Early Pregnancy Symptoms

Medically Reviewed by Poonam Sachdev on August 17, 2023
5 min read

Are you wondering if you might be pregnant? The only way to know for sure is by taking a pregnancy test.

But there are early symptoms of pregnancy that may point to the possibility. Here's what to look for.

Everyone is different. So are their experiences of pregnancy. Not everyone has the same symptoms or even the same symptoms from one pregnancy to the next.

Also, because the early symptoms of pregnancy often mimic the symptoms you might have right before and during menstruation, you may not realize you're pregnant.

What follows is a description of some of the most common early symptoms of pregnancy. These symptoms may be caused by other things besides pregnancy. So the fact that you notice some of them doesn't necessarily mean you're pregnant. The only way to tell for sure is with a pregnancy test.

Implantation bleeding

After the sperm fertilizes the egg, the fertilized egg attaches itself to wall of the uterus. This can cause one of the earliest signs of pregnancy – spotting and, sometimes, cramping.

That's called implantation bleeding. It occurs anywhere from 6 to 12 days after the egg is fertilized.

The cramps resemble period cramps, so some people mistake them and the bleeding for the start of their period. But the bleeding and cramps are slight.

Early pregnancy discharge

Besides bleeding, you might notice a white, milky discharge from your vagina. That's related to the thickening of the vagina's walls, which starts almost right after the sperm fertilizes the egg. The increased growth of cells lining the vagina causes the discharge.

This discharge, which can continue throughout pregnancy, is typically harmless and doesn't require treatment. But if there's also a bad smell or a burning and itching sensation, tell your doctor so they can check to see if you have a yeast infection, bacterial infection, or sexually transmitted disease (STD).


Breast changes are another very early sign of pregnancy. Your hormone levels rapidly change after the egg is fertilized. Because of these changes, your breasts may become swollen, sore, or tingly a week or two later. Or they may feel heavier or fuller or feel tender to the touch. The area around the nipples, called the areola, may also darken.

Other things could cause breast changes. But if the changes are an early symptom of pregnancy, keep in mind that it will take several weeks to get used to the new hormone levels. But when you do, breast pain should ease up.

Feeling very tired is normal in pregnancy, starting early on. You can start feeling unusually fatigued as soon as a week after the egg is fertilized.

It's often related to a high level of a hormone called progesterone, although other things – such as lower levels of blood sugar, lower blood pressure, and a boost in blood production – can all contribute.

If your fatigue is related to pregnancy, it's important to get plenty of rest. Eating foods rich in protein and iron can help offset it.

Morning sickness is a famous symptom of pregnancy. But it doesn't happen to everyone.

The exact cause of morning sickness isn't known, but pregnancy hormones likely contribute. Nausea during pregnancy may happen at any time of the day, but it's most common in the morning.

Also, some people crave, or can't stand, certain foods when they're pregnant. That's also related to hormonal changes. The effect can be so strong that even the thought of what used to be a favorite food could turn your stomach.

It's possible that the nausea, cravings, and food aversions can last for the entire pregnancy. Fortunately, the symptoms lessen for many people around the 13th or 14th week of pregnancy.

In the meantime, be sure to eat a healthy diet so that you and your developing baby get essential nutrients. You can talk to your doctor for advice on that.

The most obvious early symptom of pregnancy – and the one that prompts most people to get a pregnancy test – is a missed period. But not all missed or delayed periods are caused by pregnancy.

Also, you can have some bleeding during pregnancy. If you do, ask your doctor what you should be aware of. For example, when is bleeding normal and when is it a sign of an emergency?

There are reasons besides pregnancy for missing a period. It might be that you gained or lost too much weight. Hormonal problems, fatigue, or stress are other possibilities. You might miss your period when you stop taking birth control pills. But if a period is late and pregnancy is a possible, you may want to get a pregnancy test.

Pregnancy brings changes in your hormonal balance. And that can cause other symptoms that include:

  • Peeing a lot. For many people, this starts around the sixth or eighth week after conception. Although this could be caused by a urinary tract infection, diabetes, or using diuretics, if you're pregnant, it's most likely due to hormone levels.
  • Having a hard time pooping. During pregnancy, higher levels of the hormone progesterone can make you constipated. Progesterone causes food to pass more slowly through your intestines. To ease the problem, drink plenty of water, exercise, and eat plenty of high-fiber foods.
  • Mood swings. These are common, especially during the first trimester. These are also related to changes in hormones.
  • Headaches and back pain. Many people report frequent mild headaches during pregnancy, and others have back pain.
  • Dizziness and fainting. These may be related to dilating blood vessels, lower blood pressure, and lower blood sugar.
  • Nasal congestion. You may get a runny or stuffy nose due to increasing hormone levels and blood production. This can cause your mucous membranes to react by drying out, swelling, or bleeding. 
  • Bloating. Just like at the start of your period, you may feel bloated because of hormonal changes. 

You could have all of these symptoms, or maybe have only one or two. If any become bothersome, talk with your doctor about them so you can make a plan to offset them.

When it comes to having a baby, everyone is unique, but there are some early signs of pregnancy to look for. Early pregnancy symptoms may include missing your period, spotting or cramping, feeling tired, nausea, and more. Pregnancy leads to shifts in hormones that cause many changes. If you think you may be pregnant, take a test, then go to a doctor. 

  • How soon do early pregnancy symptoms start?

Early signs of pregnancy, such as fatigue, can start as soon as a week after the egg is fertilized. 

  • What symptoms do you have at your first week of pregnancy?

One week into pregnancy, you may notice symptoms such as feeling tired, spotting, or having a late period. 

  • What are seven signs of pregnancy?

The signs of pregnancy are different for each person, but seven of them are peeing a lot, bloating, having a hard time pooping, headaches, backaches, changes in your breasts, and mood swings.