Early Signs of Pregnancy: Symptoms to Expect in First Stages

LAST MODIFIED: Thursday, April 25, 2019
Woman making love heart shape on pregnant belly

Although various symptoms can be associated with the early stages of pregnancy, every woman and every pregnancy is unique.

You may experience a combination of the symptoms of early pregnancy and sometimes, the symptoms are so subtle that they’re almost unnoticeable.

You may even experience all these symptoms without being pregnant at all. The only way to be absolutely certain is by having a pregnancy test.

However, the following symptoms indicate that you may be in the early stages of pregnancy.


Early Symptoms of Pregnancy

Implantation Bleeding

6- 12 days after fertilization, the egg anchors itself in the uterus. This often causes light ‘spotting’ or mild cramping that is similar to menstrual pain. At the same time, the walls of the vagina begin to thicken, preparing the vagina for the birth process. This continues throughout the term of the pregnancy and may result in a white discharge. However, if the discharge is accompanied by discomfort and a bad odor, a yeast infection or bacterial infection could be to blame.


Breast pain, sensitivity and changes in appearance

As soon as conception takes place, your hormonal balance begins to change. Within a week, some women experience sensitivity, swollen breasts or pain in the breasts. The areola around the nipples may become darker. Of course, there are other reasons for breast changes that are not pregnancy-related, but if you are pregnant, your body will become used to its new hormone balance within a few weeks and any discomfort should ease.


Decreased energy and fatigue

The physical changes that begin to take place after conception can leave a pregnant woman feeling drained and exhausted. This symptom can manifest within as little as a week after conception. Usually, fatigue is related to increased progesterone production, but it could also be related to your blood pressure or blood sugar level. Eat protein rich foods and ensure that your diet includes plenty of iron.


Morning sickness

The good news is that not everyone experiences morning sickness during pregnancy. The bad news? If you do experience morning sickness, it can happen at any time of the day. Although some women experience this symptom throughout their pregnancy, it usually becomes less acute after the 13th to 14th week. Although you might not feel much like eating, ensure that you get a healthy, balanced diet.


Skipped period

Once again, it’s important to remember that a skipped period doesn’t necessarily mean that you are pregnant. If you’ve recently been through a stressful time, are approaching menopause or have gained or lost a lot of weight, you may skip a period. Still, it’s a good indication that a pregnancy test might be in order and you may want to discuss other potential reasons with your doctor if you aren’t pregnant.


Other symptoms

Many of these symptoms are ambiguous and could have a number of causes, however, the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy may cause the need to urinate frequently, constipation, mood swings, headache, back pain or light-headedness and fainting.


When to see your doctor

If you believe that you may be pregnant, you can use a home pregnancy testing kit, but nothing’s as accurate as the pregnancy testing that your doctor can conduct. Since your symptoms could be caused by a number of factors, you should see your doctor if they persist or become uncomfortable.