The 14 Earliest Pregnancy Symptoms to Look Out For (2022)

You’ve ditched the birth control, started tracking your basal body temperature and have been actively trying to conceive. Now you’re wondering: Are those symptoms you’re experiencing just PMS … or a tip-off that a bun's in the oven?

Before you even take that pregnancy test, you may get a heads-up in the form of some early pregnancy symptoms. But because many of these early signs of pregnancy will be similar to symptoms you have right before you get your period, it can be hard to tell the difference.

While the only way to know for sure that you've got a baby on board is by taking a home pregnancy test (then getting those results confirmed by a doctor), these early symptoms — some of which can occur before a missed period — may provide clues that you’re expecting.

When do pregnancy symptoms start?

Very early pregnancy symptoms (like sensitivity to smell and tender breasts) may show up before you miss your period, as soon as a few days after conception, while other early signs of pregnancy (like spotting) might appear around one week after sperm meets egg. Still others (like urinary frequency) often appear a few weeks or so following conception.

That said, early pregnancy symptoms crop up at different times in different people. You may not notice or be able to confirm other early pregnancy symptoms for a few weeks. Some experience very few (if any) of these signs until several weeks into their pregnancies. And though many women never feel any early pregnancy symptoms, others suffer from them all.

If you've missed your period and are experiencing fatigue, morning sickness, spotting and tender breasts, you may just want to grab yourself a home pregnancy test — and then drop by the doctor’s for a blood test or ultrasound to confirm it.

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Early signs of pregnancy before a missed period

While pregnancy tests and your practitioner can offer definitive answers, these early pregnancy symptoms may be clues that you're expecting.

Keep in mind, just because you’ve experienced some of these symptoms doesn’t mean you’re pregnant. You could also have none of them at all and still go on to have a perfectly healthy pregnancy.

Although every woman is different, these early symptoms can first appear before you even miss your period.

Raised basal body temperature

If you've been using a special basal body thermometer to track your first morning temperature, you might notice that it rises around 1 degree when you conceive and stays elevated throughout your pregnancy.

Though not a foolproof early pregnancy symptom (there are other reasons your temp can rise), it could give you advance notice of the big news.

Smell sensitivity

A heightened sense of smell is an early pregnancy symptom that makes previously mild odors strong and unappealing. Since it's one of the first symptoms of pregnancy many women report, babies might be in the air if your sniffer's suddenly more sensitive and easily offended.

Breast changes

Tender, swollen breasts and darkening, bumpy areolas are among the breast changes you might experience early in pregnancy. The hormones estrogen and progesterone deserve most of the credit (or the blame) for this early pregnancy symptom. The breast tenderness is pain with a gain, though, since it's part of your body's preparation for the milk-making to come.

Your areolas (the circles around your nipples) may get darker and increase in diameter. You'll also likely start to notice tiny bumps growing in size and number on your areolas. These bumps, called Montgomery's tubercles, were always there, but now they're gearing up to produce more oils that lubricate your nipples once baby starts nursing.

Fatigue

Imagine climbing a mountain without training while carrying a backpack that weighs a little more every day. That's pregnancy in a nutshell! In other words, it's hard work, which is why fatigue is an early pregnancy symptom almost every mom-to-be experiences.

When you get pregnant, a huge amount of energy goes into building a placenta, the life-support system for your baby. All that can zap you of your usual get-up-and-go, and cause pregnancy fatigue shortly after you conceive.

Implantation bleeding

It’s possible to have light spotting and be pregnant. In fact, some newly expectant moms experience what’s known as implantation bleeding six to 12 days after conception.

Light spotting or implantation bleeding before you'd expect your period is sometimes an early pregnancy symptom signaling that an embryo hasimplanted itself into the uterine wall, which may be accompanied by menstrual-like cramps.

Here’s how to tell it’s implantation bleeding and not your period: Implantation bleeding is usually medium pink or light brown — it’s rarely period-red. It’s also spotty (much lighter than your period) and not continuous, lasting a few hours to a few days.

Spotting, however, can sometimes be a mid-cycle blip before your usual period, especially if you have an irregular or disrupted cycle. Mid-cycle brown discharge may also happen when you’re not pregnant because you’re reacting to a vaginal exam, a Pap smear or rough sex.

