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Harvard Medical School
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General Medical Questions
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Question : What are the early symptoms and signs of pregnancy?
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The Trusted Source
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Jeffrey Lawrence Ecker, M.D. is a Professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Harvard Medical School. He is a member of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he practices maternal-fetal medicine.

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June 09, 2014
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Perhaps the best and earliest sign of pregnancy is a missed period. That’s especially true for women who have regular cycles.

Other symptoms are less specific.  They include:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Aversion to certain tastes and smells

But symptoms like these can be explained by many things other than pregnancy. And some pregnant women don’t have any of these symptoms.

If you think you’re pregnant, many over-the-counter pregnancy tests can detect pregnancy hormones in the urine as soon as two weeks after conception. That’s just the time when a period is missed. Blood pregnancy tests can detect lower levels of pregnancy hormones a few days sooner than urine tests.

If you are pregnant, here’s when you should seek prompt medical attention:

  • If you have pain that is strong and persistent.
  • If you have vaginal bleeding more than a small amount. (That is, more than a spot or two on a pad or underwear. Or more than a pink tinge on wiping when going to the bathroom.)

These are not normal symptoms. Some pains may be unrelated to a pregnancy or are simply the result of a growing uterus. And in many cases in which there is bleeding, the pregnancy will still be healthy. But pain or bleeding can be signs of miscarriage or an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, and should always be evaluated.

 

 

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