You’ve just got that feeling. You’re certain the sperm has met the egg, but you want to know for sure. Waiting those ten days after ovulation to take a home pregnancy test can be brutal! Read on to learn about 15 of the early signs of pregnancy to look out for.
Signs of pregnancy with bestselling author Genevieve Howland
Watch Genevieve unpack the 15 earliest (and weirdest) signs of pregnancy and pregnancy symptoms in this video overview.
15 early signs of pregnancy
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Think you may be pregnant? Take our Am I Pregnant Quiz and find out instantly!
Signs of Pregnancy #1:
Changes in your breasts
Maybe you’ve noticed your breasts are swollen, tender and sore. Or perhaps your nipples are darkening and protruding in preparation for breastfeeding. Your areolas may also get larger.
For some women, breast tenderness in early pregnancy feels suspiciously like the usual symptoms of PMS, but for others, it’s distinctly different.
“The earliest signs of pregnancy for me was that my nipples started to look like my mother’s,” says Ilana, now a mama of three.
Pregnancy Symptoms #2:
If you find yourself getting up routinely at night for trips to the bathroom, it could be an early sign that a fertilized egg has begun implantation on the uterine wall.
The hCG hormone—sometimes called “pregnancy hormone”—often triggers frequent urges to pee even while the embryo is still very tiny and there’s no real pressure on your bladder from a growing baby. Not yet, anyway.
First Symptoms of Pregnancy #3:
Call it morning sickness or all day sickness, but either way, nausea is a reality for many women in early pregnancy. About 50% of women will have vomiting along with nausea during their first trimester.
While nausea may be one of the very early signs of pregnancy, most women don’t experience vomiting until two weeks to two months after conception. For the majority of pregnant mamas, queasiness and vomiting will subside by the second trimester as production of the powerful hCG hormone plateaus.
Pregnancy Symptoms #4:
Fatigue and exhaustion
At conception, progesterone levels begin to rise rapidly and will continue to do so throughout your first trimester. Progesterone is the hormonal sustenance of pregnancy, preventing uterine contractions and inhibiting early immune responses.
The downside? The sudden uptick in progesterone during early pregnancy may leave you utterly exhausted.
Signs of Pregnancy #5:
With a tide of progesterone at work to keep your immune system from attacking the new (and foreign) DNA inside the body, it’s common for viruses and bacteria to use this opportunity to set up shop. A cold that would have been no biggie before pregnancy might knock you down after conception.
Check out these natural cough and cold remedies to fight off a cold during pregnancy.
Early Signs of Pregnancy #6:
Puffy and sore gums
With the immune system at bay, mouth bacteria might also begin to flourish. Plus, as your body builds blood volume and fluid levels to nourish baby, you may already have tissue swelling (including your gums!)
Be aware of inflamed, sore or bleeding gums, or puffy eyes and face, as one of the early signs of pregnancy.
Pregnancy Symptoms #7:
Early signs of pregnancy discharge
If you’ve been keeping track of your menstrual cycle as you prepare for pregnancy, you already know that cervical mucus, or discharge, increases and thickens during ovulation to help carry sperm to meet the egg. In a cycle without conception, the stretchy cervical mucus will dry up within 24 hours of ovulation.
But if conception has occurred, then this cervical mucus will continue to be produced for multiple days after the date of ovulation. This mucus will actually continue on some level throughout your entire pregnancy as it keeps the vagina clean and reduces the chances of bad bacteria approaching your baby.
The difference is subtle, but for women who know their cycles and bodies well, it’s one of the first signs of pregnancy.
Early signs of pregnancy #8:
Cramping and bloating
Don’t despair if you feel these classic symptoms of PMS while you’re hoping for a positive pregnancy test result. Implantation of the egg on the uterine wall can create the very same premenstrual symptoms but without your true period ever arriving.
Many women experience mild early signs of pregnancy, like uterine cramping, as the egg implants, which can extend to a mild backache and abdominal bloating.
Signs You’re Pregnant #9:
As the fertilized egg implants deeper into the thick uterine lining, you may experience several days of light bleeding. In fact, about 25-30% of pregnant women have spotting during the first few days of pregnancy.
Because implantation will likely occur around the time of your period during a regular menstrual cycle, you may mistake these few days of light bleeding for an actual period. Early pregnancy spotting, however, will be brownish or light pink in color and will not be enough to fill a pad or tampon.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms #10:
Food sensitivity and aversion
If you’re experiencing nausea, food aversion tends to just come with the territory. (Rethinking that beloved spicy kimchi?) But even without early pregnancy queasiness, you may find that your morning Joe no longer seem appealing, while other foods and drinks suddenly hit the spot.
Hormone fluctuations around the time of conception and throughout early pregnancy can trigger cravings for some foods and sensitivity to others.
Pregnancy Symptoms #11:
Perhaps the weirdest early pregnancy symptom is a persistent metallic taste in the mouth that lingers even after eating food. Many women have reported this early sign of pregnancy without understanding where it came from or why it was happening.
But tasting pennies or aluminum is a true side effect of the hormonal shifts that are taking place in your body.
That metallic taste even has a medical name: dysgeusia. Estrogen levels have a remarkable effect on our sense of taste, and until hormone production stabilizes in the second trimester, that metallic taste might be here to stay.
Signs You Are Pregnant #12:
Freezing cold? Burning hot? Feeling just… strange? With all the hormonal changes of conception and early pregnancy, it’s no wonder that you might be feeling a bit off. If you know your body well, you’ll likely feel real changes in your sensory organs and your body’s internal thermostat soon after conception.
