Common Pregnancy Symptoms

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Published On
17 Jul, 2023
Read Time
4 minutes

It's important to keep in mind that pregnancy symptoms can differ a lot from person to person. You might not experience all the symptoms we're going to discuss in this guide, and that's perfectly normal.

If you're feeling concerned about any symptoms you're experiencing, don't hesitate to reach out to your midwife or doctor for support.

Whether you're pregnant for the first time, or just need a refresher, we've got you covered. Let's take a look at some typical early pregnancy symptoms and explore the changes you can expect to happen as your pregnancy progresses.

When do pregnancy symptoms start?

It's usually around four to six weeks into a pregnancy that people start to become aware of symptoms.

Morning sickness usually starts around this time and settles around week 12. That said, it can continue for longer or even return later in the pregnancy.

What are the early pregnancy symptoms?

The truth is, some people experience symptoms before they know for sure if they're pregnant, but taking a pregnancy test is the only way you can confirm whether you're pregnant or not.

Some of the most common early pregnancy symptoms people experience include:

  • A missed or lighter period
  • Nausea and sickness
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Breast tenderness
  • Increased sensitivity to smells
  • Mood swings
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Needing to pee more

Let's go through what each one is one by one.  

A missed or lighter period

One of the typical indicators of pregnancy is the absence of a period. Some people miss a period altogether, while others experience a lighter-than-usual period or even spotting or implantation bleeding.

While missing a period is a tell-tale sign of pregnancy for a lot of people, if you usually have irregular periods, you mightn't recognise a missed period as an indicator.

Nausea and sickness

Nausea or vomiting is a common pregnancy symptom that's often referred to as morning sickness, although it can occur at any time of the day. If you experience frequent sickness or inability to retain fluids, you should seek support from your doctor.

Fatigue and tiredness

Hormonal changes can cause a lot of tiredness for pregnant people during the early stages of pregnancy.

Breast tenderness

In the early stages of pregnancy, some changes may occur in your breasts, such as tenderness and a possible change in nipple color. You may also notice that your breasts feel larger.

Increased sensitivity to smells

During pregnancy, your sense of smell may become more sensitive. Some people experience increased nausea when exposed to certain scents.

Mood swings

It's common to experience mood swings when pregnant. These are often caused by hormonal changes. Some people feel heightened emotions and find themselves becoming easily upset or angry.

Vaginal discharge

Some people notice a change in the amount and texture of their vaginal discharge during pregnancy.

Needing to pee more

This is a symptom that can happen throughout pregnancy from the first to the third trimester. In the later stages, it's usually caused by the baby pushing on the bladder.

Other common symptoms of pregnancy

In addition to the typical pregnancy symptoms we've discussed, some less common ones may also be experienced. Let's go through each of them individually.

Headaches and dizziness

During pregnancy, hormone fluctuations and increased blood flow cause some people to experience headaches. It's also possible to feel lightheaded as a result of increased blood flow and the extra energy exerted by your body.


Some pregnant people experience slight cramping which can be an indication of implantation occurring during the early stages of pregnancy.


During pregnancy, hormone changes can cause a slowing down of the digestive system which can then lead to constipation.

Excess saliva

Also known as Ptyalism Gravidarum, excess saliva during pregnancy is the body's way of protecting your teeth from excess stomach acid that can be caused by vomiting.


Regardless of whether you've dealt with breakouts in the past, hormone surges during pregnancy can cause complexion changes.

Metallic taste in the mouth

During the first trimester, some people experience a peculiar symptom - a sour or metallic taste in their mouth that's similar to blood. This is medically known as dysgeusia, commonly referred to as 'metal mouth', and it's caused by hormonal fluctuations, specifically the rise in estrogen levels.

Nose bleeds and nasal congestion

During pregnancy, nasal issues may arise due to widened blood vessels and increased blood volume. Be prepared with tissues to catch any sniffles or drips.

Pregnancy signs that might come later

As your pregnancy progresses, you may experience a shift in symptoms. This is because your body is constantly adapting and working hard to keep you and your baby healthy.

As you approach the final stretch of your pregnancy in the third trimester, you might experience some of the following symptoms:


During pregnancy, your body goes through a lot of changes, including the natural softening and stretching of ligaments to prepare for labor and the increasing weight of your growing baby. These changes can often lead to back pain and strain on the pelvis.

Swelling in your feet and ankles

During pregnancy, some women may experience swelling in the ankles and feet due to an increase in blood volume and water retention. Additionally, varicose veins may become uncomfortable, although they're not typically harmful.


Pregnant women may experience constipation which can cause discomfort and lead to hemorrhoids. It's a common issue that can also occur after giving birth.

Heartburn and indigestion

As your baby develops, stomach acid may flow back up towards your throat, resulting in heartburn and indigestion that can intensify during nighttime.

Itchy skin

During pregnancy, the skin stretches, and this can lead to tightness and itchiness, particularly on the stomach, hips, and breasts.

This could be due to increased blood volume and hormonal changes. If you experience itchy hands and feet, yellowing skin, or dark urine, especially at night, it's advisable to consult with your doctor as it could be an indication of a liver condition known as intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP).

Darker skin in some places

During pregnancy, the skin's cells can produce more melanin pigments when exposed to the sun, a condition known as chloasma or 'the mask of pregnancy'. Because of this, it's important to wear SPF as you may become sunburnt more easily.

How early do pregnancy signs start?

Signs of pregnancy may begin as early as one to two weeks after conception, although some people might not experience any symptoms until around week four or five, or possibly even later in certain cases.

The body starts to produce the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) once an embryo has implanted. All pregnancy tests work by detecting this hormone, either in your wee or blood.

According to Planned Parenthood, you can take a pregnancy test any time after a missed period. You should always read the label on your pregnancy test to find out when and how to take it.

Some individuals may notice that early pregnancy symptoms are similar to premenstrual symptoms. However, if you're trying to distinguish between the two, pay attention to changes in your areola and a higher basal body temperature (BBT) as they can be reliable indicators of pregnancy.