Pregnancy symptoms differ from woman to woman and pregnancy to pregnancy; however, one of the most significant pregnancy symptoms is a delayed or missed period.

Understanding the signs of pregnancy is important because each symptom may have causes other than pregnancy. You may experience pregnancy signs within a week of conception.

Some women report that they did not experience any symptom for a few weeks. If you need free testing, you can search below or order affordable early detection pregnancy tests online.

If you would like to speak to someone about your symptoms or the possibility of being pregnant, you may call the APA toll-free helpline at 1-800-672-2296, or search locally by your zip code below.

Find a FREE Pregnancy Testing Center in your area

Most Common First Signs of Pregnancy

What are the most common first signs of pregnancy? In a poll conducted by the American Pregnancy Association, the most commonly reported first symptoms of pregnancy included:

  • 29% of women surveyed reported a missed period as their first pregnancy symptom
  • 25% indicated that nausea was the first sign of pregnancy
  • 17% reported that a change in their breasts was the initial symptom of pregnancy

While implantation bleeding is often considered the first pregnancy symptom, the survey conducted by the American Pregnancy Association revealed that only 3% of women identified implantation bleeding as their first sign of pregnancy.

If you are trying to get pregnant, you should get a copy of the Essential Guide to Getting Pregnant. Also check out our Fertility Shop.

Symptoms of Pregnancy Explained

Each of your symptoms of pregnancy below could be explained by other causes. What else could they be?

Spotting or light bleeding: If pregnant, this symptom is usually associated with implantation bleeding and is considered one of the earliest signs of pregnancy. The embryo usually implants to the uterine between 6 to 12 days after conception. Some women will experience spotting as well as cramping. Other women do not even notice implantation bleeding or cramping, so don’t worry if you are trying to get pregnant and don’t experience these symptoms; you could still be pregnant.

When this implantation occurs, light bleeding or spotting is perfectly normal. This symptom is sometimes accompanied by light cramping. Many women will conceive and not notice any implantation bleeding, so do not worry if you are trying to get pregnant and do not see this symptom, you could still be pregnant.

Missed period: A delayed or missed period is the most common pregnancy symptom leading a woman to test for pregnancy. When you become pregnant, your next period should be missed.

Is it possible to be pregnant and still have a period? Some women can bleed while they are pregnant, but typically this bleeding will be shorter or lighter than a normal period. A missed period can be a symptom of pregnancy caused by something else.

Nausea or morning sickness: Nausea or morning sickness is the second most commonly reported first sign of pregnancy. Experienced to some degree by most expecting women, nausea typically shows up between 2 to 8 weeks after conception.

Nausea can be experienced with or without vomiting. It is important to know that nausea, frequently called morning sickness, can actually be experienced at any time of the day. Similarly, it usually occurs during the first trimester and subsides after that for most women, but some will experience nausea all throughout their pregnancies.

Swollen or tender breasts: The third most frequently cited symptom of pregnancy is changes in the breasts.  These changes are usually indicated by swelling or tenderness. Changes to the breasts can start as early as 1 to 2 weeks after conception.

Fatigue or Tiredness: Following conception, as early as the first week after, many women cite feeling tired as a sign of pregnancy. This fatigue is commonly experienced by those who are expecting and is recognized as a typical symptom of pregnancy.

Frequent Pregnancy Symptoms

The previous symptoms are usually the first signs you experience when pregnant. There are other signs also commonly experienced by those who are expecting as well:

Backaches: Lower backaches are commonly reported by women who discover that they are pregnant. This symptom can occur with the onset of pregnancy, but it is often experienced later as the pregnancy progresses. This makes it an easy pregnancy symptom at week 27 to week 34.

Headaches: Experiencing headaches at the onset of pregnancy is another common early sign of pregnancy. Experts believe that the sudden rise of hormones in your body leads you to experience the headaches.

Headaches during pregnancy may also be caused by the increase of blood flow. There is an approximately 50% increase in the volume of blood flowing while you are expecting.