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Changes in cervical mucus

Have you become a student of your cervical mucus? Then check it out now: If it becomes creamy and stays that way after ovulation, it’s a good sign you’ll have a positive pregnancy test.

As your pregnancy progresses, you’ll also notice increased vaginal discharge, called leukorrhea. This thin, milky-white discharge is normal and healthy, but speak to your practitioner if it appears lumpy or thick.

Frequent urination

Two to three weeks after conception you may notice an increased need to pee. This new gotta-go feeling is due to the pregnancy hormone hCG, which increases blood flow to your kidneys, helping them to more efficiently rid your body (and, eventually, your baby's body) of waste.

Your growing uterus is also beginning to put some pressure on your bladder, leaving less storage space for urine and making you head for the toilet more frequently.

Mood swings

Yet again, blame those pregnancy-related hormonal changes for the mood swings you may be experiencingonce you're expecting. As early as 4 weeks into your pregnancy, you may feel a PMS-style moodiness; later in the first trimester and often throughout the rest of pregnancy, you could be up one minute and anxious or down the next.

Aside from pregnancy hormones running amok, your life is about to change in a big way, so it's completely normal for your moods to go haywire. Do what you can to give yourself a break, eat well, get enough sleep and pamper yourself.

Other early signs of pregnancy

These early pregnancy symptoms tend to appear around or after the time that you miss your period, usually sometime between weeks 4 and 9. But again, every woman and every pregnancy is different, so you may not experience these symptoms at all, while other moms-to-be may notice them a little earlier.

Missed period

It might be stating the obvious, but if you've missed a period (especially if your periods usually run like clockwork), you're probably suspecting pregnancy, and for good reason. A missed period is one early pregnancy symptom all expectant moms experience!

Bloating

Having trouble buttoning your jeans? Early pregnancy bloating is hard to distinguish from pre-period bloat, but it's an early pregnancy symptom that many women feel soon after they conceive.

You can't blame that puffy, ate-too-much feeling on your baby yet, but you can blame it on the hormone progesterone, which helps slow down digestion, giving the nutrients from foods you eat more time to enter your bloodstream and reach your baby.

Unfortunately, bloating is often accompanied by constipation. Getting the right amount of fiber in your diet can help keep you regular.

Heartburn and indigestion

For many women, heartburn is a frustrating symptom that can appear sometime around month 2 of pregnancy. It’s caused by the hormones progesterone and relaxin, which relax smooth muscle tissues throughout your body, resulting in food moving more slowly through your gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

Medications like Tums and Rolaids can help, as can chewing sugarless gum.

Morning sickness or nausea

That telltale, queasy feeling known as morning sickness can hit you at any time of day — and it typically begins when you're about 6 weeks pregnant, though it can vary and strike even earlier. For most women,nausea starts by week 9.

Hormones, mainly increased levels of progesterone (though estrogen and hCG can also take some credit), can cause the stomach to empty more slowly, resulting in this early pregnancy symptom resembling seasickness.

Food aversions

Your extra-sensitive nose may be responsible for another early sign of pregnancy: food aversions, where the thought, sight or smell of certain foods you normally like can turn your stomach (or worse, contribute to your morning sickness).

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This early pregnancy symptom can be triggered by anything from chicken (a common one) to something seemingly more benign, like salad.

Though this isn't usually one of the very first signs of pregnancy, it does tend to pop up in the first trimester. Blame those pregnancy hormones again, especially early on when your body is flooded with them and still getting used to all the hormonal changes. Don't worry: This early pregnancy symptom often passes by the second trimester, when things have settled down in there.

Excess saliva

Also called ptyalism gravidarum, some moms-to-be experience saliva build-up early in pregnancy. This symptom usually starts sometime in the first trimester, and is thought to be your body’s way of protecting your mouth, teeth and throat from the corrosive effects of stomach acid.

Early pregnancy symptoms vs. PMS: What’s the difference?

Most early pregnancy symptoms before your period are strikingly similar to the side effects of PMS. However, you’ll only notice changes in your areolas (they’ll look darker, wider and bumpy) if you’re pregnant. A consistently elevated BBT and creamy vaginal discharge post-ovulation are also both relatively reliable signs of conception, but they’re certainly not foolproof.

