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Common pregnancy symptoms

If you're really tuned into your body and aware of how it ticks, you might begin to suspect that you're pregnant within the first few days of pregnancy. However, most women don't suspect they are pregnant until they miss a period. Some don't suspect or think they are pregnant for some months after conception.

All women are different and will experience individual signs and symptoms.

Earliest signs of pregnancy (before missing a period 1-4 weeks)

Even before missing a period, most pregnant women report having to go to the toilet more often. You may even have to get up during the night. This occurs after the embryo has implanted in the uterus and begins producing the pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin ( hCG). This hormone triggers frequent urination. Constipation is another pregnancy sign.

Missed period (the most common pregnancy symptom (4 weeks)

Missing your period is the clearest sign of pregnancy, but it is not definitive, as stress or other factors may cause irregular periods. Also, some women who are pregnant may still have a very light period.

Other symptoms

  • Fatigue or exhaustion is a very early sign of pregnancy in the first 12 weeks. Raised progesterone is one of the factors that contribute to fatigue in early pregnancy.
  • Morning sickness or sickness and vomiting at other times of day. Despite the popular name, that queasy feeling isn't limited to mornings. Most pregnant women who experience morning sickness feel slightly nauseated at other times during the day as well. About half have vomiting, but very few have severe enough morning sickness to develop dehydration and malnutrition.
  • Sore, tender and larger breasts: If you're pregnant, your breasts will probably become increasingly tender to the touch or may tingle. The feeling may be similar to the way breast feel before your period, only more so. Once your body grows accustomed to the increase in hormones, the discomfort will subside.
  • Emotional changes: Hormonal changes in pregnancy can affect emotions, making many women feel more emotional and upset at times.
  • Senses change: Senses may become more sensitive, such as smell and the taste of some food or drink may be more or less appealing. A metallic taste in the mouth may be experienced.

When to have a pregnancy test or seek medical advice?

A typical pregnancy test can be done with a urine sample from the first day a period is missed, that's usually around two weeks after conception. Some sensitive pregnancy tests can be done before a period is missed. Pregnancy tests are free through the NHS or test kits can be bought from pharmacies.

Once you know you are pregnant, see your GP. There's a lot to start planning and thinking about.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on March 20, 2013

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