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What are the earliest signs of pregnancy?

The earliest pregnancy symptoms in the order of appearance are: implantation bleeding, implantation cramps, nausea and vomiting, tiredness and fatigue, positive blood pregnancy test, positive urine home pregnancy test, elevated basal body temperature chart, a missed menstrual period.

For most women, the very first early pregnancy sign is a missed period. Pregnancy symptoms differ from one woman to another woman and also from one pregnancy to another. Some women have many symptoms, and others have none. Many women typically report no pregnancy signs and symptoms for many weeks after a missed period, while others have symptoms much earlier.

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Many women wonder how soon you can feel pregnancy symptoms, and whether you can feel implantation or conception. The simple answer: you can get early pregnancy symptoms and signs even before you have a missed period, and you may feel pregnancy signs and symptoms right after implantation.

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The top 12 earliest pregnancy symptoms in the order of appearance:

  1. Implantation bleeding
  2. Implantation cramps
  3. Nausea and vomiting
  4. Tiredness and fatigue
  5. Positive blood pregnancy test
  6. Positive urine home pregnancy test
  7. Elevated basal body temperature chart
  8. A missed menstrual period
  9. Breast tenderness
  10. Mood swings and emotional changes
  11. Frequent urination
  12. Difficulties sleeping 

Scroll down to see each symptom explained as well as a handy timeline chart of early pregnancy signs.

Implantation bleeding

Implantation bleeding happens on average 9 days after ovulation about 4-5 days before the next bleeding. Just a few days after conception, on average 9 days after ovulation/fertilization with a range between 6-12 days, the fertilized egg implants in the uterus. This is when the first physical signs of pregnancy begin. Women may first feel cramping. If spotting occurs, it may not show until several days after implantation. Spotting during this time can be implantation bleeding and can be mistaken for your period, but it is not as heavy as your period. Check the implantation calculator for the exact day when you should expect implantation bleeding.

Around the same time, women may feel changes in their breasts, including swelling, tenderness, tingling, and breasts feel heavier or full. Progesterone levels rise during conception, which can cause fatigue. Estrogen levels also begin to rise which can cause the stomach to empty more slowly, resulting in nausea and loss of appetite. Often called morning sickness, the term isn't quite accurate since "morning sickness" can occur at any time of the day, not just in the morning hours. Reduced blood sugar and blood pressure can lead to dizziness and fainting. Some women experience these feelings, think they are sick, and go to the doctor only to discover they are pregnant.

Vaginal spotting

When ovulation and fertilization have occurred, the fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube towards the uterus where implantation takes place, about 6-12 days after fertilization. At that time, the fertilized egg implants itself to the wall of the uterus. Implantation can cause one of the earliest signs of pregnancy: implantation spotting, bleeding, and sometimes cramping.


The cramps in your lower abdomen may resemble menstrual cramps. Bleeding and spotting may initially be similar to menstrual bleeding, so it's not unusual if some women mistake them for the start of their menstrual period. White milky vaginal discharge is among the first pregnancy signs.

Vaginal discharge

Besides bleeding, a woman may notice white, milky discharge. This discharge could be related to the pregnancy hormones which lead to the thickening of the vagina's walls, which begins almost immediately after conception and implantation. This vaginal discharge can continue throughout pregnancy, is typically harmless, and doesn't require treatment. However, if there is a foul odor related to the discharge, or a burning and itching sensation, ask your doctor to rule out a yeast or bacterial infection.

Cervical mucus plug

Besides an increase in vaginal discharge, observing a cervical mucus plug may be among the early pregnancy signs.

Breast changes

Breast swelling, size changes, or tenderness can be another very early sign of pregnancy. The swelling, which signals an increase in fat reserves and milk gland size, may be accompanied by soreness.

"All day" sickness, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy (NVP)

Morning sickness is probably the best known of the early pregnancy symptoms. Nausea may be more common in the mornings because stomach acids build up overnight, but most women who get morning sickness also feel nauseous at other times of the day.

Check here to assess the severity of your nausea and vomiting in pregnancy (NVP) online

Sickening scents

Even before nausea kicks in, some women develop an extremely-heightened sense of smell. Scents can become so overpowering, some women avoided cooking and other activities in which strong odors are present for several weeks.


Need a nap or can't stay awake? Fatigue is one of the most common early pregnancy signs. Blame rising progesterone levels in the first trimester. Fatigue may subside with your second trimester but may resurface later on. Carrying around all that extra weight can make you tire easily in the third trimester. 

Bathroom breaks

Frequent urination is another early pregnancy symptom most expectant moms know all too well due to hormonal changes early on.  Later in the pregnancy, frequent bathroom breaks are often caused by an enlarged uterus (and the rapidly growing baby inside) putting pressure on the bladder.


Itching is a very common complaint and can occur throughout pregnancy. The usual areas are the breasts and abdomen, where the skin is stretching to accommodate your growing shape.

Changes in digestion

Many causes affect digestion during pregnancy:

  • Increase in the hormone progesterone
  • Increased water absorption in the large intestines
  • Iron supplements
  • The pressure of the uterus on the rectum
  • Heartburn


Seasonal allergies and asthma may become unpredictable during pregnancy. Some women see their symptoms improve, while others notice the opposite. Expectant moms with asthma generally should continue using their inhalers. If you don't breathe, your baby won't either.

