21 first Symptoms of pregnancy [in order]

When do the first signs of pregnancy appear?

Contrary to what many people believe, there are no symptoms of pregnancy in the first few days after fertilization.

The first signs appear only when the embryo implants in the uterus, an event that occurs one to two weeks after sexual intercourse.

From the moment the embryo implants itself in the uterus until about the 13th week of gestation, the pregnant woman’s organism undergoes several changes and there is a substantial increase in the production of hormones.

Most of these changes cause symptoms. Most appear from the 5th or 6th week of pregnancy which is equivalent to 2 to 3 weeks after the sexual intercourse that generated the pregnancy (the time of pregnancy is counted from the date of the last menstrual period).

What are the first symptoms of pregnancy?

In chronological order, the first signs and symptoms of pregnancy are usually:

  1. Minor vaginal bleeding (does not occur in most cases).
  2. Menstrual delay (always occurs).
  3. Abdominal cramps.
  4. Breast pain.
  5. Increased volume of the breasts.
  6. Changes in the appearance of the nipples.
  7. Sickness.
  8. Salivation.
  9. Constipation.
  10. Swollen belly.
  11. Fatigue and sleep.
  12. Frequent urge to urinate.
  13. Food cravings.
  14. Changes in taste and smell.
  15. Intolerance to strong odors.
  16. Increased intestinal gas.
  17. Dizziness.
  18. Mood swings.
  19. Headache.
  20. Vaginal discharge.
  21. Blackheads and pimples.

Vaginal bleeding

  • Frequency: uncommon.
  • When it appears: between the 3rd and 4th week of gestation.

The first sign of pregnancy is usually slight vaginal bleeding. Not all women experience this and some of those who do not recognize it as a symptom of pregnancy.

When the egg cell is fertilized, it becomes a zygote (the first stage of the embryo) and begins to travel down the fallopian tube and into the uterus. After 6 to 12 days of travel, the embryo reaches the uterus and implants itself in its wall, a process that is called nidation. This implantation may cause a small uterine bleeding, which manifests itself as a discrete vaginal bleeding.

How is the sacrament of implantation of the embryo?

Because implantation bleeding can last up to three days, cause mild abdominal cramping and occur close to the time when menstruation is expected, some women interpret it as a period that came weakly and do not suspect that this is their first sign of pregnancy.

In most cases, however, the implantation bleeding is quite discreet, and can be anything from a dark red to a slightly pinkish and not very thick discharge.

So if you are trying to get pregnant and you have a period or discharge that is different than usual, be aware that this could be a sign of early pregnancy.

Is it normal to have bleeding in early pregnancy?

The only vaginal bleeding considered normal in early pregnancy is that which occurs during implantation of the embryo in the uterus. This bleeding, however, usually appears before the woman knows she is pregnant.

It is important to emphasize that the implantation of the embryo in the uterus is only one of several causes of vaginal bleeding in pregnancy. More than 20% of pregnant women experience some bleeding in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Any bleeding that occurs after the pregnant woman knows she is pregnant should be reported to her obstetrician.

Menstrual delay

  • Frequency: occurs in 100% of cases.
  • When it appears: around the 4th week.

Since implantation bleeding is not that common, in practice, the first symptom of pregnancy for most women is delayed menstruation. This is the sign that usually leads women to take a pregnancy test.

Does every pregnant woman experience menstrual delay?

Yes, this sign is universal for all pregnant women. Those who are pregnant do not menstruate and those who menstruate cannot be pregnant.

It is important to note, however, that not everyone has an easy time recognizing a delayed menstrual period. Some women have very irregular menstrual cycles and have periods of anovulation (they do not ovulate during a given month), which makes the usual interval between their periods often longer than one or even two months.

In addition, as explained above, episodes of vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy can mimic a period, causing a woman to delay noticing that she is no longer menstruating.

Can menstruation be late and not be pregnancy?

Yes, menstruation can be delayed for several reasons other than pregnancy, among them: stress, infections, contraceptive change, changes in weight, tiredness, etc.

The very expectation of menstruation, when a woman absolutely does not want to get pregnant, but has been careless by having unprotected sex, can cause menstrual delay.

With how many days of menstrual delay can I do the pregnancy test?

The current pharmacy or blood pregnancy tests can already detect an ongoing pregnancy after the first day of menstrual delay.

Abdominal cramps or pain

  • Frequency: common.
  • When it appears: between the 4th and 5th week.

