Early Pregnancy Symptoms: A Guide to Identifying Signs Before Your Expected Period

June 13, 2023
Nitha Girija Vallabhan – June 13, 2023
girl wondering of early pregnancy

Hello again! So, has the good news arrived? You have been trying to conceive and…

Hello again! So, has the good news arrived? You have been trying to conceive and I am sure you must be eagerly waiting to see if you miss your period this month. Did you know that most women experience pregnancy-related symptoms before their period date? But these symptoms are often interpreted as Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

As a result, these women remain unaware of the pregnancy symptoms before their expected period that they are pregnant until they miss their period. Learning to identify these early symptoms of pregnancy can help you seek medical attention and implement appropriate lifestyle changes to support a healthy pregnancy.

Understanding the connection between the menstrual cycle and pregnancy is the first step in identifying early pregnancy symptoms before the expected period. During the 22-35-day menstrual cycle, various stages occur, including menstruation, follicular stage, ovulation, and luteal stage. The sperm fertilizes the egg released during ovulation, and the fertilized egg implants itself into the uterine lining.

In today’s blog post, we will explore valuable information on early pregnancy symptoms before the expected period date and provide tips on taking necessary actions to ensure your overall health. 

The Menstrual Cycle: A Brief Overview

marking menstrual cycle

During the menstruation stage, the uterine lining is shed if pregnancy has not occurred. As the cycle progresses to the follicular stage, an egg attains maturity within the ovaries. As soon as the mature egg is released, ovulation takes place. Finally, there is the luteal stage during which the uterus prepares for potential pregnancy.

Typically, ovulation occurs around the middle of your menstrual cycle or about two weeks before your next period starts. However, you must remember that the timing of ovulation can significantly vary from one woman to another. Further, sperms can survive in the female reproductive tract for up to five days, thereby enhancing conception chances.

All these stages of menstrual cycles are regulated by hormones. For instance, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) have pivotal roles in ovulation and the maturation of eggs. Progesterone is another hormone that helps prepare the uterus for possible pregnancy. When the fertilized egg implants, the body secretes human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), the pregnancy hormone.

Understanding Early Signs of Pregnancy

Technically, you could say you are pregnant right from the moment of implantation. You may begin to experience specific symptoms from that stage. Understanding the early signs of pregnancy can help you make informed decisions about your reproductive health. You can avoid activities or food that could adversely affect your chances of a healthy pregnancy. Furthermore, learning to identify the early symptoms of pregnancy enables you to seek medical attention, especially if you are finding it difficult to conceive or have a history of miscarriages. So let’s find out all about early pregnancy signs. 

Implantation is the process when a fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine wall around 6 to 12 days after ovulation. It can cause light spotting in some women known as implantation bleeding. Remember that not all women experience implantation. 

Once implantation occurs, the body undergoes major hormonal changes to prepare the uterus for a healthy pregnancy. There will be a surge in human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone levels that account for various early pregnancy symptoms.

Early Pregnancy Symptoms

early signs of preganancy
  • Breast Changes and Sensitivity: In most women, breasts become tender and sensitive. You may also note the veins in the area becoming more prominent and the nipples turning darker in color. 
  • Fatigue and Increased Sleepiness: High levels of progesterone make some women feel extremely tired, drained and drowsy. 
  • Nausea and Morning Sickness: Nausea may sometimes be accompanied by vomiting and the feeling of dizziness. Although the term used is morning sickness, the discomfort may continue throughout the day. 
  • Changes in Appetite and Food Cravings: while some women may have a voracious appetite, others may observe a drastic reduction in appetite. Similarly, women may develop cravings for some food items and aversion towards others. 
  • Mood Swings and Emotional Changes: Hormonal variations coupled with changes to the body tend to make women moody, emotional and irritable.  
  • Increased Urination: During pregnancy, there is an increased blood flow to the kidneys. This results in frequent urination. 
  • Light Spotting or Implantation Bleeding: When the fertilized egg implants on the uterus lining, it may cause spotting that is referred to as implantation bleeding. 
  • Heightened Sense of Smell: Pregnancy has a way of heightening the sense of smell, making women sensitive to specific smells. 
  • Bloating and Abdominal Discomfort: Hormone changes create a feeling of fullness or bloating in women, causing mild pain or abdominal discomfort.

Differentiating Pregnancy Symptoms From PMS

differnece beyween pms and preganancy symptom

PMS symptoms and pregnancy symptoms may sometimes seem similar, making it confusing for women. For instance, symptoms such as mood swings, fatigue, bloating and breast tenderness are common to both PMS and pregnancy. However, there are noticeable differences between the two. 

While PMS symptoms occur a few days prior to your period, early pregnancy symptoms occur as early as a week after conception. Additionally, PMS symptoms recede once menstruation begins. However, early pregnancy symptoms can go on for a longer duration and even increase in intensity.

Here are some useful tips to help you distinguish between the two:

  • Observe the Timing: If your symptoms appear considerably earlier than your expected period date, it could be an indication of pregnancy. However, this tip is not applicable to women with irregular menstrual cycles. 
  • Pay Attention to the Duration and Intensity: If your symptoms are more intense than usual and last longer as well, it may be a sign of early pregnancy. 
  • Other Signs to Look For: In addition to PMS symptoms, early pregnancy can cause symptoms such as food cravings or aversions, frequent urination, and a heightened sense of smell. 

