Pregnancy symptoms usually show up a few weeks after conception, however you can be pregnant without ever experiencing any or no symptoms. The proof is really in the pregnancy test. But you may suspect, or hope, that you’re expecting, even before you miss your period and before you see early signs of pregnancy.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms may include:
- Swollen, tender breasts and or nipples
- Nausea with or without vomiting – morning sickness
- Faintness and dizziness
- Cramping or slight bleeding
- Food aversions or cravings
- Frequent urination
- Mood swings
- Raised basal body temperature – basal body temperature is your oral temperature when you first wake up in the morning.
These early pregnancy symptoms aren’t unique to pregnancy. Some can indicate that you’re getting sick or that your period is about to start. Still, if you notice any of the above symptoms make plans to take a home pregnancy test, especially if you’re not keeping track of your menstrual cycle.
First trimester Pregnancy Symptoms (Month 1-3, Week 1-13)
- Your hormones trigger your body to begin nourishing the baby, even before tests and a physical exam can confirm the pregnancy.
- Breasts unusually sensitive and tender, feel fuller and heavier.
- Queasiness, nausea or vomiting in early pregnancy, probably due to normal hormonal changes.
- You may feel tired, fatigued as your body produces more blood and prepares to support the pregnancy. Your heart will pump faster and harder, and your pulse will quicken. Intense, changeable emotions also may take a toll on your energy level.
- Normal circulatory changes in early pregnancy may leave you feeling a little dizzy. Stress, fatigue and hunger also may play a role.
- Increased urination
Second Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms (Month 3-6, Week 14-26)
- Stimulated by estrogen and progesterone, the milk-producing glands inside your breasts get larger. A small amount of fat may also accumulate in your breasts. The result may be as much as 1 pound of extra breast tissue or up to two additional cup sizes.
- As your uterus becomes heavier and expands to make room for the baby, your abdomen expands right along with it. Expect to gain up to 4 pounds a month until the end of your pregnancy.
- Your uterus may start flexing to build strength for the big job ahead. You may feel these warm-ups, called Braxton Hicks contractions, in your lower abdomen and groin. They’re painless and come and go unpredictably. Contact your health care provider if the contractions become painful or regular. This may be a sign of preterm labor.
- As blood circulation increases, you may enjoy the healthy glow associated with pregnancy. Certain areas of your skin may become darker as well, such as the skin around your nipples, parts of your face and the line that runs from your navel to your pubic bone.
- As pregnancy expands your circulation, more blood flows through your body’s mucous membranes, causing the lining of your nose and airway to swell. This can restrict airflow and cause snoring, congestion and nosebleeds. Increased blood circulation can soften your gums as well, which may cause minor bleeding when you brush or floss your teeth.
- Your blood vessels dilate in response to pregnancy hormones. Until your blood volume expands to fill them, you may experience occasional dizziness. Lower blood pressure due to your rapidly expanding circulatory system also may play a role. Avoid prolonged standing, and rise slowly after lying or sitting down.
- During the second trimester of pregnancy, pressure from your uterus on the veins returning blood from your legs may cause leg cramps, especially at night. Stretch the affected muscle or walk your way through the cramps.
- Heartburn and constipation
- Shortness of breath
- You may notice a thin, white vaginal discharge. This acidic discharge is thought to help suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria.
- Hormonal changes slow the flow of urine, and your expanding uterus also may get in the way, both factors that increase the risk of bladder and kidney infections.
Third Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms (Month 7-9, Week 27-40)
- Your pregnancy advances, your baby gains weight, while hormones continue to relax the joints between the bones in your pelvic area. These changes can be tough on your back. Hip pain is common, too.
- Swollen feet and ankles may become an issue at this stage of pregnancy. Your growing uterus puts pressure on the veins that return blood from your feet and legs. Fluid retention and dilated blood vessels may leave your face and eyelids puffy.
- You may get winded easily as your uterus expands beneath your diaphragm, the muscle just below your lungs. This may improve when the baby settles deeper into your pelvis before delivery. In the meantime, practice good posture and sleep on your side. As long as your health care provider says it’s OK, aerobic exercise can help relieve this effect of pregnancy, too.
- Your growing uterus may push your stomach out of its normal position, which can contribute to heartburn. To keep stomach acid where it belongs, eat small meals and drink plenty of fluids throughout your pregnancy.
- Increased blood circulation may cause small reddish spots that sprout tiny blood vessels on your face, neck, upper chest or arms, especially if you have fair skin. Varicose veins, blue or reddish lines beneath the surface of the skin, also may appear, particularly in the legs. Hemorrhoids, varicose veins in your rectum are another possibility.
- You may notice pink, red or purple streaks along your abdomen, breasts, upper arms, buttocks or thighs. Your stretching skin may also be itchy. Moisturizers can help. Although stretch marks can’t be prevented, eventually they fade in intensity.
- By now, you may have an additional 1 to 3 pounds of breast tissue. As delivery approaches, your nipples may start leaking colostrum, the yellowish fluid that will nourish your baby during the first few days of life.
- As your baby moves deeper into your pelvis, you’ll feel more pressure on your bladder. You may find yourself urinating more often, even during the night. This extra pressure may also cause you to leak urine, especially when you laugh, cough or sneeze.
- Braxton Hicks contractions are warm-ups for the real thing. They’re painless and come and go unpredictably. True labor contractions get longer, stronger and closer together.
- By your due date, you’ll probably weigh 25 to 35 pounds more than you did before pregnancy. Your baby accounts for some of the weight gain, but you also need to count the placenta, amniotic fluid, larger breasts and uterus, extra fat stores, and increased blood and fluid volume.
During the third trimester, your health care provider may ask you to come in for more frequent checkups, perhaps every other week beginning at week 32 and every week beginning at week 36. As your due date approaches, keep asking questions. Knowing what pregnancy symptoms to expect and understanding what’s happening can help you have the most positive birth experience. Cherish these moments and everyday after, they pass so quickly. Congratulations!