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What week do pregnancy symptoms start?

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If you’re a first time mom, you may be anxious to feel any signs or symptoms as confirmation of your pregnancy.

Or, you may be wondering when to brace yourself for some of those not-so-pleasant pregnancy side effects.

Here’s everything you need to know about the signs and symptoms of pregnancy and when they should appear.

Pregnant woman holds belly while experiencing early pregnancy symptoms.

How soon can I know?

Most women won’t experience any tale-tale signs of pregnancy until after their first missed period which is typically 4 weeks from their last menstrual cycle.

While mild spotting and cramping are normal a week or so after conception and leading up to the initial missed period, other symptoms won’t typically appear until week 5 or 6.

NOTE: The pregnancy clock starts from the first day of your last menstrual cycle, and not the day of your first missed period!

Why do I feel pregnant if I’m not?

Early pregnancy symptoms are very similar to what you may feel during a your menstrual cycle, so don’t get too nervous or excited by any similar feelings right after intercourse.

It’s likely just your menstrual cycle or other normal feelings from everyday life.

If you’re trying to get pregnant or worried about becoming pregnant, you will be heightened to any changes in your body and may falsely attribute those to pregnancy.

Just stay calm and patient until more time has passed.

And if you are trying to get pregnant, be sure to note the start date of your last period and the date of your first missed period.

This will give you and your doctor more information as the pregnancy progresses or as you continue to try.

Common Signs and Symptoms

Here are some of the common signs and symptoms of pregnancy and what week they usually start:

Weeks 1-4

  • Mild spotting
  • Cramping

Weeks 4-6

  • Feeling like your stomach is bloated
  • Mild or intense mood swings
  • Headaches or more frequent headaches
  • Loss or change in appetite
  • Soreness or changes in the breast
  • Nausea
  • Elevated temperature
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Fatigue

Weeks 7-12

  • Heartburn
  • Nipple changes
  • Changes in the skin (more/less breakouts)
  • Changes to hair and nails
  • Back pain
  • Noticeable weight gain

Most of the adverse symptoms will begin to subside during the second trimester (weeks 13-26), but you may experience some or all of these throughout your pregnancy (and may be different with each subsequent pregnancy).

Causes for Concern

Talk to your doctor if you notice heavy spotting or bleeding, intense abdominal pain, extreme lightheadedness or abnormal or smelly discharge.

These can be signs of a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

Pregnancy Confirmation

The best way to determine pregnancy at home, is with a pregnancy test. These are most effective after your first missed period.

If you receive a positive result on your test, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your doctor.

At this time, your doctor or midwife will confirm the pregnancy with a blood test and may even be able to detect the heartbeat on a monitor.

I’m pregnant! What do I do now?

Once you confirm your pregnancy, you’ll want to make sure you’re eating healthy, drinking water, getting adequate sleep and taking a good prenatal.

That may sound like a lot, but there’s more!

You’ll need to continue learning, planning and preparing as your pregnancy progresses.

Here are lots of helpful articles for the first time mom with tips on which first time mom books to read, the best items for your baby registry checklist, awesome baby announcement ideas, and more!