I had sex with my boyfriend and 2 days after I started having some weird symptoms. I felt sick to my stomach, aversion to a certain food. It seems to me that I might be pregnant. Is it too early?
How soon after conception — the moment a sperm cell joins an egg cell — can you begin experiencing pregnancy symptoms? It's a common question, both for women who are actively trying to conceive and hoping to find out whether they hit the jackpot this month, and those who had unprotected intercourse or experienced contraceptive failure and are worried they may be expecting though they don't want to be pregnant. Women in both of these situations may be aware of some of the early pregnancy signs — things like needing to urinate more often, being tired, or alterations in their sense of smell — and begin to experience them, in something that resembles the placebo effect pretty closely.
Are your pregnancy symptoms real, imagined, or simply the result of something other than pregnancy? When can newly pregnant women reasonably expect to notice symptoms?
What do experts say?
How soon can you start experiencing pregnancy symptoms?
Let's first take a look at the basics of natural human conception:
- Pregnancy is only possible if you have (unprotected) intercourse during your "fertile window" — when an egg is available to become fertilized.
- It's often said that ovulation takes place on around the 14th day of a 28-day menstrual cycle, though variations are acknowledged as possible and it's also established that sperm cells can survive within the female reproductive tract for five days or so. This would mean that most women can get pregnant on days 10 through 17 of their menstrual cycles. Research, however, reveals that only around a third of all women have their fertile windows during this timeframe, with most women being fertile earlier in their cycles, and some much later. This means that the time of the month during which you may get pregnant is much less predictable than you may have thought.
- If an egg does become fertilized, it begins its journey to the uterus, all while continuing to divide (grow bigger) an a very fast rate. It implants itself in your uterine lining about a week after conception.
- During this time, your levels of the hormones progesterone and estrogen begin to change, and the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (the one pregnancy tests look for) starts being produced.
When can you start having pregnancy symptoms?
When can women reasonably expect pregnancy symptoms, then? Research indicates that 50 percent of women who went on to have live babies had started having pregnancy symptoms by the time 36 days days had passed since the first day of their last menstrual period. Assuming a "textbook" menstrual cycle, let's say this means it's not unusual to have pregnancy symptoms 22 days after conception. Nine in 10 women who didn't go on to miscarry had pregnancy symptoms by the time eight weeks had passed since their last period, meanwhile. It's interesting to note that women who went on to have live babies were more likely to experience more intense and earlier pregnancy symptoms than those who suffered miscarriages.
Note that the fact that half of these women had symptoms of pregnancy "by the time 36 days had passed" means that some experienced signs even earlier. It is, indeed, possible to have pregnancy symptoms before you miss a period (and remember that a missed period is itself a key pregnancy symptom) — one study found, for instance, that eight percent of women started experiencing pregnancy nausea ("morning sickness") before they missed their period. This would happen, however, after implantation. The timing of implantation varies from woman to woman, but for most, it would be a week to 10 days after conception.
It's still not clear exactly when the earliest pregnancy symptoms can possibly show up, but the general answer is that you can't reasonably expect to be able to tell whether you're pregnant or not before you have either missed a period and taken a pregnancy test, or suspected pregnancy earlier and taken an early pregnancy test about about a week before your period.
The most common pregnancy symptoms, research shows, are:
- Urinary frequency (needing to pee much more often)
- Not being able to sleep well
- Back pain
What women want to know about early pregnancy symptoms
- A friend of mine had uprotected sex and said that she felt the sick the next day, is this a for sure sign?
- I had a little spotting a few hours after and am now noticing milky mucus and cramps in my lower stomach could I be pregnant or is it just me hoping I am?
- I just want to know symptoms I could be having soon or now and how long to wait till I take a home test.
- could it be from the stress or am i pregnant?
- isn`t it a little too early for implantation bleeding or pregnancy signs?
Advice offered to women wondering if they could be pregnant
- Timing wise it was probably a bit early too.
- It's too early for any symptoms Sammy.
- You are NOT even pregnant 3 days after sex.
- You would not have preganncy symptoms until HCG is produced, this is one of the things that causes morning sickness.
- You do not produce HCG until IMPLANTATION, which does not happen for at least 1 weeks after sex, usually about 8-10 days.
Symptoms that lead women to wonder if they might be pregnant
- Now it just feels tingly and sort of crampy, which may sound off but I experience severe cramps when I menstrate to the point of vomiting, so these are more just slightly tingly similar to indegestion or constipation cramps.
- I have felt sick ever since sunday, I feel like I need to throw up but I just cant.
- My back and stomach have been killing me!
- I am so tired, very bloated and have more gas than usual.
- then i start getting headaches, and my breasts start swelling and are really sore!