Remember that these tips may or may not offer the right indication. To be sure about the real cause of your symptoms, it is always best to take a pregnancy test. 

The Role of Testing: When and How to Take a Pregnancy Test

Pregnancy tests have been designed to detect the presence of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in the blood or urine. While some tests with higher sensitivity to the hormone can detect trace amounts of hCG during the early stages, others may require higher levels of the hormone to make a successful detection. When considering pregnancy tests before your expected period date, you must ideally choose one with higher sensitivity. 

For better accuracy, you must get tested at the right time. It would be a good idea to wait until the date of your missed period to get the most reliable result in pregnancy testing. If you test too early, low levels of hCG may yield false negative results.  

how to take a test for pregnancy

Your options are unlimited when it comes to pregnancy tests. The most popular ones are home pregnancy test kits that enable pregnancy confirmation from the privacy of your home. You need a sample of urine to use these kits. Make sure that you carefully follow the instructions available with the test kit to ensure precise results. Of course, you can always consult your healthcare provider for a more reliable pregnancy test. 

Seeking Medical Advice: When to Consult a Healthcare Provider

when to seek a medical attention

If you tested positive in your home pregnancy test, the next step involves fixing an appointment with your healthcare provider for the following reasons:

  • Confirmation of Pregnancy: A healthcare provider can offer a reliable pregnancy test result. You have the option of taking a blood test or a urine test. In case you test positive, the healthcare provider can get you started on your journey toward a healthy pregnancy. 
  • Clarify Uncertain Results: Imagine that you experience early pregnancy symptoms. What do you do? Of course, you would probably use a pregnancy testing kit at home. Now what if the results come back negative?  That can be really confusing. To resolve such uncertainties in your pregnancy test results, it is best to visit your healthcare provider and probe potential causes. 
  • Irregular Cycles: Women with irregular menstrual cycles usually find it hard to track their periods. With the periods being irregular, it is almost impossible to have an idea of the ovulation date.  In such cases, healthcare professionals can help determine the right methods to test for pregnancy.

As soon as you confirm that you are pregnant, it is essential to get started with prenatal care. Accessing medical attention during early pregnancy enables healthcare providers to monitor your pregnancy, detect potential risks and offer advice on exercise, nutrition and necessary lifestyle changes. In case there are medical issues, you can get started with treatment right away to prevent complications during the later stages of pregnancy.

Final Word

So as you can see, learning to identify early pregnancy symptoms can help you understand the changes in your body and thereby take informed decisions on how to proceed with it. In todays post, we have discussed in detail about early pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness, fatigue, nausea, mood swings and food cravings and how to interpret these symptoms. 

Self-awareness is the first step towards a healthy and fulfilling pregnancy. Knowing how to differentiate between PMS symptoms and early pregnancy symptoms can help you determine the right course of action. Most of the time, these symptoms may not be reliable indications of pregnancy. To be sure, it is recommended that you visit your healthcare provider, take a pregnancy test and commence prenatal care if you are pregnant. 

Yes, pregnancy is a magical yet overwhelming time. However, by observing the signs your body gives you and seeking medical care, your journey of pregnancy can be a pleasant and comfortable one. Knowledge is empowerment ladies. Learn the true facts about your body to take the best decisions for your long-term health. 


Q1 What are some common pregnancy symptoms that can occur before the expected period date?

Some common pregnancy symptoms that typically occur before the expected period date include implantation bleeding, mild cramps, fatigue, morning sickness, breast changes, frequent urination, changes in appetite, abdominal bloating, and mood swings. 

Q2 How soon can pregnancy symptoms start before the missed period?

Generally, pregnancy symptoms are noticeable in most women about 10 to 14 days after conception. However, some women may experience symptoms such as mood swings, breast tenderness, light spotting, nausea, vomiting, or fatigue as early as 5 to 10 days after conception.

Q3 Can experiencing pregnancy symptoms before the period date be a reliable indicator of pregnancy?

Although experiencing pregnancy symptoms before the expected period date may be an indication of pregnancy, it is not a reliable indication on its own. Remember that pregnancy symptoms are unique for each woman. As a result, some symptoms such as nausea, fatigue or mood swings that are associated with pregnancy may also occur due to stress or hormonal changes. 

Q4 Is it possible to have no pregnancy symptoms before the period date and still be pregnant?

Yes. It is indeed possible to be pregnant but experience no symptoms before the period date. While some women may experience symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, breast tenderness or mood swings before their periods, others may not experience any noticeable symptoms that may indicate pregnancy. This occurs primarily due to variations in hormonal levels. 

Q5 Can pregnancy symptoms before the period date differ from typical premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms?

Yes. Pregnancy symptoms generally differ from PMS symptoms. For instance, pregnancy symptoms such as implantation bleeding, morning sickness or frequent urination are not associated with PMS. Additionally, symptoms like fatigue and changes in appetite are more prolonged and pronounced in pregnancy than for PMS.

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532950/#:
  • https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/pregnancy-signs-and-symptoms

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