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How Soon Do You Get Pregnancy 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 or conception. The simple answer: you can get early pregnancy symptoms and signs even before you have a missed period! The earliest you may feel pregnancy signs and symptoms is right after implantation.

The earliest pregnancy symptoms in the order of appearance are:

  1. Implantation bleeding
  2. Implantation cramps
  3. Nausea and vomiting
  4. Tiredness and fatigue
  5. Positive blood pregnancy test
  6. Positive urine home pregnancy test
  7. Elevated basal body temperature chart
  8. A missed menstrual period
  9. Breast tenderness
  10. Frequent urination
  11. Difficulties sleeping 

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 repor tthat their breasts feel 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, think they are sick, and go to the doctor only to discover they are pregnant.

Timeline For Early Pregnancy Symptoms 

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 rates. 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.

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 can also be different from one pregnancy to the next. Every woman is different as are her experiences of pregnancy. 

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 is to do a pregnancy test. 

Very early symptoms differ from one woman to the next and from one pregnancy to the next. Some women can experience them within a week after ovulation, fertilization and conception. Yet, 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.

Vaginal Spotting

When ovulation and fertilization have occured, the fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube towards the uterus where implantation takes place, about 6-12 days after fertilization. At that time, the fertilized egg implants itself to wall of the uterus. Implantation can cause one of the earliest signs of pregnancy: implantation spotting, bleeding, and sometimes cramping.

Cramping

The cramps in your lower abdomen may resemble menstrual cramps. 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.

Vaginal Discharge

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, which begins almost immediately after conception and implantation. This vaginal discharge can continue throughout pregnancy, and is typically harmless and doesn't require treatment. However, if there is a foul odor related to the discharge, or a burning and itching sensation, tell your doctor in order to rule out a yeast or bacterial infection.

Cervical Mucous Plug 

Besides an increase in vaginal discharge, observing a cervical mucous plug may be among the early pregnancy signs.

Breast Changes

Breast swelling, size changes, or tenderness can occasionally be another very early sign of pregnancy. The swelling, which signals an increase in fat reserves and milk gland size, may be accompanied by soreness. Many women find they gain a bra size or two during their pregnancy. (For better or worse, the change is usually not permanent.) 

"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

Even before the nausea kicks in, some women develop an extremely-heightened sense of smell. Scents can become so overpowering, some women avoided cooking and other activities in which strong odors are present for several weeks.

Exhaustion

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. Expectant moms with severe fatigue should be evaluated for anemia and depression.

Bathroom Breaks

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.

Itching

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.

Changes In Digestion

There are many causes that affect digestion in pregnancy:

  • Increase in the hormone progesterone
  • Increased water absorption in the large intestines
  • Iron supplements
  • Pressure of the uterus on the rectum
  • Heartburn

Heartburn, a burning sensation between the breastbone and the throat, is very common in the second and third trimesters. 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 food
  • 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.)

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.

Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs 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

Thick White or Milky White Vaginal Discharge

8-14 days after ovulation/fertilization

Cervical mucus or mucus plug and bloody show

shortly after implantation

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
(amenorrhea)

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

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.
  • Vision: 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 immediately and early delivery may be necessary to avoid life-threatening maternal and fetal complications.

BabyMed answers all your questions about early signs and symptoms of pregnancy. 


Early Pregnancy Symptoms

Overview of Physical Symptoms

 

Comprehensive Pregnancy Symptoms

Implantation

Pregnancy Testing