Can Nausea Be a First Sign of Pregnancy?

By Rachel Lister

Early signs of pregnancy can be confusing to a woman who is trying to conceive. Many of the early symptoms of pregnancy can be caused by other conditions or are difficult to detect. Every woman's body reacts differently to pregnancy, so it can be difficult to determine which symptoms indicate pregnancy and which symptoms are related to another cause.

Before a Missed Period

One of the clearer early signs of pregnancy is a missed period, which happens about 2 weeks after conception has occurred. Many woman are anxious to determine if they are pregnant as soon as possible, and waiting 2 weeks often seems like a long time. Most women do not have clear pregnancy symptoms before a missed period, but subtle changes in the pregnant body can manifest by bleeding gums, breast tenderness and fatigue. Since many of these changes can be attributed to hormone changes that are a normal part of the menstrual cycle, it can be difficult to determine pregnancy based on any of these symptoms.

Nausea

Nausea is one of the most well-known signs of early pregnancy and is fairly common during the first trimester. Because nausea is caused by hormone changes in the pregnant body, it often takes a few weeks to kick in as the hormone levels build up to a point that they affect the mother. Many women find that they do not begin experiencing morning sickness until the fifth or sixth week of pregnancy. By that point, a woman will have noticed a missed period, and most home pregnancy tests will come back positive.

Morning Sickness

Every woman reacts differently to pregnancy, and pregnancy symptoms can vary even in the same woman through several pregnancies. Some woman experience nausea before they even know they are pregnant, while others may not experience it at all. Morning sickness often begins as a simple aversion to foods and a slight feeling of a sour stomach before it turns into full-blown nausea.

Determining Pregnancy

Pregnancy cannot be diagnosed based on symptoms of nausea alone. A missed period and a positive pregnancy test are far more accurate indicators of pregnancy. The hormonal changes that some women experience during a normal menstrual cycle, combined with the stress of trying to conceive, can in some cases result in mild nausea.

Early Pregnancy Symptoms

Women experience a wide range of symptoms during early pregnancy. Some of the more common symptoms include fatigue, food aversions, nausea, breast tenderness and mood changes. Some women experience implantation bleeding, which is a slight spotting that occurs within a few days of implantation. Implantation bleeding is not always noticeable, but when it does happen, it generally occurs too early to be considered the start of a regular period. Some women experience bleeding gums almost immediately after implantation as a result of the hormone changes taking place in the body.

About the Author

Rachel Lister has served as an executive editor and feature writer throughout her career. She has contributed to the Busy Mommy Media online magazine and Preschool Rock. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Brigham Young University.