While every woman is different, here's when you can tentatively expect breast tenderness, nausea, fatigue, frequent urination, and other signs of pregnancy.

By Nicole Harris
Updated April 16, 2020
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You received a positive pregnancy test, and now you’re waiting for the telltale symptoms to start. When can you expect nausea, vomiting, bloating, constipation, and fatigue? 

As it turns out, every woman is different, says Marra Francis, M.D., an OB-GYN in Woodlands, Texas, and an author of the Mommy MD Guides. Some never experience the typical early signs of pregnancy, while others feel immediate changes in their body. And you can’t use previous pregnancies as a guide either; symptoms might appear at different points in every gestation, adds Dr. Francis.  

To give you a basic guideline, we rounded up nine common early pregnancy symptoms and their typical start time. Remember to take this tentative schedule with a grain of salt, though, and ask your doctor about any concerns. 

Breast Tenderness

Thanks to an increase in estrogen and progesterone, your breasts may feel sore, sensitive, and tender in early pregnancy. This symptom usually starts about one or two weeks after conception—even before you miss your period!

Spotting and Cramping

Some women experience twinging cramps when the fertilized egg implants into the lining of the uterus. You might also notice light spotting that lasts a day or so. These signs of implantation appear six to 12 days after conception, and many women mistake them for PMS. 

Fatigue

Rising levels of progesterone, as well as your body’s effort to support the pregnancy, may result in fatigue. Loss of energy appears as early as one week after conception. It often goes away in the second trimester but rears its head again as you approach delivery.

Mood Swings

Fatigue might partially contribute to another annoying pregnancy symptom: mood swings that start around week five. Unfortunately, unstable emotions usually last throughout the first trimester.

Bloating

Do your pants feel tighter than normal? Blame pregnancy hormones for this abdominal bloating, which often appears soon after conception. Early pregnancy bloating often reminds women of PMS. 

Morning Sickness

Up to 85 percent of pregnant women deal with the nausea and vomiting associated with morning sickness. Food aversions and heightened sense of smell may exacerbate symptoms, but eating small meals and other home remedies can help. Morning sickness starts between six and eight weeks into pregnancy. It peaks around week eight or nine, and it usually disappears by week 16.

Frequent Urination

Around four to six weeks after conception, some women feel a strong, frequent urge to urinate. Blame the pregnancy hormone hCG, your growing uterus, and extra blood flow. This symptom often reappears in the third trimester when your baby presses on your uterus. 

Headaches

Increased blood volume might cause crippling tension headaches in pregnancy. Staying hydrated can keep this head-pounding symptom at bay.

Constipation

Pregnancy hormones slow down your digestive tract, triggering constipation around the second to third months of gestation. Control constipation by staying hydrated, incorporating fiber into your diet, and exercising regularly. 

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