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What Are the Most Common Early Pregnancy Symptoms?

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Within the first 1-2 weeks after missing their period, pregnant women or Assigned Female at Birth (AFAB) may start experiencing pregnancy symptoms such as sore breasts, light spotting, and morning sickness. 

These symptoms are often caused by elevated pregnancy hormone levels. They may also be accompanied by additional symptoms like increased vaginal discharge, bloating, and mood fluctuations. 

Understanding these signs can aid in detecting pregnancy early on and providing prompt medical treatment and care. 

Read further to discover the 10 most common early pregnancy symptoms.

Understanding Early Pregnancy Symptoms

Early pregnancy symptoms can vary significantly from one pregnancy to another. However, there are several common signs and symptoms that many women encounter throughout the early stages of pregnancy. 

These generally include:

  • Missed menstruation or period
  • Breast changes
  • Frequent urination
  • Fatigue
  • Spotting or implantation bleeding
  • Bloating
  • Mood swings
  • Headache
  • Dizziness and Fainting
  • Morning sickness

Now, let’s look into these symptoms in detail.

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  • Missed Period

    Missed periods are one of the most obvious and early indications of pregnancy. For women who have normal menstrual cycles, missing a period is frequently the first sign of pregnancy. However, this may be less accurate for women who have irregular periods.

    When a sperm fertilizes an egg, the body begins to create hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin). It is a hormone released in the placenta 8-10 days after conception to help the embryo develop. 

    As a result, the body fails to ovulate, resulting in a brief period of menstruation. In most cases, a delayed or missed period does not necessarily indicate pregnancy. Several factors like Stress, hormonal imbalances, excessive diets, Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), and excessive exercise can all cause missed periods

    Individuals who suspect pregnancy at this early stage should get a pregnancy test to identify the presence of the hCG hormone and validate the pregnancy.

    Breast Changes

    Many women feel breast pain and soreness in the early stages of their pregnancy. This is generally one of the first signs, appearing as early as one to two weeks after fertilization. 

    The areolas, or pigmented patches around the nipples, may also darken and swell during this period. These changes are mostly caused by hormonal swings, which prepare the body for breastfeeding.

    Frequent Urination

    One of the most common early pregnancy symptoms is frequent urination, which usually begins between six and eight weeks after conception. Immediately after fertilization, the body starts producing the hormone hCG. 

    This hormone boosts blood flow to the pelvic area, particularly the kidneys, allowing them to function more efficiently and produce more urine.


    Woman suffering from FatigueSource: Pixelshot
    Woman suffering from Fatigue

    Fatigue can begin as early as the first week following conception and often lasts throughout the first trimester. When you are pregnant, your body generates a high level of Progesterone to support fetal development, which may slow down the metabolic process. 

    As a result, your body spends more energy on the entire digestion process, leaving you feeling exhausted and sluggish.

    A healthy diet, proper hydration, and adequate sleep can help manage fatigue and exhaustion during pregnancy.

    Spotting or Implantation Bleeding

    Spotting or implantation bleeding is common in early pregnancy and can be one of the first indications of conception. Implantation bleeding occurs when a fertilized egg adheres to the uterine lining. 

    This normally occurs about 6 to 12 days after fertilization. As the egg penetrates into the uterine lining, some of the blood vessels rupture, resulting in mild bleeding or spotting.

    However, most people misunderstand implantation bleeding with that of regular periods. To gain more insights on this topic, read Implantation bleeding vs Period: Detailed Comparison.


    Progesterone is the primary hormone involved in pregnancy. This hormone aids in relaxing the muscles in the body, including the digestive tract. Elevated levels of Progesterone during pregnancy can slow down the digestion process, causing bloating, feeling of fullness, and cramps.

    Mood Swings

    Mood swings are a frequent sign of early pregnancy, which can begin as early as the first few weeks following conception. These emotional changes might be mild or severe, and they are impacted by hormonal fluctuations that occur during f. 

    The sudden rise in hormones like Estrogen and Progesterone has a substantial influence on neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate mood. Estrogen levels rise quickly, which may intensify emotions, whereas Progesterone can cause sensations of relaxation and exhaustion, leading to irritation or despair.


