Very Early Pregnancy Signs: Even before your missed periods!

Very Early Pregnancy Signs

Very early pregnancy signs 
is used by many women to refer to the earliest symptoms suggestive of conception, often
before they miss their periods or just after their expected date.

  The two most significant associated questions

1. Are there
symptoms to expect, even before  missing 
your period?

2. After
missing my periods, what  signs of early
pregnancy should make me more concerned this could be a pregnancy?

Timeline For Very 
Early Pregnancy Symptoms

The definition of “very early” remains vague and is not used
in the medical literature. As noted above, the period between conception and
the missed period is of particular interest to women.

Therefore we use an
arbitrary timeline to  better understand
these  early pregnancy symptoms as

  • Symptoms occurring between conception and the
    missed period. In a traditional 28-day cycle, that will be about Day 14 to Day
  • Symptoms occurring after the expected date of

The missed period is the cardinal symptom of pregnancy and
is often very obvious!

We will  therefore use
 “Very Early Signs of Pregnancy”  to refer to these very early symptoms that
occur before the missed period or within days following the missed period
prompting a  home pregnancy test.

Early Pregnancy symptoms Before the Missed Period

 It is worth noting here that this has not been extensively
studied medically. An earlier study found that women began reporting symptoms
as early as Day 27 of their cycle and that 50% of pregnancy women had symptoms
by Day 36.

Some of these  “very
early  pregnancy signs ” include

Changes in vaginal discharge

Changes in the secretions of the vaginal wall and  cervix  very early following conception, due to
pregnancy hormones. There is  an increase
in the amount of vaginal discharge, which is white, milky and  without an odor or itch.

Implantation bleeding and cramps

About 10 to 14 days following fertilization, about 30%
of  pregnant women experience mild
bleeding( spotting) with or without mild cramps, called implantation bleeding. Because
this bleeding often occurs around the time of the expected menses, it can
easily be mistaken for a very short or mild period.

Breast changes

Within one or two weeks of becoming pregnant, a woman may notice
changes in her breasts. These include darkening of the skin around the nipples
( the areola), sensation of soreness or fullness in both breasts. Note: be sure to regulate your bedroom environment carefully at this point. Consider an air purifier here and be sure to keep your bedroom clean and free of contaminants. This is very important for both your health and the health of your potential newborn.

What about Nausea?

Nausea is an early symptom of pregnancy BUT not a “very
early symptom”. Nausea typically starts during week 6, that is about Day 42.
Before the expected date of periods, that is before Day 28,nausea is not
expected to be a symptom of pregnancy.

The Downside to these early signs

As noted above, these “very early  pregnancy signs” have
not been extensively studied. There are pitfalls you should be aware of.

These symptoms are unreliable

 Even as doctors, we
cannot use the symptoms reported by a woman and the signs we find on the
clinical exam to confirm or exclude the possibility of pregnancy. These signs
cannot be used as a stand-alone confirmation of pregnancy. Their true value is
to raise your awareness that you might be pregnant and to take further steps to
ascertain this.

False positive symptoms

The study above also found out that about  9% of women who were not pregnant
reported  early pregnancy symptoms. This
is especially true for women who are trying to conceive. Part of the reason is
because these symptoms are nonspecific and could be due to other conditions.

The pregnancy test therefore remains the gold standing for
diagnosing early pregnancy. If you think you might be pregnant, get a home
pregnancy test done, but not “very early!”.

Should I Care?

Many women seek to know about these very early pregnancy signs either because of  anticipation of an desired pregnancy or anxiety over an undesired one. However, this might make the difference between having  a normal or an abnormal baby, or even   a matter of   life or death of your unborn baby. Read more about  the   “A must read for Early Diagnosis of Pregnancy

Do you have an interesting experience about these early pregnancy signs? Please use the form below to share it to help other women.

Still not sure what to make of all these? Contact Doc  with the question.


Sayle AE, Wilcox AJ, Weinberg CR, Baird DD. A prospective study of the
onset of symptoms of pregnancy. J Clin Epidemiol 2002; 55:676.

Bastian LA et al, Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of early
pregnancy. In: UpToDate, Basow, DS (Ed), UpToDate,Waltham, MA, 2013.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Neemo

    Hey I had my last periods on 20th jan and had sex on 4th… And now having fatigue and back pains indigestion but not vomiting… Was that my fertile days ??

  • yesyes

    my period due 17/1/15 but 1 day late, then only brown spotting for 4 days, after that i have mild cramps, feeling like period but not, and i did a few times home pregnancy test but im not pregnant, now i 3 days late, my next period actually on 17/2/15. I still feel that cramps and i have white and watery discharge, my temperature higher then before but still no period. Im so afraid to go for check up. Am i pregnant.?

  • live

    I been have back cramps painful ones and nausea 14 days before my period can I be pregnant?

  • Kay

    My periods are irregular so the last one I had was over a year ago! The day before yesterday I had like a reddish brown spotting in my underwear same thing today but no period and very mild cramps. I’ve also been feeling like I’m having hot flashes or my temperature is rising? Could I be pregnant?

  • Nandhini

    I had my past periods on Feb 10.. Now waiting for my due date(march 3).. Have white discharge.. And uterus pain.. Is it a symptoms for pregnancy?? Shall I have long travel now?? Please guide me..!!

    • Athira Deepak

      I had my last periods on june 3 and i ovulated on 15 16 and 17th. In these 3 days i had its been 4 to 5 days am feeling abdominal cramps bloating slight diarrhoea and my breast is increasing in size.i have milkish discharge too. My due date is 1and i never had cramps this early.only 2 or 1 day before cramps. my belly seems like bulged out.i retch some times during brushing and eating..i feel am geting emotional.are these an early sign?i feel my smell power increased.all bad smells gets inside my nose easily.

