If you’ve recently had sex, you may be wondering if you could be pregnant.
From the moment your baby is conceived, your hormonal levels rapidly increase to support the new life that is growing inside of you. Long before any visible changes to the body take place, most women will experience at least some of the 14 symptoms discussed here. The timing, duration, and severity of symptoms can vary. Symptoms can start as soon as the first week after conception, while other women do not notice anything different until four to six weeks later.
So pay attention to your body. If you notice one or more of the following symptoms, they could be among the earliest signs of pregnancy.
#1: Missed or Delayed Period
This is one of the most commonly known early symptoms of pregnancy. Even if you haven’t yet experienced any of the other symptoms on this list, you will likely notice when your period doesn’t come.
Conception occurs when a sperm cell from your partner fertilizes a mature egg that has been released by one of your ovaries. This usually happens about two weeks before your menstrual period. If no conception occurs, you will have your period as you normally do. However, if a baby is conceived, you will likely miss your next period, although some women may continue to have some bleeding during pregnancy.
#2: Bleeding or Cramping
Your baby attaches to your uterine wall about 6 to 10 days after conception, where he or she will grow for the next nine months. This attachment process is known as implantation. Not all women will experience implantation bleeding, but if it does occur, you will likely notice that it is lighter and shorter in duration than your normal period. Some, but not all, women have cramping along with implantation bleeding.
#3: Tender or Swollen Breasts
After conception, your body is flooded with the hormones progesterone and hCG. Your blood volume increases as a result, which causes your breasts to swell and feel heavier than normal. This tenderness may last for just a few days or throughout your first trimester, as your body adjusts to the new hormone levels caused by your pregnancy.
#4: Darkening Areolas
Conception signals your breasts to begin preparing for breastfeeding. This causes your areolas, which is the skin around your nipples, to darken in response to changing hormones. For some women, this change is permanent, while for others, the areolas go back to their former appearance after the baby is born.
#5: Extreme Fatigue
As soon as you become pregnant, your body starts devoting calories from the food you eat to support the growth and development of your baby. This can mean less energy for you and can leave you feeling tired more easily. Hormonal changes are also thought to play a role in early pregnancy fatigue. For many women, this symptom is temporary and energy levels return to normal as the pregnancy progresses.
# 6: Backache
Some women experience lower back pains early on in pregnancy. Sometimes this pain disappears, but for some women back pain persists until the baby is born.
The increased blood volume caused by rising hormone levels can give you headaches. This is especially the case in early pregnancy, and typically subsides as you get further along.
#8: Dizziness or Fainting
There are many things that can cause dizziness or fainting throughout your pregnancy. Once you conceive, rising hormones cause increased blood flow, your expanding uterus places pressure on blood vessels, and you need more food to nourish both you and your baby. All of these factors can increase your risk of dizziness and fainting.
Along with a missed period, nausea is also one of the most commonly known early pregnancy symptoms. Although this symptom is popularly called “morning sickness,” nausea can strike any time of day. You may begin experiencing nausea as soon as one or two weeks after conception, or as late as four weeks. For most women, this symptom subsides by the second trimester, while for others it lingers. A few women do not experience nausea at all.
Pregnancy-related hormones cause your digestion to slow down and your digestive muscles to relax. This can increase your risk of experiencing acid reflux, which occurs when food and acids in your stomach come back up into your esophagus. This is what causes the burning feeling commonly known as heartburn.
Your changing hormone levels can affect your senses of taste and smell, so you may find that foods you normally like now taste bad. The opposite can also happen – foods you normally don’t like can suddenly become appetizing. You may also find you crave energy-rich carbohydrates more than usual to support the caloric needs of your growing baby and yourself. But be careful to avoid so-called empty calories – be sure to choose nutrient rich foods that will benefit your baby and you.
#12: Frequent Urination
This symptom typically begins within 2 to 3 weeks after you conceive. Once you become pregnant, your kidneys must flush out waste more efficiently to protect your baby. The release of hCG and progesterone increases blood flow to your kidneys and causes your bladder to fill up more quickly. In addition, your growing baby will begin to put pressure on your bladder as your pregnancy progresses.
During pregnancy your digestive tract relaxes and your digestive process slows down. Because of this, you may experience fewer and more difficult bowel movements.
#14: Mood Swings
The same increasing hormones that affect other parts of your body can also affect the neurotransmitters in your brain. This can affect some women differently than others. You may experience more positive or negative emotional reactions day-to-day, or you may feel depressed or anxious. These feelings often subside as your pregnancy progresses, or they may linger.
Could I Be Pregnant? What to Do Next
If you have recently had sex and you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it’s time to consider a pregnancy test. At ACPC, our qualified medical professionals provide free pregnancy testing. To schedule your free appointment, all you have to do is call us at 719-544-9312 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may have a lot of questions and experience a wide range of emotions. You may think abortion is your only choice, or you may be curious about what alternatives are out there. At that point, you need to seek accurate, unbiased information about all of your options. At ACPC, we help women just like you by providing all of the information you need to make the best decisions for you and your baby.