Women typically experience a variety of symptoms throughout pregnancy. However, none of these symptoms typically occur on the first day. This is because, technically speaking, the first day of pregnancy is actually the day you conceive your baby. That said, you might experience pregnancy symptoms as early as the first day of your missed period -- or shortly thereafter. Tiredness, breast tenderness, increased need to urinate, nausea and vomiting, change in smell sensitivity and light vaginal bleeding are among the earliest symptoms of pregnancy.
Tiredness is often one of the first symptoms of pregnancy, and it may persist beyond your first trimester. You may be more tired in the morning upon waking, need to go to bed earlier at night or feel you need to nap to make it through the day. Hormonal changes and metabolic needs may account for first trimester fatigue. Anemia or low levels of other key nutrients can lead to exaggerated tiredness in the early weeks of your pregnancy.
Breast tenderness is another common early symptom of pregnancy, which can occur as soon as your first missed period. This symptoms occurs due to enlargement of the milk-producing tissues of the breasts, which often leads to a sensation of heaviness or achiness. Your breasts may also be more sensitive to touch. You may find wearing a bra or sleeping on your stomach uncomfortable.
Many women feel the need to pass urine more frequently early in pregnancy. This can occur both during the day and at night, leading to frequent trips to the bathroom or waking up during the night to empty your bladder. The need to pass urine more often in early pregnancy seems to be related to hormonal changes rather than pressure on the bladder, which accounts frequent urination later in pregnancy.
Implantation bleeding refers to spotting that occurs as the pregnancy burrows in the wall of the uterus. This occurs around the time of your missed period and may be due to direct effects of the process of implantation or hormonal changes taking place at this early stage of pregnancy. Implantation bleeding usually involves only small amount of brown or red discharge, which is unlikely to contain clots.
Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, commonly referred to as morning sickness, can occur at any time of day. Nausea and vomiting affect approximately 70 to 80 percent pregnant women, according to a June 2011 article published in "Gastroenterology Clinics of North America." These symptoms can start as early as 4 weeks into your pregnancy. The nausea of early pregnancy is thought to be due to hormonal changes. While all pregnant women have these hormone changes, not everyone experiences morning sickness.
Increased Sensitivity to Odors
A study published in "Chemical Senses" in June 2004 found that 67 percent of pregnant respondents reported increased sensitivity to odors beginning in early pregnancy. Change in sensitivity to aromas can lead to food cravings when you smell something enticing. It can also lead to food aversion, as the aroma of certain foods may be off-putting during pregnancy. Certain smells can also provoke nausea and contribute to morning sickness.
When to See Your Doctor
Medical care is important throughout pregnancy, so schedule an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible if you suspect you might be pregnant. Other reasons to contact your doctor in early pregnancy include:
-- extreme fatigue and sluggishness
-- severe morning sickness
-- breast tenderness in one spot
-- nipple discharge, tethering of your breast skin or a new breast lump
-- burning with urination or blood in your urine
-- heavy vaginal bleeding or passing clots
Reviewed and revised by: Tina M. St. John, M.D.