Women's Healthcare Topics

Early Signs of Pregnancy

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Think you might be pregnant?

Chances are you won't experience any true pregnancy symptoms until the time when you missed your period, or even a week or a few weeks later than this.

It may be even more difficult to determine if you are having signs and symptoms of pregnancy if you don't regularly monitor your menstrual cycle.

There are however, some telltale signs of early pregnancy that many women experience.

Sore or Swollen Breasts

Sore or Swollen Breasts this is often one of the first signs of pregnancy. When you are pregnant, your breasts become excessively sensitive and sore. Even the trickle of the shower head hitting your breasts may be uncomfortable. This sensitivity is due to rising levels of hormones. It may feel somewhat like your breasts feel before your menstrual cycle, only magnified.

Typically breast soreness lasts through the first trimester, and then generally subsides for a time.


The first trimester is typically one filled with fatigue. Feeling tired all the time is absolutely normal, especially given the tremendous work your body is doing to create life! Your body starts producing elevated levels of progesterone during pregnancy, to help prepare the uterus to maintain a pregnancy for nine months. The elevated levels of this hormone can contribute to exhaustion. Fatigue is typically most common during the first and third trimesters, with a break during the second trimester.

Early Signs of Pregnancy.

Spotting or Implantation Bleeding

Some women will not get their period, but will have some slight spotting or brownish staining early in their pregnancy. If an egg is fertilized, it burrows into the lining of the uterus, usually about six to eight days after fertilization. This may result in a small amount of bleeding referred to as “implantation bleeding.” This is not to be mistaken for actual menstrual bleeding, which is typically heavier and prolonged.


Most women will not experience nausea or morning sickness until 2-4 weeks into their pregnancy, however some will start feeling nauseous right away. Morning sickness is truly a “misnomer” as a woman might feel nauseous any time of day. Some will in fact feel ill all day (morning, noon and night!).

Frequent Urination

Most women start having to use the bathroom more frequently shortly after they become pregnant. Typically this is the result of an increased production of blood and fluids in the body. Most women will not experience this symptom until several weeks into their pregnancy, and for some women the need to urinate frequently becomes worse throughout their pregnancy.

Other Early Pregnancy Symptoms

Other early signs of pregnancy reported by a number of women include:

  • Menstrual like cramping in the lower abdomen with no bleeding.
  • Increased sensitivity to odors.
  • Food aversions.
  • Elevated body temperature.
  • Simply feeling “not quite right.”

Of course, the one almost sure fire way most women find they are pregnant is after they miss their period and take a home pregnancy test. If you are having symptoms of pregnancy and test the first day after you miss your period, keep in mind your test may or may not come back positive at that point.

Depending on the sensitivity of the test and the amount of pregnancy hormone in your body, it may take a few days before you get a positive reading. When you do get a positive test, be sure to contact your healthcare provider to set up your first prenatal visit!


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