12 Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs of Pregnancy to Watch Out For

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Here are some common (and not-so-common) early pregnancy symptoms that may nudge you to take a pregnancy test. Of course, keep in mind that this is not an exact science. Every woman’s body is different and not all women experience these signs of pregnancy, and at the same time, many women don’t experience any pregnancy symptoms at all. 

In any case, this list of early signs of pregnancy will give you 12 symptoms to keep an eye out for. 

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Early Pregnancy Symptoms

1. Missed Period 

This may be the most well-known early pregnancy symptom (and maybe even the one that sends you on a Googling frenzy.) If your periods run like clockwork, a missed period will be an obvious early clue. 

When you become pregnant, your body starts producing hCG – the human chorionic gonadotropin (this is the hormone that pregnancy tests detect.) This hormone helps you maintain the pregnancy and tells your body to stop ovulating – meaning no more periods while you’re pregnant. 

Keep in mind, this symptom is not 100% obvious for all women. Some women have irregular periods, so a late period will not feel noteworthy. Also, some women experience implantation bleeding that can be mistaken for a period. 

2. Fatigue

Your body is creating a whole new human and that takes loads of energy – so fatigue in early pregnancy is more than justified. 

Actually, your progesterone levels just went up and that may cause you to feel sleepy. So if you have unexplained fatigue, that can be another early clue. 

Not to worry, fatigue usually subsides by second trimester (after 3 months) for most women, and you’ll feel a renewed sense of energy.

3. Smell Sensitivity

If even the mildest odor just seems too intense, that may be a pregnancy symptom. And this doesn’t just apply to the stinky stuff. Even odors you’ve always loved (like your favorite laundry detergent) can seem offensive. Unfortunately, smell sensitivity can lead to the next two unpleasant pregnancy symptoms. 

4. Nausea

No idea why it’s called morning sickness – this pregnancy symptom can hit you any time of day! Pregnancy nausea brings on a queasy feeling that comes with or without vomiting, and it’s definitely one of the most frustrating parts of pregnancy. 

If you have unexplained nausea that won’t go away, that may be a telltale sign of early pregnancy. Not to worry though, most women get back to feeling normal by the second trimester. 

5. Food Aversions 

One of the hardest pregnancy symptoms is food aversion. If you can’t even be in the same room as some of your favorite foods, it may be due to elevated pregnancy hormones. 

6. Mood Changes

“Do not tell a pregnant woman she’s overreacting!” Ever heard that advice? Your mood is easily influenced by your hormones, and with elevated estrogen and progesterone frequent ups and downs are almost inevitable for many women. 

Pile that with fatigue, hunger and nausea, and you won’t even need an excuse to be a little moody. 

7. Breast Changes

Some women can suspect early pregnancy based on their breasts alone. Pregnant women’s breasts can feel more tender or swollen. A tingling feeling is also possible. 

On top of that, your areolas (nipple area) can change too by becoming darker and larger. All these pregnancy symptoms are helping your body gear up for breastfeeding. 

8. Spotting, Cramping, or Implantation Bleeding

Newly pregnant women may experience light bleeding or other menstruation symptoms 6-12 days after conception. 

After the sperm joins the egg, the embryo finds a nice cozy spot on the uterine wall for implantation which may cause implantation bleeding. 

Some women mistake this for a period, as it happens around the same time, but implantation bleeding is generally lighter and lasts up to 3 days. 

9. Frequent Urination

It’s no secret that pregnant women constantly need to run to the bathroom, but you may be surprised how early this pregnancy symptom can start. 

Your pregnancy hormone hCG is helping your kidneys gear up to eliminate waste faster. Not to mention, your growing uterus is starting to place pressure on your bladder. 

10. Bloating and Digestion Issues

Bloating and constipation are common pregnancy symptoms. Your elevated progesterone levels can slow down digestion that can lead to some discomfort and bloat. 

11. Raised Temperature

Your basal temperature may change slightly during pregnancy, which may also make it harder to handle the summer heat and physical activity. Be sure to stay hydrated, wear lighter clothing, and don’t let anyone tell you to not touch the AC!

12. Nasal Congestion 

One of the weirder pregnancy symptoms is nasal congestion. With increased blood volume and increased hormones in your system, your nose can get dryer, more sensitive, and more prone to bleeding. 

Staying hydrated and using a humidifier can help these symptoms. 

Keep in mind: Pregnancy symptoms are not fool-proof

Unfortunately, not all women experience these pregnancy symptoms. On top of that, each of them can be brought on by other factors from stress to change in weather. So while they can give you an early clue, relying on symptoms alone is not a fool-proof way of knowing you’re pregnant. 

If you suspect you’re pregnant, the next thing to do is to take a pregnancy test. 

When to take a pregnancy test

Once your little embryo begins the implantation process, your body will start producing hCG – the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone. This is the hormone that’s picked up by pregnancy tests. 

A typical pregnancy test works best a week after your missed period. (So if you’re expecting your period on the 10th, you should take your test on the 17th.) 

Some “early detection” pregnancy tests like First Response are extra sensitive to hCG and can be taken 6 days before your missed period. (So if you’re expecting your period on the 10th, you can take the test on the 4th.) 

Of course, not all women’s periods are perfectly predictable, so you can wait around 19 days after conception to take your test, since the implantation process takes up to 12 days. 

That said, at-home pregnancy tests are not 100% accurate, so if the question is rattling your mind, visit your doctor who will test for hCG through bloodwork. 

How Early do Pregnancy Symptoms Start?

Pregnancy symptoms can start at different times for different women, and their intensity is quite subjective – which is why they’re not the ideal way to know you’re pregnant. That said, here’s a quick guide to when some of these pregnancy symptoms may start. 

Bear in mind, that weeks are counted from your last period before conception, meaning by the time you miss your period – that’s already week 4! 

Missed PeriodWeek 4
Cramping, Spotting and Implantation BleedingWeeks 1-4 or 6-12 days after conception 
Fatigue Around week 4
Nausea, Smell Sensitivity, and Food AversionsWeeks 4-6
Breast ChangesWeeks 4-11
Mood ChangesTypically week 6
Frequent Urination Week 6 or earlier
Bloating and Digestive issuesWeeks 4-6
Basal Temperature ChangesWeek 6

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