How soon do early pregnancy symptoms start?


Pregnancy is a unique journey, with each woman experiencing it differently. Early pregnancy symptoms can vary widely among individuals and even from one pregnancy to another for the same woman.

A missed period  

A missed period is often the first and most reliable sign of pregnancy, especially if your periods are usually regular. Pregnancy tests can typically be taken from the first day of your missed period.

If you and your partner are planning a pregnancy, a useful way to keep track of your cycle is to either mark the days on a calendar or by using a period-tracking app. If your menstrual cycle is regular, this will help you determine when you are ovulating and know when you should expect your period.  

Light bleeding  

In the early weeks of pregnancy, some women may experience light bleeding, similar to a very light period. This is known as implantation bleeding and occurs when the embryo attaches to the uterine wall. While it’s usually mild and short-lived, any bleeding during pregnancy should be discussed with your healthcare provider. They will be able to check you over just in case. 

Sore breasts  

Breast tenderness, tingling, and enlargement are common early signs of pregnancy. You may also notice darker nipples and more visible veins.

Feeling tired 

Feeling tired or exhausted is another common early pregnancy symptom, often due to hormonal changes occurring in the body.

Feeling sick or being sick 

Nausea and vomiting, commonly referred to as morning sickness, can occur at any time of the day or night. Symptoms typically start around 4-6 weeks into pregnancy and can vary from mild queasiness to severe vomiting. Persistent vomiting may indicate a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum, which requires medical attention.

Vaginal discharge 

You may notice more vaginal discharge than usual. This is a common symptom of early pregnancy and shouldn’t feel sore, itchy or painful or smell foul.  

It is important to speak to your GP or midwife if you experience these symptoms, as it could indicate that you have an infection that could need treatment. 

Unusual tastes, smells and cravings 

During early pregnancy, you may find that there are certain foods and drinks that you used to like that you no longer enjoy. This is completely normal and is one of the common early pregnancy symptoms. You might also: 

  • Start to crave new foods 
  • Experience a strange taste in your mouth, which some describe as a metallic taste 
  • Lose an appetite for certain foods you once enjoyed 
  • Have a heightened/more sensitive sense of smell  

While you may be craving some unusual foods and drinks during the early stages of your pregnancy, there are some foods that should be avoided completely during your pregnancy to keep you and your baby safe. 

If you have any concerns about any unusual cravings or changes to tastes or smells, speak to your midwife or GP.  

Needing to pee more often 

Needing to urinate more frequently is common in early pregnancy, as hormonal changes affect bladder function.

Mood swings 

Hormonal fluctuations during the first trimester can lead to mood swings, ranging from happiness to sadness and everything in between. While these feelings are normal, persistent feelings of sadness or anxiety should be discussed with your healthcare provider.

Remember, every pregnancy is different, and not all women will experience the same symptoms, or may experience them to varying degrees. If you have any concerns about pregnancy symptoms, don’t hesitate to speak with your healthcare provider for guidance and support.

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