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Early Symptoms of Pregnancy

Updated on September 24, 2008

Quick List of Pregnancy Symptoms

  • Spotting - bleeding in between periods
  • Missed or unusual period
  • Cramping/Backache
  • Tender breasts
  • Dark areolas
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Food cravings
  • Headache
  • Frequent Urination
  • Sensitivity to smells
  • Bloating
  • Basal body temperature stays high

Although every woman is unique, there are some universal early signs of pregnancy that may be experienced to one degree or another. Some women may have symptoms right away, within a week of conception. For others, symptoms may show up weeks later or not at all. If you are sexually active and experience one or more of the following, get a pregnancy test right away. You can get them cheap at the dollar store or search online for a free testing center. Don't ignore these symptoms because they may be related to something other than pregnancy.

Read: Pregnancy Week by Week: Week One

Am I Pregnant?

The most common pregnancy symptom is a missed period, but spotting in between periods can also be a sign of pregnancy. Some women have a small amount of bleeding when the embryo attaches to the wall of the uterus. This is called implantation bleeding. It may last only a day or two. You may have cramping as well, but if you are in pain, it may be a sign of ectopic pregnancy and you need to let your doctor know right away. Even if you have a period, you may be pregnant. If blood flow is shorter or lighter than usual, take a pregnancy test.

Some women experience nausea, or morning sickness, early in a pregnancy. This is often experienced on an empty stomach, such as in the morning. On the other hand, some women have unusual food cravings during pregnancy. Certain smells may cause nausea as well. Foods, grooming products, or odors in the environment can affect a pregnant woman more than it would before she conceived. Smells you once found pleasant may disgust you.

Breasts are often swollen and tender during pregnancy and this can start within a week or two. The areolas, the darker skin around the nipples may get even darker. The feeling may be similar to how your breasts feel just before you start your period. If they are very uncomfortable, don't worry this usually subsides as the pregnancy continues.

With your body working overtime to make a baby, you may feel tired early on. Exhaustion may hit you suddenly, but this usually eases up after the third month of pregnancy.

A lower backache may indicate pregnancy or an impending period.

Sudden changes in hormone levels cause headaches in many women.

You may find yourself taking extra trips to the bathroom early on, and throughout, a pregnancy. This is because blood and other fluids increase during pregnancy and must be processed through the kidneys and bladder. As your pregnancy progresses, this can get worse because the growing baby presses on the overworked bladder.

Abdominal bloating may indicate pregnancy. Many women feel a tightening around the waistband long before the uterus begins to expand.

If you are charting your basal body temperature and it stays high for two or three weeks, you may be pregnant.

Read: Pregnancy Week by Week: Week One

Most women won't know right away and most symptoms won't show up until around the time of the first missed period - at least a week or two later. Take a home pregnancy test. Although if taken too early, these can give a false negative (not pregnant) result, they are usually accurate after seven to ten days after a missed period. If after a few days you still don't get your period, you can always test again. Some tests claim to be sensitive enough to detect a pregnancy the day after conception, but these are usually more expensive. If you are unsure make an appointment with your doctor or pregnancy testing center. Early prenatal care is crucial to the health of you and your baby.

If you are pregnant, check out this neat customizable Pregnancy Calendar.

Common Sense Medical Disclaimer:

Just in case you wonder, I'm not a doctor or any other kind of medical expert. I am just an experienced mother. Information contained in this article is intended as an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatment. It is not a substitute for a medical exam, nor does it replace the need for services provided by medical professionals. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any prescription or over the counter drugs (including any herbal medicines or supplements) or following any treatment or regimen. Only your doctor or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for you.


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  • profile image

    Clare 7 years ago

    Informative Hub- a first pregnancy and early symptoms makes a woman's life more beautiful. this hub is worth reading. by reading this article a person is filled with enough info for early symptoms of pregnancy.

