Pregnancy symptoms and early signs of pregnancy in weeks 1-8 (2024)

Are you pregnant? Some early signs of pregnancy may show up around the time you've missed a period – or a week or two before or after.

Pregnancy symptoms are different for every woman, and they can even be different from one pregnancy to the next. Symptoms start at different times, too: Some women feel early pregnancy symptoms within a week or two of getting pregnant, while other women may go months withno pregnancy symptoms. The only way to know you're pregnant for sure is to take a pregnancy test.

"Pregnancy symptoms can be very subjective," says Layan Alrahmani, M.D.Opens a new window, a board-certified ob-gyn and maternal-fetal medicine specialist, clinical faculty and assistant professor atLoyola UniversityOpens a new window in Chicago, and member of the BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board. "You can have a healthy pregnancy whether you have symptoms or not."

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That said, there are some first signs and symptoms of pregnancy that are common very early on. They're likely caused by a surge in the pregnancy hormone human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), as well as rises in estrogen and progesterone.

Early signs and symptoms of pregnancy

Early pregnancy symptoms can be subtle.You may notice your breasts feel different when you put on your bra or that you're making extra trips to the bathroom. On the other hand, you may feel downright exhausted or unmistakably queasy.

If you start to feel some of the early pregnancy symptoms below, you may very well be pregnant. Here are some of the first signs and symptoms of pregnancy.

Missed period

If you're usually pretty regular and your period is late, this may be the first and most obvious sign that you're pregnant. But if you have irregular periods or you're not keeping track of yourmenstrual cycle, other symptoms may be your first clues about a possible pregnancy. And some women feel early pregnancy symptoms before they miss a period.

Frequent urination

Shortly after you become pregnant, hormonal changes prompt a chain of events that raise the rate of blood flow through your kidneys. This causes your bladder to fill more quickly, so you need to pee more often.

Frequent urination will continue – or intensify – as your pregnancy progresses. Your blood volume rises dramatically during pregnancy, which leads to extra fluid being processed and ending up in your bladder.

Fatigue

Feeling tired all of a sudden? No, make that exhausted. No one knows for sure what causes early pregnancy fatigue, but it's possible that rapidly increasing levels of progesterone are to blame. Of course, morning sickness and having to pee constantly during the night can add to your tiredness, too.

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You should start to feel more energetic once you hit your second trimester, although fatigue usually returns late in pregnancy when you're carrying more weight and some of the common discomforts of pregnancy make it more difficult to get a good night's sleep.

Breast changes

One common early pregnancy symptom is sensitive, swollen breasts caused by rising levels of hormones. The soreness and swelling may feel like an exaggerated version of how your breasts feel before your period. Your discomfort should diminish significantly after the first trimester, as your body adjusts to the hormonal changes.

Nausea and vomiting

Morning sickness can start as early as two weeks after conception – so it may be the first pregnancy symptom you notice. And it's not just in the morning, either: Pregnancy-related nausea (with or without vomiting) can be a problem morning, noon, or night.

"Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy usually doesn't harm the fetus," says the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)Opens a new window," but it can affect your life, including your ability to work or go about your normal everyday activities. There are safe treatment options that can make you feel better and keep your symptoms from getting worse."

Pregnancy nausea may be accompanied by indigestion, food aversions, a heightened sense of smell, a metallic taste in your mouth, and excess saliva.

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Implantation bleeding or spotting

If you're pregnant, you expect a break from your period – so seeing spotting or vagin*l bleeding can be an unwelcome surprise. But it's not rare: About 1 in 4 women have spotting or light bleeding during the first trimester.

If you notice light spotting around the time your period is due, it could beimplantation bleeding. This can be caused by the fertilized egg settling into the lining of your uterus.

Note: Spotting or light bleeding during the first trimester is often nothing to worry about, but sometimes it's a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. If your bleeding is severe or accompanied by pain or lightheadedness, or if you're at all concerned, call your doctor or midwife.

