Pregnancy Symptoms and Early Signs

Different women have different pregnancy symptoms. The most common symptom though, is a missed period.

It important to know and understand the various signs and symptoms of pregnancy because there may be an underlying condition to each symptom other than pregnancy.

Some women do not develop symptoms within the first weeks of pregnancy. Some my not even develop symptoms at all. While for other women, symptoms develop as early as week after conception.

Below are some of the most common pregnancy symptoms, and their alternative explanations (other than pregnancy). If you have any of the following symptoms, take a pregnancy test.

Implantation Bleeding

It is one of the earliest symptoms of pregnancy. Six to twelve days after conceiving, the embryo implants itself into the uterine wall. During this time, some women experience spotting and even some cramping.

Alternative explanations: actual or altered menstruation, changes in birth control pill, infection or abrasion gotten from intercourse.

Delay or Difference in Menstruation

The most common symptom leading women to test pregnancy. Your period should stop when you get pregnant. Some women experience bleeding while they are pregnant, but it should be shorter or lighter than a regular period.

Alternative explanations: excessive weight gain or loss, fatigue, hormonal imbalance or problems, stress, stopping taking birth control pills, breast feeding.

Swollen/Tender Breasts

This common pregnancy symptom occurs one to two weeks after conception. Some women report that their breasts feel tender to touch, are sore or swollen.

Alternative explanations: hormonal imbalance, birth control pills, PMS.


Common pregnancy symptoms which can start as early as the first week after conception.

Alternative explanations: stress, exhaustion, depression, illnesses such as the common cold, flu, etc.

Nausea or Morning Sickness

A popular pregnancy symptom that occurs 2-8 weeks after pregnancy after conception. Most women experience morning sickness throughout their pregnancy, while some women don’t experience morning sickness at all.

Alternative explanations: stress, stomach disorders or food poisoning.


Lower backaches are common pregnancy symptom which occurs within the first few months of pregnancy, but may also be experienced throughout the entire pregnancy.

Alternative explanations: impending menstruation, stress, back problems, physical and/or mental strain


Lower backaches may be a symptom that occurs early in pregnancy; however, it is common to experience a dull backache throughout an entire pregnancy.

Other Explanations: Impending menstruation, stress, other back problems, and physical or mental strains.


Another common pregnancy symptom caused by the sudden surge of hormones in the body. This surge causes headaches early in the pregnancy.

Alternative explanations: ailments that can be the source of frequent headaches, eye strain, impending menstruation, dehydration, caffeine withdrawal.

Frequent Urination

A common pregnancy symptom which occurs about 6-8 weeks after conception.

Alternative explanations: urinary tract infection, increased liquid intake, excessive diuretics, diabetes.

Darkening of Areolas

It is common in pregnant women for the skin around the nipples to get darker.

Alternative explanation: hormonal imbalance, left over from a previous pregnancy. If the change in color is a bit strange, for instance purplish, it may be a sign of more a serious condition such as cancer. However, in the absence of lumps or rashes, it may simply be just hormones and is nothing to be worried about. However, mentioning it to your physician is a good idea.

Food Cravings

Food cravings are common in pregnant women and may be experienced throughout the entire pregnancy.

Alternative explanation: poor diet or lack of a certain nutrient, stress, depression or impending menstruation.


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