Suspecting a pregnancy can be extremely nerve-wracking, no matter the result you are hoping for. While most pregnant people discover their pregnancy within a month, what should you do if you suspect it much earlier than this? Here are some of the early signs of pregnancy and what you should do if you suspect you are pregnant. 

When Do Pregnancy Symptoms Start?

The early signs of pregnancy can vary from person to person, and not everyone will experience the same symptoms. Many of these symptoms can begin a couple of weeks after conception or as early as five to six days after conception. However, for most people, the earliest signs typically appear within the first few weeks after fertilization. According to Medical News Today, “Conception, or fertilization, occurs when the ovary releases an egg (ovulation), and a sperm fertilizes it. This can happen about 14 days after the start of a typical 28-day menstrual cycle, but this can vary between people.”

Common Early Signs of Pregnancy Within the First Few Weeks

Missed Period: One of the most common and noticeable signs is a missed menstrual period. If you have regular menstrual cycles and suddenly miss a period, it could be an indication of pregnancy.

Morning Sickness: Nausea and vomiting, commonly known as morning sickness, can begin as early as the second week after conception. It may not be limited to the morning and can occur at any time of the day.

Breast Changes: Changes in the breasts are often one of the earliest signs. You may experience tenderness, swelling, or sensitivity. The nipples and areolas may also darken and become more prominent.

    Fatigue: Feeling unusually tired or exhausted is a common early symptom. This fatigue can be more pronounced than typical tiredness.

      Frequent Urination: An increased need to urinate is another common early sign. This can be attributed to hormonal changes and increased blood flow to the kidneys.

        Mood Swings: Hormonal changes during early pregnancy can affect mood and emotions. You may find yourself more emotional or prone to mood swings.

        Headaches: Changing hormones can trigger headaches in early pregnancy.

        Food Aversions or Cravings: Changes in taste and smell can lead to food aversions or cravings. You might develop a sudden dislike for certain foods or develop strong cravings for others.

          Heightened Sense of Smell: Some women report an increased sensitivity to smells during early pregnancy. Certain odors that didn’t bother you before may become overwhelming. This can also affect food aversions. 

            Bloating and Constipation: Hormonal changes can affect the digestive system, leading to bloating and constipation.

              Light Spotting: This is also one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. Medical News Today explained that spotting or light bleeding in early pregnancy is called implantation bleeding. This occurs during implantation (which comes after conception) when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus. The process of implantation occurs five to six days (or sometimes more) after conception. The publication continued by saying the movement of the egg can cause blood vessels to break down and within the uterus wall. This is what leads to bleeding and often cramping. 

              These symptoms can also be associated with other conditions such as illness, the onset of a menstrual cycle, or other circumstances. They also may vary for different people. If you suspect you might be pregnant, it’s advisable to take a home pregnancy test or consult with a healthcare professional for confirmation and guidance.

              When To Take a Pregnancy Test

              If you are experiencing early signs of pregnancy, the best way to be sure you are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test. Cleveland Clinic wrote that you can take a pregnancy test right after your first period. However, you will want to test again or simply just wait about a week after the missed period, as that will provide a more accurate result. Taking the test right after the missed period could result in a false negative. 

              Pregnancy tests work by detecting the presence of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in a woman’s urine or blood. HCG is produced by the cells that will eventually form the placenta shortly after a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining. The presence of hCG is a reliable indicator of pregnancy. The further along one is in pregnancy, the more of this hormone they will have in their body. This means it is easier to detect you are pregnant the further along you are. 

              What To Do if You Find Out You Are Pregnant

              Once the pregnancy is confirmed, schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider for prenatal care, should you want to move forward with the pregnancy. Early and regular prenatal care is crucial for the health of both you and the baby. Your healthcare provider may recommend prenatal vitamins containing folic acid, which is important for the development of the baby’s neural tube. Additionally, share your complete health history with your healthcare provider, including any pre-existing conditions, medications you are taking, and lifestyle factors.

              Pregnancy is also not always wanted and there are a range of options available to you. This can bring about a range of emotions, so seek support from friends, family, or a counselor if needed.