The 11 First Symptoms of Pregnancy

The first symptoms of pregnancy are quite suggestive and also annoying for the expectant mother. However, they usually improve after a few months. Do you know what they are?
The 11 First Symptoms of Pregnancy
Leidy Mora Molina

Reviewed and approved by the nurse Leidy Mora Molina.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

The first symptoms of pregnancy vary from one pregnancy to another, both in intensity and quality. They usually appear as a response of the maternal body to the hormonal and physical changes that are necessary in order to house a life.

Not all mothers-to-be know the most common signs of pregnancy and for this reason, today we are going to tell you all about them. Shall we get started?

1. Absence of menstruation

The cardinal symptom of early pregnancy is the absence of a woman’s period. Those women with regular cycles begin to suspect their condition early when they detect a delay in their period, especially when more than a week has passed.

Those women with irregular menstrual cycles may overlook this sign because it’s so common for them. However, it’s possible to perceive changes within the same asynchronous rhythm.

Mild spotting or implantation bleeding

Some moms-to-be report noticing light bleeding right on the date of their period and later finding out the great news. That spotting was probably implantation bleeding and not menstruation.

It happens that when the fertilized egg adheres to the uterine walls, it causes tissue damage and favors the rupture of its delicate vessels. This blood loss is much less than the one that occurs month after month, but it usually coincides with the date of menstruation, as it occurs between 10 and 15 days after conception.

The big differences between menstruation and implantation bleeding are the amount and duration of bleeding.

2. Sensitive breasts

Another of the first symptoms of pregnancy is pain and increased sensitivity in the breasts.

Breast tissue reacts quickly to hormonal changes, as progesterone and estrogen aim to get the baby’s source of food ready early on.

This causes an increase in the supply of blood that reaches the breasts, which translates into greater volume, temperature, and pain on palpation. These symptoms can be maintained during the first months until the mammary gland adapts to the change.

A woman with breast pain.
Pain or increased tenderness in the breasts may be related to the hormonal changes of pregnancy.

3. Fatigue

Perhaps the first symptom that can appear in pregnancy is fatigue or constant sleep.

There are many processes that occur in the maternal body and that consume energy: The formation of the baby and the placenta, the increase in blood volume and cardiac work, and the emotional burden, among others.

These changes are triggered abruptly, which leads the mother to depend on better and more rest in order to continue with her important task. Therefore, it’s normal to feel sleepy during the afternoon and want to go to bed after some work or walk.

4. Nausea and vomiting

Almost all mothers know the association between pregnancy and the presence of morning sickness and vomiting. These discomforts are quite frequent and affect almost 70% of pregnant women in the first trimester.

Their appearance is related to the considerable increase in human chorionic gonadotropin in the blood, which occurs in the first weeks of gestation.

Nausea is often temporary and improves after eating food. Other times, it’s accompanied by vomiting that, when repeated, can lead to suspicion of hyperemesis gravidarum. This condition must be monitored by the doctor to prevent this maternal health condition from affecting the well-being of the baby.

5. Aversion to certain foods

From the beginning of pregnancy, many mothers report experiencing greater olfactory and taste sensitivity than usual. This is also the product of hormonal action, which produces an aversion to certain sensory stimuli.

In general, in the first weeks of pregnancy, women avoid some fragrances, the smell of certain foods, and even some foods or drinks (such as coffee). This symptom usually disappears towards the end of the first trimester, although sometimes it lasts until the birth of the baby.

6. Nasal congestion

At the beginning of pregnancy, it’s possible to experience almost permanent nasal congestion, which is accompanied by excess mucus and sneezing. This, without a doubt, can raise the concern of those women who don’t suffer from allergies.

This condition is known as pregnancy rhinitis and is due to the dilation of blood vessels throughout the body and the action of estrogen on the nasal mucosa.

7. Increased urination

Pregnancy manifests itself in different ways, but the increase in the frequency of urination is one of the most inevitable.

This symptom usually appears between the first and second months of pregnancy and is caused by various reasons. Among them, the increased volume of blood that the kidneys receive, the inflammation and growth of the uterus that presses on the bladder, and fluid retention.

Although it’s annoying, this symptom persists until the end of the pregnancy. However, little by little, the future mother gets used to it.

8. Abdominal pain

Women commonly associate this symptom with the eve of menstruation. That’s because the abdominal pain that’s experienced in the first days of pregnancy is very similar to the pain that’s suffered during the period.

This discomfort is due to the stimulation, preparation, and transformation that the uterus undergoes at this stage. Although it’s a mild discomfort, it usually lasts a few days.

If the pain increases or lasts, it’s best to consult a gynecologist.

9. Nosebleeds or bleeding of the gums

An unusual symptom of early pregnancy is bleeding from the mucous membranes (nasal or oral). This sign becomes evident especially in the face of stress or trauma: When you brush your teeth or when you blow your nose.

Although it’s usually very discreet, this symptom can arouse some fear in the woman if she doesn’t know her condition or the expected changes in this stage.

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Hypersensitivity and bleeding of the gums can also be an indication of pregnancy in its early stages.

10. Mood swings

The increased hormonal load during gestation generates a myriad of diverse symptoms from the first days of pregnancy. One of them, which is sometimes strange and inexplicable, is the change in mood.

Some women are more sentimental than usual, while others cry for no reason or have arguments for no reason.

11. Constipation

The increase in progesterone from the beginning of pregnancy can bring changes at the digestive level and lead to constipation. This occurs due to a decrease in intestinal movements, which produces slower digestion and a greater permanence of the fecal bolus within the body.

It’s common for the future mother to register less than 3 bowel movements a week, accompanied by greater difficulty in defecating. This symptom becomes more intense towards the end of pregnancy when the growth of the uterus modifies the distribution of the abdominal organs.

If you have any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor

The first symptoms of pregnancy are usually quite uncomfortable for the pregnant woman, but most subside by the end of the first trimester. This occurs mainly because the body adapts to the new condition.

It’s important that in the first prenatal consultation, all doubts related to these issues are clarified with the doctor and the midwife. Especially in order to know what symptoms to expect and how to treat them, without affecting the health and well-being of the baby.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.