Pregnancy Symptoms – 16 Early Signs Of Pregnancy

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a simple and straightforward way of immediately knowing when you were pregnant?

For example, if a results window instantly appeared on your belly revealing that you were in fact pregnant.

It would certainly save a lot of peeing on a stick, that’s for sure.

But for the rest of us mere mortals, here’s the low down on finding out if you’re pregnant, as well as 16 early signs of pregnancy.

How Soon Can I Expect Any Pregnancy Symptoms?

Studies show that an egg is usually fertilised within 12 hours of ovulation. After 24 hours, the egg starts to die.

Some women say that they ‘just knew’ the moment they conceived, as if they had a feeling or intuition that conception had occurred. However, you wont start noticing any pregnancy symptoms or be able to detect pregnancy on a test until after implantation. Implantation occurs from around 7-10 days post ovulation.

An embryo starts to produce hCG after implantation, not before. This is why it’s not possible to detect pregnancy before this time. So the longer you wait to test after ovulation, the more accurate the result will be — and the darker the potential positive test line will be! Pregnancy testing should ideally be done from the day your period would have been due.

Below is a list of sixteen pregnancy symptoms which you may or may not encounter. Remember, every woman — and every pregnancy — is different. There’s no need to panic if you don’t have all of the listed pregnancy symptoms. Some women will have many, some will have few.

Symptom #1: Higher Basal Body Temperature (BBT)

This is quite a niche one, and will probably only help the fertility buffs out there who have been tracking their BBT for a while. If you chart your cycle and take your temperature, you will notice that your BBT will remain high throughout your luteal phase. Progesterone causes your BBT to rise upon ovulation and stay elevated should you be pregnant. If you’re not pregnant, your BBT will drop down and you’ll get your period as normal.

Symptom #2: Missed / No Period

One of the first pregnancy symptoms you may notice is that your period does not arrive. While this symptom is one we most commonly associate with pregnancy, there may be other reasons why a period hasn’t arrived. For example, if you’re under a high level of stress or if you’ve had a major illness or surgery.

On the other hand, it’s possible to continue to have your period during pregnancy. Some women may bleed for just a few months (when their period would have been due), and a small percent may bleed for their whole pregnancy. See our topic on Bleeding in Pregnancy for more information.

Symptom #3: Morning Sickness

As soon as this one hits you, you’ll regret ever longing for some noticeable symptoms of pregnancy.

Don’t let it’s name fool you – morning sickness can pay you a visit any time of day. It will definitely appear at an inappropriate moment or when you’ve eaten something that will be particularly unpleasant to throw up (like mashed potato).

Make sure you’re eating enough and avoid letting your blood sugar levels drop. Ginger and acupuncture are helpful natural remedies for nausea and are worth a try. Unfortunately some women find that nothing seems to help their morning sickness. Most women find morning sickness will hang around for most of the first trimester before getting better. If you’re unlucky, it may continue into the second trimester or even whole pregnancy.

Symptom #4: Breast Changes

From very early on in pregnancy, you may notice changes in your breasts, including:

  • Nipples may be tender and sensitive (some women describe their nipples to be irritatingly sensitive)
  • Breast may be sore and / or lumpy
  • Nipples may deepen in colour
  • Veins may become more noticeable and enlarged in the breast area
  • Areolas (circles around your nipples) may darken and enlarge
  • The little ‘bumps’ on your areolas (Montgomery’s Tubercles) may increase and / or enlarge

Symptom #5: Increased Cervical Mucus

A surge in progesterone often results in a surge of creamy cervical mucus production. Some women may notice a little, and some notice much more. If it bothers you, a panty liner may help.

Symptom #6: Fatigue

If you just fell asleep reading this, you could be pregnant. When you first become pregnant, your metabolism steps up a few gears in order to support your developing baby as well as your own body. This creates one big workload! Not only that, but the hormone progesterone which is required in high levels during pregnancy has a sedating effect. No wonder you feel so very tired! If you need to rest or sleep, don’t fight your body – it needs it!

Check out our article on pregnancy fatigue for more information.

Symptom #7: Frequent Urination

This pregnancy symptom gives you the excuse you’ve been waiting for to spend a lot more time in the bathroom.

As soon as a week after conception, you may notice yourself dashing off to the toilet more often, only to find that you’re urinating small amounts. This happens because the embryo starts to secrete the pregnancy hormone hCG, which signals for the blood supply to increase in the pelvic area. This results in the bladder becoming irritable and it passes small amounts of urine. You may find you will wake in the night to urinate more often than usual.

