Pregnancy Symptoms: Common Signs & When to Take a Pregnancy Test
Timing is everything when it comes to taking a pregnancy test. If you start noticing symptoms or you think you may be pregnant, knowing when to take a pregnancy test can help ensure you get the most accurate results. The earlier you know, the sooner you can get the care you and your baby need.
For example, you can begin taking prenatal vitamins or replacing some products with pregnancy-friendly ones. Try our Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion with Soothing Oat. Even though this cream isn’t made specifically for stretch marks or pregnant women, it’s formulated for dry and sensitive skin, and many pregnant women use it on their bump. Similarly, our Daily Moisturizing Body Oil Mist with Oat Oil isn’t targeted at pregnant women but contains Vitamin E, which is ideal for minimizing the appearance of stretch marks from pregnancy.
When Should You Take a Pregnancy Test?
Home pregnancy tests measure levels of the human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) hormone in urine. At the beginning of a pregnancy, HCG levels typically double every few days. Many tests say they can detect a pregnancy on the first day of your missed period, or sometimes even earlier. However, there is still a chance the test will be negative within this window. The best time to take the test is a day or two after your missed period. If you think you are pregnant, but the test is negative, wait one week until after your missed period and take another test1.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms
You may be wondering, when do pregnancy symptoms start? As your HCG levels rise early in pregnancy, you may begin to experience symptoms. Some women experience many of the tell-tale signs while others may not, because each woman’s pregnancy is unique. As your pregnancy progresses, you may experience different pregnancy symptoms week by week.3
During early pregnancy, you may not notice any symptoms right away due to lower HCG levels. Symptoms you may begin to experience include3:
- Sore breasts
- A metallic taste in your mouth
- An enhanced sense of smell
- Food cravings or a new dislike of foods you usually enjoy
- Morning sickness, or nausea when you first wake up
- Feeling the need to urinate more often than usual
- Light spotting from the fertilized egg attaching in the uterus, known as implantation bleeding
- Cramping similar to period pains
- A white, milky discharge
- Darkening of the skin on your face, known as the “mask of pregnancy”
Many women may not notice they are pregnant by week 5. Some women have light bleeding or spotting, thinking they are having a period, but this may be implantation bleeding. You may begin to notice more early pregnancy symptoms along with mood swings as your HCG levels continue to rise. Many women start to feel more tired than normal in early pregnancy as well.3
By week 6, many women experience morning sickness and fatigue. If you have not yet, you may begin experiencing other early pregnancy symptoms.3
As your baby continues to grow, your body makes more blood to bring nutrients and oxygen to the womb. Your blood volume can increase by up to 50 percent, and you may notice your heart beating faster to compensate. You may also notice feeling thirstier than normal.3
The placenta begins to prepare to give nutrients and oxygen to your baby, so it starts branching and attaching itself to the womb. You may start feeling more bloated and notice you have to urinate more often as the womb pushes onto your bladder.
- Cleveland Clinic. Pregnancy Tests. January 26, 2021. Accessed October 11, 2022. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9703-pregnancy-tests
- Gurevich, Rachel. When Can I Take a Pregnancy Test? September 7, 2022. Accessed October 9, 2022. https://www.verywellfamily.com/when-is-the-best-time-to-take-an-early-pregnancy-test-1960163
- NHS Start for Life. Week-by-week guide to pregnancy. Accessed October 9, 2022. https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/pregnancy/week-by-week/1st-trimester/week-4/#anchor-tabs