Otherwise, the only way to know if other early pregnancy symptoms (nausea, tender breasts, fatigue, bloating, sensitivity to smell, etc.) are due to a baby or PMS is to hold out until you can take a pregnancy test.

When can I take a home pregnancy test?

Although you may start to feel early pregnancy symptoms before your period, most women have to wait for an average of two weeks from the time they ovulate for a positive home pregnancy test result. Home pregnancy tests measure levels ofhuman chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine.

This placenta-produced hormone makes its way into your urine almost immediately after an embryo begins implanting in your uterus, between six to 12 days after fertilization. You can start using most home pregnancy tests as soon as hCG can be detected in your urine — and hCG levels usually aren’t high enough to be picked up by a home pregnancy test until your period’s expected.

Can’t wait until then? Some HPTs promise 60 to 75 percent accuracy four to five days before you expect your period. Wait until your period and the rate jumps to 90 percent; wait another week and the results are 99 percent accurate.

Know that false negatives are much more common than false positives, so if the time for your period comes and goes without your monthly flow, check in with your health care provider. Either way, you’ll want to get a blood test to confirm your pregnancy status.

No matter what symptoms you're having, the only way to know for sure that you're pregnant is to make an appointment with your OB/GYN.

Be sure toschedule your first prenatal visit as early as you can so you can get the best care possible right from the start if it does turn out that you're experiencing early pregnancy symptoms. And if you are expecting a baby, congratulations! You're embarking on the journey of a lifetime.

Frequently Asked Questions

How early do pregnancy symptoms start?

Very early pregnancy symptoms may show up before you miss your period.

What would early pregnancy feel like?

Very early pregnancy symptoms (like sensitivity to smell and tender breasts) may show up before you miss your period, as soon as a few days after conception, while other early signs of pregnancy (like spotting) might appear around one week after sperm meets egg. Still others (like urinary frequency) often appear a few weeks or so following conception.

From the What to Expect editorial team andHeidi Murkoff,author ofWhat to Expect When You're Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading ourmedical review and editorial policy.

FAQs

What are the 14 early signs of pregnancy? ›

14 Pregnancy Symptoms To Watch For
  • 1) Spotting And Cramping. As you know, spotting and cramping occur at the beginning of your cycle. ...
  • 2) Breast Changes. ...
  • 3) Fatigue. ...
  • 4) Nausea. ...
  • 5) Food Cravings Or Aversions. ...
  • 6) Missed Period. ...
  • 7) Frequent Urination. ...
  • 8) Constipation And Bloating.

How do you feel 14 days after conception? ›

14 DPO is a significant milestone when you're trying to conceive. At 14 days past ovulation, your hCG is likely high enough to cause pregnancy symptoms. Some of these symptoms include mild abdominal cramping along with implantation bleeding, fatigue, tender and sore breasts, and food cravings and aversions.

What symptoms should I look for in early pregnancy? ›

Early in pregnancy hormonal changes might make your breasts sensitive and sore. The discomfort will likely decrease after a few weeks as your body adjusts to hormonal changes. Nausea with or without vomiting.

How does your lower stomach feel in early pregnancy? ›

Lower abdominal pain is normal during pregnancy and is most common between 18 and 24 weeks. Your growing uterus is pulling and straining the muscles that support it. You may feel sharp pains or just a mild pulling sensation. It often occurs when you cough, sneeze, stand up, sit down, roll over, or during sex.

What is finger test in pregnancy? ›

It's possible to check the position and firmness of your cervix at home. You can do this by inserting a finger into your vagina to feel for the cervix. Your middle finger may be the most effective finger to use because it's the longest, but use whichever finger is easiest for you.

What should you not do before pregnancy test? ›

Don't drink too much water, or any liquid, before taking a pregnancy test. Excess fluids can impact the accuracy of the test results, so if your urine is diluted or pale yellow, hold off on taking a test. Diluted urine tends to also have diluted hCG levels which can skew the test results.

How soon will a pregnancy test read positive? ›

In many cases, you might get a positive from an at-home test as early as 10 days after conception. For a more accurate result, wait until after you've missed your period to take a test. Remember, if you take a test too soon it could be negative even if you are pregnant.

