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What are the pregnancy signs and how soon do they occur?

How soon after conceiving your baby will you experience those important pregnancy signs? How obvious are they? And do those symptoms always mean you're definitely expecting a baby?

Posted: 19 October 2011
by Laura Lee Davies

Woman holding a pregnancy test
Whatever pregnancy signs you're experiencing, from bleeding, to sore breasts, you'll find a pregnancy test, at home first and then from your doctor, is the sure fire way to tell you that you're pregnant

It is rare for a woman to know for sure that she is pregnant. But there are some interesting pregnancy signs and symptoms during those all-important first 6 weeks of pregnancy which are worth bearing in mind, because even if you are trying and haven't yet missed a period, you should take care of yourself just in case. These pregnancy signs and symptoms in weeks 2, 3, 5, 5 and 6 can change week-by-week, and some of them are less pleasant than others (leading some women to call them pregnancy side effects) so pay close attention to your body

What are the early pregnancy signs?

NOTE While the following can be signs of pregnancy, it is often possible to experience some of these symptoms for other reasons. Do NOT take any action about a suspected pregnancy until you have had it confirmed by pregnancy test.

Tender breasts

Although some women are used to getting tender breasts every four weeks around the time of their monthly period, swollen tender breasts can also be a symptom of pregnancy. You'll experience this pregnancy side effect in the first week of your pregnancy, within a few days of conception. You'd better get used to it because you'll find, as the months go on there will be many more pregnancy breast changes.

Missed period

Within two weeks of getting pregnant you might notice that your monthly period has not arrived. Of course there could be other reasons why it might not come when you expect it. These could include: an irregular cycle, stress, a sudden loss of weight. However, if you are pretty well attuned to your periods (especially if you have been charting your menstrual cycle as a result of trying to get pregnant) you will hopefully get a fairly reliable signal that you're expecting if your period does not start at the usual time.


Feeling much more tired than usual? This is something that can creep up on you when you're having a baby. Of course often, as we all lead such busy lives, you might think that feeling fatigued is just another symptom of a hectic diary week. However, early pregnancy tiredness is slightly different to just feeling a bit tired as a result of a hard stint at work and can include the unexpected desire to take a nap in the middle of the day. Fatigue is a sign of pregnancy which starts as early as 10 to 14 days after conception. You'll find that tiredness in pregnancy does continue but beyond the first few weeks it should thankfully ease off a bit.


One of pregnancy signs and symptoms at 2 weeks is morning sickness, although not all women suffer from it, and for some, it might begin to show itself later on, up to 8 weeks pregnant. Women often find it odd that it's called morning sickness when they realise they get their pregnancy sickness symptoms at night too. See how to get pregnancy sickness relief using different smells and scents to help you. To avoid pregnancy sickness after eating try to avoid fatty foods and stick to bland choices that don't have smells that set you off. You'll also be pleased to hear that you might also suffer from wind and bloating.

Changes in your sense of smell

Some mums-to-be find their sense of smell suddenly becomes super sensitive - not a very welcome pregnancy sign when certain things make you want to barf with morning sickness. Don't worry, it will pass, or you'll just learn to avoid those things that set you off.

Altered sense of taste

You could find that you start craving some foods and develop a real aversion for others that you previously loved when you're first pregnant. Some women also find themselves experiencing a metallic taste in their mouths.

Darkening of your nipples

At around eight weeks pregnant you might find the circle of skin around your nipples getting darker and the bumps around your nipples standing out more. You might also notice the circle of skin round your nipples (known as your areolas) getting darker. This can happen from about eight weeks into your pregnancy.

Your vagina might change colour

Admittedly this is a bit of a hard one to spot, but from around eight weeks pregnant, if you had a look down there, you might notice your vulva and vagina has become a deeper, purpley-red colour.

A tingling in your nipples

This can be one of the very earliest signs of pregnancy, and you'll feel it within a week or so of conception. The tingling happens thanks to your pregnancy increasing the blood supply to your breasts. Compared to all the other signs of pregnancy, at least this one puts a smile on your face!

Stomach pains

It is not always easy to tell if stomach pains are in our imagination (all men and women can feel twinges from time to time as their digestive system does its work!) or even the sign that our period is on its way. However, feeling a little bloated and having a tender tummy could be a sign you are pregnant. Unfortunately, severe pain can also be one of the Signs of Miscarriage. However, even women who have stomach pains and some bleeding come through this to have healthy pregnancies, so do not panic until you have spoken to your GP. Find out when stomach cramps in pregnancy can be a cause for concern. And DO make the call urgently if you are in great pain.

Slight bleeding, spotting or cramping

Some women experience a small amount of spotting or bleeding very early in pregnancy, about a week to 14 days after fertilisation. Known as implantation bleeding, it happens when the fertilised egg first attaches to the lining of the uterus. This type of bleeding is usually a bit earlier, spottier and lighter in colour than a usual period or a brownish discharge and doesn't last long

Visiting the toilet more often

One of the pregnancy signs at symptoms at 6 weeks is visiting the toilet more often. Like tiredness, there can be other reasons why we might suddenly need to visit the loo more often – too many cups of tea, a hot day with lots of breaks for water, etc – but if you find you are urinating more regularly than usual, and this continues for a few days at a time, it can be a sign of pregnancy.

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Discuss this story

i am trying for a baby with my partner, and have been for the last 2-3 months, i have been paranoid and getting myself worked up because i just can't help but think i am pregnant, even if i am not. i was due on my period on the 28th july and i came on 30th july, with very bad cramps. i was sick on the morning i came on my period, i have had massive headaches, i feel so drained out and tired, i have sore breasts now and then, i want to take a test but i don't want it to say negative as i will end up getting upset as i am trying for a baby! please help

Posted: 31/07/2010 at 00:08

hello my name is emily, me and my partner have been trying for a year now, since we are both fairly young I expected it wouldnt take so long but I was experiencing problems earlier on this year, but now I seem to have most of the symptoms of pregnancy, I keep testing and every time it comes back negative, its really getting me down and I dont know what to do, I am now 3 days late from my period and have headaches, stomach cramps, bloating, severe hunger, sore and swollen boobs and get tired really quick but no real signs of sickness yet, could I be pregnant or is it just my mind playing tricks on me, please can someone shed some light thanks

Posted: 06/08/2014 at 10:04

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