Pregnancy occurs around two to three weeks after sex, however, you don’t start to feel pregnant for a few more weeks.
The journey from when you have sex to when your baby gets conceived is a very interesting one. It could take 30 minutes and up to five days for the sperm and egg to meet to form a baby.
So, if there’s an egg waiting, then pregnancy could occur that very day.
On the other hand, sperms can survive for up to five days once they get released into a woman, which means there are still some chances of pregnancy taking place if ovulation occurs much later.
This is why doctors recommend having sex often if you are trying to get pregnant. Your chances of getting pregnant increase when you have sex every other day.
How Long Does it Take for the Baby to Get Implanted?
After fertilization, the baby, though a blastocyst at this time, starts to multiply rapidly and then begins the very slow journey to your uterus where it will get implanted.
Once in the uterus, it attaches to the uterine walls in a process called implantation and this act causes your body to produce rising levels of pregnancy hormones (progesterone, estrogen, and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).
These hormones are what cause your baby and the placenta to start developing.
Some women, about one-third of newly pregnant women, experience light bleeding as the embryo attaches to the uterus and this bleeding is usually some light spotting that comes as light pink or brown (not the bright or dark red you typically get on your period).
Some women report also experiencing cramps, vaginal discharge, a feeling of bloatedness, and an implantation dip (where your basal body temperature decreases for a day) during implantation.
The entire process from fertilization to implantation takes an average of 6 to 10 days.
What Week Do Pregnancy Symptoms Start?
After implantation, the hCG hormone triggers the initial symptoms of pregnancy and for some women, these early pregnancy symptoms could start as early a week later.
However, every woman is different and while these early pregnancy symptoms start this early for some women, the majority of pregnant women don’t experience any symptoms until the sixth or seventh week of pregnancy, while some women never experience any symptoms at all.
To be sure where you fall into, these are the ten common early pregnancy symptoms you always want to be on the lookout for:
1) Spotting and Cramping
Spotting and cramping are one of the most common symptoms of early pregnancy. However, since these are also similar to the symptoms you get when expecting a period, most women mistake or overlook them.
The one difference between both though is the implantation bleeding that occurs for just a few hours to up to three days, as against a period of bleeding that could run for 4 to 7 days.
If you are still slightly confused, here are a few other differences between both times to ease your confusion:
- Cramps – Cramping in the early stage of pregnancy after implantation Is usually light and short-lived as opposed to period cramps that are a lot more intense and could last for several hours to a few days.
- Clotting – Implantation bleeding is also very light, not the mixture of blood and tissue (clots) you find with period bleeding.
2) Breast Tenderness
You are also likely to have breasts that feel sore and tender to the touch. They will also feel fuller and heavier. This occurs one to two weeks after you conceive and stays that way for a while as your progesterone levels continue to rise.
This happens because your body is producing more of the estrogen hormone, alongside progesterone, causing the glands in your breasts to grow and retain more fluid. Breast tenderness most times lasts all through the first trimester of pregnancy.
This is another symptom of early pregnancy and you can thank the progesterone hormone for this.
Progesterone causes the muscle tissue in your body to relax, which is what produced this feeling of bloating.
Bloating in pregnancy most times lasts throughout your pregnancy and can be very uncomfortable. You can get some relief from it though through these simple remedies:
- Drink a lot of water. Beyond keeping you hydrated water also improves the functioning of your digestive system. You want to take at least 8 glasses of water daily to keep things smooth.
- Slowly introduce fibers like legumes, whole grains, leafy greens, and fruits into your diet.
- Opt for smaller meals. Eating smaller meals means your digestive system doesn’t get overloaded and this prevents gas from building up.
- Perform light exercises like a 5 to 10 minutes walk to also improve your digestive system.
- Check with your doctor before taking OTC medications for relief from bloating.
4) Morning Sickness
Most women report morning sickness to be one of the worst symptoms of early pregnancy. Up to 90% of pregnant women get it and in 3% of these cases, women experience a more severe form of nausea and vomiting called hyperemesis gravidarum.
Women with multiple pregnancies or having an abnormal placenta growth have much higher levels of pregnancy hormones and as such experience a higher case of nausea.
Morning sickness in pregnancy starts around 4 to 6 weeks of pregnancy and typically lasts until week 13, although some women report experiencing it the entire pregnancy.
Research is yet to point at the exact cause of morning sickness in pregnancy, but it is believed it occurs due to the rising levels in your pregnancy hormones as well as the way the food you eat moves through your system.
Morning sickness in pregnancy can be the pits, however, it can be effectively managed.
For moderate to severe nausea and vomiting that causes dehydration, taking extra fluids and some prescribed medications can bring your relief.