In addition to light bleeding, early pregnancy may also cause some discomfort in the lower abdomen (belly pit) or a feeling of abdominal bloating, looking much like premenstrual symptoms.

These discomforts and cramps, when coupled with vaginal bleeding, may well fool pregnant women into thinking they have menstruated.

READ ALSO:  Does the Chinese pregnancy chart work?

Is it normal to have cramps in pregnancy?

Yes, it is perfectly normal and even expected to experience cramps during pregnancy. In the first trimester, the pain usually originates from the beginning of uterine growth and hormonal changes.

Abdominal pain is a symptom that can appear in the first, second or third trimester of pregnancy. In the first weeks of pregnancy, it can be a sensation of heaviness or discomfort rather than cramping.

Pain in the breasts

  • Frequency: very common.
  • When it appears: around the 5th week.

Another typical sign of pregnancy, increased sensitivity of the breasts can appear as early as two or three weeks after fertilisation. Often, the simple act of touching the breasts or putting on a bra can be quite uncomfortable.

In women who do not experience implantation bleeding and have not identified a delay in menstruation, breast pain may be the first symptom of pregnancy to be noticed.

Increased breast size

  • Frequency: very common.
  • When it appears: around the 5th week.

In addition to sensitivity, the breasts of pregnant women also tend to become larger, causing a feeling of swelling.

This breast enlargement occurs due to hormonal changes that stimulate the development of the mammary glands, preparing them for the breastfeeding period that will come in the coming months.

The increase in the volume of the breasts usually appears 1 or 2 weeks after the pregnant woman notices that they are more sensitive.

Changes in the appearance of the breasts

  • Frequency: very common.
  • When it appears: around the 5th to 6th week.

In addition to the increase in volume and pain, the hormones produced during pregnancy also make pregnant women’s breasts change in appearance. It is common to have darkening of the nipples and the appearance of veins around the breasts. These changes last until the end of breastfeeding.

Another clear change in the appearance of the breasts is the appearance of Montgomery’s tubercles, small nodules located in the areolas. These nodules are glands that produce secretions that keep the areola and nipple lubricated. As the breast grows throughout the pregnancy, the tubercles become more and more visible.

Nausea and vomiting

  • Frequency: very common.
  • When it appears: around the 5th to 6th week.

Nausea and vomiting are classic symptoms of pregnancy. Up to 70% of pregnant women experience nausea in the first trimester.

In some cases, the nausea is so intense that the woman cannot even feed herself. Severe nausea, which requires medical support, is part of a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum.

When does pregnancy sickness appear?

Nausea usually appears from the 6th week of pregnancy. However, there are women who experience these symptoms as early as the 4th or 5th week.

How long does it take for pregnancy sickness to pass?

Nausea and vomiting are typical symptoms of the first trimester of pregnancy and tend to disappear in the second trimester. In most cases, nausea improves from the 12th week and 90% of pregnant women no longer experience any degree of nausea by the 18th week.

Why do pregnant women get nauseous?

The causes of nausea during pregnancy are not completely understood. However, this symptom appears to be linked to the production of the hormone HCG, commonly referred to as the pregnancy hormone, which begins to be produced in large quantities when the embryo implants in the uterus.

Excessive salivation (sialorrhea)

  • Frequency: common.
  • When it appears: around the 5th to 6th week.

Along with nausea, the pregnant woman may also notice an increase in saliva production, called ptyalism or sialorrhea.

Increased salivation can occur due to hormonal influence or decreased swallowing of saliva due to motion sickness.

In many pregnant women, this symptom remains even after the end of nausea, and may persist until the end of pregnancy.

Constipation

  • Frequency: common.
  • When it appears: usually in the 5th to 6th week.

The increased production of the hormone progesterone in pregnancy causes some organs and tissues of the body to become more “lax” or “relaxed”. This occurs in order to facilitate the large volume expansion of the uterus that is to come.

Among these organs are the intestines, which, because they suffer a reduction in their ability to contract, have more difficulty maintaining normal intestinal transit, resulting in constipation.

Swollen belly

  • Frequency: common.
  • When it appears: around the 5th to 6th week.

You swore until last week that you fit into those super tight jeans, and now suddenly the pants no longer close around your belly.

This can occur because, even when the fetus is still too small to expand the uterus, some women experience a certain swelling in the abdominal region, which occurs as preparation of the body to support uterine growth.

This bloating is another symptom that can be confused with premenstrual symptoms.