Ironically, this pregnancy symptom reoccurs in the last trimester, as your baby will regularly enjoy bouncing on your bladder.

Symptom #8: Cramping

This symptom can be an unnerving one for parents-to-be, who may fear a miscarriage. However, even when not pregnant, your uterus is continually contracting. When pregnant, the foetus grows and pushes against the walls of your uterus, which causes it to contract – this is very normal.

If the cramping is accompanied by bleeding, see your doctor who can assess the situation to see if you may be having a miscarriage. However do not panic as bleeding is also common in pregnancy – see our article on bleeding during pregnancy for more information. Women can have both cramping and bleeding in pregnancy and be able to continue on with a healthy pregnancy.

Symptom #9: Spotting

Of all the pregnancy symptoms, bleeding and spotting is the most scary to experience.

Thankfully, spotting is usually nothing to worry about. At around 8-10 days after ovulation — just before you would normally get your period — you may notice light spotting, which is caused from the implantation of the embryo into your uterus lining. The spotting is usually pinkish in colour and not red like a normal period.

All bleeding during pregnancy should be reported to your medical carer. Even for peace of mind, it’s worth checking in.

Symptom #10: Constipation & Wind

These pregnancy symptoms just keep getting better don’t they?!

Increased hormones have an effect on your intestines, making them more relaxed – this helps with making more space for the baby as your uterus expands. As a result you may get constipated. Luckily there are plenty of things you can do for relief. Check out our article on constipation in pregnancy. There are some constipation remedies available over the counter from your pharmacist that are safe for pregnancy – but do check with the pharmacist before purchasing them. Start with the safe, natural remedies first as some are very effective.

Symptom #11: Sense of Smell

If bad smells are making you feel nauseous, this may be a pregnancy symptom. Don’t worry, your whole house doesn’t actually smell like the kitchen compost bin. Pregnancy has heightened your sense of smell! Smells which never bothered you before may become intolerable, causing nausea. Food and cooking smells are usually the culprit, however every woman is different and may dislike all sorts of smells.

Symptom #12: Nasal Stuffiness / Colds

A fetus is very clever, even at an early age! Normally, your body would see something like a pregnancy as a foreign object. But your baby has other plans. Your immune system is suppressed and prevented from attacking and rejecting the foetus, thanks to hormones and antibodies the foetus produces. The antibodies also take part in the growth and development of the placenta. As a result of these hormonal changes to your immune system, you are more susceptible to colds and flu. Nasal stuffiness is also very common in pregnancy due to the hormonal effects on the nasal passages.

Symptom #13: Pimples / Acne

You may find that even if you don’t usually get pimples or acne, you may get them in early pregnancy. It will most likely settle down fairly quickly after your hormone levels stabilise, however make sure that you do not pick or squeeze pimples which may leave scars and/or spread bacteria. For more information, check out our more detailed article on Acne In Pregnancy.

Symptom #14: Cravings / Changes in Taste

The rising hormone levels in your blood can reflect in your saliva. You may notice a metallic taste in your mouth, which alters the taste of foods you usually enjoy or the feeling of food in your mouth. Some women will not eat meat and some women gag when brushing their teeth from their toothpaste!

You may have heard stories of women craving strange things which are not foods at all. Some of these cravings include dirt, clay or chalk. This is a condition called pica. If this is you, please visit your naturopath or medical practitioner to check your levels of iron and zinc, as you may be deficient.

No-one really knows why pregnant women have cravings, it is believed from some evidence that the body is craving vitamins and minerals it is deficient in. If you have a craving, there is nothing wrong with giving in to them. However if you are craving high fat foods or food with little nutritional value, see if you can find a substitute. If you are not yet taking high quality pregnancy multivitamins, it might be a good time to start. Speak to your naturopath to get a good brand. You might like to consider taking some In-Liven.

Symptom #15: Change in Colour of Your Vagina

This is unlikely to be the change that first makes you discover the pregnancy. “Honey, come quick, my vagina has changed colour!” In fact, unless you spend a lot of time admiring yourself in a mirror, you’re unlikely to notice this one at all. Due to the increased level of blood in the pelvic region, you may find your vagina will appear more purplish than normal.

