When you’re in conception mode, you might be hyperaware of your body’s changes.
If something is different, you might immediately wonder if it’s an early pregnancy symptom. Especially after ovulation, you hope that you’ll get a sign that all your hard work has paid off.
In this article, you’ll learn the most common pregnancy symptoms before a missed period. We’ll also go into detail about what you might experience as early pregnancy symptoms after ovulation, day by day.
Pregnancy Symptoms Before Missed Period
If you’ve been trying, every small change may get you excited. Does it mean I’m finally pregnant?
Unfortunately, pregnancy symptoms before your missed period can be unreliable. Since many mirror period symptoms, it can be hard to tell.
With that being said, there are some common signs women experience in the days leading up to their missed period.
Consider that as the first weeks progress, the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) increases. As it becomes more prevalent, you’ll likely start experiencing more pregnancy symptoms. While some people experience these symptoms early, some may not until weeks later, or at all.
- Research shows that about 25% of women experience slight bleeding or spotting when they become pregnant. It’s typically lighter in flow and color than a period.
- Darker nipples. Darker nipples are one of the first signs that people notice. This might be caused by pregnancy hormones adding pigmentation to the skin. One theory is that darker nipples make it easier for babies to find their food source.
- Morning sickness. Probably the most discussed pregnancy symptom, some people get morning sickness early on. Despite the name, it can happen at any time during the day.
- You may notice tasks that were easy before are now taking more energy. You might need more rest, an earlier bedtime, or more time to complete chores.
- Breast changes. Many people experience their breasts becoming more sensitive. They may become tender and uncomfortable when touched. You might also notice that they’re swollen or feel full. This is caused by hormonal changes.
- If you typically get headaches, you may not notice the difference. But non-sufferers may notice a change caused by pregnancy hormones.
- Mood swings. Hormonal changes can cause your emotions to go up and down. You may experience “random” emotions of anxiety, irritability, sadness, etc. Since progesterone can cause this whether you’re pregnant or not, it can be difficult to tell if it’s early pregnancy or PMS.
- Another effect of progesterone is that it can make your bowels and digestive system relax. Since they are working slower, that could mean constipation.
- Food cravings. Although many early pregnancy and period symptoms are the same, this one may help you differentiate. While your period may change your appetite, pregnancy can make you crave things you never cared for before.
Pregnancy Symptoms After Ovulation: Day By Day
We’ve listed the possible pregnancy symptoms before a missed period, but let’s break it down further. When you’re trying to conceive, you might zoom in on each day after ovulation, hoping you’ll experience an early symptom of pregnancy.
Below we list the most common pregnancy symptoms after ovulation, day by day. However, you should know that symptoms this early are unreliable and may be caused by something other than pregnancy (see more on this below).
0 to 7 Days Past Ovulation
In the first couple days past ovulation, you won’t experience pregnancy symptoms. Since the fertilized egg hasn’t attached to the uterine wall, you’re not pregnant yet. Regardless of whether you get pregnant, during this phase of your cycle, your body increases its production of progesterone. This hormone has the job of getting your body ready for pregnancy. Among other purposes, it’s responsible for implantation.
Progesterone levels are typically highest 6 to 8 days after ovulation. This can cause symptoms whether you’re about to start your pregnancy or period. You might recognize these as typical PMS symptoms:
- Breast sensitivity
- Abdominal or lower back cramps
- Mood swings or irritability
- Clumsiness or worse balance
- Bloating or gassiness
Since these are signs of heightened progesterone, they don’t necessarily point to pregnancy.
7 to 11 Days Past Ovulation
Anywhere from 6-12 days after ovulation, the fertilized egg finally reaches the uterus. When it implants into the uterine wall, it’s called implantation and means pregnancy has begun.
Implantation can cause implantation bleeding. This might be similar to a period flow. It could also resemble spotting. It’s important to remember that bodies are different. One person may experience bleeding they mistake for a period, while another might not bleed at all. Some also experience light cramping.
Along with bleeding and cramping, other signs of implantation bleeding include:
- Low back cramps
- Mood swings
- Breast sensitivity
Since these symptoms are similar to a period, you may wonder if it’s your period or implantation bleeding. Unfortunately, it may still be too early to know. Implantation causes your body to produce hCG which is the hormone detectable by pregnancy tests. However, the levels might still be too low, meaning you could get a true or false negative test. You’ll likely need to wait a few days to get the correct result.
12 to 14 Days Past Ovulation
After implantation has occurred, your levels of hCG will continue to rise. The earliest you can take a pregnancy test is about 12 days past ovulation. Consider that hCG levels double every 72 hours! After peaking at 8-11 weeks, it decreases.
As your progesterone rises, you may experience your first pregnancy symptoms, which may include:
- Increased appetite or new food cravings
- Increased frequency of urination
- Darkening nipple color
Consider that some women don’t experience these symptoms early, yet may still be pregnant.
If you didn’t successfully conceive, implantation won’t happen. The lining of your uterus will shed and you’ll begin bleeding, starting your period.
Do Pregnancy Symptoms Before Missed Period Mean I’m Pregnant?
If you’re trying to conceive and you’re finally experiencing pregnancy symptoms, you may be excited but cautious. Does it really mean you’re expecting?
Your symptoms could be caused by implantation or something else entirely. For example, what you think may be cramping from implantation could actually be a sign you’re getting your period. Many symptoms in the days past ovulation can also be similar to those from fertility medication. To top it off, since your progesterone levels rise whether you’re pregnant or not, you might experience the same symptoms.
That’s all to say that the days after ovulation can be a frustrating time when you’re trying to conceive. It can be hard to tell the cause of your symptoms and you don’t want to get wrongly excited.
Unfortunately, the only thing you can do is be patient. If you think you’re pregnant, the only way to know is to take a pregnancy test. Although you may be tempted to buy a test at your first pregnancy symptom, it could be a waste. The earliest a urination pregnancy test should be taken is 12 days past ovulation. Results before this time could be inaccurate, so it’s best to hold out.
Even after you’ve received a positive home pregnancy test, you need to have it confirmed by your doctor.
Positive Pregnancy Test But No Symptoms?
Some people experience pregnancy symptoms when it’s too early to take a test. Others receive their positive pregnancy test, yet still don’t have any symptoms.
It’s important to keep in mind that every pregnancy is different. If you don’t experience symptoms, you may still get a positive result when you take your test. The days after implantation are still very early and it’s normal not to notice any changes. Even in the first trimester, you could be expecting morning sickness and be spared of it completely. Although thankful, you might wonder what’s causing an absence of symptoms when you have a positive pregnancy test.
It’s possible to become pregnant and not experience symptoms right away or even down the line. That could be because it’s too early, you’re not noticing them, or your body just doesn’t experience the same changes as others. You might also have received a false positive, which is why it’s important to have your doctor confirm the pregnancy.
To learn more, read Positive Pregnancy Test but No Symptoms? Here’s 7 Reasons Why.
Summary: Pregnancy Symptoms Before Missed Period
If you’re trying to conceive, you may be wondering about the typical pregnancy symptoms before a missed period. To narrow it down further, you might want to know the normal pregnancy symptoms after ovulation, day by day.
Although it’s interesting to know these symptoms, consider that none are telltale signs of pregnancy. The signs on this list could have other causes, so it’s impossible to know unless you take a pregnancy test and then have it confirmed by your doctor.
P.S. Do you have a fetal doppler yet? These devices allow you to listen to your baby’s heartbeat while she’s still inside the womb. With similar technology to an ultrasound, they’re pocket-sized and easy to use! Many mothers say it provides them with reassurance between appointments.