Tiredness and excessive sleep

  • Frequency: very common.
  • When it appears: 5th to 6th week.

A feeling of tiredness out of proportion to your daily activities is a very common pregnancy symptom. If you already have a strenuous routine during the day, it can become exhausting early in pregnancy.

READ ALSO:  Is it Possible to Get Pregnant During Menstruation?

Increased sleep is also very common. Your body gives you signals that it needs to rest more often. You may start to want to go to bed earlier and find it harder than usual to wake up in the morning. During the day, a good nap seems to be all you want most.

Why do pregnant women feel so sleepy and tired?

Tiredness and sleepiness in pregnancy occur due to hormonal changes, mainly from progesterone, which acts directly on the central nervous system and on the respiratory and cardiovascular systems.

Tiredness is a symptom of early pregnancy that usually disappears in the second trimester. However, it returns towards the end of the pregnancy when the baby is already big and heavy.

Frequent urination

  • Frequency: very common.
  • When it appears: from the 5th or 6th week.

After about six weeks of pregnancy, the pregnant woman begins to feel the urge to urinate more frequently. These trips to the bathroom can occur, including during the night, disturbing the pregnant woman’s sleep.

Why does the pregnant woman urinate frequently?

In the first weeks, the increase in urine occurs due to a reduction in the bladder’s capacity to empty completely, due to the relaxation caused by pregnancy hormones. In late pregnancy, the very large fetus compresses the bladder, reducing its storage capacity and causing small volumes already trigger urge to urinate.

Increased urinary frequency is a symptom of pregnancy that appears early, occurs in virtually 100% of pregnant women and, unfortunately, lasts until the end of pregnancy.

It is important to note that if the increased urinary frequency is accompanied by darker urine and/or burning to urinate, a urinary tract infection may be the cause.

Food cravings

  • Frequency: common.
  • When it appears: from the 6th week.

Cravings for certain foods in the first weeks of pregnancy is one of the most clichéd symptoms of pregnancy. These strange desires can even make vegetarian women feel like eating hamburger.

In the same way that they acquire these desires, pregnant women can also have aversions to certain foods and/or smells. That Japanese restaurant that you love may, during pregnancy, make you nauseous just walking through the door.

Why do pregnant women feel cravings?

We do not know exactly why the food cravings of pregnancy occur. They probably arise due to emotional changes and the increase in hormones, especially progesterone and HCG.

Why do some pregnant women have the urge to eat strange things, like brick, ice, or dirt?

The desire to eat substances that are not culturally considered food is called picamalacia or pica. When these strange cravings arise in pregnancy, this can be a sign of micronutrient deficiency, such as iron, zinc or selenium.

Changes in taste and smell

  • Frequency: common.
  • When it appears: around the 6th week.

In addition to having food cravings and food aversions, taste change is another very common symptom of pregnancy.

Sweets can become too sweet, the coffee you love will taste funny, and during the day you may feel a metal taste in your mouth for no apparent reason.

Aversion to strong odors

  • Frequency: common.
  • When it appears: around the 6th week.

Just as some foods make you feel sick in the first weeks of pregnancy, intense smells, even if they are pleasant, such as perfume or food, can make you feel sick. Bad or very strong smells, such as cigarette smoke, gasoline, alcohol, cleaning products, etc., have the same effect.

A common symptom of pregnancy is an increased sensitivity of smell. The pregnant woman refers to the feeling of having developed a super-smell. Odors that used to go unnoticed or did not bother her now become unbearable.

Frequent elimination of gases

  • Frequency: common.
  • When it appears: Around the 6th week.

Some women experience an increase in intestinal gas in the first weeks of pregnancy. This can be an embarrassing symptom in cases where the pregnant woman needs to be stuck for hours in an office or room with other people.

What are the symptoms of gas in pregnancy?

Excess gas in pregnancy manifests itself in the usual way: there is an increased need to burp and let out gas (bam), feeling of distended abdomen, feeling of gas moving in the intestines and abdominal cramps.

Dizziness

  • Frequency: common.
  • When it appears: from the 6th week.

Dizziness is one of those classic pregnancy symptoms that show up in every movie when the character gets pregnant.

Pregnancy hormones cause several changes in a woman’s body that can actually cause dizziness, among which are drop in blood pressure, reduction in blood sugar levels, anemia, increased respiratory rate (which can lead to hyperventilation during physical exertion), insufficient nutrition due to nausea, etc.