Symptom #16: Emotional

It is generally accepted that during pregnancy you will cry in front of your boss, swear at your partner daily and donate all of your life savings to charity because the kitten on the advert looks so sad.

Hormones are going crazy, right from conception. Pregnancy is a roller coaster of hormones and emotions, and some most women find they get very emotional and have a meltdown or two. From the moment you conceive, your body goes full speed ahead doing an incredible job, creating an environment to support and protect your baby. And yes, it’s totally reasonable to sob over nappy adverts.

Testing For Pregnancy

As mentioned above, it’s important to try to wait until your period would have been due before testing, as the pregnancy hormone hCG may not be at a high enough level to be detected by a pregnancy test, which may only result in disappointment. Perhaps you can distract yourself for two weeks by planning a special treat for yourself at the end of each day for not testing! You might also like to read our article on the two week wait for some light hearted humour!

Doctors Tests in Early Pregnancy

When you have a positive pregnancy test, your doctor will do a few tests of his/her own. These may include:

  • Urine test: your doctor may ask you to perform another pregnancy test in his clinic.
  • Blood Test: doctors may test for all sorts of different things upon a positive pregnancy test. If you’d like to know something specific, ask them. An example is hcg levels – some doctors wont automatically test this as a positive pregnancy test is proof enough for them. If you don’t know your blood type, it will need to be checked. If you are rhesus negative (have a negative blood group) its important to know.

Internal/Pelvic Exams

Some doctors may perform an internal as a way of confirming your pregnancy. Others may leave it up to an obstetrician, depending on what sort of care you choose. Midwives generally do not do them as they feel it’s not essential to confirm a pregnancy and wont achieve anything.

An internal may be ‘standard practice’ at a first pre-natal appointment with an obstetrician. However it is not essential or medically necessary, especially when a pregnancy test is so accurate already.

Internal exams increase your risk of an infection by introducing something foreign right up to your cervix. You can refuse and internal — a simple, ‘no thank you’ is fine. If you do choose to have one, while it may be a little uncomfortable, an internal should not be painful. For more information on internal exams during pregnancy and birth, click here.

Last Updated: July 16, 2015

CONTRIBUTOR

Kelly Winder is the creator of BellyBelly.com.au, a doula, writer and mother to three awesome children. Currently, she's travelling the world for 12 months with her partner and children, and hopes to inspire more families to do the same. Visit aroundtheworldpluskids.com.au for more information.


33 comments

    1. I have the feeling that I might be Pregnant but Im not sure. My husband and I are trying to have a baby for 6 months now. Last week I had this discharge on my undies looks like an egg white and very sticky (stretchy) and had sex on that day and the following day. Day 3-4 I had a massive cramps that ended up to a back pain that I can’t even lay down on my back to sleep.. I’m on day 6 now and I still feel a bit of tingling pain every now and then. Can anyone experience this? Hope our little Angel is already In my tummy.. Fingers cross

      1. Almost like white mucus is what I have experienced with pregnancies (2) and cramps yes.. although I have experienced painful cramps during mine. Best of luck! :)

        1. JuliaGulia it’s such a relief to hear you say about cramps…I’m 5 weeks pregnant today and some cramps are certainly strong on one side more than the other. .I can’t lay on either side in bed just on my back one knee up …I got worries about ectopic pregnancy…If I sit forward my left side doesn’t like it and I get a shaper pain..It wears off pretty quickly…do you?

          1. Omg! Thankyou ladies I went and got hcg tested for the first time last week doc thibks its too low and since the cramping and sharp pains ive feared eptopic pregnancy and my breats are so sore i cant stand to even touch them :( please keep me in your prayers im getting bloods done tommorow to see if they are higher !!

    1. Hi yes I had 11 negative tests I did all the brands in the shops including clear blue only at 15 weeks I got a positive test even doctors tests were showing negative. Hope this helps

      1. Same here..all negatives 1st and 2nd pregnancy until i get the blood test done…that has always been on the dot.

  1. Thanks Kelly for keeping us inspired
    My Partner and I are trying for a baby. From last week Wednesday I’ve been having some abdominal pains 2 days after ovulation, I’m not experiencing any heavy discharge but I had lightly pinkish discharge only for a day, My breasts are sore and my BBT is on and off, This morning I’m having a cold,feeling a bit nauseas and I have been very emotional for the past days. could I be pregnant…

  2. It’s strange I have never been pregnant but I know I am..I just know.
    Am having these cold like signs 2 days after ovulation and of course sex..
    My nipples too aren’t normal.
    Did a lot of laundry yesterday so I can’t tell if the fatigue Is due to the work or this little one in here.
    I pray that I am..thanks moms for the updates
    Will keep you posted after 2 weeks.
    Can’t do blood test here
    In a remote very remote area in kenya and cant travel now.

