No two women experience pregnancy in the same way nor do most women have the same signs and symptoms for each pregnancy. Many women experience no signs of pregnancy before missing a period; however, some women may notice symptoms within the first several weeks following conception. While a pregnancy test is the only way to verify a pregnancy, there are some obvious and early symptoms to look for.
Implantation bleeding can occur as the embryo attaches to the uterine lining; this bleeding is characterized by minor vaginal bleeding which may be accompanied by abdominal cramping. According to the Mayo Clinic, implantation bleeding can occur within 14 days of the egg’s fertilization and is usually lighter in color and lasts longer than standard menstruation.
Fatigue can begin within a week of conception. According to the Mayo Clinic, early pregnancy is marked by soaring levels of progesterone, which can cause a tired feeling and lethargy. Additionally, the early stages of pregnancy are often marked by decreased levels of blood sugar, blood pressure and an increase in blood production, all of which can cause fatigue and lower energy levels.
Changes in a woman’s breasts include tingling, increased tenderness, soreness and swelling. These changes can begin one to two weeks following conception due to the hormonal changes taking place in the body.
Elevated Basal Body Temperature
A woman’s basal body temperature (temperature taken orally upon waking in the morning) naturally increases after ovulation and remains at the higher level until the following menstrual period. Experiencing an elevated basal body temperature for longer than two weeks may indicate pregnancy.
Some women experience pregnancy-related nausea as early as two weeks following conception. Frequently referred to as “morning sickness,” this nausea can occur at any time of day and may or may not be accompanied by vomiting. According to the Mayo Clinic, estrogen levels rise quickly during pregnancy and can cause slower emptying of the stomach, producing nausea.
Additional early symptoms may include mild headaches caused by hormonal changes and increased blood circulation, aversions to food/food cravings, darkening of the skin surrounding the nipples, constipation caused by increasing progesterone levels and mood swings caused by a rapidly changing hormonal balance. Dizziness or faintness is also a common early sign of pregnancy due to changes in blood sugar and blood pressure, along with dilating blood vessels. Increased frequency of urination usually occurs between six to eight weeks following conception.
The most well known pregnancy symptom is a missed menstrual period. In most cases, the period following conception should not occur; however, some women can experience light bleeding during pregnancy.