Early Pregnancy Symptoms: Know The Signs

Early Pregnancy Symptoms: Know The Signs

Did the condom break? Did you forget to take your birth control pill? Are you concerned that your diaphragm or cervical cap slipped out of place? Perhaps you didn’t use protection at all. Whatever the case may be, if you’re worried that you might be pregnant after sex or you’re curious about signs to look for that could indicate pregnancy, let us go through the pregnancy symptoms that show up first.

Signs and Symptoms of Early Pregnancy

The following are common indicators of early pregnancy, but it is important to note that many of these signs could also be pointing to something else entirely. That’s why it’s crucial to test for pregnancy if you experience any of the following symptoms.

Take a look at each sign below. We’ll tell you why experiencing it could mean that you’re pregnant and include other conditions the symptoms could indicate.

Missed Period

The number-one sign of pregnancy in the earliest stage is the missed period.

Why it occurs: Conception causes your body to produce certain hormones that prevent you from ovulating and shedding the lining of your uterus. This hormonal production lasts throughout your pregnancy as a means of protecting the pregnancy. The fetus needs the nutrients in the uterine lining to grow and thrive, and your body knows that further ovulation is no longer necessary now that pregnancy has occurred. Halting your menstrual cycle is your body’s way of allowing the pregnancy to continue.

What a skipped period could also mean: Even though a missed period is one of the first signs of pregnancy, it doesn’t always mean you’re pregnant. Some additional reasons you might miss a period could include:

  • Age – Perimenopause (the transitional period before menopause) causes inconsistent periods; premature, early, and regular menopause means you will no longer have a period.
  • PCOS – Having PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) means having a higher level of male hormones, which can interfere with your ovulation and menstrual cycle. This imbalance can lead to inconsistent, late, or missed periods.
  • Overweight or Underweight – A too-low body weight could be a result of malnutrition or an eating disorder, which lowers your nutrient levels and affects your body’s ability to absorb them. Without receiving or absorbing enough nutrients on a consistent basis, your hormone levels could fluctuate enough to interfere with your menstrual cycle. On the other hand, too much body weight could also disrupt the balance of hormones your body releases, also throwing off your cycle.
  • Stress – Chronic stress means a high, consistent release of cortisol, which can interfere with your body’s ability to regulate your menstrual cycle. In turn, that can lead to missed or late periods.
  • Chronic Conditions or Diseases – In addition to PCOS, several chronic conditions or diseases can interfere with your body’s ability to regulate your menstrual cycle, including endometriosis, thyroid disease, celiac disease, diabetes, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). If you are experiencing a skipped period but none of the other symptoms of pregnancy, and you are concerned it is related to a medical issue, contact your doctor.

Tender or Swollen Breasts

If you’re pregnant, you may notice your breasts become extra tender and sore. You may even experience unusual swelling. This can occur as early as one or two weeks after conception.

Why it occurs: Your body undergoes many hormonal changes in the beginning stage of pregnancy. The influx of hormones released includes estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin, which all cause an increased amount of blood to flow to your breasts. This is your body’s way of preparing your breasts for breastfeeding. The process can cause you to feel tender, swollen, and sore in that area.

What tender or swollen breasts could also mean: Tender breasts are often a sign that your period is about to start. It also occurs when a woman’s body is preparing for menopause. If you suffer an injury to your breasts or wear an unsupportive bra, you may also experience some soreness. In some cases, a breast infection or a cyst on the breast could cause soreness, but this tends only to affect only one; hormonal causes will affect both. Additional reasons include medication side effects or cancer development. If you are experiencing tender or swollen breasts but none of the other symptoms of pregnancy, you may want to contact your doctor.

Increased Urination

Many women find themselves urinating more frequently than before; some even begin the first two weeks of pregnancy.

Why it occurs: Pregnancy triggers an increase in the amount of blood in the body to support the fetus. More blood means more fluids in the body, too, which your kidneys have to process. Additionally, pregnancy triggers your uterus to expand to make room for the fetus. This uterine growth pushes on the bladder, increasing the urge to go.

What frequent urination could also mean: There are other reasons you could suddenly be urinating more than usual. These reasons include consuming more water, coffee, or other liquids than usual; consuming alcohol; stress and anxiety; urinary tract infection; bladder stones; diabetes; and others. If you are experiencing frequent urination but none of the other symptoms of pregnancy, you may want to contact your doctor.

Nauseated woman holding her stomach with one hand and covering her mouth with the other

Nausea and Vomiting

“Morning sickness” is a misleading name because women who are pregnant can experience nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy at any time, day or night. Nausea and vomiting tend to begin in the fourth or sixth week after conception.

Why it occurs: Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy are less understood than many of the other symptoms. However, research suggests that they could be a side effect of your body producing the human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) hormone. It may also be due to the influx of several hormones your body is producing—the combination could be overwhelming for many women, resulting in nausea.

What nausea and vomiting could also indicate: Nausea and vomiting are side effects of many other medical conditions, such as a viral infection, food poisoning, gastrointestinal complications, migraines, excessive alcohol consumption, medication reactions, and the list goes on. If you are experiencing nausea or vomiting, especially a prolonged bout of nausea or vomiting, but none of the other symptoms of pregnancy, contact your doctor.


If you are pregnant or suspect you are pregnant, schedule a pregnancy screening with Women’s Clinic of Atlanta.

Our compassionate staff provides pregnancy testing and limited ultrasound screenings to accurately determine whether you are pregnant or not and to determine the gestational age and viability of the fetus. Early pregnancy symptoms can be surprising to experience. Let Women’s Clinic of Atlanta walk with you through this moment.

Schedule a pregnancy screening by texting “appointment” to 404-777-4771 today.

Women’s Clinic of Atlanta is HIPAA compliant and AAAHC accredited.

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