  • Sana

    Hi there, i had my period on 14/02 and i slept with my husbnd on 06/03 and now my period is two days late i done a pregnancy test it was negative and i have very white discharge also i have period pain my brests are very tense i saw my gp she done a urine test but it didn’t show that i am pregnant, so could i be pregnant?

  • Rebekka Harrison

    Hi there my period was late a week last month and I had a period from hell . It usually lays on the 2nd ,3rd of the month but this time it came on the 11th . And now two weeks later. And last time I had sex was 3 days ago (unprotected ) and unprotected two days before that and a few other times in the past . Have been good with using condoms sometimes . now I have been really careful but I have been just playing it safe . Which can be Risky . Anyways I have been having gelly/milky discharge the past 3 days as well as headaches , and back pain . Is it too early to get a pregnancy test ?

  • liz

    I had my period on April 09 and on April 29 my cycle came on again. This time it’s very light and and I have some mild cramping. Could I be pregnant?

  • Heather

    My last period was June 3rd I had sex the 7&9th ovulated 10-15th and had sex 14&15th. Since Sunday the 21st I have been super tired, breasts have been killing me, cramps throughout my lower stomach and pubic area, discharge ranging from watery to slightly watery with a small amount of school glue. I have also been down in the dumps and my sex drive has increased, which is rare because around this time I have no sex drive and I am dry. My period is supposed to be here the 27th. Could this be an early sign?

    • Athira Deepak

      Same here.i too had my last periods on june 3 and i ovulated on 15 16 and 17th. In these 3 days i had its been 4 to 4 days am feeling abdominal cramps bloating slight diarrhoea and my breast is increasing in size.i have milkish discharge too. My due date is 1and i never had cramps this early.only 2 or 1 day before it belly seems like bulged out.i retch some times during brushing and eating..i feel am geting emotional.are these an early sign?

  • Cassie

    I haven’t been keeping track of my cycle like i should be. I guess it’s because I’ve haven’t really anticipated on having sex. All I remember was that last month, I was still on my period on the 8th because I had to go to the Dr. for a physical. I had to have been on it for a few days by then because it was getting somewhat lighter. I had unprotected sex on the 2nd and 3rd of July and I didn’t think anything of it because I was expecting my period any day. It’s already the 8th and I still haven’t seen a period yet. I just a have a little cramping but that’s it. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

  • Denise

    Hi, I am 4 days late, I have a milky white discharge with no itch or odor, and some cramping.. Could I be pregnant?

  • Mayuri

    hi… i am trying for baby from last 1.5years.I got my period on 1st July n i am ovulate on 15 or 16th july.l had some pain in my breast on 22July ,i had cold n nausea on 24 th July,cramping on left lower abdomen on 25th n white discharge on 26th, pls tell m i pregnant????

  • Lorena Jayat

    Hello… I had sex on july 25th still nt my period but my back aches n i have some white and thick mucus discharge. Could i be pregnant? Tia.

  • maddie

    last period I have recorded was on 29th may
    didn’t record the next one but off memory it was on the 28th of june
    & have had no period in july should have come around 28th 29th
    had sex on the 2nd of july still on the 14th of july no signs of period but boobs are a lot bigger and tingly nausea all week getting worse discomfort in the stomach area
    is there a good chance I could be pregnant ? my period is never this late plushome test have come back negative but guessing it could still be to early to pick it up?

  • april

    Hello, I had sex July 19 and august 3 then my expected date of my period is this august 7 and it didn’t come . Now , I am almost two weeks delayed . My breast sore in three days , backpain yesterday , itchy nipples today . I tried home pregnancy test last 17 and it tells negative . So, when I shall try pregnancy test again ? I am still worried . Do you think I am pregnant because of some symptoms happening to me?

  • chelsea

    Ok so it’s 6 days past ovulation/ intercourse I felt sick the day right after and still do and now I have thick white discharge it to early for pregnancy test just curious as to why I am having this discharge

  • Rere

    Hi, I’m new, okay so my period was 8/12 to 8/18 I had sex 8/15 little to no bleeding that day, I also has sex on the 18 and 19. My ovulation was due on the 19th by my calculations. My next cycle is due the week of 9/1. On 8/25 I went to the RR and when I wiped there was this snot like mucus tinged with blood, I had also started having mild cramps that day. My breast tingle at time but aren’t really sore and I have very mild cramping. I also keep having this wierd discharge bit it has no odor, its just more than normal ant its creamy, and this morning it was stringy like snot. Could I be pregnant.

  • Jessica

    Help ? I’m 6 day late on my period an I’m having sore breast an cramps?

  • rekha

    my daughter will 5 years on this nov,2nd.i have left taking contaceptives last month itself.had period on 23rd of august lasted for 3 days,had intercousre on 29 and few alternative days after having repeated intercourse on 6th sept night,from next morning i found a layer white discharge at the opening of d vagina,on third day a thick mucus came out of d vagina.what the reason may be?

  • lyn

    Hi, my boyfriend and i want to have a baby, so we had sex on Sept.16, i had been experiencing white discharge since Sept.26 but when i used a pregnancy test it says negative. :( I wonder why is the result is like that. Did i take the pregnancy test too early? And how many days should i wait to use pregnancy test again?

  • amy

    Hi I just recently spotted only one day. I went to the bathroom to pee and when I whipped there was blood, looked in the toilet and there was small clots, ever since then I been having A LOT of discharge.. it’s clear and milky white, plus it’s a little sticky. I’m exactly 31 days late on my cycle….