  3. hi i had sex and two days later av just been worried if am pregnant i keep on touching my stomach in fear of pregnancy i have been feeling fatigue please help might i be pregnant

  4. Hi there
    I used to get very severe ovulation pain but suddenly my periods started to become very very irregular. I started missing one or two and then have a terribly heavy bleeding one.sometimes I got two periods in one month. With this period irregularity my ovulation pain also stopped. I’ve not felt it since, but I’m now getting a period every 3 to 4 weeks and they’re approximately how they used to be, but no ovulation pain. I’ve also always had pretty severe period pain, which sometimes lasts up to day 2 or 3 of my period. Once or twice over the year that my ovulation pain stopped and my periods were very irregular, I also had some spotting in between periods. One lot of spotting was so bad that it was like a month long period. Now it’s all settled down. I thought I had stopped ovulating. I’m 37, have no children and am not actively trying to have children, but I don’t want to be ill either
    I have severe hypothyroidism, am slightly over weight, get dreadful migraines, which have escalated over the past 6 months from one per 3 to 4 months to one or two per week. I went to a specialist who told me it was normal and gave me pills to hinder the onset. In my 20’s I went for a pelvic scan and was told I had cysts on my one ovary, but that it would be fine if I went on the pill. I’m no longer on the pill and have been having regular sex, but not getting pregnant – so I assumed I couldn’t become pregnant.

    What type of specialist should I go to?
    thanks

  5. I had my period, but now seem to be having cramps , got a cold recently, have put on some weight & last time I did (it) was last month before my period. Is it possible that I am pregnant ? Even after having my period?

  6. Thanks. This month on the 1st I had my period which last on the 4th then after 8day I had my period again which last for days, after my second period I then had a painful pimple on my vagina I dnt know wat is it can somebody help coz I went to the clinic and my DR gave me an eye ointment to apply on my vagina now it itching

  7. Please help…Does anyone know someone who has gotten pregnant after coming off Depo? I came off in November. Got married in April and still haven’t had a period but had what could only be described to me as implantation bleeding about 6 weeks ago. I’ve taken a couple at home tests (4 weeks ago) but nothing positive, but now I am starting to have symptoms. Is that a side affect of your body restarting after Depo? ( I was on it for almost 10 years) Its so hard to chart things without having a period. I have no idea whats going on with my body.. Any advice welcome!!! thanks

    1. I have been on the drop for a year came off in feb! I think I’m pregnant. Any problems go back to your doc & ask for the pill to regulate your periods again then you should have a better chance! Good luck x

  8. Hi I am having a cramping and morning seeknes and my period has passed but when I have my home p t it was nagetive so pls what is going on

  9. I started my period one the 31st of may, I tested for ovulation about 2 weeks after that do to cramps in my lower right abdomen and it came back positive. About a week or so after ovulation early in the morning(about 4 a.m.) I went to the bathroom and my panties were bright red like I was about to start my period again I felt mild cramps and then it just stopped(this was 3 days ago). My period is not do for another week and I read on baby center that implantation can occur a week before or the day of your period. I just wanna know if I could be pregnant me and my husband have been trying for 9 months now and so far nothing has happened. Please help.

  10. I took a at home preg test, and it was negative. but it was 7 days before my expected date of my prd to start. Now it’s only 2 days before, would it still be too early if it’s neg still?

  11. i missed my period three weeks ago . I get no crumps , just tired at times . Used to have morning nausea some days back but it stopped. I eat normally. My breast have become heavy . Am I pregnant?

  12. Question, my husband and I are trying to get pregnant . We are using an ovulation kit to try and pin point when I’m ovulating . We made sure we were ‘active’ on those days , yesterday I noticed little bumps on my right breast now this morning they are starting on the left one. Has anyone else experienced this ? Wondering if I’m driving myself crazy, or if this could be a sign of pregnancy?

  13. i have a period in one month ago but i didn’t see my period until now I my pregnant? i didn’t see any sign of pregnancy please tell me an answer.

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