Earliest Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy

  • How soon do you get pregnancy symptoms? How early can pregnancy symptoms start?

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.

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:

  1. Implantation bleeding
  2. Implantation cramps
  3. Positive blood pregnancy test
  4. Positive urine home pregnancy test
  5. Elevated basal body temperature chart
  6. A missed menstrual period

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). 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. 

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.

very early pregnancy signsOne 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 Early Symptoms 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.