Pregnancy symptoms differ from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy; however, one of the most significant pregnancy symptoms is a delayed or missed period. Understanding the signs and symptoms of pregnancy is important because each symptom may be related to something other than pregnancy.
You may experience signs or symptoms of pregnancy within a week of conception. However, it is possible you may not experience any symptoms for a few weeks. If you begin experiencing pregnancy symptoms and need a free, lab quality pregnancy test, click here to schedule an appointment.
A delayed or missed period is the most common pregnancy symptom leading a woman to test for pregnancy. When you become pregnant, your next period should be missed.
Is it possible to be pregnant and still have a period? Some women can bleed while they are pregnant, but typically this bleeding will be shorter or lighter than a normal period.
Other Explanations: Excessive weight gain or loss, fatigue/exhaustion, hormonal imbalance, tension/stress, change in birth control usage, various illnesses or breastfeeding.
Nausea or morning sickness is the second most commonly reported early sign of pregnancy. Experienced to some degree by most expecting women, nausea typically begins between 2 to 8 weeks after conception. Nausea can be experienced with or without vomiting. It is important to know that nausea, frequently called morning sickness, can actually be experienced at any time of the day. Similarly, it usually occurs during the first three months and then subsides, but some women will experience nausea throughout their pregnancy.
Other Explanations: Food poisoning, tension/stress, change in hormonal birth control or other stomach ailments.
The third most frequently cited symptom of pregnancy is changes in the breasts. These changes are usually indicated by swelling or tenderness. Changes to the breasts can start as early as 1 to 2 weeks after conception.
Other Explanations: Hormonal imbalance, change in hormonal birth control or impending menstruation.
If pregnant, this symptom is usually associated with implantation bleeding and is considered an early sign of pregnancy. The embryo usually implants in the uterine wall between 6 to 12 days after conception. Some women will experience spotting as well as cramping. Other women do not notice implantation bleeding or cramping.
Other Explanations: Actual menstruation, altered menstruation, changes in birth control pill, infection or abrasion from intercourse.
Following conception, as early as the first week, many women report feeling more tired than usual. This fatigue is commonly experienced by those who are expecting and is recognized as a typical symptom of pregnancy.
Other Explanations: Tension/stress, exhaustion from working too hard, depression/other mental health struggles, common cold/flu, allergies/other ailments, lack of sleep or improper nutrition.
Don’t be surprised if you feel like you have to urinate more often. Increased urination starts for most people between 6 to 8 weeks. You will find that increased urination may continue throughout your pregnancy or pick back up as the growing baby and the uterus place pressure on your bladder.
Other Explanations: Urinary tract infection, diabetes, increasing liquid intake or taking excessive diuretics.
Lower backaches are commonly reported by pregnant women. This symptom can occur with the onset of pregnancy but is often experienced later as the pregnancy progresses. This makes it an easily identifiable pregnancy symptom at week 27 to week 34.
Other Explanations: Impending menstruation, stress, other back problems or physical/mental strains.
Experiencing headaches at the onset of pregnancy is another common early sign of pregnancy. Experts believe that the sudden rise of hormones in your body leads you to experience the headaches. Headaches during pregnancy may also be caused by the increase of blood flow. There is an approximately 50% increase in the volume of blood flowing while you are expecting.
Other Explanations: Dehydration, caffeine withdrawal, impending menstruation, eye strain or other ailments.
It is important to note that darkening of the areolas (the area around your nipples) is normal. It is a common occurrence for those who are expecting.
Other Explanations: Hormonal imbalance unrelated to pregnancy or may be a leftover effect from a previous pregnancy.
The reason for certain food cravings or food aversions is not known. Do not be surprised if you find yourself drawn to something you normally do not care for or avoiding things that you normally like. The types of food that expecting women crave or try to avoid vary and are quite sporadic. It is alright to allow yourself the freedom to pursue those cravings and avoid the things you do not want as long as you are getting the nutrition you need for a healthy pregnancy. These cravings or aversions can occur early in pregnancy or anytime throughout your pregnancy.
Other Explanations: Poor diet, lack of a certain nutrient, stress, depression, illness or impending menstruation.