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List of the Earliest Possible Signs of Pregnancy

written by: Sarah Irene • edited by: Emma Lloyd • updated: 9/20/2010

Many of the earliest possible signs of pregnancy go unrecognized. They can be misattributed to an upcoming period, missed entirely or assumed to be due to an illness like the flu.

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    There are several possible symptoms of pregnancy that begin within a week of conception. For the woman who has never been pregnant before, the earliest signs may go unnoticed or attributed to an illness or upcoming menstrual period. This is often the case, given that many women have minimal symptoms for several weeks. Some women, however, might recognize right away the earliest symptoms of pregnancy. The earliest earliest possible signs of pregnancy are those that occur within the first month.

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    Bleeding and Cramping

    Between six and 12 days following conception the fertilized egg will travel to the woman's uterus and attach to the lining. This is called implantation. Some women notice mild cramping and spotting when this takes place. These symptoms occur too early in the month to be the woman's menstrual period, but it isn't uncommon for her to assume that such symptoms are due to an upcoming period. She may begin to realize that this isn't her period when the blood shed stops or when she observes the quantity to be very small.

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    Breast Changes and Discomfort

    Breast tenderness, another symptom shared with menstruation, can occur as early as one to two weeks after conception, according to the American Pregnancy Association. This discomfort can be quite significant as to make a woman uncomfortable when sleeping, moving briskly or putting on a bra. Beginning now and going forward, the woman's breast tissues can swell and become larger in size. The areola and nipple may darken from hormones at the start of pregnancy and remain this color until lactation ends but this symptom appears at different times for all women.

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    Missed Period

    Once conception occurs, most women will not have a period until several weeks, if not longer, following the birth of the baby. This is typically one of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy that a woman looks for or recognizes. It is possible for a woman to bleed slightly while pregnant but this is nothing like true menstruation. The blood shed is shorter or lighter than a normal period for nearly all women.

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    Fatigue

    Fatigue is significant during the first trimester of pregnancy. Some women can't make it through the afternoon without a nap. This can begin as early as the first week after conception, according to American Pregnancy Association. Tiredness is not a symptom most women would recognize as indicating pregnancy and may assume an illness like the flu is beginning. Fatigue may also be a symptom a woman experiences with her period leading her to assume that menstruation is occurring soon.

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    Morning Sickness

    Many women develop morning sickness, or nausea and vomiting in pregnancy, between two and eight weeks into the pregnancy. This symptom, especially when paired with other early pregnancy symptoms, is easily recognizable. Most cases of morning sickness resolve after the 14th week of pregnancy. Food aversions and cravings may persist throughout the pregnancy. Some of the woman's favorite foods may be unbearable due to their taste, texture or smell. Fish, coffee and other strong-smelling foods may be unpleasant to the woman during her entire pregnancy.

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    Body Aches

    Pregnancy hormones begin increasing as soon as the egg is fertilized. The increase in hormones can cause a woman to have backaches and more frequent headaches early in the pregnancy. These signs of pregnancy may persist all the way through the 40th week.

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    Constipation

    Constipation is a common complaint in pregnancy. It begins as a result of increase progesterone early in the pregnancy. The progesterone slows the digestive system and causes foods to pass through the bowels at a reduced rate. Constipation can be quite significant during pregnancy.

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    Mood Swings

    Around the time that implantation occurs a woman may become moody because of changing hormones levels. This is easily misattributed to an upcoming menstrual period. The moods can range from highly irritable to sad. Women often report crying easily and without reason.

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    References

    • American Pregnancy Association: Pregnancy Symptoms - Early Signs of Pregnancy http://www.americanpregnancy.org/gettingpregnant/earlypregnancysymptoms.html
    • MayoClinic.com: Symptoms of Pregnancy: What Happens Right Away?
    • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/symptoms-of-pregnancy/pr00102