First Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms

As you head into your first trimester, get ready for a whole new world of physical and emotional changes. We’ll help you navigate the early months of your pregnancy by explaining what to expect: everything from morning sickness to swollen ankles and euphoria.

You’re about to embark on the most exciting journey of your life — and it starts right now. You may have questions about what’s happening to your body, but it’s important to remember that every woman has a different experience during pregnancy. That’s why we’ve created First Trimester: All you need to know and expect, our newest guide featuring some of our top-rated doctors.

The first trimester of pregnancy is marked by an invisible — yet amazing — transformation. And it happens quickly. Knowing what physical and emotional changes to expect during the first trimester can help you face the months ahead with confidence.

Your body

While your first sign of pregnancy might have been a missed period, you can expect several other physical changes in the coming weeks, including:

  • Tender, swollen breasts. Soon after conception, hormonal changes might make your breasts sensitive or sore. The discomfort will likely decrease after a few weeks as your body adjusts to hormonal changes.
  • Nausea with or without vomiting. Morning sickness, which can strike at any time of the day or night, often begins one month after you become pregnant. This might be due to rising hormone levels. To help relieve nausea, avoid having an empty stomach. Eat slowly and in small amounts every one to two hours. Choose foods that are low in fat. Avoid foods or smells that make your nausea worse. Drink plenty of fluids. Foods containing ginger might help. Contact your health care provider if your nausea and vomiting is severe.
  • Increased urination. You might find yourself urinating more often than usual. The amount of blood in your body increases during pregnancy, causing your kidneys to process extra fluid that ends up in your bladder.
  • Fatigue. During early pregnancy, levels of the hormone progesterone soar — which can put you to sleep. Rest as much as you can. A healthy diet and exercise might increase your energy.
  • Food cravings and aversions. When you’re pregnant, you might become more sensitive to certain odors and your sense of taste might change. Like most other symptoms of pregnancy, food preferences can be chalked up to hormonal changes.
  • Heartburn. Pregnancy hormones relaxing the valve between your stomach and esophagus can allow stomach acid to leak into your esophagus, causing heartburn. To prevent heartburn, eat small, frequent meals and avoid fried foods, citrus fruits, chocolate, and spicy or fried foods.
  • Constipation. High levels of the hormone progesterone can slow the movement of food through your digestive system, causing constipation. Iron supplements can add to the problem. To prevent or relieve constipation, include plenty of fiber in your diet and drink lots of fluids, especially water and prune or other fruit juices. Regular physical activity also helps.

Your emotions

Pregnancy might leave you feeling delighted, anxious, exhilarated and exhausted — sometimes all at once. Even if you’re thrilled about being pregnant, a new baby adds emotional stress to your life.

It’s natural to worry about your baby’s health, your adjustment to parenthood and the financial demands of raising a child. If you’re working, you might worry about how to balance the demands of family and career. You might also experience mood swings. What you’re feeling is normal. Take care of yourself, and look to loved ones for understanding and encouragement. If your mood changes become severe or intense, consult your health care provider.

Prenatal care

If you haven’t yet received a COVID-19 vaccine, get vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines don’t cause infection with the COVID-19 virus. Studies have shown COVID-19 vaccines don’t pose any serious risks for pregnant women or their babies. Vaccination can help pregnant women build antibodies that protect their babies. If possible, people who live with you should also be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Whether you choose a family doctor, obstetrician, nurse-midwife or other pregnancy specialist, your health care provider will treat, educate and reassure you throughout your pregnancy.

Your first visit will focus on assessing your overall health, identifying any risk factors and determining your baby’s gestational age. Your health care provider will ask detailed questions about your health history. Be honest. If you’re uncomfortable discussing your health history in front of your partner, schedule a private consultation. Also expect to learn about first trimester screening for chromosomal abnormalities.

After the first visit, you’ll probably be asked to schedule checkups every four weeks for the first 32 weeks of pregnancy. However, you may require more or less frequent appointments, depending on your health and medical history. In some cases, virtual prenatal care may be an option if you don’t have certain high-risk conditions. If you and your health care provider opt for virtual prenatal visits, ask if there are any tools that might be helpful to have at home, such as a blood pressure monitor. To make the most of any virtual visits, prepare a list of questions ahead of time and take detailed notes.

During these appointments, discuss any concerns or fears you might have about pregnancy, childbirth or life with a newborn. Remember, no question is silly or unimportant — and the answers can help you take care of yourself and your baby.

Danger Signs Of Pregnancy in First Trimester

Warning signs

Call your health care provider right away if you have any of these signs:

  • vaginal bleeding
  • fluid leaking from your vagina
  • severe abdominal pain
  • nausea (upset stomach) that keeps you from keeping down liquids and food all day long or vomiting (throwing up) more than two to three times each day on most days
  • temperature higher than 100.4 F
  • painful urination or greatly increased urination
  • headache that doesn’t go away after taking acetaminophen (Tylenol®).

Early Pregnancy Symptoms

Some women have no pregnancy symptoms at week 1, while others may experience symptoms such as fatigue, breast tenderness, and mild cramping.

Typically, medical professionals measure pregnancy week 1 from the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period. Although a woman is not actually pregnant at this point, counting week 1 from the last menstrual period can help determine a woman’s estimated pregnancy due date.

However, this article will refer to pregnancy week 1 as starting a week after conception, meaning the literal first week of pregnancy.

A missed menstrual period is often the primary symptom of early pregnancy.

Can you feel symptoms 1 week after conception? 

