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The Earliest Signs of Pregnancy

This article has been REVIEWED by a physician

We use review ONLY where an article contains information that could be considered from a medical standpoint. The review ensures factual correctness from a medical standpoint only and in no way suggests that the article content is endorsed by the Reviewer or is the Reviewers own viewpoint.

Amazingly, a woman’s body can sometimes tell her she is pregnant before a pregnancy test can provide her with a definitive result. Though the earliest signs of pregnancy cannot be confirmed for some time, they can be an indication that your body is already starting to change.

What early signs of pregnancy might I notice?

Some of these early signs of pregnancy are highly noticeable. For example, heightened sensation in the breasts, in the form of breast tenderness or a tingling feeling, can take place soon after pregnancy hormones begin to take effect in the body. These hormones increase the blood supply to the breasts, which explains the tingling and/or tenderness. Some women experience breast tenderness as early as a week after conception, whilst most women notice a change closer to a month after conception.

Other early signs of pregnancy impact your appetite. You may experience food cravings as well as increased sensitivity to the smell of food. Certain foods and beverages that you previously enjoyed may not taste nor feel as good to you when you are pregnant.

The experience of morning sickness also impacts many pregnant women in these early days of pregnancy. Some women report having feelings of nausea and/or vomiting as early as two weeks after conception, but it is more typical for this sign of pregnancy to appear at about six weeks. Morning sickness is actually a misnomer; nausea can hit at any time of the day or the night.

Fatigue can also be an early sign of pregnancy. The first trimester of pregnancy is commonly the most tiring, as the tiredness subsides somewhat for many women after about twelve weeks. Some women also experience fluctuating emotions during this stage of pregnancy.

Finally, other early signs of pregnancy involve vaginal discharge and spotting. Some women notice more discharge during the earliest days of pregnancy as well as pink or brown stains in their undergarments. Both the discharge and the light spotting are harmless, but it is important to contact your doctor if you notice any sudden changes to the color or consistency of the spotting as they may be an indication of an ectopic pregnancy.

When can I take a pregnancy test?

Once a woman has missed her period, she can take a pregnancy test with confidence as test accuracy increases as hormone levels go up. The presence of the hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin, or hCG, causes a positive test result as well as physical changes to a woman’s breasts and to her vulva and vagina. 

Some of the most sensitive pregnancy tests claim that they can sometimes detect pregnancy hormones a few days before a period is due. For some women, however, the process of waiting for a missed period can feel interminable, so check with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns.

https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/trying-for-a-baby/doing-a-pregnancy-test/

https://www.babycentre.co.uk/a25007925/pregnancy-signs-at-two-weeks#section6

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about the reviewer

Dr Lisa Joels

MB ChB, MD, FRCOG, FHEA

OBSTETRICIAN & GYNAECOLOGIST

Dr Joels has 34 years’ experience in obstetrics and gynaecology including 19 years as a Consultant working in Swansea (2001-11) and subsequently at the Royal Devon & Exeter NHS Foundations Trust in the UK (2011-20). These are both University teaching hospitals, each having more than 4,000 deliveries a year and providing tertiary obstetric and neonatal services as well as gynaecological services to their local population.



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