Early Pregnancy Symptoms

When you’ve been waiting and trying your hardest to conceive, you want to know as soon as it happens! It can be hard to wait until it’s time to take that first pregnancy test or make that first doctor’s office visit. When conception takes place, the body immediately begins to change. While these changes might be subtle, you can detect them if you know what to look for:


1 Missed Period

After conception takes place, a woman will likely miss the next period that would have arrived two weeks after suspected ovulation. Once implantation of the egg has taken place, the woman’s body begins producing a hormone which helps the body to maintain the pregnancy called the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone also signals for the ovaries to stop releasing eggs each month. Once this happens, a woman’s period effectively stops for the duration of the pregnancy.


2 Cramping and Spotting

It can be difficult to detect a pregnancy when it’s in the earliest stages because things are still occurring on a cellular level. However, a few changes will begin to take effect even at around 4 weeks after conception. At conception, a fertilized egg creates a fluid-filled group of cells known as the blastocyst. This blastocyst will eventually fully develop into the baby’s organs. Around 7-12 days after conception takes place, this blastocyst implants itself in the lining of the uterus which can cause implantation bleeding. Many women may mistake this as a light period but there are a few things to look out for when trying to identify it.

The bleeding should last no more than 48 hours, which is how long it takes for a fertilized egg to implant itself into the uterine lining. Blood from implantation bleeding is usually dark brown   since it is old blood rather than new blood, it can also be a light pinkish color. If the blood is bright red, your doctor may want to run tests to ensure everything is going smoothly since bright red blood is a sign of active bleeding.


3 Higher Basal Body Temperature

Your basal body temperature (BBT) is something that can be used to track your ovulation cycle. During ovulation, your basal body temperature (your body temperature at rest) can experience a small increase. This increased temperature may also be an early sign of pregnancy. Tracking your basal body temperature can help you not only to conceive but also potentially detect an early pregnancy. A sustained elevated basal body temperature closer to your suspected start of your period might just signal conception has taken place.


4 Increased Heart Rate

Due to an increase in hormones, it’s not uncommon for pregnant women to experience an increase in their heart rate. Palpitations or flutterings and arrhythmias are also common during pregnancy. As the fetus grows, a woman’s heart must pump more blood to the uterus. By the end of the pregnancy, as much as 1/5th of the woman’s pre-pregnancy blood supply is received by the uterus. This may also cause conditions like heart murmurs and other irregularities in heart rhythm to appear since the heart is working in overdrive. While this is normal, certain conditions like diastolic murmurs or a rapid, irregular heartbeat may require treatment by a doctor.


5 Early Breast Changes

Changes in the woman’s breasts can begin as early as the fourth week. It’s common to feel tenderness due to swollen breasts. This is caused by the changes in hormones. As your body adjusts to the hormone changes, these symptoms will most likely go away. Around the 11th week, nipple and breast changes are common. The areola - the area surrounding the nipple - may darken and become larger.

When you’re planning to start a family, you want it to happen as soon as possible! Knowing what to look for in the early stages of pregnancy can help you detect it earlier than even a pregnancy test could.

For further information on your fertility treatment options, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter below and keep an eye on our blog for pregnancy and conception related tips and facts.