Mood swings

  • Frequency: common.
  • When it appears: around the 6th week.

Another symptom of pregnancy that everyone has seen in movies. Pregnant women can cry even when they watch TV commercials. Small things can take on a disproportionate amount of importance.

Sudden mood swings are also common. The pregnant woman can go from allergy to sadness or sympathy to outbursts of bad humor with people close to her from one hour to the next. There are cases of pregnant women who even asked for resignation from their jobs.

READ ALSO:  Vaginal discharge: white, yellow, brown, green

Headache

  • Frequency: uncommon.
  • When it appears: around the 8th week.

Hormonal changes, relaxation of blood vessels and changes in cerebral blood flow explain why some pregnant women experience headaches during pregnancy. Stress and fatigue also contribute. Headache is a symptom that usually appears already in the first weeks of pregnancy.

Vaginal discharge

  • Frequency: common.
  • When it appears: around the 8th week.

The appearance of vaginal discharge or intensification of your usual discharge are normal symptoms of pregnancy. The discharge usually becomes heavier in the second trimester of pregnancy, but some pregnant women notice the discharge from the beginning of their pregnancy.

What does normal pregnancy discharge look like?

The natural vaginal discharge is stimulated by estrogen and can have its volume increased in periods in which there is greater hormonal stimulation, as in cases of pregnancy.

In general, this discharge is the same as the physiological discharge that some women have, being thick, milky or transparent and odorless.

Acne

  • Frequency: uncommon.
  • When it appears: from the 10th week.

Hormonal changes may cause some pregnant women to develop acne or have worsening acne that they already had before.

In the female sex, acne is very much related to unbalances in sexual hormones that cause increased oiliness of the skin. Acne during pregnancy can be mild or severe and can appear at any time during gestation.

Is it possible to know if I am pregnant through the initial symptoms?

Diagnosing pregnancy through symptoms used to be done in the old days, when there were no pregnancy tests or ultrasound scans.

As the initial symptoms are very non-specific and only become obvious after months of gestation, it is not easy nor does it make any more sense to diagnose a pregnancy in this way. However, this does not mean that recognising the early symptoms is not important.

The first signs and symptoms of pregnancy serve as a stimulus for women to take a pregnancy test, be it the drugstore test or the blood dosage of beta-hCG. Some women resort to home pregnancy tests when they suspect they are pregnant, but these, besides being unreliable, can still do harm.

The sooner a patient knows she is pregnant, the sooner she can start prenatal care. This way, she can take measures that are beneficial to the fetus early on, such as controlling blood glucose, improving diet, using supplements such as folic acid and iron, keeping an eye on blood pressure, promptly treating infections and avoiding alcohol or medications potentially harmful to the baby in the first trimester.

It is important to note that pregnancy symptoms are not the same for all women. Moreover, the same mother may have symptoms in the second pregnancy completely different from those of the first. And even when these signs are repeated, they can vary in intensity, frequency, time of onset and duration.

Another thing to note is that many of the early symptoms of pregnancy can be similar to the premenstrual discomforts you are used to. It is very common for women who are not pregnant to confuse premenstrual symptoms with those of a possible early pregnancy.

Interestingly, the opposite is also true, as many pregnant women do not value the first symptoms and will only discover they are pregnant at the end of the first trimester, when the signs become too obvious to be ignored.

Calculate the probability of being pregnant

Answer the questions below and add up the points to find out what the chances are that you are pregnant.

1. Have you had unprotected sexual intercourse (without using a condom or other contraceptive method) in the last 4 weeks?

  • Yes (7 points).
  • No (-5 points).

2. Is your period late?

  • No, there is still 1 week or more to go (- 1 point).
  • No, but she should come in the next 3 days (0 points).
  • Yes, less than 3 days (1 point).
  • Yes, 3 to 6 days (2 points).
  • Yes, more than 7 days (5 points).

3. How many of the following symptoms do you have: nausea, breast pain, breast enlargement, tiredness, frequent sleeping, frequent urination, bloated belly, food cravings, mood swings or abdominal pain.

  • None (0 points).
  • 1 to 3 symptoms (2 points).
  • 4 or more symptoms (4 points).

Results:

  • 10 or more points: very high chance of being pregnant. Take the pregnancy test.
  • Between 6 and 9 points: high chance of being pregnant. Take the pregnancy test.
  • Between 3 and 5 points: there is a chance that you are pregnant, but it is not the most likely.
  • Less than 3 points: unlikely to be pregnant.

References