    Woman suffering from headacheSource: Syda_Productions
    Woman suffering from headache

    Headaches are quite common in early pregnancy. They can be caused by a sudden surge in hormones like Estrogen and Progesterone. These hormonal fluctuations can cause blood vessel dilatation and contraction, resulting in the discomfort of headaches. 

    Additionally, during pregnancy, the body generates extra blood to support the developing fetus, which can strain blood vessels and lead to headaches.

    Dizziness and Fainting

    Dizziness and fainting are more frequent symptoms of early pregnancy, affecting many women due to many physiological changes in their bodies. These symptoms can be unpleasant, but they are typically not a reason for much concern. 

    Early pregnancy causes major hormonal alterations, specifically a rise in Progesterone. Progesterone causes blood arteries to relax and expand, resulting in decreased blood pressure and a delayed return of blood to the heart. 

    This can limit blood supply to the brain, resulting in dizziness or lightheadedness.

    Morning Sickness

    Morning sickness is one of the most common early pregnancy symptoms, affecting many women. Despite the term, morning sickness can occur at any time of day or night. 

    It typically appears as Nausea and vomiting, beginning around the sixth week of pregnancy and commonly disappearing by the end of the first trimester. However, some women may suffer it for longer. 

    High levels of pregnancy hormones, such as hCG, Estrogen, and Progesterone, can lead to the condition.

    Morning sickness during early pregnancy can often result in loss of appetite in most women. To gain more insights, read “A Detailed Guide to Loss of Appetite During Early Pregnancy.”

    Extreme morning sickness (Hyperemesis Gravidarum) can cause Nausea and excessive vomiting, which can result in dehydration, excessive tiredness, and fainting. If you are experiencing severe morning sickness, consult your doctor immediately for a thorough examination.

    Key Notes

    Recognizing early pregnancy symptoms can help many women understand and manage their reproductive health. While usual symptoms such as missed periods, Nausea, fatigue, and breast soreness may indicate preliminary indications, keep in mind that each pregnancy is unique, and symptoms can vary greatly between individuals. 

    Confirming pregnancy with medical testing and getting guidance from healthcare specialists ensures that you receive the right treatment and support. Women who are aware of these early signs can make proactive efforts to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.

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    Frequently Asked Questions

    Can I experience cramps in early pregnancy? 

    Yes, minor cramping may occur as the uterus grows and changes to accommodate the developing embryo. However, severe or chronic cramping should be consulted with a medical professional.

    Is it common to experience food cravings during early pregnancy? 

    Yes, many women crave specific meals or dislike certain odors or tastes. The exact reasons for pregnancy cravings are unknown, although they may be connected to hormonal changes that impact taste and odor, as well as the body’s demand for specific nutrients.

    How can I get rid of morning sickness? 

    Some women may find that eating small, frequent meals and avoiding triggers like strong smells or particular foods might help ease morning sickness. Additionally, staying hydrated, getting enough rest, and using ginger can aid in overcoming morning sickness.

    Can I still exercise in my early pregnancy? 

    Yes. Moderate exercise is typically considered harmless and may even be beneficial during pregnancy. However, you should contact your healthcare provider before beginning or continuing any fitness routine to verify that it is safe for you and your baby.

    Can I still get my period when pregnant? 

    Yes, although it’s uncommon, some women have mild bleeding or spotting around the time their period is due, even when pregnant. This is known as implantation bleeding, and it is usually lighter and shorter than regular menstruation.

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    Photo of author Janet Fudge
    Janet Fudge is a highly skilled and experienced pharmacologist who serves as a contributing writer for With a strong academic background from a premier US University and a passion for helping others, Janet has become a trusted voice in the pharmaceutical world. After completing her Doctor of Pharmacy degree, Janet embarked on a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, working with various clients, including hospitals, retail pharmacies, and drug manufacturers. Her in-depth knowledge of pharmacology and dedication to patient-centered care has led her to excel in her field. As a writer for, Janet uses her wealth of expertise to provide readers with accurate, reliable, and up-to-date information on various topics related to medicine and healthcare. Her engaging writing style and ability to break down complex topics into easily digestible content make her a valuable resource for healthcare professionals and the general public.
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