If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms or think you may be pregnant, schedule a free appointment with CompassCare today to medically confirm your pregnancy and how far along you are.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms1
Delay/Difference in Menstruation
A delayed or missed menstruation is the most common pregnancy symptom leading a woman to test for pregnancy. When you become pregnant, your next period should be missed. Many women can bleed while they are pregnant, but typically the bleeding will be shorter or lighter than a normal period.
Other Explanations: Excessive weight gain/loss, fatigue, hormonal problems, tension, stress, ceasing to take the birth control pill, or breast-feeding.
Implantation bleeding can be one of the earliest pregnancy symptoms. About 6-12 days after conception, the embryo implants itself into the uterine wall. Some women will experience spotting as well as some cramping.
Other Explanations: Actual menstruation, altered menstruation, changes in birth control pill, infection, or abrasion from intercourse.
Swollen or tender breasts is a pregnancy symptom which may begin as early as 1-2 weeks after conception. Women may notice changes in their breasts; they may be tender to the touch, sore, or swollen.
Other Explanations: Hormonal imbalance, birth control pills, impending menstruation (PMS) can also cause your breasts to be swollen or tender.
Feeling fatigued or more tired is a pregnancy symptom which can also start as early as the first week after conception.
Other Explanations: Stress, exhaustion, depression, common cold or flu, or other illnesses can also leave you feeling tired or fatigued.
This well-known pregnancy symptom will often show up between 2-8 weeks after conception. Some women are fortunate to not deal with morning sickness at all, while others will feel nauseous throughout most of their pregnancy.
Other Explanations: Food poisoning, stress, or other stomach disorders can also cause you to feel queasy.
Lower backaches may be a symptom that occurs early in pregnancy; however, it is common to experience a dull backache throughout an entire pregnancy.
Other Explanations: Impending menstruation, stress, other back problems, and physical or mental strains.
The sudden rise of hormones in your body can cause you to have headaches early in pregnancy.
Other Explanations: Dehydration, caffeine withdrawal, impending menstruation, eye strain, or other ailments can be the source of frequent or chronic headaches.
Around 6-8 weeks after conception, you may find yourself making a few extra trips to the bathroom.
Other Explanations: Urinary tract infection, diabetes, increasing liquid intake, or taking excessive diuretics.
Darkening of Areolas
If you are pregnant, the skin around your nipples may get darker.
Other Explanations: Hormonal imbalance unrelated to pregnancy or may be a leftover effect from a previous pregnancy.
Food Cravings or Aversions
While you may not have a strong desire to eat pickles and ice cream, many women will feel cravings for certain foods when they are pregnant. You may also find yourself avoiding foods you normally like. This can last throughout your entire pregnancy.
Other Explanations: Poor diet, lack of a certain nutrient, stress, depression, or impending menstruation.
Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can create changes in mood ranging from elation to extreme sadness. These emotional fluctuations are completely normal emotions and severity can vary from woman to woman. If you find you are experiencing a prolonged period of depression or anxiety, contact your healthcare provider.
Other Explanations: Stress, depression, or impending menstruation.
Symptoms of Possible Complications
If you think you may be pregnant and are experiencing any of the following physical problems, call your doctor or go to the emergency department right away:
- Vaginal bleeding of any amount
- Abdominal pain with a fever
- Cramping and abdominal pain more than your period
- Burning with urination
- Puffiness in your hands or face
- Excessive vomiting
Any of the above symptoms could indicate serious complications and must be addressed by a medical professional immediately.
Pregnancy begins at conception, when an egg is fertilized by the sperm. Conception usually occurs in the fallopian tube. In a healthy pregnancy the zygote implants somewhere in the uterine wall. In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg (zygote) most commonly implants in the fallopian tube. However, ectopic pregnancy can also occur in the ovary, the abdomen, and the cervical canal (the opening from the uterus to the vaginal canal). The phrases tubal pregnancy, ovarian pregnancy, cervical pregnancy, and abdominal pregnancy refer to the specific area of an ectopic pregnancy.1
In the early stages, symptoms may be the same as with any normal pregnancy, including missed period, swollen or tender breasts, increased fatigue, nausea, and increased urination. However, as the pregnancy progresses, the embryo may outgrow its the surroundings causing pelvic or abdominal pain and sometimes light-headedness or fainting. It’s important to always follow up a positive home pregnancy test with your health care professional to ensure that the pregnancy is normal. An ultrasound can be performed to confirm the presence of a fetal sac in the uterus.
Ectopic pregnancies are not viable, meaning they cannot naturally continue, and if not addressed could cause serious harm or death to both the mother and child. Surgery is required to remove the fetus and repair or remove any damaged surrounding tissues. If not caught early, ectopic pregnancies can cause internal hemorrhaging and may be fatal. Fortunately, ectopic pregnancies are rare and occur in only approximately 1% of pregnancies (Ectopic Risk).
Jenna thinks she’s pregnant. But before she can make a decision about her pregnancy, she begins to experience cramping and light bleeding. She wonders, is she miscarrying or is this a normal part of the early stages of pregnancy? Is there still time to decide whether she wants to keep the baby? Like many women in a highly private situation like Jenna, the first instinct is to search online for answers. However, the opinions and experiences of other women, no matter how similar, cannot take the place of a personal examination by a caring professional.
Each woman and each situation is unique and deserves special care and consideration. Schedule your free appointment with CompassCare today.
1 American Pregnancy Association (2019). Pregnancy Symptoms – Early Signs of Pregnancy. Retrieved from: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/gettingpregnant/earlypregnancysymptoms.html