  • profile image

    venera 7 years ago

    Thanks Lela! Here is a quick list of 12 Early Pregnancy Signs. It's similar to what you have nicely summarized here, I am only including it, because it has a ranking based on what pregnant women voted on as the most common things:

  • pregnancy test profile image

    pregnancy test 8 years ago

    Learn something new everyday here on hubpages, very cool

  • profile image

    melissa 8 years ago

    I have been tring to become pregnant for 4 month's,I am 2 day;s late,and I have been getting heartburn for the last few day's,could that be a sign of pregnancy?I dident get heartburn with my first child,thank's

  • Grundge Hedgehog profile image

    Grundge Hedgehog 8 years ago from Durban

    Fantastic hub and definitely something worth reading. There really isn't enough info on the net that is as easy to read and informative as this post! Thanks!

  • Moon Daisy profile image

    Moon Daisy 9 years ago from London

    Nice hub! One of my first pregnancy signs was bloating and the widening of my hips at about week 5. I couldn't believe that I could feel this physical increase so early on. Of course, no-one else could notice it, but to me it was a sure sign that I was pregnant!

  • cindyschulson profile image

    cindyschulson 9 years ago from San Diego, CA

    Great hub - thanks! Another sign for me was my young child became very clingy. In fact, someone guessed that I was pregnant before I even knew, based on the way my little one was behaving. That night I did a pregnancy test, and sure enough it was positive. Thanks again

  • Sheila K-R profile image

    Sheila K-R 9 years ago from Australia

    Often morning sicknes can be a sign of toxicity in the mothers body which is trying to be cleared out so as not to be developing a baby in a toxic swamp.

    Reports over the last few years have charted the toxic levels in newborn babies with horrific results, and these levels of toxicity can simply be from the products we breathe, injest and put onto our bodies on a daily basis.

    As an alternative practitioner I often work with small children who have an allergy to the azo dyes in clothing ie red yellow blue and green, and what are most modern clothing and school uniforms made of these days. So consider your new baby when shopping for clothing that bright pink top may look pretty but doesn't necessarily do your child any good. Most ADD ADHD classifications can be avoided by changing the bright coloured clothing and beddin.

    Some children who are classified autistic may simply have an over load of toxins in their bodies from birth, and in most instances these are simple to remove if you know how.

  • profile image

    mpumi mazibuko 9 years ago

    when you used to have sore breast when you will go to period will you still have sore breast when you start to be pragnant

  • mingoville profile image

    mingoville 9 years ago

    Lela such a helpful hub, thanks...most of what you've written, some women takes it forgranted... And it serves as a warning too especially if you have an ectopic pregnancy.

  • profile image

    DairyGodmother 9 years ago

    thanks for the comprehensive list. i was shocked at how early these things happened. i was only a day late and got the sore breasts and dull ache, and within a week could no longer suck in my belly and was tired and making more bathroom trips! Crazy! One more you might add is joint pain -- I got it in my pelvis as the relaxin kicked in. I really can't get over how fast your body starts getting you ready -- I mean couldn't they do the breasts after say 3-4 months?? :-)

  • seamus profile image

    seamus 9 years ago

    Good hub and well written! It was kind of a walk down memory lane for me. =)

  • profile image

    co_word 10 years ago

    durung early pregnancy morning sickness,increased frequency of urination fullness in breasts, amennorhoea of course ,good article .

  • rajgopal profile image

    rajgopal 10 years ago from Diani, Kenya

    Hi Lela,

    What a wonderful article! I am a medical doctor and I was simply impressed by reading such a simple explanation of the facts. Keep it going and looking forward to read all your hubs.

  • bethkiley profile image

    bethkiley 10 years ago

    For me, the tender breasts was always a sure giveaway that I was pregnant days before I actually missed my period. I have a site devoted to helping women with ways to induce labor at home naturally. Come take a look...

  • C.M. Vanderlinden profile image

    C.M. Vanderlinden 10 years ago from Metro Detroit

    Lela, this was a great hub---full of information, exactly the kind of info I would have needed the first time I was pregnant. It's also a great reminder of the symptoms we may have forgotten about if it's been a while since our last pregnancy :-)