Although only pregnancy tests and ultrasounds are the only certain ways on how to know if you’re pregnant, there are some signs and symptoms of pregnancy you can identify during its early stage.
When Do Early Pregnancy Symptoms Start?
Technically, your last menstrual period is considered the 1st week of your pregnancy, even if you were not pregnant yet. To calculate an expected delivery date, you need to use the first day of your last period. Therefore, the first weeks where you did not have any symptoms must also count towards your 40-week pregnancy. Just as there are some signs that labor is nearing, your body uses other signs to let you know your pregnancy has begun.
To establish a pregnancy symptoms timeline, you will be able to read in this article a sequence of the week by week pregnancy symptoms.
Spotting and Cramping
Everything is still on a cellular level during weeks 1 to 4. The blastocyst created by the fertilized egg will develop into the baby’s body. 4 weeks after conception, the blastocyst will implant in the endometrium inside your womb, which could cause implantation bleeding. To identify the implantation bleeding, look up for the following signs:
- Bleeding: While bleeding is usually compared to your regular menstrual period, spotting shows blood only when wiping.
- Pain: Approximately 28% of cases feel pain, which could be mild, moderate, or severe.
- Color: This bleeding could be pink, red, or brown.
- Episodes: It usually lasts up to three days and no treatment is required.
In pregnancy it is recommended to refrain from drinking alcohol, using illicit drugs, or smoking, as these substances will affect your growing baby’s development.
To maintain the pregnancy and stop the release of mature eggs each month, your body will start to produce human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) once implantation is complete. It is highly possible to miss the next period four weeks after conception. However, those women with irregular periods should take a pregnancy test to confirm. Most home tests are able to detect hCG in urine eight days after a missed period.
Raised Body Temperature
Signs and symptoms of pregnancy also might include a slightly higher basal body temperature. During exercise or while being in hot water, it is possible that your body’s temperature increases more easily.
In early pregnancy, fatigue is another common symptom. Due to the high levels of progesterone, you will feel sleepy. Also, as your body temperature gets higher, make sure to keep your bedroom cool to be able to rest.
Faster Heart Rate
Commonly, around weeks 8 to 10 of pregnancy, your heart tends to pump faster and harder due to hormones. Therefore, palpitation is usual during pregnancy.
Between weeks 4 and 6, hormones cause the breasts to become tender and swollen. After a couple of weeks, these changes are likely to go away. Around week 11, hormones can continue to cause the breasts to grow and the areola to become darker and larger. Moreover, acne is among the common signs and symptoms of pregnancy.
Due to the high levels of progesterone and estrogen during pregnancy, you can be more reactive or emotional than usual. Feelings of irritability, euphoria, depression, and anxiety are common mood swings during pregnancy.
Frequent Urination and Incontinence
Besides being a common gynecological issue, incontinence can also appear during pregnancy. Among common signs and symptoms of pregnancy, there is an increase in urination and possible incontinence. As hormones contribute to an increase in the amount of pumped blood, there is more fluid in the bladder as a consequence.
Constipation and Bloating Early Pregnancy
Commonly, due to hormone changes, the digestive system tends to slow down. Therefore, bloating and constipation may occur during the early stages of pregnancy. In order to avoid hemorrhoids, it is important to counteract constipation by using natural remedies such as prune juice or metamucil.
Morning sickness is among the most common signs and symptoms of early pregnancy. It starts around weeks 4 to 6. Regardless of its name, morning sickness can be present during day or night. Many women experience mild to severe nausea and vomiting during the first trimester, and these symptoms tend to worsen towards the end of the first trimester (week 12). Nevertheless, symptoms become less severe and may resolve at the beginning of the second trimester.
Dizziness and High Blood Pressure
In the early stages of most cases of pregnancy, high or normal blood pressure will drop. This might cause dizziness, as the blood vessels dilate. On the other hand, there might be hypertension cases within the first 20 weeks of the pregnancy. Although hypertension is difficult to determine, it is what an OB/GYN does to prevent severe problems during your pregnancy.
Regardless of the lack of scientific evidence, smell sensitivity is another symptom that has been found in the first trimester of pregnancy. As a consequence, nausea, vomiting, and strong distaste for certain foods can occur as well.
Weight Gain and Heartburn
Towards the end of the first trimester, weight gain becomes more common. While the first few months the body usually gains about 1 to 4 pounds, the calorie requirements will increase as pregnancy progresses. Moreover, the presence of hormones leads to a relaxation of the sphincter muscle between the stomach and esophagus, which causes heartburn.
The glossy appearance of skin that people call “pregnancy glow” is caused by the high hormone levels that push more blood through the vessels and increases the activity of the body’s oil glands. Due to this increased oil gland activity, acne could appear too.