Waiting to find out if you’re pregnant. It can be one of the most exciting times in your life … and also a totally legit reason to display a fair amount of impatience. While at-home urine tests have gotten really good at detecting pregnancy hormones as early as 10 days after conception, experts say they’re more accurate if you wait two weeks or until after you’ve missed your period. And of course, you can always make an appointment with your OB/GYN to be absolutely sure.
But who wants to wait that long? Unless you’re among the 25% of pregnant women who have no early pregnancy symptoms (in which case, make that appointment right away!), here are some of the first signs of pregnancy.
- Missing your period—the one early pregnancy symptom all moms-to-be experience.
- Being more tired than usual, because after all, your body is working hard to create a whole new organ (the placenta) in which to grow one or more tiny humans. Read our tips for how to sleep like a baby while you’re pregnant.
- Having nausea and/or vomiting, known fondly by pregnant women everywhere as morning sickness, even though it can occur at any time of the day or night. Research suggests morning sickness may be an evolutionary advantage that protects an embryo at the beginning of a pregnancy, when it’s most vulnerable to potentially contaminated or harmful substances. Which may also help to explain food aversions and smell sensitivities.
- Breast changes, including tenderness and swelling—thanks to pregnancy hormones that are preparing your body to produce milk.
- More frequent urination, which is initially caused by the mother of all pregnancy hormones, hCG, and is later joined by your growing baby stomping on your bladder.
- Light spotting, also called implantation bleeding, can sometimes be a sign that an embryo has implanted into your uterine wall. Up to 30% of expectant moms report this.
How soon can you expect to see signs that you are pregnant?
Some of the earliest symptoms of being pregnant, including breast tenderness and scent aversions, can often be detected as soon as a few days after conception. You may notice implantation bleeding a week after conception and an increased need to urinate another week after that.
Common as these pregnancy symptoms are, they affect all women differently and at different times during their pregnancies. And in case you were wondering, research seems to indicate that pregnancy brain (hormone-induced lapses in attention and memory) is a real symptom that affects up to 80% of new moms during and after pregnancy!
When should you call your doctor if you have pregnancy symptoms?
The best time to discuss family planning with your OB/GYN is before you become pregnant! A pre-conception visit will bring up any issues you may have with getting pregnant or carrying a healthy baby to term. You will also want to schedule a visit when you think you’re pregnant, so your doctor can confirm your home pregnancy test results and begin helping you plan for the long nine months ahead.
You should also call your doctor whenever you have questions or concerns about any of your pregnancy symptoms. Establishing a relationship with your OB ahead of time will make this process easier and more comfortable for you.
Be sure to schedule postpartum visits with your OB/GYN as well. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) calls the 12 weeks after delivery the “4th trimester of pregnancy” and recommends that women prepare for it just as they did for pregnancy and childbirth.