausea during pregnancy is often referred to as morning sickness. The term morning sickness is not completely accurate. Morning sickness can occur at any time of the day, not just in the morning hours.
Reduced blood sugar and blood pressure can lead to dizziness and fainting. Some women experience these feelings and go to the doctor only to discover they are pregnant.
Timeline for earliest pregnancy symptoms and signs you can feel
Changes occur in the female body as soon as conception occurs, but these changes cause no physical changes until about one week after pregnancy. From that point until the end of gestation, physical changes can be felt throughout the pregnancy.
- 6 to 12 days after conception: Implantation of the fertilized egg may cause cramping.
- 7 to 14 days after conception: Breasts may feel swollen, sore, tingly and heavy.
- 7 to 14 days after conception: Fatigue due to increased progesterone, low blood sugar and low blood pressure.
- 7 to 14 days after conception: Increased estrogen and slowed gastric emptying may lead to nausea known as morning sickness.
The time frame in which women report feeling the first signs of pregnancy varies widely as different bodies change at different ratea. Typically, the first signs of pregnancy are not recognized as being associated with pregnancy until after a positive pregnancy test or a missed menstrual cycle.
When do pregnancy symptoms and signs appear?
Small amounts of hCG, the pregnancy hormone, enter the blood stream several days after implantation, about 8-10 days after ovulation and before a missed period. Therefore, most signs and 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 these may suggest that a woman is pregnant, a positive pregnancy test is needed to confirm a pregnancy.
How many women have typical pregnancy signs and symptoms?
Not all women have typical pregnancy symptoms. In fact, only about 1 in 2 pregnant women have these symptoms, and there is nothing wrong if you are pregnant and have none of them. They are not the same for all women, and they are different from one pregnancy to the next, and every woman is different as are her experiences of pregnancy. Typical symptoms are often not diagnosed because they may overlap with menstruation issues.
We list here some of the most common early symptoms of pregnancy but it is important to realize that many of these symptoms may be caused by other things besides being pregnant. So the fact that you notice some of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you are pregnant. The only way to tell for sure that they are related to pregnancy is to do a pregnancy test. There are also many other typical physical pregnancy symptoms you should know about.
Very early symptoms differ from one woman to the next and from one pregnancy to the next. Some women experience them within a week after ovulation, fertilization and conception. In other women, they may develop much later, well after a missed period and / or positive pregnancy test. Other women may never have any symptoms at all.
The most significant sign of a pregnancy is a late or missed menstrual period, but the only definitive diagnosis is a positive pregnancy test.
When ovulation and fertilization have happened, the fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube towards the uterus where implantation can happen about 6-12 days after fertilization. At that time, the fertilized egg attaches itself to wall of the uterus in an event called 'implantation'. Implantation can cause one of the earliest signs of pregnancy: implantation spotting, bleeding, and sometimes cramping.
The cramps in your lower abdomen may resemble menstrual cramps, and bleeding and spotting may initially be similar to a menstrual bleeding, so it's not unusual if some women mistake them for the start of their menstrual period.
Besides bleeding, a woman may notice white, milky discharge from her vagina. This discharge could be related to the pregnancy hormones which lead to thickening of the vagina's walls, and which starts almost immediately after conception and implantation. This vaginal discharge, which can continue throughout pregnancy, is typically harmless and doesn't require treatment. But if there is a bad smell related to the discharge or a burning and itching sensation, tell your doctor so they can check on whether you have a yeast or bacterial infection.
Cervical mucus, mucous plug and bloody show
Besides an increase in vaginal discharge, observing a cervical mucous plug may be among the early pregnancy signs.
In many women, changes of the breasts, either swelling or size changes and tenderness could occasionally be another very early sign and symptom of pregnancy. Because of the changes, her breasts may become swollen, sore, or tingly a week or two later.
Besides pregnancy, other issues could also cause breast changes. So if you experience these changes and you have a repeatedly negative pregnancy test, you may want to let your doctor know.
"All day" sickness
Morning sickness is probably the best known of the early pregnancy symptoms, but many people don't realize the term is inaccurate. Nausea may be more common in the mornings because stomach acids build up overnight. But most women who get morning sickness also feel nauseous at other times of day.
