green pregnant woman


If you suspect you might be pregnant, you can take a home pregnancy test, and keep an eye out for these typical symptoms of early pregnancy….

Before your missed period, you may notice some spotting; this is called implantation bleeding. This bleeding normally happens before your scheduled period, should be lighter in color and flow, and should be much shorter in duration than a normal period. Implantation bleeding occurs when the fertilized embryo makes its way down from the fallopian tube, and implants into the endometrial tissue in the uterus.

This generally occurs 10-14 days after fertilization, and does not happen in all pregnancies.

Minor cramping is also not unusual early in pregnancy, and can often feel similar to menstrual cramping. These cramps can be a result of implantation, or just your body’s reaction to the changes happening.

Your basal body temperature rises slightly soon after ovulation, and generally remains above normal until you start your period. If your basal body temperature is raised for more than 2 weeks, this could be a sign of early pregnancy.

Many women say that their first noticeable pregnancy symptom was breast swelling and tenderness. Breast tenderness, swelling, tingling, or pain can start as early as 2 weeks after conception, and may last throughout your pregnancy.

The most obvious early symptom for the majority of women is a missed period. Once your period is late, or you suspect “missed”, take a home pregnancy test. It is important to know that pregnancy tests may show a negative result if done too early; if you get a negative result, but have not gotten your period after a few days, test again. Just remember, the only sure way to know if you are pregnant is to get a blood test at your doctor’s office.

The most infamous early pregnancy symptom is morning sickness. Morning sickness is nausea and vomiting caused by the rapidly increasing hormone levels in the body. Contrary to the name, morning sickness can strike at any time of day, and can vary in severity from day-to-day. Morning sickness usually arrives around 6 weeks into pregnancy, but can occur as early as 2 weeks after conception for some lucky ladies.

Another hallmark pregnancy symptom is the onset of food cravings or aversions. Some women will suddenly crave odd flavor combinations, like pickles and ice cream; if you notice yourself craving unusual foods or flavors, you may want to take a home pregnancy test. Food aversions are also common, with some women developing strong distaste for foods they used to enjoy.

Some women experience headaches of varying degrees, especially in the first trimester, when hormone levels are the highest. Your blood volume nearly doubles during pregnancy, and this added blood flow can also cause headaches.

One of the more common early symptoms of pregnancy is constipation. Constipation is caused by an increase of progesterone, which decreases the rate in which food passes through the intestines. This happens so that your body can absorb more of the nutrients from the food, and will typically last the entire pregnancy. Constipation can also lead to pesky hemorrhoids later in your pregnancy, so it is important to stay well hydrated, and eat a lot of high fiber foods to avoid this.

Early in pregnancy, you may become faint or dizzy as a result of low blood pressure. As your pregnancy progresses, increased blood volume and circulation may cause your blood pressure to drop, and give you the feeling of lightheadedness or extreme dizziness.

Fatigue or extreme tiredness is another very early sign of pregnancy. In the beginning weeks of pregnancy, progesterone levels in the body level rise quickly, and can cause you to feel sleepy. This, in combination with lower blood pressure and lower blood sugar levels, can lead to feelings of exhaustion and fatigue in most women. This will normally lessen in the 2nd-trimester, but will continue for most through the duration of pregnancy.

Every women and every pregnancy is different. Some women have multiple symptoms early on, and others experience relative normalcy throughout. If you suspect you may be pregnant, contact your medical provider for an appointment immediately… the sooner you know, the sooner you can start taking steps to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy and baby.

Learn more about fertility and pregnancy knowledge at Dr. Melnick's learning center