If you’re reading this, chances are you typed “does [insert symptom here] mean I’m pregnant?” or something similar. It’s no surprise that this line of googling is one of the most-searched questions of all time, as women are either excited by or panicked about the possibility of expecting a baby, and way too impatient to wait the requisite two weeks to take a drugstore test.
So, first things first. You’re unlikely to feel anything in the days just after conception as implantation of an embryo doesn’t occur until around 10 days post-ovulation. Some women swear they know right away, but these instances are more likely chalked up to intuition rather than true physical symptoms.
When the fertilized embryo implants, the body starts to produce human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG, which is the hormone that turns a pregnancy test positive and is the culprit behind many early pregnancy signs.
Between 10 and 14 days post-ovulation, a pregnant woman may start to notice one or more of these early indicators before her period is actually late:
• Tender, swollen breasts
• Spotting that never turns into a regular menstrual period
Around the time her period is usually due, and in the weeks shortly after, she may also notice the following:
• Nausea and vomiting (which might manifest as classic morning sickness that will subside throughout the day, or as a constant queasiness)
• Mood swings
• Dizziness (caused by a drop in blood pressure, which happens in pregnancy)
• Food aversions or cravings
• Increased urination
Keep in mind that you may experience many or all of these symptoms without being pregnant if you’re coming down with a bug or if your period is just delayed. Similarly, you can also be symptom-free and still expecting. Your best bet is to see your doctor for a blood test to confirm.
A note about home pregnancy tests
Not all pregnancy tests are created equal. The early detection tests are more sensitive to HCG, and will turn positive sooner. The level of HCG required for a positive result is usually noted on the box, ranging from 15 to 25 mIU. A test with a level of 25 mIU may not turn positive until after your period is late.