Frequent urination:  Don’t be surprised if you feel like you have to pee more often. Increase urination starts for most people between 6 to 8 weeks.

You will find that increased urination will pick back up or continue throughout your pregnancy as the expanding baby and uterus place pressure on your bladder.

Food cravings or food aversions:  The reason for certain food cravings or food aversions is not known. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself drawn to something you normally do not care for, or avoiding things that you normally like.

The food that expecting women crave or seek to avoid varies and is quite sporadic. It is alright to allow yourself the freedom to pursue those cravings and avoid the things you don’t want as long as you are getting the nutrition you need for a healthy pregnancy.

These cravings or aversions can occur early in pregnancy or anytime throughout your pregnancy.

Darkening of the Areolas: Some people lump darkening of the areolas into the symptom of pregnancy referred to as breast changes. That’s alright, it is important to note that if the areolas, area around your nipples, darkens, that is normal.  It is a common occurrence within those who are expecting.

Mood Swings: Expecting mothers frequently experience mood swings. This believed to be primarily caused by the hormonal changes that affect the neurotransmitters of the brain. The types of mood swings can vary from woman to woman.  Some may experience elevated highs and lows, whereas others alternate between states of happiness to states of depression or anxiety.

It is important to note that mood swings are normal; however, if you find yourself struggling with depression or extended periods of sadness, you should contact your healthcare provider. Some women prefer to go directly to a counselor or mental health professional.

If you have been sexually active and are questioning whether you are pregnant or not, contact an APA Pregnancy Specialist on our chat or at 1-800-672-2296 to discuss your signs of pregnancy. You can also find free testing centers using the zip code search below.

Find a FREE Pregnancy Testing Center in your area

Pregnancy Symptom Alternatives

It is challenging already to determine if you are pregnant or not, but with symptoms of pregnancy varying from woman to woman and even pregnancy to pregnancy, it gets even more difficult. Additionally, most of the typical “pregnancy symptoms” can be explained by something else.

What else could it be?

A missed or delayed period, the most commonly reported first sign of pregnancy, could be caused by any of the following:

  • Pending menstruation
  • Excessive weight gain or loss
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • New workout regimen
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Tension or stress
  • Change in birth control usage
  • Various illnesses
  • Breastfeeding

Nausea or morning sickness, the second most frequently cited symptom of pregnancy, might be explained by one of the below:

  • Food poisoning
  • Tension or stress
  • Anxiety
  • Change in hormonal birth control
  • Other stomach ailments

Tender or changing breasts, as the third most noted pregnancy symptom, might be triggered by any of the following:

  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Change in hormonal birth control
  • Impending menstruation

Fatigue or tiredness can be brought on by any of the following:

  • Tension or stress
  • Exhaustion from working too hard
  • Depression or other mental health struggles
  • Common cold or flu
  • New workout regimen
  • Allergies or other ailments
  • Lack of sleep
  • Improper nutrition
  • Pending menstruation

One of the most frustrating things for those questioning a potential pregnancy comes from the reality that many of the symptoms of pregnancy can be associated with a pending menstruation or tension or stress.

If you have been sexually active and trying to determine if you are pregnant, contact our pregnancy helpline daily at 1-800-672-2296. You may also use your zip code below to find a free pregnancy testing center.

Find a FREE Pregnancy Testing Center in your area

This can last throughout your entire pregnancy. Some women develop aversions to certain types of food as well, and this too can last throughout your pregnancy.

Early Signs of Pregnancy

Your Next Steps:

If you are trying to get pregnant and looking for resources to support your efforts, we invite you to check out the fertility product and resource guide provided by our corporate sponsor. Review resource guides here.

Check out, share and download our infographic below on the top pregnancy symptoms and early pregnancy signs!

If you are trying to get pregnant, you should get a copy of the Essential Guide to Getting Pregnant.

Last updated: August 3, 2017 at 16:12 pm