Pregnancy Symptoms

If you believe you are experiencing early pregnancy symptoms, it’s always best to verify your results using a home pregnancy test so that you can talk to your health care provider about prenatal care as soon as possible. Here is an overview of common symptoms of pregnancy that can help you determine whether pregnancy has indeed occurred.

Symptoms of Pregnancy

Missed period
If your period is late, a home pregnancy test can help determine whether you’re pregnant by assessing levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which rise during pregnancy.

Depending on the sensitivity of the at-home pregnancy test you use, a pregnancy can be detected as early as 6 to 8 days following conception. These tests are able to read hCG levels of as low as 20 IU/ml, thereby helping you to assess whether a missed period is indeed an early pregnancy symptom.

In addition to pregnancy, other factors contributing to a missed period include the use of birth control, medication, excessive exercise and menopause.

Implantation bleeding or spotting
This early symptom of pregnancy occurs when the trophoblast (outer layer of the cell that plays a central role in implantation) attaches to the uterine lining (usually 6 days after fertilisation has occurred) and begins to slowly eat away at the lining.

Implantation bleeding is usually light pink or brown in color and is often mistaken for early menstrual spotting.

However, because implantation bleeding can signal other health conditions, including an ectopic pregnancy, you should visit your health care provider as soon as possible should you notice any such bleeding.

Morning sickness
This is one of the first symptoms of pregnancy and affects 50% of all women. However, in some cases, women will not experience morning sickness until one month after conception.

Morning sickness can occur both during the day and at night and peaks at 8 to 10 weeks, when hormone levels are highest, and generally subsides during the second trimester of pregnancy.

Breast soreness
During the early stages of pregnancy, breast tenderness, as well as swelling, is a common symptom due to rising hormone levels. Breast soreness is also a common PMS symptom.

However, this early pregnancy symptom begins to subside following the first trimester and usually disappears during the second trimester.

A common early sign of pregnancy, headaches can be a troublesome symptom for many women.

Headaches occur during the early stages of pregnancy due to rising hormone levels.

Bloating is an early sign of pregnancy that can occur at the onset of pregnancy or after a few weeks.

This pregnancy symptom can often be mistaken for bloating that often precedes and/or accompanies menstruation.

Vaginal discharge
An early symptom of pregnancy, vaginal discharge indicates a likely pregnancy when it is present without symptoms such as itching or burning. This pregnancy sign occurs due to a buildup of cervical mucus that develops in order to protect the embryo.

Vaginal discharge that is also accompanied by itching or burning can be a sign of a urinary tract infection (UTI), yeast infection or a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

Tiredness and reduced levels of energy are common pregnancy symptoms.

Fatigue usually persists until the second trimester.

Frequent urination
One of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy, frequent urination occurs due to rising amounts of blood and fluid that are produced during pregnancy.

This pregnancy symptom can begin at 6 weeks and often increases as pregnancy continues.

Increased sensitivity to foods and odors
Because of rising estrogen levels, this pregnancy symptom occurs early on during pregnancy. This symptom can be either constant or intermittent during pregnancy, and also includes food cravings. The foods and odors to which a woman is sensitive often change during the course of her pregnancy.