Young woman looking in the mirror during 1eek 1 of pregnancy
Yadira G. Morel/Getty Images

Conception, or fertilization, occurs when the ovary releases an egg (ovulation), and a sperm fertilizes it. This can happen about 14 days after the menstrual cycle starts, according to March of Dimes.

According to Planned Parenthood, implantation begins about 6–7 days after conception. This is when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus. This movement of the egg may break down blood vessels within the uterus wall, which may cause light bleeding and cramping.

Bleeding

Implantation bleeding is an early sign of pregnancy. It is not like a menstrual period. Instead, it is light bleeding that may involve a single spot of blood or a small amount of pink discharge. The spotting may last for a few hours, or it may last for a few days.

Cramping

Women may also feel mild cramping as the embryo attaches to the uterus wall. Women may feel these cramps in the abdomen, pelvis, or low back area.

The cramping may feel like a pulling, tingling, or pricking sensation. Some women experience only a few minor cramps, while others may feel occasional discomfort that comes and goes over a few days.

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Pregnancy symptoms in week 1 

Pregnancy symptoms in week 1 are different for every woman and every pregnancy. According to the Office on Women’s HealthTrusted Source, the most common first sign of pregnancy is a missed menstrual period.

Other early pregnancy symptoms include:

Not all of these symptoms are unique to pregnancy. It is also important to note that early pregnancy does not always cause noticeable symptoms.

The best way for a person to find out if they are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test.

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When to take a pregnancy test 

A pregnancy test measures the amount of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) hormone in the urine. This hormone is only present when a woman is pregnant. As the egg grows into an embryo, the cells that surround it and later become the placenta produce hCG.

Planned Parenthood indicate that it is best to take a pregnancy test as soon after a missed period as possible. A pregnancy test may return a positive result as early as 10 days after a person has had sex without contraception. However, it typically takes about 3 weeks before there’s enough hCG in the urine to produce a positive pregnancy test.

There are many affordable and reliable pregnancy tests available over-the-counter (OTC) or online. A home pregnancy test can tell whether you are pregnant in a few minutes, with most claiming to offer almost 99% accuracyTrusted Source.

To help ensure an accurate result, the best time to take a pregnancy test is 1 weekTrusted Source after a missed period. Results of a pregnancy test are either positive or negative.

If a woman takes the pregnancy test earlier than 1 week after a missed period, it may give a negative result, even if the person is actually pregnant.

If a person believes they are pregnant despite a negative test result, they should repeat the test after 1 week.

To avoid a false negative result, check the pregnancy test’s expiration date, and carefully follow the written directions.

A person can also have a blood test to determine whether they are pregnant. This test identifies the presence of hCG in the blood. The blood test can show a positive result a few days earlier than the urine test can, but it may take up to 48 hrs to get the results back from the lab.

Summary

Pregnancy symptoms are different for every woman. Some women may notice symptoms, such as spotting or a headache, during week 1 of pregnancy. Others may only experience a missed period. Some women will have no symptoms at all.

Whether a person has symptoms or not, the best way to determine if they are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test.

First Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms Diarrhea

During your first trimester, you may experience a variety of symptoms. These include nausea and vomiting (due to morning sickness), fatigue, constipation or diarrhea. For milder cases of nausea and vomiting, eating bland food can be helpful; while for diarrhea you should avoid high fiber foods. You also want to drink plenty of fluids.

The first trimester of pregnancy is often a time for a woman to experience some exciting physical changes. The most common symptoms during this time are nausea, vomiting, fatigue and sore breasts. The first trimester is also when women often experience diarrhea; this is caused by the pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), which your body produces to help sustain the new growing tissue and fetus. Because of this, it’s important to keep an eye on any changes in bowel activity while pregnant as intestinal illnesses can quickly spread toward your baby.

Pregnancy symptoms such as protein in the urine, nausea and vomiting, breast tenderness and abdominal bloating often begin within the first few weeks after conception. Early miscarriage symptoms may also include spotting or light bleeding, diarrhea and an increased heart rate.

First Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms Fatigue

First trimester fatigue is common during pregnancy, however, it is important to note that this symptom may indicate other, more serious conditions. If you’re fatigued during your first trimester and concerned about what might be causing this or other symptoms, speak with your doctor immediately.

Early pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue have been linked to a number of pregnancy-related hormone changes. These hormones may slow down your metabolism and make you feel sluggish, which means you may not have enough energy for work or hobbies. While you can’t force the hormones to go back to normal, there are ways to boost your energy. Some women experience morning sickness, while others feel nauseous throughout the day and have trouble keeping down food or beverages. There is no way to predict which symptoms you might have during your pregnancy, so stay hydrated in order to avoid dehydration. Drink one glass of water every hour during the day and make sure to eat protein-rich foods such as lean meat, eggs and dairy products rather than salty snacks or sugary treats.

First Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms Headache

Sometimes, a first trimester pregnancy symptoms headache is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. These are the key things to look out for when you have a headache during pregnancy. When is it normal to have a headache in early pregnancy? Many people experience a headache during the first trimester of pregnancy. The most common cause is a rise in hormones, which can cause blood vessels to constrict and dilate and results in extra pressure in the brain.

During the first trimester, you may experience headaches due to a sudden change in your hormone levels. The reason that mothers-to-be experience this headache is because of these fluctuations in estrogen, progesterone and other hormones. This can also lead to soreness and tenderness in your breasts.

First Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms: Headache. One of the first signs of a pregnancy is a headache. This is because of our bodies changing hormone levels, which can be very stressful and taxing to us. Also, the added stress that can come with the realization about being pregnant can cause many women to experience headaches during this time.

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