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How Early Do Pregnancy Symptoms Start?

Pregnancy brings many emotional and physical changes; since every woman is unique, her experiences vary. However, there are some common early pregnancy signs that most women experience. These signs are seen early in the pregnancy, even before conception is confirmed. Knowing and recognising these early pregnancy symptoms can help you navigate this sensitive period more confidently and efficiently.

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Early Signs Of Pregnancy

The early signs of pregnancy are usually missed periods and morning sickness. However, the body undergoes many other changes in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Since the pregnancy symptoms vary for every woman, not all may experience them, and some may feel a few of them. Listed are some of the common signs of pregnancy.

Missed Periods

The most common very early sign of pregnancy 1 week after pregnancy, is a missed period. If you are of reproductive age and have not got your period even after a week or more past the expected start of your menstrual cycle, you can be pregnant. This can be a misleading symptom if you do not have an irregular cycle. But if you have conceived, the body releases hormones called hCG, human chorionic gonadotropin. This hormone stops the release of eggs from the ovaries every month and helps to maintain pregnancy.

Morning Sickness

Morning sickness or nausea starts around 4 weeks of pregnancy. Even though it is called morning sickness, it can happen at any time of the day. Some women have morning sickness earlier than 4 weeks, while others do not experience it at all. The cause of this morning sickness is not known, but pregnancy hormones play a significant role in this.


Also called implantation, bleeding is one of the first signs that you are pregnant. It occurs when the fertilised egg gets fixed to the uterine lining. You may see light spotting that is light pink to brownish after 10 to 14 days of conception. Implantation bleeding is early pregnancy discharge that happens during a menstrual period and not all women get it.

Lower Abdominal Pain

During pregnancy, there is an increase in the blood flow to the uterus, which can cause cramping. Lower back pain is also common and can occur at the onset and after the pregnancy progresses. Both lower back and abdominal pain are symptoms that are similar to the one you get before a menstrual period and can often be confusing.

Tenderness In The breast

Hormonal changes during early pregnancy can make the breast sensitive and sore. They can also lead to tenderness around the nipple and darker areolas. These changes are visible a few weeks after conception and are early signs of pregnancy before a missed period. The discomfort decreases after a couple of weeks once the body adapts to the hormonal changes.

Constipation And Bloating

It is one of the most common signs of early pregnancy that a woman has soon after conception. The body's hormonal changes during pregnancy can cause bloating and constipation and are similar to what you feel at the beginning of a menstrual cycle.

Frequent Urination

During pregnancy, the uterus grows and that puts pressure on the bladder, causing you to urinate frequently. Another reason for the increase in urination is that there is more blood flow in your body due to pregnancy, which excretes more fluid into the kidneys, which comes into the bladder. This starts after two weeks of conception and continues until labour.


During early pregnancy, hormone levels suddenly fluctuate, especially progesterone. This makes you feel sleepy and tired. So, you must consume a balanced and healthy diet and get rest when you feel tired.

Mood Swings And Headaches

Mood changes are common during pregnancy because of the increase in hormone levels. Along with this, headaches and dizziness are also common. You may also feel anxious, sad, or depressed, which is not uncommon. But if you struggle with depression or feel sorry for extended periods, consult a healthcare provider or meet a mental health professional.

High Body Temperature

The basal body temperature increases during pregnancy because of the elevated hormone levels. So it is advised that you stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and also exercise carefully.

Increased Vaginal Discharge

Cervical discharge may increase in the early weeks of pregnancy. If you notice a foul smell, itching, or burning sensation, consult a gynaecologist.

Food Cravings Or Aversions

The food that pregnant women want or avoid is sporadic and varies. Give yourself the freedom to indulge in cravings or avoid things you don't want to eat as long as you follow a nutritious diet needed for a healthy pregnancy. These aversions and cravings can happen at any time in your pregnancy journey, not just at the start.

Apart from these symptoms, many women also have smell sensitivity, bad taste in the mouth, pregnancy glow, acne, etc. It is important to know that every woman's pregnancy experience is not the same and not all women have them in the same manner.

When To Take A Pregnancy Test?

You can confirm your pregnancy a week after a missed period. Home pregnancy tests are available in pharmacies without a prescription. They work through a simple urine test by checking the hCG levels in it. These are reliable tests, but in a few cases, you may get a false positive result. If you get a positive outcome in the home pregnancy kit, visit a gynaecologist for a lab test of blood and urine to confirm pregnancy.

A delayed or missed period may be the first sign of pregnancy. However, if the home kit does not show a positive result, it can also be caused by the following reasons.

  • Excessive weight loss or gain
  • Exhaustion or fatigue
  • New fitness program
  • Stress
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Change in birth control
  • Illness
  • Pending periods
  • Breastfeeding

Morning sickness, the next most common sign of pregnancy, can be explained as

  • Stress or tension
  • Food poisoning
  • Anxiety
  • Stomach problems
  • Change in birth control

Changes in breast or tenderness, the third most common symptom of pregnancy, can be triggered because of hormonal imbalance, impending menstruation and shift in birth control. At the same time, fatigue can be caused by stress, cold or flu, depression, lack of sleep, allergies, improper nutrition or a new workout program.


Many of the above symptoms are not unique to pregnancy, and some may indicate that your menstrual cycle is about to start. Also, you can be pregnant without having these symptoms. So, if you have missed a period and see some of the above symptoms, take a home pregnancy test and visit a healthcare provider.


1. How can I tell if I'm pregnant after one week?

A home pregnancy test is one of the best ways to confirm if you are pregnant after a week of missed periods.

2. How early can you tell if you are pregnant?

The earliest you can tell if you are pregnant is about one or two weeks after conception. That is when the sperm fertilises the egg during ovulation. After that, the fertilised egg is implanted into the uterine lining, and the body produces hCG, the pregnancy hormone.

3. How early in pregnancy can you start feeling symptoms?

Pregnancy symptoms can vary among women, and the times the symptoms show up also vary. Some women begin to have early pregnancy symptoms as soon as a few days after conception, while others may not notice until a few weeks into the pregnancy.

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