What Are the Main Symptoms of Pregnancy?

The main symptoms of pregnancy are mainly due to the hormonal and organic changes that occur to make gestation possible. Discover them in this article.
What Are the Main Symptoms of Pregnancy?

Last update: 27 June, 2021

The main symptoms of pregnancy manifest during the first trimester of pregnancy, but the mother’s body begins to undergo changes from the moment of fertilization. However, there aren’t any standard rules as each woman is different.

Usually, everything goes unnoticed at the beginning. However, some women are so attuned to their bodies that they begin to detect changes from the first days of pregnancy.

Let’s take a closer look!

Gonadotropin and pregnancy symptoms

A pregnant woman waking up.

Gonadotropin, or hCG, is the hormone responsible for the first symptoms of pregnancy. The levels of this hormone increase steadily until week 10 or 12. After that time it tends to stabilize, or even decrease.

Gonadotropin is produced in the placenta during pregnancy. In fact, pregnancy tests seek to detect the presence of the hormone on some occasions or its exact level in other tests.

The increase in gonadotropin usually produces mild effects at first. Headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances, acne, or skin changes are common. It’s usually detectable only up to 10 days after fertilization.

Main physical symptoms of pregnancy

Most commonly, during the first four weeks, the main symptoms of pregnancy that appear are the following:

  • Absence of menstruation or amenorrhea. This is one of the most revealing symptoms, especially if the woman has regular menstrual cycles.
  • Breast tenderness. This is one of the first symptoms to appear. The soon-to-be mother’s breasts grow and become very sensitive to the touch. This is due to hormonal changes and fat accumulation.
  • Nausea and vomiting. Many women experience this from the first days of pregnancy. They almost always happen in the morning, although they can happen at any time of the day.
  • Tiredness and fatigue. A pregnant woman feels more tired than usual. This change occurs suddenly and is due to the many processes that take place in the body during pregnancy.
  • Changes in the sense of smell. The sense of smell becomes very sensitive and causes rejection of certain aromas.
  • Stomach problems. The gradual growth of the uterus makes some women feel as if they have an upset or very heavy stomach. Others have sudden heartburn, which is certainly annoying.
  • Changes in appetite. Sometimes there’s excessive hunger and sometimes there’s a lack of appetite. It’s not uncommon to feel aversion to certain foods that would normally be enjoyed.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Aches and pains. Sometimes in the back and sometimes in the lower abdomen.
  • Strange taste in the mouth. A constant metallic type taste.
  • Slight vaginal blood loss. Slight bleeding, which is darker and is called implantation bleeding.

Psychological symptoms

A baby in the womb.

Some women begin to feel strange or different. They have the feeling that something has changed in them and this can generate some uneasiness. Mood swings are common, with episodes of sadness and irritability predominating. Emotional outbursts are very common, and normal as well.

All the sensations together could generate a state of bewilderment. There are perceptible and imperceptible changes that eventually cause the feeling of being overwhelmed, without knowing exactly why. This is more intense in women who weren’t looking to get pregnant or aren’t as informed on the whole pregnancy process.

In the most extreme cases, a condition known as Pregnancy Denial occurs. Doctors also call it a “cryptic pregnancy” or “denied pregnancy”. It is related to the fact that the woman unconsciously decides to ignore the changes occurring in her body, according to this study carried out by a team from the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley (United Kingdom).

The opposite case can also occur: a woman may be persuaded that she’s pregnant when she isn’t and present all the typical symptoms. This condition is called psychological, or false, pregnancy.

Visit your doctor

These are some of the classic symptoms of early pregnancy. You shouldn’t panic, but monitor when they appear and think about them in relation to the dates of your last menstrual periods and your fertile days according to your period.

If some of these symptoms are too intense, doctors use specific and safe treatments that don’t affect the baby. You should ask your doctor if you suspect you’re pregnant or if you’ve already confirmed it and the signs of the first trimester are overwhelming you.

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  • Purizaca, M. (2010). Modificaciones fisiológicas en el embarazo. Revista peruana de Ginecología y Obstetricia, 56(1), 57-69.
  • VV.AA. (2011).Denial of pregnancy – a literature review and discussion of ethical and legal issues. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3128877/