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
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.
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.
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
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.
Had An Experience with Very Early Pregnancy Signs?
Every woman is different when it comes to pregnancy symptoms. The type of symptoms as well as the time of occurrence might be very different.We would love to hear and learn from your experience!
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