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What are the Most Common Pregnancy Symptoms?

Anna T.
Updated May 17, 2024
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Some of the most common pregnancy symptoms are a missed menstrual period, implantation bleeding, nausea, cramps, excessive tiredness, fatigue, headaches, backaches, and an increase in the frequency of urination. The majority of these signs could also be related to other medical conditions. In many cases, symptoms of pregnancy do not occur until two or more weeks after conception, and some women report not having any symptoms at all.

Women who experience implantation bleeding often mistake it for their menstrual period. It typically occurs one week after ovulation and may be light pink in color. Implantation bleeding is usually just a few days of light spotting, unlike most periods, which generally last for about a week with a steady flow of dark red blood. Implantation bleeding most often occurs a few days to a week before the monthly menstrual period would be expected.

Cramping of the uterus is one of the most common early pregnancy symptoms. Many women in the early stages of pregnancy fear that the cramps mean something is wrong with the baby, but it is usually just a result of the uterus stretching and contracting to properly accommodate the child growing inside. In a normal pregnancy, this cramping is typically described as mildly uncomfortable rather than painful. Women who experience painful pregnancy cramps are normally advised to consult with a medical professional, particularly if they are accompanied by bleeding or spotting.

Not all women experience nausea during the first stages of pregnancy, although it's one of the most common symptoms. Nausea usually begins the first five to eight weeks of gestation. "Morning sickness," as pregnancy nausea is often called, can occur at any time of day. Most women only experience nausea during the first trimester, but it is not unheard of for it to last the entire nine months. If the nausea is severe and interferes with a woman's day to day life, a medical professional may prescribe prescription medicine to help control it.

Sexually active women who experience the symptoms of pregnancy can confirm their suspicions by taking a pregnancy test. A home test is typically the fastest, easiest way for a woman to confirm that she is pregnant. Women who test too early may receive a negative result, however, and the most accurate results are received when a woman waits until she misses her period to test, although a positive result is possible at 10 days post-fertilization. Pregnancy can also be confirmed with a blood test as early as 8 days after fertilization.

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Anna T.
By Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to WiseGeek. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By anon358614 — On Dec 11, 2013

I got off my monthly four days ago and now I see light blood on the tissue and I'm not cramping or anything and when I was on my period four days ago, I wasn't cramping. When I'm on my period I usually cramped bad and my periods are heavy, bad and usually last seven days. Now my monthly was four days this time and I went to the bathroom not long ago and I saw light red blood.

By amypollick — On Oct 23, 2013

@angelic31: I was on Levelin for several years, and I don't remember having a jelly-like discharge. Not saying I didn't -- I just don't remember it. However, when you miss pills, it does throw everything off. You probably need to see your doctor to get to the bottom of this. It doesn't sound serious or anything, but your birth control may need to be changed or something. Good luck.

By angelic31 — On Oct 23, 2013

I've been on the levlen pill for over three years and had a clear like jelly substance discharge. I've been feeling extra hungry -- more than usual -- and extra tired. I've missed a few pills. I've never had this discharge before. My periods have been playing up for months. They're not really there. I'm not sure what's wrong.

By anon344819 — On Aug 12, 2013

I've been on the pill for three years. This past year, I have noticed the pill has been giving me cramping every time I start a new pack. I take the pill every day. Sometimes I would take it later than others, sometimes earlier. I'm only human I would forget to take it at the same exact time.

I never, ever missed any periods throughout those three years. These past couple of months, I have spotted a week or so before my actual period but still got my period. So nonetheless, I never missed any periods through out these years on this pill, until recently.

I was supposed to get my period the sixth or seventh. The night of the seventh, I lay in bed with major leg cramps and some nausea. I didn’t start my period, but on Thursday and Friday, I experienced slight spotting, and Thursday, the spotting was a clump of dark brown muddy looking blood. It lasted for no more than an hour -- not even that.

After that, I had dark pink/brown spotting when I wiped. I truly have no clue if that was a period or not. I would say no. The period I had the month before this "skipped" one was early, on a Tuesday, and with pretty decent flow. So, this being the first time I’ve had this experience, it is weird. I’m extremely tired and even though I have no blood flow I've had cramping.

It's now technically a week later. I’m supposed to start my new pill pack tomorrow, but I still have no period. I’m going to the doctor to take a pee test to see if I’m pregnant or if I just need new birth control. Either way, I cannot believe how fatigued I am. I’m actually freaked out by it.

By anon341653 — On Jul 13, 2013

I missed three pills mid cycle, so I took the three pills together. I had unprotected sex but I stayed on the pill and finished the course. I had a bright bleed from Tuesday to Friday, then I had a yellow jelly like discharge on Saturday. Could I be pregnant?

By anon319755 — On Feb 14, 2013

Strange to say, I have a regular menstrual period cycle. It came early in February with bright discharge. The next day, I was spotting with pinkish and brown discharge and the same next day with nausea. I had none the next day, but then the two days after, I had brown spotting. I also have sticky, white mucus too. This is very different from my other pregnancy. I don't know if this is implantation bleeding, but I guess it's too early to test because it came out negative, so when am I am supposed to do another test? In another week?