Cramping

Like spotting or bleeding, cramping is a confusing early pregnancy symptom – because it can make you feel like your period's starting. But you may actually be having implantation cramps, which occur when the fertilized egg implants in your uterus. You'll be able to tell it's implantation cramping and bleeding (and not your period) because it will be less than a normal period, and last just a day or two.

Constipation

If you're newly pregnant, constipation can be an early symptom. It's caused by an increase in progesterone, which relaxes smooth muscles throughout the body, including the digestive tract. This means that food passes through the intestines more slowly.

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Mood swings

It's common to have mood swings during pregnancy, partly because of hormonal changes that affect neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain). Everyone responds differently to these changes. Some moms-to-be experience heightened emotions, both good and bad, while others feel more depressed or anxious.

Note: If you've been feeling sad or hopeless or unable to cope with your daily responsibilities, call your healthcare provider or a mental health professional right away. If you have thoughts of harming yourself, call or text the National Suicide Prevention LifelineOpens a new window at 988, or call 911.

Abdominal bloating

Hormonal changes in early pregnancy may leave you feeling bloated, similar to the feeling some women have just before their period. That's why your clothes may feel more snug than usual at the waistline, even early on when your uterus is still quite small.

You can track these symptoms and more each day with the BabyCenter appOpens a new window.

When do pregnancy symptoms start?

Pregnancy symptoms are different for every woman (and even every pregnancy). Some women feel the first twinges of pregnancy a week or two after conceiving, while others don't feel any different for a few months.

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In the best studyOpens a new window on this question to date, 136 women who were trying to get pregnant kept daily records of their symptoms from the time they stopped using birth control until they were 8 weeks pregnant. (That's counting eight weeks from the first day of their last menstrual period.) The results:

  • 50 percent had some pregnancy symptoms by 5 weeks pregnant
  • 70 percent had pregnancy symptoms by 6 weeks pregnant
  • 90 percent had pregnancy symptoms by 8 weeks pregnant

The first sign of pregnancy was usually a missed period. The most common symptoms to follow were nausea and vomiting, fatigue, frequent urination, and breast tenderness and swelling.

By 8 weeks pregnant, women reported some additional pregnancy symptoms:

  • Heartburn
  • Nasal congestion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Spider veins
  • Itchiness
  • Areas of darker skin (on the face, abdomen, or areolas)

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Other symptoms that pop up throughout pregnancy include:

  • Forgetfulness
  • Dizziness
  • Food cravings
  • Increased appetite
  • Lower back pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Rashes
  • Glowing skin
  • Hair and nail changes
  • Leaking breasts
  • Pelvic pain
  • Sciatica
  • Pubic symphysis dysfunction
  • Swelling
  • Vision changes
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Clumsiness
  • Nosebleeds
  • Increased vagin*l discharge

When should I take a pregnancy test?

Some home pregnancy tests claim they're sensitive enough to give a positive result as early as five days before you would expect your period. But you're more likely to get an accurate result if you wait to test until after the first day of your missed period. If you test too early, you may get a false negative pregnancy test or an unclear result like a faint line.

If you test and get a negative result, but still have pregnancy symptoms and/or no period, try again in a few days. Test first thing in the morning, when your urine is more concentrated. Home pregnancy tests measure the amount of human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. During early pregnancy, hCG levels typically double every two to three days.

"Remember that conception happens before a missed period or any other symptoms develop, so it's crucial to work on optimizing your health and taking a prenatal vitamin before trying to conceive," says Dr. Alrahmani. If you haven't already, start taking a dailyprenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid.

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Once you've gotten a positive pregnancy test result, make your first prenatal appointment. Good prenatal care is essential for you and your baby. If you don't have a doctor or a midwife to care for you during pregnancy, start asking for recommendations and see who's covered by your insurance. There's financial help for pregnant women and families who don't have health insurance or need low-cost prenatal care.

You can also head over to our pregnancy area for all of our pregnancy articles and tools, including our Due Date Calculator. Plus, check out amazing pictures of how your baby develops during your pregnancy week by week. Also, don't forget todownload our free pregnancy and baby app. Congratulations!

Pregnancy symptoms and early signs of pregnancy in weeks 1-8 (2024)
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