While some pregnancy symptoms start very early, most of the time, you won’t notice anything right away. Anything that happens immediately after having sex, like spotting or increased discharge, is usually not related to pregnancy.
Other than a missed period, pregnancy symptoms tend to really kick in around week five or six of pregnancy. One 2018 study of 458 women found that 72% detected their pregnancy by the sixth week after their last menstrual period.1 Symptoms tend to develop abruptly.
This is about two weeks from when you missed your last period (six weeks since you actually had a period). Occasionally you will hear of someone who has symptoms right around their first missed period.
Things to Consider
Whether you are hoping for or fearing pregnancy, it can be easy to ascribe any sensations to pregnancy symptoms. Keep in mind, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms and those of early pregnancy can be similar.
Having symptoms a day or two after having sex is usually not a sign of pregnancy. Here are some things to consider as you try to determine if you’re pregnant.
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Am I Pregnant? Real Women Share Their Early Signs
Nausea immediately after sex is something that women question as a sign of pregnancy. However, your body doesn’t have enough time to react to produce that symptom due to a pregnancy resulting from that sex act.
For most women, pregnancy-related nausea begins two to eight weeks following conception.2 If you are having pregnancy-related nausea, you became pregnant weeks before.
A pregnancy test is the best way to tell if you are pregnant or not. However, you must wait until you miss your period to get the most accurate results from a urine test.
This can be a home pregnancy test or a pregnancy test from your doctor, midwife, or health department. A blood test (quantitative beta HCG) might show positive results as early as one week after ovulation.3
Basal Body Temperature Charting
Basal body temperature (BBT) can predict and suggest ovulation. This only works if you have been taking your temperature in the days prior to ovulation. Temperature elevation (approximately 0.5 to 1 degree F) begins one or two days after ovulation and persists for several days.4
Temperature elevation identifies prior ovulation; it does not diagnose pregnancy.How to Detect Pregnancy or Ovulation on Your BBT Chart
Why You Feel Pregnant
It can be fairly common to experience some physical symptoms as you enter into what many people call the two-week wait, the period of time between when you ovulate and when you expect your period. These symptoms can include:5
- Breast soreness
- Feeling bloated
- Frequent urination
- Mood swings
- Nausea and/or changes in appetite
While all of the symptoms could be pregnancy symptoms, they are more likely explained by either fluctuation in your hormones due to your menstrual cycle, or by other events in your life. These events can include illness, stress, or even something as simple as not enough sleep or too much exercise.
Some women will experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms as pregnancy symptoms, where other women do not typically have these symptoms every cycle.
When you experience a symptom that is not common to your cycle, it may be easily confused with a potential pregnancy.
To help relieve focusing on these symptoms, you can take positive steps for your physical and emotional health. Eating nutritious foods, not smoking, and limiting or avoiding alcohol will promote your health and wellness whether or not it turns out you are pregnant.
When Pregnancy Is Unintentional
If you had unprotected sex or a contraceptive failure and fear you could get pregnant, emergency contraception is an option. Commonly called the “morning-after pill,” medications are available over-the-counter (without a prescription) that can prevent pregnancy if taken within five days of having unprotected sex.
The sooner you take these medications, the more effective they are in preventing an unintended pregnancy. These medications do not cause an abortion, but rather prevent a pregnancy from being established.
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