By anon316239 — On Jan 28, 2013

I missed 7 days on the pill and had unprotected sex. If I miss a pill, I normally bleed within two days, but haven't. I also lost a blob of clear jelly. Could I be pregnant?

By anon314591 — On Jan 18, 2013

I don't know what this is, but it's very odd and unusual. My partner and I were having sex and he put his fingers in me really deeply. As he was doing that for a while, he pulled them out and noticed blood. It was a very small amount and then two days later, we were having sex and I felt something weird happen in my vagina but I just thought I needed to pee so I went to the bathroom. It seemed normal so I went back to bed and noticed some blood on my bed. I need advice if anybody knows what this is.

By anon304573 — On Nov 20, 2012

I'm 17 years old. Yesterday when I used the bathroom, I noticed little red dots. I thought I wiped too hard!

Last night my stomach was hurting really bad, and I thought my period was coming, and my right breast is really sore. Just a couple minutes ago I went to pee, which I do often now, and noticed the red dots again. My back has been bothering me. I was told I can't get pregnant.

By SarahSon — On Nov 14, 2012

With everyone of my pregnancies, fatigue was the first trimester pregnancy symptom that hit me the hardest. I was so tired and just felt like I was dragging all the time. I don't really understand what happens but once I got past the first trimester I had a lot of energy. I felt great until I was close to the 9th month when I was tired again and just ready to have my baby.

By Mykol — On Nov 13, 2012

@honeybees -- You are fortunate that you didn't have much nausea with your first pregnancy. I was sick the entire time and had a hard time keeping any food down. At one point the doctor was concerned that I was not putting on enough weight so he prescribed something to help with the nausea.

I know that all pregnancy symptoms are not the same for everyone, but the nausea is the one that bothered me the most. I also had breast tenderness and backaches, but these were much easier to deal with than the constant nausea.

By honeybees — On Nov 12, 2012

The first sign I had that I was pregnant with my first child was a missed period. I had no other signs or symptoms so was quite surprised when my period didn't start on schedule like it usually did.

I had not been trying to get pregnant, but I wasn't disappointed by this either. We were ready to start a family and once I realized I was pregnant, I was really excited about it.

I had a little bit of nausea after after about 8 weeks, but it was mild and it went away after the 4th month. Since my first pregnancy, I have had two other babies and each pregnancy was different. With my second pregnancy, I was nauseated right away and that was the first clue I had that I might be pregnant.

By andee — On Nov 12, 2012

@anon301092 -- You won't know for sure if you are pregnant or not until you have a pregnancy test. If your period doesn't come and you are still having pregnancy signs and symptoms, you can buy a home pregnancy test just about anywhere. At least this way you will know for sure, and know if you need to make an appointment with your doctor or not.

By anon301092 — On Nov 02, 2012

I don't know what's really going on. I'm only 17, and I had like a spotting, I guess yesterday, and wiped and it was pink but nothing else was coming out, and I'm tired 24/7, and peeing a lot. I'm just scared. My back hurts, and my period is supposed to start soon.

By anon258178 — On Mar 30, 2012

I missed days eight and nine of my mini-pill and had sex on day 10 before I caught up on my pills. Seven days later, I experienced light cramping and back ache along with a glob of jelly like mucus streaked with blood, followed by a day of very light brown discharge.

I am fatigued, hungry, peeing often, have low backache, and am nauseated after eating. My period isn't due for another six days, but I am positive that I'm pregnant.

By dfoster85 — On Jan 04, 2012

I think a lot of people think of nausea as one of the first pregnancy symptoms, sort of the "classic" ones (if you see a woman spend too long in the bathroom in a movie, she's probably pregnant), but for me it was not the first at all.

I noticed breast soreness before I even missed my period, and then came the fatigue. I was sleeping like ten hours some nights and still almost falling asleep at work! (Once, I *did* fall asleep at work. Oops!) The nausea didn't set in for a few weeks after I missed my period - around week six or seven, if I remember right.

By MissDaphne — On Jan 03, 2012

Absolutely, call your doctor if you experience any bleeding or spotting - it is never considered "normal" during pregnancy. But if you're reading this in the middle of the night and you're scared, go back to bed - though it's not considered "normal," it is very *common.*

The cervix received increased blood flow during pregnancy, and so it is more prone to the odd broken blood vessel - from sex, exercise, etc. When I experienced it, my doc said I didn't even need to come in and be seen unless I had "bleeding like a period," meaning a steady flow and/or red blood. Red blood is more serious than anything pink or brown, but, again, it's not necessarily the end of the world.

Anna T.
Anna T.
Anna Thurman is a skilled writer who lends her talents to WiseGeek. Her ability to research and present information in an engaging and accessible manner allows her to create content that resonates with readers across a wide range of subjects.
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