Very Early Symptoms of Pregnancy #13:
Are you all of a sudden drooling like Pavlov’s dog? What gives? Well, ptyalism gravidarum, the medical term for excess saliva is usually caused by the beginnings of morning sickness, acid reflux or heartburn, which are all very common pregnancy symptoms.
Progesterone relaxes the muscles in our body, which can cause the valve that closes the esophagus off from the stomach to stay slightly ajar. As a result, stomach acid can make its way north, leading to heartburn or acid reflux. Try sipping a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in 1/2 cup of water before meals to ease indigestion and help tame the saliva flow.
Additionally, progesterone can slow down digestion and the bowels (fun times!)
Pregnancy Symptoms #14:
Well, progesterone again is to blame for this lovely pregnancy symptom because it can slow down your bowels and their peristalsis movement. Be sure to drink enough water (1/2 your body weight in ounces) and boost your magnesium-rich foods. I also love this simple diet trick to get the bowels flowing with ease.
Signs You Are Pregnant #15:
If you’ve made it this far in the list, then you know, above all, early pregnancy means huge hormone fluctuations as your body begins the enormous process of growing a baby. So perhaps the least surprising of all these signs of pregnancy is the change in your mood and emotions. It’s totally natural if you find yourself feeling hormonal during this time.
Think you may be pregnant? Take our Am I Pregnant Quiz and find out instantly!
What’s Behind These Pregnancy Symptoms?
Peeing on a chemically prepared stick from the drugstore is the fastest and most convenient way to detect the presence of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), or “the pregnancy hormone” in your urine. When you have a pregnancy blood test at the doctor’s office a few weeks later, they’re actually testing for the same hormone’s presence in your blood.
The new embryo begins to produce hCG immediately after it attaches to the uterine wall in the very first few days of pregnancy, even before you’ve had a missed period. It is the first hormone produced by the placenta, and its levels double every two days in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. After passing through your body, hCG is eliminated through the urine.
By the time your period is late, there is usually enough hCG in the urine for a home pregnancy test to give an accurate result.
In fact, a pregnancy test taken on the first day of a missed period (which, for a woman with a regular 28-day menstrual cycle, will be 14 days after ovulation) is 99% accurate.
What If You Don’ Get the Positive Pregnancy Test You Were Hoping For?
Be aware that, until your body is producing enough hCG hormone to be flushed out in your urine, a home pregnancy test might give you a false negative. While the first hCG spike is typically eight days after conception, not all women have the same cycle. If you tested early on, be sure to try again in a few days.
If you didn’t conceive this month, staying mindful of early pregnancy symptoms while tuning into your body is never a lost cause. Knowing more about your cycle, your hormones, and your body may help you achieve a different result next month.
How Soon Can I Tell If I’m Pregnant?
Waiting for that positive pregnancy test? At-home pregnancy tests are most accurate about 7 days after your missed period. THAT FEELS LIKE FOREVER, I know! Luckily, you can get a positive pregnancy test earlier.—some women say they’ve had positive pregnancy tests as early as 10 days past ovulation.
How Can You Tell If You Are Pregnant?
The best way to tell if you are pregnant is to take an at-home pregnancy test. When used correctly, they’re 99% accurate—that’s just as accurate as a urine test at the doctor.
Once you get a positive pregnancy test, call your healthcare provider. They’ll want to set up an appointment to confirm your pregnancy with a blood test.
How Early Do Pregnancy Symptoms Start?
One of the earliest signs of pregnancy is implantation cramping and/or implantation bleeding. This occurs when the blastocyst implants in the uterus, often 6-11 days after conception. Some women may also experience mood swings and/or headaches, but it’s important to note that some women don’t experience any of these things when they’re pregnant.
How Can I Tell If I’m Pregnant After 1 Week?
Ready for a curveball? At one week pregnant, you won’t experience any pregnancy symptoms… because you’re not actually pregnant. Say what?! The conventional method of dating pregnancy does not use conception as the starting point for pregnancy. Instead, healthcare providers use the date of your last menstrual period to date pregnancy. For most women with regular cycles, this means they aren’t actually pregnant during the first two weeks of pregnancy.
However, one week after conception (approximately three weeks pregnant for most women with regular cycles), some women may begin to experience very early pregnancy symptoms, like fatigue, nausea, a heightened sense of smell, or light spotting. But don’t fret if you don’t get a positive pregnancy test at this point: your body likely hasn’t started producing enough hCG to get that BFP.
What Are the Symptoms of Pregnancy at 2 Days?
Another trick question! You won’t experience any pregnancy symptoms two days after your last menstrual period, because you’re not technically pregnant during that time. Even at two days past conception you’re unlikely to experience any pregnancy symptoms. It generally takes between 12 and 24 hours for the sperm to meet the egg. Once this happens, it takes another 3 to 5 days for the fertilized egg to implant into the uterine lining. Though some women say they “just know” when pregnancy has occurred, it’s unlikely you’ll experience any early pregnancy symptoms before 3 to 4 weeks.
What Color Is Your Urine When You’re Pregnant?
Some women say the knew they were pregnant because their urine was darker, cloudy, and/or had a strong odor. Unfortunately, there really isn’t much scientific evidence to support this theory.
That said, frequent urination is an early sign of pregnancy. This is thanks to an increase in the hormones progesterone and hCG an increase in body fluids.
Been Through This Before? Tell Us About It!
What were some of the earliest and weirdest signs of pregnancy that you experienced? Add a comment.