Whether you are a first-time mom or an experienced one, early pregnancy signs and symptoms differ. You might be aware of the obvious signs of pregnancy like missing your period, nausea, tiredness, and tender breast but is that all?
You might experience a host of symptoms beyond what you know, from metallic taste to mood swings and the unexpected. Check out the below list of early pregnancy signs and symptoms that nobody talks about. But before we get there, let’s discuss the difference between PMS and pregnancy symptoms.
|Common PMS Symptoms||Common to Both||Common Pregnancy Symptoms|
|No spotting/bleeding||Breast tenderness, fullness, swelling, and pain||Light vaginal spotting or bleeding|
|Increased appetite||Stomach cramping||Nausea and vomiting|
How Quickly Can You Know You Are Pregnant?
If you’re wondering whether you might be pregnant, the most effective way to know is by taking a clinical pregnancy test one to two weeks after you have sex.
However, let’s discuss these two scenarios, which directly answer the question too. If you were trying to get pregnant, you yearn to take the pregnancy test now and then, or better buy pregnancy kits, right?
What if you conceive accidentally? We bet you didn’t think of this because you took the after pill or were on your safe days (which can sometimes bounce). Thus, you don’t feel the need to take a test.
In short, it depends on which case you’re in right above, and in addition, early signs and symptoms of pregnancy vary with individuals.
What Are The Early Pregnancy Symptoms Before The Missed Period?
According to an American Pregnancy Association poll, twenty-nine percent of women said their early pregnancy symptoms were a missed period. However, 71 percent of women experienced early pregnancy symptoms before their missed period.
That said, you might be experiencing PMS, and not until you get a positive pregnancy test is there no way to be sure you’re expecting. If you’re experiencing any of these early pregnancy symptoms before your missed period, then this could mean you’ve hit mommy and daddy’s secret.
1. Breast Sensitivity
Breast sensitivity is the most common symptom of early pregnancy symptoms before a missed period. It is so because your breasts are getting larger, thus becoming tender, heavier, fuller, and sensitive due to high rising levels of progesterone.
Pro Tip: You can experience these symptoms before your period; however, one thing that doesn’t happen during your menstrual cycle is the darkening of the areolas. Be alert on that.
Nausea, AKA morning sickness, is a very common early pregnancy symptom before a missed period. It can occur anytime, and not only in the mornings. It can be triggered by the high production of progesterone and estrogen, which causes vomiting and nausea.
However, it subsides in the first trimester in some women, while others “embrace” it throughout the entire pregnancy. In addition, feeling nauseated can be a sign of PMS, food poison, or stomach bug.
3. Basal Body Temperature
Known as BBT is your temperature when at rest. Usually, you can take it when you wake up and before any physical activity. During ovulation, BBT increases as progesterone levels rise and drops when your period starts.
But, when you conceive, your body temperature rises from ovulation throughout your pregnancy. So, a rise in BBT from 18 days following ovulation means you’re two in one.
4. Increased Sensitivity to Smells
A sense of smell can make you go into overdrive when pregnant due to increased levels of estrogen. Scents that you once loved can be unpleasant and intense after you conceive. However, it could also be a sign of PMS.
You might experience bleeding or light spotting as an early sign of pregnancy symptoms before a missed period. A spotting called implantation bleeding happens when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining, causing irritation and light spotting. However, you can mistake it as a period, but it’s lighter than a normal period. Usually, it stops after one to three days.
6. Cervical Mucus
You may notice an increase in your vaginal discharge, which is creamy and stays that way after ovulation in early pregnancy. This is so to vaginal blood flow and increased hormones. It may continue until your cervix softens.
7. Frequent Urination
While many women know that increased urination is a common pregnancy symptom, most are under the belief that an urge to pee more often only occurs during the late stages of pregnancy.
However, pregnancy increases blood volume, which leads to 25 percent more urine production by the kidneys. The increase in urine production can happen fairly soon after conception.
8. Metallic Taste
The taste of metal in your mouth can cause some anxiety if you’ve never experienced it before. But fear not, changes in taste are very common for pregnant women. It is the change in taste that results in pregnancy food aversions.
The metallic taste in your mouth may be worsened further if you experience increase heartburn. The stomach acid associated with heartburn also causes bitterness in the mouth.
Because pregnancy hormones create a drop in blood pressure, pregnant women can experience dizziness and vertigo very early on in their pregnancy. Sometimes you may even feel like the room is spinning.