Sickening scents or smells
Even before the nausea kicked in some women develop "an extremely-heightened sense of smell." Scents were so over-powering, they avoided cooking for several weeks, relying instead on bland take-out.
Here's one pregnancy symptom your mom may not have warned you about - you're likely to get constipated, especially in the late second and third trimesters. Constipation may result from a number of factors.
Fatigue tends to be most common in the first trimester, but often occurs later in pregnancy as well. Carrying around all that extra weight can make you tire easily in the third trimester. In addition, you may have trouble sleeping if your growing belly makes it hard to get comfortable. We recommend that expectant moms with severe fatigue be evaluated for anemia and depression.
Frequent urination is another early pregnancy symptom most expectant moms know all too well. The culprit is often hormonal in the earlier stages. Later in the pregnancy, frequent bathroom breaks are often caused by an enlarged uterus (and the rapidly growing baby inside) putting pressure on the bladder.
You expect to have morning sickness when you are pregnant but there are many other symptoms that nobody told you about.
Enlarged tender painful breasts
Many women find they gain a bra size or two during their pregnancy. (For better or worse, the change is usually not permanent.) The swelling, which signals an increase in fat reserves and milk gland size, may be accompanied by soreness.
Itching is a very common complaint and can occur throughout pregnancy. The usual areas are the breasts and abdomen, where the skin is stretching to accommodate your growing shape.
Here's one pregnancy symptom your mom may not have warned you about - you're likely to get constipated, especially in the late second and third trimesters. Constipation may result from a number of factors:
Changes in digestion
This is also caused by the hormone progesterone
- Increased water absorption in the large intestines
- Iron supplements
- Pressure of the uterus on the rectum
Also common in the second and third trimesters is heartburn, a burning sensation between the breastbone and the throat. Progesterone is once again to blame. The hormone relaxes the sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus, allowing gastric acid to come up. Tips for easing heartburn:
Avoid spicy foods
- Don't eat immediately before lying down
- Elevate the head of the bed -- try blocks under the head of the mattress
- Take antacids (Check with your doctor or midwife first.)
- Unpredictable Allergies
Seasonal allergies and asthma may become unpredictable during pregnancy. Some women see their symptoms improve, while others notice the opposite. Expectant moms with asthma generally should continue using their inhalers. If you don't breathe, your baby won't either.
Changes in balance
In the third trimester, many women find they are perpetually off-balance. This change happens later in pregnancy, but very few women expect it. While a growing belly tends to throw off your center of gravity, there's more to it than that. A hormone called relaxin kicks in toward the end of pregnancyand its main purpose is to loosen the pelvic joints so they are more flexible during labor. But this hormone also works on the hips, knees and ankles. This makes [expectant mothers] more wobbly and achy and likely to fall."
Abnormal pregnancy symptoms
With so many changes taking place in your body, you may be tempted to dismiss any new discomfort as normal during pregnancy. But certain symptoms could signal a serious problem:
- Bleeding or spotting - Bleeding or spotting is rarely if ever felt to be normal during pregnancy. Spotting is common in the first trimester and probably not a cause for alarm. However, in the second and third trimester, bleeding could provide advance warning of a serious complication, such as preterm labor or problems with the placenta. Always report any bleeding or spotting to your doctor or midwife.
- Severe itching: In the late second and third trimester, severe itching may signal a rare liver problem that sometimes develops during pregnancy, known as intrahepatic cholestatis.
- Blurred vision, severe headaches and pain in the right side of abdomen
These symptoms, whether they occur alone or in combination, may indicate severe preeclampsia - the medical term for dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy. Women who experience any of these symptoms should contact their health care provider immediatelyand early delivery may be necessary to avoid life-threatening maternal and fetal complications.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs Timeline:
Timing of Pregnancy Symptom
Implantation bleeding or spotting:(a slight staining of a pink or brown color)
8-10 days after ovulation
8-14 days after ovulation/fertilization
shortly after implantation
Lower abdominal cramps / Implantation cramps / hot flashes
8-10 days after ovulation
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
2-4 weeks after ovulation
3-4 weeks after conception
3-10 weeks after conception
3-10 weeks after conception
1-2 months after conception
Usually after 1-2 months
6+ weeks after LMP
After 14 weeks
8-9 weeks after conception
Many women start having typical pregnancy symptoms shortly after ovulation which they attribute to being pregnant. These typical symptoms may include increased appetite, weight gain, nausea, abdominal dicomfort, vomiting, and other symptoms commonly attributed to typical pregnancy symptoms.