How do you know if implantation is successful? ›

Signs Your Embryo Transfer May Have Been Successful
  • Spotting.
  • Cramping.
  • Sore breasts.
  • Tiredness.
  • Nausea.
  • Bloating.
  • Discharge.
  • Increased urination.
29 May 2020

When do you feel weird in early pregnancy? ›

Hormone-induced mood swings can bring on a lot of feelings starting at week five. Your emotions may change from happy to depressed to angry for no conceivable reason. Other early pregnancy symptoms—like fatigue, breast tenderness, and even nausea—can kick in this early too.

What were your weird early pregnancy symptoms? ›

Weird Early Pregnancy Symptoms No One Tells You About
  • Overheating.
  • Headaches, cramping, and urge to pee.
  • Dizziness.
  • Constipation.
  • False periods.
  • Colds and flu.
  • Heartburn.
  • Mood swings.

Where do pregnancy pimples appear? ›

Where is pregnancy acne located? There is no specific place for pregnancy acne to appear. Commonly, they surface up on your face, chin, neck, chest, and back. These may also occur at any other body part or in places you've never had pimples before.

Does acne on chin mean pregnancy? ›

Hormonal acne typically occurs during a certain point in the menstrual cycle, often the week before your period. 1 These breakouts usually appear on the jawline or chin. Some hormones level out during the course of pregnancy, which can help acne. This is not always the case, though.

When do pregnancy cramps start? ›

It occurs anywhere from six to 12 days after the egg is fertilized. The cramps resemble menstrual cramps, so some women mistake them and the bleeding for the start of their period.

What kind of cramps indicate pregnancy? ›

“Early on in your pregnancy, it's natural to feel some mild cramping in your lower abdomen at infrequent times as your body prepares for your growing baby,” Dr. Nalla said. As your belly grows, so does your uterus. This may cause you to feel some slight pulling, tugging or stretching similar to menstrual cramps.

What pains are normal in early pregnancy? ›

Cramps, a bit like period pains, are very common in early pregnancy. These are usually caused by changes in your hormones and by your growing womb. Sometimes stomach pains in early pregnancy can be a sign of something more serious.

What is 2 finger in pregnancy? ›

A Fully Dilated Cervix

This means that when your cervix is measured with two fingers, they can be stretched 10 centimeters across. When you're fully dilated, it's time to push and have a baby.

What are the 70 early signs of pregnancy? ›

70 early signs of pregnancy in Indian mothers- <br/>The most comprehensive guide
  • nausea or bloating.
  • early morning vomiting.
  • tender breasts or nipples.
  • higher body temperature than usual.
  • frequent urination.
  • headaches.

What can throw off a pregnancy test? ›

Read on to learn more about false positives on home pregnancy tests.
  • Chemical pregnancy. It's possible to have a positive pregnancy test even if you aren't technically pregnant. ...
  • Ectopic pregnancy. ...
  • Recent miscarriage or abortion. ...
  • User error. ...
  • Evaporation lines. ...
  • Medications. ...
  • Certain medical conditions.
11 May 2017

Is it better to dip or pee on a pregnancy test? ›

Should I dip my home pregnancy test in urine, or pee on it? Most tests allow you to either place the absorbent tip in your urine stream for (usually) five seconds or dip the tip in a collected urine sample for five to 20 seconds. Accuracy is not dependent on the method as long as you follow the instructions.

Can too much pee on a pregnancy test make it negative? ›

Yes! Drinking too much water — or any liquid — can affect a pregnancy test. The hormone hCG is more concentrated in your urine first thing in the morning. If you haven't missed your period yet, your hCG level may not be high enough to be detected in more diluted urine.

How long does it take for hCG to show up in urine? ›

hCG is a hormone produced by your placenta when you are pregnant. It appears shortly after the embryo attaches to the wall of the uterus. If you are pregnant, this hormone increases very rapidly. If you have a 28 day menstrual cycle, you can detect hCG in your urine 12-15 days after ovulation.

How long do implantation cramps last? ›

The duration of implantation cramping varies from person to person but doesn't last longer than a few days. Some people experience a few minor twinges over a few hours or the course of a day. On the other end of the spectrum, some experience intermittent cramping that comes and goes over one to three days.

