When you first suspect (or hope!) you might be pregnant, all of a sudden you become hyper vigilant for any early signs of pregnancy. If it’s too soon to take a pregnancy test, the waiting can be unbearable!
Yet, some women may experience a range of pregnancy symptoms, before it’s time to take a pregnancy test.
Other women might cruise through their pregnancy with nothing more than a missed period and a few aches and pains. If this happens to be you, don’t tell other pregnant women you don’t even have morning sickness, or they might get insanely jealous and not talk to you!
But on a more serious note, if you think you might be pregnant, read on to find out if you might be right!
Early signs of pregnancy
Many women first realise they’re pregnant after they’ve had a missed period or taken a pregnancy test.
But by the time a woman has had a missed period, she’s already in week 4 of pregnancy, even though it’s just two weeks after conception. Find out more about calculating your estimated due date and why it’s not often accurate.
Morning sickness, food cravings, frequent urination and food aversions are well known early pregnancy symptoms, but they don’t usually appear until 4 weeks of pregnancy or soon after.
What does the research say about pregnancy symptoms?
The study also reported women who smoked were more likely to have a delayed onset of pregnancy symptoms.
Early pregnancy symptoms in the first 2 weeks after you conceive can definitely be noticed by some women.
Conception is assumed to have occurred on day 14 (which is based on an average), and is considered to be the end of the second week of pregnancy. This is because day one of your last period is considered to be day one of pregnancy.
Symptoms of pregnancy just one week after conception are possible, but usually only women who have been pregnant previously are able notice them.
What are the earliest signs of pregnancy?
You might be surprised to know there are at least 70 early symptoms of pregnancy, although only a handful are common and easy to identify.
Below are the most common early symptoms of pregnancy you might notice, before you experience a missed period or take a pregnancy test.
#1: Mood swings
Ah, mood swings… one of those pregnancy symptoms that seem to come out of nowhere and take you by surprise!
Significant hormonal changes are going on. These changes affect the chemicals in your brain which are responsible for regulating your moods.
This means the things you’d normally handle with ease now seem more difficult, because you can be more easily triggered.
But unfortunately, mood changes are part of the deal while your hormone levels are going crazy!
#2: Spotting (implantation bleeding)
Many women wonder, is spotting an early sign of pregnancy? Around 6 to 12 days after conception, pregnant women may experience spotting, which is the result of implantation bleeding.
When the fertilized egg imbeds into the uterine lining, it can cause a little spotting. You might notice a little blood when you wipe with toilet paper, or you may get some discharge on your underwear.
Implantation bleeding is usually a brown or light pink colour. It might be mistaken for your expected period if you have light bleeding. Find out more information about implantation bleeding.
After implantation, the pregnancy hormone, hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), will start to be produced. So there’s not point in taking a heap of home pregnancy tests until after this time!
In the first trimester of pregnancy, you’re likely to feel much more fatigued than normal.
Some women experience overwhelming fatigue, which seems to have started before their positive pregnancy test.
That’s because there is lots of effort going on inside you! Even though it’s super early and your baby is at its earliest stages of development, the building blocks of growing a baby take an enormous amount of effort (and lots of hormones!). So if you need to rest at any time of the day, do it! The relentless fatigue may also cause you to feel more sensitive mood-wise.
#4: Breast changes / nipple changes
This early sign of pregnancy can be sneaky, because it’s also something some women experience before they get their period.
However, breast changes are one of the most commonly reported pregnancy symptoms. According to a BellyBelly poll, breast tenderness was the most popular earliest sign of pregnancy.
Aside from tender breasts, your breasts may feel swollen and full in early pregnancy, and you may notice the blood vessels in your chest more than normal. This is due to hormonal changes and increased blood volume in the area.
Your nipples may feel ultra sensitive – even the sensation of brushing against clothing can be irritating.
There are many breasts changes you might notice in the first trimester of pregnancy – read about 7 of them in our article, breast changes during pregnancy.
#5: Increased white vaginal discharge
Increased progesterone levels are responsible for many pregnancy side effects and symptoms.
In fact, increased white vaginal discharge could be the first pregnancy symptom you might notice. This discharge helps to protect the vagina and cervix from infection.
You may notice a sticky, white, or pale-yellow mucus when you wipe, and may feel more comfortable wearing a panty liner. This discharge should have a mild odour that isn’t offensive, and should not be yellow, green or grey in colour.
Find out more about early pregnancy discharge.
Another common early sign is cramping. Pregnancy cramps should feel like mild period pain – only, you won’t get your period!
Cramping during pregnancy occurs because your uterus is already growing and stretching to make room for a fast-growing baby. Find out more about cramps during pregnancy.
If cramping is accompanied with blood loss, see your health care provider as soon as possible.
You may feel concerned about miscarriage – if so, see our article, early signs of miscarriage.
Hormonal changes are going to influence your life for a while now! Changes in hormones cause many digestive issues during early pregnancy. Constipation can be a sign of early pregnancy, but the opposite can be true too.
Some women find their digestive system overreacts to fluctuating levels of pregnancy hormones and will experience bouts of loose stools. As long as there are no signs of infection (fever, cramping, vomiting), you don’t need to worry – but speak to your health care provider if you’re concerned. Some electrolytes will help keep you hydrated.
Read more about diarrhea during pregnancy.
Heartburn is one of those early symptoms many women don’t expect. Again, because of hormone changes, food moves slower through your digestive system during pregnancy. This may also cause constipation.
#9: Bloating and gas
Bloating and gas are two more not-so-glamorous symptoms that may occur. Again, increased levels of progesterone and oestrogen are the cause, making you feel bloated and needing to pass gas or burp more frequently.
Want to know 7 more early pregnancy signs?
If six early signs of pregnancy aren’t enough, you can discover even more in our pregnancy symptoms article.