What are the Earliest Pregnancy Symptoms?


The earliest pregnancy symptoms can hint to the fact that you have conceived even before you miss your period. In this article, find out when earliest symptoms of pregnancy occur, timeline, week by week and what symptoms of pregnancy to expect before missed period.

For first time mothers, getting pregnant can be a nervous affair. How do you tell if you are pregnant? How early do you feel the symptoms of pregnancy? The earliest signs of pregnancy can be felt as early as one week into the pregnancy. Every woman is different though and some will take up to four weeks before the signs can kick in.

What are the Earliest Pregnancy Symptoms - Breasts increase in size and become tender.
What are the Earliest Pregnancy Symptoms – Breasts increase in size and become tender.

When are the Earliest Pregnancy Symptoms?

After intercourse, when is the earliest sign of pregnancy likely to show? The proof of a pregnancy is in a positive pregnancy test. However, women can tell whether they are pregnant before that. While testing takes around two weeks after ovulation to be positive, signs such as implantation bleeding may be seen as early as six days after ovulation. Cramping may also be felt around the same time.

What are the Earliest Pregnancy Symptoms?

Spotting and Abdominal Cramping

After the egg has been fertilized, implantation occurs within six to twelve days. This could lead to the earliest pregnancy symptoms which is light bleeding also known as spotting. This may at times be accompanied by implantation cramping.

The cramps feel like period cramps and when they accompany spotting may be mistaken for the onset of menstrual periods. The fact that these are mild, the spotting scanty and pinkish or brownish in color as opposed to read can be used to distinguish the two.

Other than the spotting discharge, there is the possibility of a milky white discharge. This can be attributed to the vaginal walls’ thickening soon after conception causing an increased growth of cells. These are the ones responsible for the discharge and will be present throughout the pregnancy.

Breast Changes as Earliest Symptom of Pregnancy

Breast tenderness and sensitivity is a common phenomenon in a woman’s reproductive life. It also comes in as an early sign of pregnancy.

In early pregnancy, hormone levels rise rapidly. Estrogen and progesterone which are responsible for breast changes on normal times soar too high. This makes blood flow to a woman’s breasts and makes the tissue more sensitive. They feel heavier and fuller. The areola which is the dark part of the breast around the nipple darkens and appears bigger.

Fatigue & Early Symptoms of Pregnancy

Normally, progesterone is always produced after ovulation. If no fertilization takes place, their level drops back to normal to pave way for another cycle. If fertilization does take place, the progesterone level keeps on increasing.  Without fertilization, the fatigue gets better with time but with fertilization it gets worse and signals a pregnancy.

It is possible for a woman to start feeling too tired a week after conception. This could be attributed to the rising levels of hormones, low blood pressure, high blood volumes and low blood sugar levels. You may have an urge to take more and longer naps. Trying to concentrate in your favorite tasks may be hard as you doze off before you are done.

  • To help offset this, taking enough rest would help. Protein and iron rich foods could also do you good.

Nausea Symptom of Pregnancy

Though commonly referred to as morning sickness, nausea can kick in any time of the day. It is a common sign of pregnancy though not all women experience it. The reason it occurs is the rising levels of progesterone affecting smooth muscles in the body. This could slow down the digestive system making the process of emptying the stomach slow.

What are the Earliest Pregnancy Symptoms: Headaches
What are the Earliest Pregnancy Symptoms: Headaches

There are women who start feeling queasy before they miss their periods while for others it does not kick in before six weeks. After it has started, nausea could last for the whole duration of the pregnancy. One should eat healthy to ensure the developing baby is well nourished.

Missed Period

This is the one and most obvious reason why women take a pregnancy test. As long as there have not been major changes in the body such as massive weight loss or gain, quitting birth control pills or stress, the only reason for a missed period for people with regular ones is a pregnancy.


This is another earliest symptom of pregnancy that also serves as a premenstrual sign. It might therefore be hard telling it apart. Due to the hormonal upsurge, there is a reduced rate of digestion since the hormones make the food move slowly. This makes one feel bloated.

The thickening of the uterine lining also makes one feel bloated as a result of reduced abdominal space. The prenatal vitamins tend to have a constipating effect due to the iron in them.

To ease this, one should take a lot of water and take food rich in fiber. Exercising could also help.

Headaches and Back Pain

The changing blood volume and hormonal levels may cause headaches during the early days of pregnancy. The sudden increase in estrogen and progesterone levels is also to blame. Migraine on the other hand may be caused by increased blood flow during pregnancy.

Earliest Pregnancy Symptoms before Periods

So, what are the earliest pregnancy symptoms before missed periods? Missing a period tends to be what stirs a woman to test if they are pregnant. If one is keen enough especially for those who are actively trying to conceive, there are telltale signs that one is pregnant. These are:

  • Nausea
  • Tender swollen breasts
  • Fatigue
  • Food aversions and cravings
  • Frequent urination
  • Headaches and backaches
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Vomiting
  • Spotting

Earliest Pregnant Symptom Time Line

A woman only has a five days fertile window. This usually happens at around mid-cycle for women with regular cycles. As such, the earliest pregnant symptoms should show within fourteen days after ovulation in the form of a missed period.

At around the same time, a blood pregnancy test should show a positive result at around nine to ten days after ovulation and fertilization. A urine test should be positive after 11-13 days after ovulation.

As such, within one month, one should show some of the earliest pregnancy symptoms according to the timeline as discussed.

Earliest Symptoms of Pregnancy Week By Week

Week 1: This may go unnoticed as there are little if any changes. A woman may experience frequent urination.

Week 2: This is when most of the symptoms begin to kick in. One feels nauseous, dizzy and drowsy

Week 3: A pregnancy test at this point may test positive.

Week 4: At this point, there is a confirmation of a missed period as opposed to what one may have thought was a delay. Nausea and vomiting also kick in. mood swings and increased breast tenderness are also experienced. A woman’s sense of smell increases too as one of the earliest pregnancy symptoms.

More on Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy:

See More on Ovulation, Conception & Early Signs of Pregnancy.