Early signs of pregnancy: When will I feel symptoms?

Last updated: 2019-09-16  |  863 Views  | 

Early signs of pregnancy: When will I feel symptoms?

There's very little research on this topic, and early symptoms of pregnancy are different for everyone. Some women feel the first twinges of pregnancy a week or two after conceiving, while others don't feel any different for a few months.

In the best study on this question to date, 136 women who were trying to get pregnant kept daily records of their symptoms from the time they stopped using birth control until they were 8 weeks pregnant. (That's counting eight weeks from the first day of their last menstrual period.) The results:

50 percent had some symptoms of pregnancy by the time they were 5 weeks pregnant.
70 percent had symptoms by 6 weeks.
90 percent had symptoms by 8 weeks.
The first sign of pregnancy is usually a missed period. The most common symptoms to follow are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, frequent urination, and breast tenderness and swelling. These symptoms can be mild or severe.

What you're feeling at 2 weeks
Your last period started about two weeks ago. Based on the way doctors and midwives count the weeks of pregnancy, at the so-called 2-week mark you’re actually just ovulating and possibly about to conceive. What you experience now is likely related to your usual menstrual cycle.

Pregnancy symptoms at 3 weeks
If your egg was successfully fertilized, this week it undergoes a process called cell division as it makes its way through the fallopian tube down to the uterus. There, the fertilized egg implants in the lining of your uterus.

Most women don't feel very different at 3 weeks, but some may notice a tiny bit of "implantation spotting" or feel early pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue, tender breasts, nausea, a heightened sense of smell, food aversions, and more frequent urination.

Pregnancy symptoms at 4 weeks
Normally you get your period about 4 weeks from the start of your last period, but if you're pregnant, the clearest sign at this point is a missed period. Many women still feel fine at 4 weeks, but others may notice sore breasts, fatigue, frequent urination, and nausea. About one-third of women experience nausea at 4 weeks of pregnancy.

Pregnancy symptoms at 5 weeks
While your baby grows at a dizzying pace in your uterus, you may be growing more aware of pregnancy-related discomforts, including fatigue, achy or swollen breasts, nausea, and more frequent trips to the bathroom.

Pregnancy symptoms at 6 weeks
For most women, morning sickness begins between 6 and 8 weeks. You may also be exhausted and experiencing mood swings, which could be due to hormonal changes as well as the stress of wondering what lies ahead in your pregnancy.

About 25 percent of women have spotting in early pregnancy. This is usually nothing to worry about, but if you notice spotting or bleeding, call your provider to make sure everything is okay.

Pregnancy symptoms at 7 weeks
Morning sickness may be well under way at this point, and you also might notice your pants feel a bit tighter. Your uterus is now twice the size it was five weeks ago.

You probably need to visit the bathroom frequently, thanks to increased pressure on your bladder from your growing uterus and more blood being filtered through your kidneys.

Pregnancy symptoms at 8 weeks
Hormone changes continue to make you feel sluggish and tired, while nausea and vomiting also may be draining your energy. Your bra might start to feel a little snug as rising hormone levels prepare your breasts for lactation. You may also have trouble sleeping if you're getting up to pee several times a night or if tender breasts prevent you from sleeping on your stomach.

Other signs of pregnancy that women reported by 8 weeks include:

Mild uterine cramping or discomfort (without bleeding)
Abdominal bloating
Nasal congestion
Shortness of breath
Food cravings or aversions
Spider veins
Itchy palms
Areas of darker skin (on the face, abdomen, or areolas)
Experts speculate that these symptoms, unpleasant as they are, may serve an important purpose if they protect women from ingesting something that could harm the embryo during the crucial early stages of development. They may also alert some women to their pregnant state, prompting them to make lifestyle changes and seek prenatal care.

However, because the earliest symptoms don't begin until after the embryo is formed, assume you could be pregnant and take good care of yourself, even before you have symptoms or get a positive pregnancy test.

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