What Are the First Signs of Pregnancy?
posted by Revere Health OB/GYN | October 6, 2017
Firstly, know that every woman and every pregnancy is different. Symptoms are different in every case, and because they often mimic the symptoms you may experience during menstruation, it may be tough to recognize that you’re pregnant in some cases.
While these signs and symptoms aren’t definitive proof of pregnancy, they may help you identify if you might be pregnant and if you should confirm with a pregnancy test.
Spotting and Cramping
After conception, an egg that has been fertilized attaches itself to the wall of your uterus. This can cause spotting and cramping, often some of the first signs of pregnancy. This is known as implantation bleeding, which occurs anywhere from six to 12 days after fertilization of the egg.
Cramps may resemble menstrual cramps, but the bleeding and cramps are often minimal. You may also notice a white, milky discharge from the vagina, which is due to the thickening of vaginal walls. This discharge is generally harmless, though if there’s a bad smell or a burning or itching sensation along with it, tell your doctor so they can check for infection.
Hormone levels change quickly after conception, and these changes may leave breasts swollen, sore or tingly a week or two after conception. Breasts may feel heavier, fuller or tender to the touch. The area around the nipples may also darken.
It’s normal to feel fatigue in pregnancy, even as as early as a week after conception. This is generally due to high levels of progesterone, a hormone in the body. It can also be related to blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and a boost in blood production.
Morning Sickness or Cravings
Morning sickness is a well-known symptom of pregnancy, but not all pregnant women experience it—the exact causes of this aren’t known. Nausea can occur at any time during pregnancy, but it’s most common in the morning.
Some women may also get cravings for or a strong aversion to certain foods due to hormonal changes. Nausea, cravings and food aversions can last for the entire pregnancy, but symptoms often slow down around the 13th or 14th week.
One of the most visibly obvious signs of a pregnancy, and the one that often convinces women to take a pregnancy test, is a missed period. However, it’s important to note that missed periods can signal things besides pregnancy—weight loss, hormonal issues, fatigue or stress are all possible, as is stopping birth control pills. However, pregnancy is certainly one possibility for a missed period.
Other Hormonal Changes
Changes in the hormonal balance can bring a few other symptoms during pregnancy:
If you’re pregnant, you may have all of the above symptoms or you might have just one or two. If symptoms become bothersome or if you’re unsure if you’re pregnant, speak to your doctor.
“Pregnancy Symptoms.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/pregnancy-am-i-pregnant#1
“Early Pregnancy Symptoms: 17 Signs to Look For.” HealthLine. https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/early-symptoms-timeline#overview1
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.