Treatment for mild morning sickness include:
- Knowing your triggers and avoiding these. Certain foods and smells will bring on nausea, so you want to avoid these.
- If taking your pre-vitamins makes you queasy, taking them just before bedtime would work a lot better.
- Take ginger tea to calm the queasiness and stop nausea.
- Aromatherapy has also been known to offer some comfort, so has acupuncture wristbands.
- Sniff a fresh scent or breathe in fresher air to get things settled again in your digestive system.
- Eat a little at a time.
- Rinse your mouth after vomiting. This doesn’t just prevent you from getting irritated again, which can trigger another vomiting episode, it also ensures the acid from the vomit doesn’t linger to erode at your enamel, destroying your teeth.
5) Frequent Urination
Frequent urination in early pregnancy occurs as a result of an increase in the progesterone and hCG hormones. It starts a few weeks after pregnancy occurs, but could wait until weeks 10 to 13 to start.
This urge to pee subsides after a while to return with a vengeance in week 35.
Your body’s normal functioning, including the frequency at which you pee, should return to normal once your baby gets born. However, for some women, this can take a little longer, up to 12 weeks postpartum.
Headaches are also fairly common in early pregnancy as over 39% of pregnant women get them. They happen for a few reasons, including a surge in your hormone and an increase in your blood volume.
Other common causes of headaches in pregnancy include weight gain, poor nutrition, dehydration, a lack of sleep, and stress.
These headaches are typically felt on one side of the head and go away as your pregnancy progresses.
They pose no harm to your baby but can be very uncomfortable for you, especially when they come with lightheadedness.
While headaches in the first trimester are usually no cause for alarm, they could signify the presence of an underlying health condition when they happen in the second and third trimesters.
You should let your doctor know of this pregnancy symptom, even if it occurs in the first trimester.
In the meantime, some safe remedies for this discomfort include:
- Taking lots of water.
- Getting enough rest.
- Using ice packs or a heating pad.
- Massaging the affected spot.
- Using certain essential oils like chamomile, rosemary, and peppermint.
Constipation in early pregnancy occurs because the progesterone hormone relaxes your bowel, making it slower in functioning.
You will know you are constipated when you pass out hard and dry stool, have fewer than three bowel movements a week or experience some sort of difficulty while at it.
Luckily, this pregnancy symptom is quite easy to manage using very simple natural remedies.
- Eat a diet high in fiber.
- Use a stool softener known to be safe in pregnancy.
- Eat smaller meals. Opt for five small meals as against three large ones which can overload your digestive system.
- Take lits if eater, at least eight 12-ounces glasses daily.
- Perform regular exercises of at least 20 to 30 minutes three times a week as this stimulates your bowel to function optimally.
8) Mood Swings
Mood swings in pregnancy are another symptom you should expect. They happen a lot in the first trimester, around weeks 6 to 10, and then return in almost the same intensity in the third trimester.
Again, this early pregnancy symptom is caused by one or a combination of a surge in your hormones, stress, and fatigue.
There are a few ways to manage this time of your life including managing your stress levels, talking it over with friends, pursuing a hobby or interest, bonding a lot more with your partner, keeping a journal, and taking short walks of 10 to 15 minutes three times a week.
Fatigue is also to be expected in early pregnancy and could start as soon as you become pregnant.
Again, fatigue eases off during the start of the second trimester to return in the third.
Fatigue happens for several reasons, including:
- A rise in your pregnancy hormones (the usual culprit for most pregnancy symptoms).
- Your body creating and growing the placenta.
- An increase in your blood supply and volume as your body tries to supply blood to your growing baby.
- An increase in your metabolism.
Managing fatigue in pregnancy involves making some slight adjustments to your regular activities.
- You might want to listen to your body and go easy on chores. Pushing a chore until much later while you catch up on sleep or rest your body needs at this time would be a good idea.
- You also want to ask for as much help as you can get at this time.
- If you have older kids, let them chip in with the chores. If your kid is still a toddler, then having them stay over at a friend’s while your body adjusts to this new development will also help.
- Lastly, you also want to eat healthily and often to keep your energy levels up.
10) Missed Period
A missed period is usually one of the most obvious signs of pregnancy and occurs even a day after you were supposed to have your period.
What happens when you miss a period (and are pregnant) is that your body produces a few hormones that halt your ovulation.
You know you are having a missed period if your period is at least five days and this is when most women take a home pregnancy test.
Also, while some home pregnancy test strips will show a positive result on the first day of your missed period, health experts recommend waiting at least a week after the missed period as taking one too early could give you a false result.