Early pregnancy signs timeline

Changes occur in the female body as soon as conception occurs, but these changes cause no physical changes until about one week after pregnancy. From that point until the end of gestation, physical changes can be felt throughout the pregnancy.

(Scroll down to see a complete timeline of pregnancy symptoms and signs)

  • 6 to 12 days after conception: Implantation of the fertilized egg may cause cramping.
  • 7 to 14 days after conception: Breasts may feel swollen, sore, tingly, and heavy. 
  • 7 to 14 days after conception: Fatigue due to increased progesterone, low blood sugar, and low blood pressure. 
  • 7 to 14 days after conception: Increased estrogen and slowed gastric emptying may lead to nausea known as morningness.

The time frame in which women report feeling the first signs of pregnancy varies widely as different bodies change at different rates. Typically, the first signs of pregnancy are not recognized as being associated with pregnancy until after a positive pregnancy test or a missed menstrual cycle.


Pregnancy Symptoms
Timing of Pregnancy Symptom
Temperature drop (dip)
Implantation day
Implantation bleeding or spotting: (a slight staining of a pink or brown color)
8-10 days after ovulation
Thick White or Milky White Vaginal Discharge
8-14 days after ovulation/fertilization
Cervical mucus or mucus plug and bloody show
shortly after implantation
Lower abdominal cramps / Implantation cramps / hot flashes
8-10 days after ovulation
A positive blood hCG pregnancy test
10 days after fertilization/ovulation
A positive urine home pregnancy test (HPT)
10-14 days after ovulation/fertilization
An elevated BBT
15+ days without a menstrual period
No period. A missed menstrual period
Your period is supposed to come 14-16 days after ovulation
2-4 weeks after ovulation
Nipple or breast tenderness
3-4 weeks after conception
Fatigue and tiredness
3-10 weeks after conception
3-10 weeks after conception
Food cravings
1-2 months after conception
Frequent urination
Usually after 1-2 months
Softening of cervix
6+ weeks after LMP
Lower-back pain
Breast changes
After 14 weeks
Fetal heartbeat on sonogram
8-9 weeks after conception
Fetal movements
18-20+ weeks

How many women have typical pregnancy signs and symptoms?

Not all women have typical pregnancy symptoms. Only about 1 in 2 pregnant women have pregnancy symptoms, and there is nothing wrong if you are pregnant and have none of these symptoms.

Very early symptoms differ from one woman to the next and from one pregnancy to the next. Some women can experience them within a week after ovulation, fertilization, and conception. Yet, others may develop much later, well after a missed period and/or positive pregnancy test. Other women may never have any symptoms at all. 

While these are the most common early symptoms of pregnancy it's important to realize that many of these symptoms may be caused by other things besides pregnancy. So the fact that you notice some of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you are pregnant. The only way to tell for sure is to do a pregnancy test.

The most significant sign of a pregnancy is a late or missed menstrual period, but the only definitive diagnosis is a positive pregnancy test.

Abnormal pregnancy symptoms

With so many changes taking place in your body, you may be tempted to dismiss any new discomfort as normal during pregnancy. But certain symptoms could signal a serious problem:

  • Bleeding: Bleeding is rarely if ever felt to be normal during pregnancy. Spotting is common in the first trimester and probably not a cause for alarm. However, in the second and third trimester, bleeding could provide a warning of a serious complication in advance, such as preterm labor or problems with the placenta. Always report any bleeding or spotting to your doctor or midwife.
  • Severe Itching: In the late second and third trimester, severe itching may signal a rare liver problem that sometimes develops during pregnancy, known as intrahepatic cholestasis.
  • Vision: Blurred vision, severe headaches, and pain in the right side of the abdomen

These symptoms, whether they occur alone or in combination, may indicate severe preeclampsia — the medical term for dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy. Women who experience any of these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider immediately and early delivery may be necessary to avoid life-threatening maternal and fetal complications.

Top questions about early signs and symptoms of pregnancy:


Pregnancy Testing

Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy Pregnancy Likely?
Positive blood hCG pregnancy test YES!
Positive urine home pregnancy test (HPT) YES!
Gestational sac on sonogram YES!
Fetal heartbeat on sonogram YES!
Elevated BBT curve: 15+ days after ovulation, no period Highly likely
BBT: Temperature drop (dip) Maybe
No period. A missed menstrual period  (amenorrhea) Maybe
Implantation bleeding or spotting:(a slight staining of a pink or brown color) Maybe
Lower abdominal cramps / Implantation cramps / hot flashes Less likely
Nausea Less likely
Just "feeling" pregnant Maybe
Strange Cravings Less likely
Darkening of areola (area around breast nipple) Maybe
Changes in libido Less likely
Nipple or breast tenderness Maybe
Fatigue and tiredness Less likely
Vomiting Maybe
Food cravings Less likely
Frequent urination Less likely
Softening of cervix Maybe
Constipation Less likely
Lower-back pain Less likely
Montgomery's Tubercules Maybe
Skin Changes Less likely
Fetal movements Maybe
Enlarged Abdomen Maybe
Change in uterine shape Maybe
Colostrum from Breasts Maybe
Stretch Marks Maybe
Braxton Hicks Contractions Maybe
Enlarging Uterus Maybe
Palpation of the Baby Yes

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