Early signs of pregnancy
Some women feel certain they're pregnant at the moment of conception. Others don't believe the news until they have a positive pregnancy test—or two. For most women, a missed period is an early sign of pregnancy. Here are some other pregnancy symptoms:
- Breast changes. Tenderness and enlargement can occur as early as one week after conception. You also may notice the areolas, or rings around your nipples, darken and veins become more visible.
- Nausea and vomiting. Morning sickness can occur anytime, day or night, and may begin one or two weeks after conception.
- Fatigue. Although this is common in the first weeks, it often continues into your first trimester and may last throughout your pregnancy.
- Slight spotting or cramping. About eight to 10 days following ovulation, when the embryo attaches to the uterus lining, you may experience a light pink spotting. It usually comes earlier than your expected period and is not as red or heavy.
- Frequent urination. About six to eight weeks after conception, your uterus starts to exert pressure on your bladder. This means you may feel the need to use the bathroom more often.
- Other signs. Other early signs of pregnancy include: constipation, elevated body temperature, headaches, dizziness, backaches, lower abdominal cramps, excessive salivation, heartburn, and food cravings.
Take a pregnancy test—or two
Early pregnancy symptoms can be misleading. There are many possible reasons for how you're feeling. If you think you're pregnant, take a home pregnancy urine test. About 10 to 14 days after conception—or about a day after a missed period—a urine test can detect the pregnancy hormone hCG (human Chorionic Gonadotropin).
Pregnancy tests aren't foolproof. Sometimes, you get a negative test when you're pregnant, or a false positive, showing you're pregnant when you're not. Consider taking the test a week later to double-check the results.
Confirm the results
Follow up with your doctor and have a medical exam to confirm the pregnancy and get on track with prenatal care. In the doctor's office you can take a blood pregnancy test as early as 8 to 10 days after conception to detect hCG.
The ultimate positive sign, of course, is seeing the fetus. With transvaginal sonography, it’s possible to identify the gestational sac (the fluid-filled structure that will develop into the fetus) about five weeks after the last menstrual period, and about two weeks later, the beating of the fetal heart can be seen.