Staying hydrated and getting up slowly can help to combat the drop in blood pressure. However, if you feel extremely light-headed even while hydrated it may be time to call your doctor and make sure nothing more serious is occurring.
What Are The Common Early Pregnancy Symptoms For Twins?
Rapid Weight Gain
Weight gain is an early pregnancy symptom for twins. In fact, you not only gain rapid weight, but your uterus will expand and stretch to accommodate the extra baby. However, if you have severe morning sickness, nausea, or other issues, you might not gain but rather lose weight.
In fact, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention weight gain guidelines highlight the right BMI for women pregnant with twins (see the table below). You can check with your doctor if you have concerns about your weight.
|Weight Before Pregnancy||How Many Pounds You Should Gain|
|Underweight: BMI less than 18.5||50 – 62|
|Normal weight: BMI 18.5 – 24.9||37 – 54|
|Overweight: BMI 25 – 29.9||31 – 50|
|Obese: BMI > or equal to 30.0||25 – 42|
|Source: CDC||Weight gain recommendations for women pregnant with twins|
Severe fatigue is an early pregnancy symptom of twins. You may begin to feel exhausted and sleepy, tempering your abilities to get your usual things or routine. Fatigue is inevitable, and even though you will experience it with a singleton, the degree of fatigue is at a high level.
Movement of Fetal Early
Whereas you can feel the movement of a singleton in the late second trimester or third, having twins or multiples is different. You’ll feel movements more often and earlier.
You might have a hunch on many things and expecting twins is no exception. Don’t underestimate the power of maternal instincts.
A twin pregnancy causes your body to produce more HCG, a hormone your body secretes during pregnancy. Moms with twins produce more and for a long time than singleton. However, note that not all mothers will secrete high levels of HCG.
According to experts, hormonal change can cause a condition called dysgeusia in pregnant women, which lead to having a metallic taste in their mouth and too much saliva (which is challenging to keep up with, resulting in you spitting now and then, anywhere)
Other Early Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms
When you’re pregnant, a lot goes around your body. Changes in hormonal balance can cause other symptoms, which include:
- Constipation: is caused due to high levels of progesterone, causing food to pass more slowly into your intestines.
- Back pains and headaches: Many women report having headaches and back pains during their first early days, with even more long days or months for some.
- Fainting and dizziness: Comes along due to lower blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and dilating blood vessels.
- Mood swings: are related to change in hormones and most common during the first trimester.
- Acidity: you might experience heartburn if your stomach acids leak into the esophagus. Eat small portions while trying to avoid acidic foods.
How Long After Sex Does It Take To Get Pregnant?
Sex leads to pregnancy, but how long can the process take? Well, a simple answer is it’s not exact. An egg and sperm can meet within minutes, up to 12 hours, or a few days after ejaculation. Here’s a simple process of how long it can take to get pregnant.
Step I: Fertilization
Takes place a few seconds (No wonder it is advisable to swallow an after pill after unprotected sex) way up to 5 days after intercourse and within about five days of ovulation.
Step II: Implantation
Takes place between 5 to 15 days after sexual intercourse. It occurs when the fertilized egg (embryo) implants in the uterine wall. Also, until the egg becomes implanted, then you’re not ‘technically’ pregnant.
Step III: Pregnancy Symptoms
Most commonly occurs 1 to 4 weeks after intercourse. However, symptoms vary between individuals.
Should You Worry About These Early Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms?
Well, the truth is you might experience all the above symptoms and signs, and even more, you may never experience any of them or none at all, and you might experience mild ones. We are all different. The signs and symptoms some women experience in 24 weeks may apply to you in your early pregnancy symptoms in 3 weeks.
Final Thoughts on Early Pregnancy Symptoms
Early pregnancy signs and symptoms vary depending on each individual. You might not experience any of the listed symptoms above, or you may experience all and more. Please pay close attention to your body for these early pregnancy symptoms before the missed period, whether you’re hoping for it or not.
Sources: American Pregnancy Association, Pregnancy Symptoms: Early Signs of Pregnancy, Aug 2020, American Pregnancy Association, Twins Pregnancy Symptoms, April 2019, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Maternal and Infant Health: Weight Gain During Pregnancy, May 2021, Mayo Clinic, Symptoms of Pregnancy: What Happens First, May 2019 and NHS UK, Trying a Baby: Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy, March 2020.