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13 Early Pregnancy Symptoms (Week by Week)

Facts and Definition of Pregnancy

  • A missed menstrual period is most often the first sign of pregnancy and is a common first trimester symptom.
  • Not all women will experience the same symptoms in early pregnancy or experience these symptoms to the same degree. The time when very early pregnancy symptoms and signs start is also different for every woman.
  • Feelings of breast swelling, tenderness, or pain are also commonly associated with early pregnancy.
  • There is usually only a small amount of weight gain in the first trimester of pregnancy. In this early stage of pregnancy a weight gain of about one pound per month is typical.
  • Many women report cravings for certain foods during the early stages of pregnancy.
  • A persistently elevated basal body temperature (the oral temperature measured first thing in the morning, upon arising from sleep) is another characteristic sign of early pregnancy.
  • Nausea and vomiting, sometimes known as "morning sickness" typically begins in the 2nd to 8th week of pregnancy.
  • Other possible early pregnancy symptoms are mood swings, fatigue, changes in skin pigmentation, frequent urination, and headache.
  • Signs and symptoms of early pregnancy can occur before the missed period and be confused with those of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or the approaching menstrual period. It is not possible to determine if you are pregnant (in the absence of having a menstrual period) until a pregnancy test is positive.
  • Signs and symptoms of early pregnancy can occur before the missed period and be confused with those of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or the approaching menstrual period. It is not possible to determine if you are pregnant (in the absence of having a menstrual period) until a pregnancy test is positive.

Is a Missed Period the First Sign of Pregnancy?

Women in the early stages of pregnancy may experience a number of different symptoms that may signal a pregnancy. While a missed menstrual period is often the characteristic sign of pregnancy, women who do not have regular menstrual cycles may not recognize that a menstrual period has been missed. In some cases, breast tenderness or other symptoms are the first sign of pregnancy. Still other women may not experience any particular symptoms at all during early pregnancy and may not be aware of their condition.

The experience of pregnancy symptoms is highly individualized and differs among women. In fact, a woman may experience different symptoms in a second or subsequent pregnancy than she did in her first pregnancy.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of An Ectopic or Tubal Pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy is a condition in which the fertilized egg attaches in an abnormal location outside the uterus. In this situation, the fetus cannot survive, and treatment is necessary to prevent complications such as rupture and bleeding. Often, the site of implantation of an ectopic pregnancy is the Fallopian tube, and is thus termed a tubal pregnancy. In the early weeks of pregnancy, the symptoms of an ectopic or tubal pregnancy are similar to those in a normal pregnancy. However, by the 6th to 8th week after the missed menstrual period, unusual and uncommon symptoms develop, including

It is important to seek medical care any time you develop these or other unusual symptoms during pregnancy.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/17/2016

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Early Pregnancy Symptoms and Signs (Week by Week):

Pregnancy Symptoms - Early Symptoms

What were your very first signs and symptoms of pregnancy? Did you suspect you were pregnant before taking a pregnancy test?

Pregnancy Symptoms - Experience

Please describe your experience with early signs and symptoms of being pregnant.

Pregnancy Symptoms - Week by Week

How did your pregnancy symptoms vary from week to week?

Pregnancy Symptoms - Food Cravings

What foods did you crave early in your pregnancy?

Pregnancy Symptoms - Morning Sickness

What remedies or safe products were effective in treating nausea and vomiting during your pregnancy?

Pregnancy Symptoms - Headaches

If you experienced headaches in the early stages of your pregnancy, what remedies did you find effective?

Are Home Pregnancy Tests Accurate?

  • Home pregnancy tests are not as accurate as blood tests done by your doctor.
  • They also cannot determine if your pregnancy is developing as expected.
  • The hormone hCG may be detected in urine about 2 weeks after conception (when the egg is fertilized by sperm).
  • The most sensitive test of pregnancy is best performed by a laboratory using a sample of your blood.


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