Early Signs of Pregnancy

There are many signs and symptoms (S/S) associated with a possible pregnancy; however, these early signs of pregnancy can have other causes as well and may be unrelated to pregnancy. If you think you might be pregnant and are experiencing any of the early signs of pregnancy, call to schedule an appointment for pregnancy verification and to determine how far along you are.1

Missed or Late Period

This is one of the most common early signs of pregnancy that leads a woman to take a pregnancy test. When a pregnancy occurs, the menstrual cycle usually stops for the duration of pregnancy. Some women may bleed while they are pregnancy, but the bleeding is typically shorter and/or lighter than a normal period.
Other explanations: stress; illness; a change in schedule (e.g. shift work), or a change in medication (birth control or otherwise); hormonal imbalances; being seriously overweight or underweight; excessive exercise; [peri-]menopause1

Nausea and/or Vomiting

Also known as “morning sickness.” This is a well-known pregnancy symptom that occurs primarily during the first trimester. A few women never experience morning sickness; a few may have it for the duration of pregnancy. 2

Other explanations: food poisoning; a GI “bug;” stress

Breast Changes

This is one of the early signs of pregnancy that may start as early as 1-2 weeks after conception. Breasts may feel tender, swollen, sensitive, or sore. Other changes may be described as heavy or full feeling. Also, the areola (the area around the nipple) may appear darker, and veins on the breasts may be more obvious.

Other explanations: hormonal changes due to the menstrual cycle or birth control; a normal symptom of PMS; breast cyst(s) or fibroids.


The feeling of being tired also ranks high as one of the most common early signs of pregnancy; These feelings of fatigue are thought to be due to increased levels of progesterone in the body. Fatigue is usually worst during the first trimester then typically lessens during the second trimester. 3

Other explanations: a common illness, such as a cold or flu; stress; change in routine or schedule;

Spotting and/or Cramping

Spotting may be noticed 1-2 weeks after conception; this is known as implantation bleeding 4 when the embryo implants into the uterine wall.  Cramping may be due to the stretching of the uterine muscle.

Other explanations: premenstrual cramps; hormonal fluctuations associated with birth control; infection; an abrasion resulting from intercourse

Frequent Urination

This symptom usually begins around 6-8 weeks after conception. During pregnancy the body produces extra fluids resulting in the need to empty the bladder more often. Also, as pregnancy progresses, the weight of the uterus applies pressure to the bladder.

Other explanations: urinary tract infection; diabetes; increase in fluid intake; use of diuretics

Other Early Signs of Pregnancy

There are many other early signs of pregnancy to look out for, including constipation, dizziness and/or fainting, mood swings, food cravings or aversions, headaches, and backaches. Some less common early signs of pregnancy may also include bloating, shortness of breath, elevated basal temperature 5, and increased sense of smell.


  1. American Pregnancy Association. (n.d.). Pregnancy Symptoms – Early Signs of Pregnancy. Retrieved June 23, 15, from http://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/early-pregnancy-symptoms/
  2. Emmons, S. (n.d.). 16 Early Signs of Pregnancy | Parenting. Retrieved from http://www.parenting.com/gallery/early-signs-of-pregnancy
  3. Mayo Clinic. (2013, July 12). Symptoms of pregnancy: What happens right away – Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/symptoms-of-pregnancy/art-20043853
  4. Scott, M. (n.d.). Implantation Bleeding or Period? 5 Leading Signs of Implantation Spotting – All About Implantation Bleeding. Retrieved from http://implantationspotting.net/implantation-bleeding-or-period-5-leading-signs-of-implantation-spotting/
  5. Ovulation symptoms: Basal body temperature and cervical mucus | BabyCenter. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.babycenter.com/chart-basal-body-temperature-and-cervical-mucus