Q. What are the first signs/symptoms of pregnancy?

A. Missed period, spotting or abnormal period, abdominal pain or cramping, breast changes (tenderness, tingling, swollen), feeling tired, headaches, dizziness, nausea/queasiness (also known as “morning sickness”), vomiting, extra sensitivities (food, smells), frequent urination.


Q. How can I tell if I’m pregnant before my period?

A. Look for any of the above symptoms. A home pregnancy test will not work correctly until at you have reached the day of your expected (missed) period – at the earliest.


Q. My period is “late” – am I pregnant?

A. If you have had unprotected sex, and if you normally have regular periods, a missed period if a common sign of pregnancy. However, being “late” for a few days is not unusual.

  • If you’ve had unprotected sex and are concerned, take a home pregnancy test, wait a few days, and re-test in a few days if you still haven’t had a period.
  • If you are a young teen, it is normal to experience variable periods the first 2-3 years when you start to menstruate. After that, your cycle normally becomes regular.


Q. I missed my period entirely. Does that mean I’m pregnant?

A. If you normally have regular periods, this is a common sign of pregnancy. However, missed periods might have a different cause. If your period is often variable/irregular, this may be normal – especially for young teens. Missed periods can also have a variety of causes, including: changes in weight, stress/anxiety, illness, medications (e.g., birth control), changes in schedule, exercise, illegal substances, breast feeding, other medical conditions (thyroid issues), etc. Take a home pregnancy test, then see your doctor to find out more.


Q. How long does it take to get pregnant?

A. Pregnancy occurs when your egg is fertilized, which can happen within the time of the month when you are fertile. This period of time, called the “ovulation period” occurs 12-16 days before your next menstrual period. Further, the egg can become fertilized by sperm if you had sex a week prior to that time, or a few days after (since sperm can live in the reproductive tract).


Q. How long does it take after you have sex to start having signs of pregnancy?

A. The effects of pregnancy vary from woman to woman. Some report symptoms within a week or two after conception. Others say they feel symptoms after 3-4 weeks. A few report feeling no symptoms at all!


Q. What if I just came off the Pill, how soon can I get pregnant?

A. As soon as your body is ovulating. If you were taking birth control pills, this can be as quick as two weeks after you stop taking them.


Q. I was recently pregnant (whether or not carried to full term) or I am breastfeeding, will the pregnancy test work?

A. A pregnancy test might not work in these situations. If you were recently pregnant or you are currently breastfeeding, then a pregnancy test is best conducted by a doctor, since your hormone levels may be altered, which makes a home pregnancy test unreliable.


This information is not meant as a substitute for professional medical advice.

This video shows common signs of pregnancy.

Need more information? Check out the next section which deals with bleeding and menstruation.

  • How fast can the symptoms of you beast happen?

  • Dear Maritza,

    There is no “standard” timeframe for any pregnancy symptoms. They can occur within days, weeks or months. I hope that helps. If you’ve been having symptoms, you might want to have a doctor’s exam.

  • Hi, I am 21,, My husband and I are ttc. We have had one misscarriage back in Feb 2012. We have been ttc since the 31st of Dec 2012. With my first pregnancy, i had no obvious symptoms. They didnt start until i found out at 8wks. So, now im curious on every single “could be symptom or sign” that i notice. Some of the things ive noticed are: eating all the time, menstrual cramps but no period, smell of certain food turns my tummy, alot of discharge, acid reflux (which i had horribly with my 1st), cravings, back aches, a little dizziness, mood swings…. though i dont have breast tenderness, usually i have serious tenderness before i am to start my period along with cramps. I am due or a lil past due this month, so im really starting to wonder. Ive gotten to where i get excited and go buy a test, then its a big fat negative and it breaks my heart. I have not taken one lately but do you think I should? Is it too early?
    Thanks! 🙂

    • Hi Cassie,

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience! So sorry to hear about your miscarriage. My thoughts to you and your husband.

      Most pregnancy tests say that they will work after the first day of your missed period, so there’s no sense in buying/trying one until then. There are a couple out there on the market which promise sooner results, but regardless you may want to wait until the first day of your missed period just to be sure.

      Don’t be sad, as it seems like you are doing all you can, and some things you just cannot control!

      In any case, I wish you all the luck in the world. Very best to you and your husband.

  • Im 22 and have a 4 year old boy. recently have not been ttc. i have very irregular periods and dont know why. sometimes i can go 5 or 6 months without a period. recently have been having unprotected sex. my last period was june 1. on july 30 my period came but lasted one day and not enough for a panty liner. Then fallowing the next week iv had cramps on and off. now for this past week iv had swollen tender breasts and white creamy discharge (sry tmi). well last night i went to rub them with a warm wash cloth and what i believe milk had come out of my right breast. i have not taken a pregnancy test scared of the results.. is it possible i could be pregnant?

    • Hi Ashley,

      It sounds like irregular periods are common for you, so perhaps that’s normal for you – but you should check this out with a doctor to be sure there is no underlying reason for your irregular periods.

      Regarding the potential of being pregnant now, please do take a home pregnancy test to see the result. I know it can be scary, but it is better to know what is going on rather to live in anticipation of what might be happening.

      I would strongly suggest that you see a gynecologist to check out your periods and to double-check your current symptoms.

      Best of luck to you Ashley.

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