A couple of symptoms you could possibly notice in early pregnancy are:
- Missed menstrual period
- Nausea with or without vomiting
- Breast changes and breast tenderness
- Frequent urination
- Abdominal cramping or PMS cramping
- Hard and sore nipples, soreness or changes to your nipples
- Veins appearing on your breasts
- Increase in vaginal discharge
- Spotting or light bleeding about a week after having unprotected sex
Most symptoms are not really noticeable until after you miss your period.
- YES, your breasts do hurt and tingle a lot. I would wait until your period was due and if you don't get it go get a pregnancy test.
- About 3 or 4 days after (estimated) conception I experienced strong symptoms of nausea, tender and sensitive nipples. This occurred for about 2 to 4 days.
- I had cold-like symptoms.
- About a week before my period was due I noticed that the veins on my breasts were very prominent.
Some women don't have any symptoms of pregnancy, and it is normal.
My earliest symptoms is always excessive salivation, I have to swallow and swallow, this usually hits me about 3-4 days before my period is due. Everyone reacts differently to HCG (pregnancy hormone) and has different symptoms, some people don't even know they are pregnant until they feel something moving around at 20 weeks, others seem to know the exact moment of conception!
Two weeks prior to my finding out I was pregnant I noticed that my breast seemed to be very swollen. They were also very tender and sore to the touch. My nipples were always hard and I seemed to be hungry after I had eaten a full course meal.
You don't have to miss a period you can be pregnant and still have a period. You could be pregnant if:
- You had sex during your fertile days
- You are having certain pregnancy symptoms
- You missed your period
- You had signs of implantation
The chances of being pregnant rise dramatically if you are not using birth control, but it is also possible to get pregnant even if you are using birth control, especially if you are not using it regularly or exactly as prescribed.
Many women start having typical pregnancy symptoms before they miss their period and before they have a positive pregnancy test and they ask themselves "Am I pregnant?" But many women who are not pregnant may also experience these symptoms because they want to be pregnant and they are trying to be pregnant.
The bottom line is that only a positive pregnancy test will tell you for sure whether you are pregnant or not. Most home pregnancy tests will not be positive until you miss your period, about 15+ days after ovulation and you need to be patient until you get there.
The most common first symptom of pregnancy is a missed period (amenorrhea). Other typical pregnancy symptoms include breast tenderness, bloating and nausea but they are not reliable enough for diagnosing pregnancy because many pregnancy symptoms are also premenstrual symptoms.
If you are wondering "Am I Pregnant?" then the best way to find out is to do a pregnancy test. Until the pregnancy test is clearly positive, there is no way knowing for sure whteher you are pregnant or not.
Women who ovulate and men who have a normal sperm count have a 1 in 5 chance (20%) of getting pregnant in any one cycle. If you have had unprotected intercourse during your 5-6 fertile days prior to and the day of ovulation, then there is a 20% chance that you are pregnant.
It is also possible to be pregnant even if you are using birth control, though some birth control methods like the pill are more reliable than the diaphragm or a condom. It is rare if you are using a medically approved form of birth control, but it becomes more likely if you don't always use your method every single time, or take your birth control pills every single day. Withdrawal (the pull out method) is a very unreliable form of birth control. If that is your choice of birth control, your chance of pregnancy rises dramatically.
The only way to answer the question "Am I Pregnant?" is to do a pregnancy test but many pregnancy tests will not be accurate until after you miss your period. A positive pregnancy test means that you are pregnant but a negative test does not necessarily mean that you are not pregnant.
Do you need a personal answer to your question? Become a BabyMed member and register to ask Dr. Amos a question.
One of the most common questions we get here at BabyMed is “Am I Pregnant?” and "What Are The Typical Early Pregnancy Symptoms?" In some cases this question is asked because you wish to be pregnant, and in other cases it is asked out of nervousness that you could be pregnant.
BabyMed answers all your questions about early signs and symptoms of pregnancy. In addition to the common pregnancy signs and symptoms you may also want to read more about physical pregnancy signs and symptoms.