What should you not do during implantation? ›

It's recommended that you avoid strenuous physical activities like heavy weight-lifting or high-impact cardio during your two-week wait as it could lead to uterine contractions and affect the implantation process. After the first few days of our waiting period, you can do some light exercising like walking or swimming.

Where do implantation cramps hurt? ›

Usually, the sensations can be felt in the lower back, lower abdomen, or even the pelvic area. Although only one of your ovaries releases an egg, the cramping is caused by its implantation in the uterus—so you can expect to feel it more in the middle of your body than just on one side.

What does discharge look like after successful implantation? ›

Cervical mucus after conception

After implantation (when a fertilized egg attaches to your uterus), mucus tends to be clear, thick, and gummy. Some people experience implantation bleeding, or spotting, which can occur 6 to 12 days after conception. This bleeding is typically lighter in color than menstrual blood.

What does pregnancy fatigue feel like? ›

Women who usually need only 6 hours of sleep at night often find they need nearly double that during these first weeks of pregnancy. And for others, daytime tiredness is paired with trouble sleeping deeply or for more than a few hours at night. Nausea and vomiting can also be a big drain on your energy.

Do you feel wet in early pregnancy? ›

During early pregnancy, changes in cervical mucus can be subtle. There is usually an increase in the amount of cervical discharge. However, the change may be so slight that it may be barely noticeable. Early on in a pregnancy, you may feel more wetness in your underwear than usual.

When do nipples start hurting when pregnant? ›

Breast pain is often the first symptom of pregnancy, occurring as early as one to two weeks after conception — technically, weeks three and four of pregnancy. That sore boob sensation peaks in the first trimester because your body is flooding with hormones.

What does discharge look like early pregnancy? ›

What does it look like? Healthy vaginal discharge during pregnancy is called leukorrhea. It is similar to everyday discharge, meaning that it is thin, clear or milky white, and smells only mildly or not at all. However, pregnancy can cause the amount of discharge to increase.

How do I know if I'm pregnant? ›

Pregnancy tests work by detecting a certain level of human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) in your pee. You can take a pregnancy test as soon as you've missed your period. However, it's best to wait at least one week after you've missed your period to get the most accurate results.

What is pregnancy glow? ›

What is pregnancy glow? Pregnancy glow refers to skin that looks luminous or rosy cheeks that give you a radiant, slightly flushed look. During pregnancy, the amount of blood in your body increases by about 50 percent, making your skin look brighter.

Does your face change in early pregnancy? ›

Some pregnant women develop dark irregular patches on their face most commonly on the upper cheek, nose, lips, and forehead. This is called 'chloasma'. It is also sometimes known as 'melasma' or the 'mask of pregnancy'.

What color is pregnancy acne? ›

Pregnancy acne. Hormones are especially responsible for a particularly unpleasant kind of skin eruption known as PUPPP (pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy), or bumpy skin lesions that can resemble skin-colored to pink or dark bumps.

How early can you feel pregnant? ›

When do pregnancy symptoms start? Very early pregnancy symptoms (like sensitivity to smell and tender breasts) may show up before you miss your period, as soon as a few days after conception, while other early signs of pregnancy (like spotting) might appear around one week after sperm meets egg.

When do pregnancy cravings start? ›

If you do start having cravings, it'll probably be in your first trimester (it could be as early as 5 weeks into pregnancy). They'll get stronger in your second trimester, and then eventually stop in your third trimester. Cravings come in all shapes and sizes. Some women crave fatty foods like chips.

What are positive signs of implantation? ›

Some women do notice signs and symptoms that implantation has occurred. Signs may include light bleeding, cramping, nausea, bloating, sore breasts, headaches, mood swings, and possibly a change in basal body temperature. But — and here's the frustrating part — many of these signs are very similar to PMS.

Do you get extra hungry in early pregnancy? ›

An increased appetite during pregnancy is very common. From early pregnancy, changes in your hormones can make you feel hungry at any time. Eating plenty of fibre-rich food and drinking lots of fluids during the day can help you feel fuller for longer.

What does early pregnancy hunger feel like? ›

Because your body needs MORE nutrition and calories to support these changes, it is very common to have periods of time in pregnancy where your stomach might feel like a bottomless pit. Even if this hunger seems more intense than anything you've ever experienced before, it is not something to fear.

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