As soon as some women have a positive pregnancy test, they experience every symptom in the book. Others don’t feel a single twinge and wonder if something is wrong. Here’s a breakdown of what can be normal to experience, but remember: not having these symptoms can be okay, too.

The first clue you might be pregnant may be nausea, or if you are really unlucky, throwing up. Some women feel ill only once or twice, while others have more severe symptoms. Traditionally called “morning sickness,” it unfortunately does not limit itself to the morning! It is named this because symptoms are usually worse on an empty stomach, like when you first wake up. Morning sickness usually gets better after the first trimester.

Another common early pregnancy symptom is breast soreness or fullness. This is actually a great “problem” to have as it shows that your body is already preparing for breastfeeding. A new bra may be in order!

Some symptoms can be stressful, including light spotting and cramping. The good news is that many women notice these and go on to have completely normal, healthy pregnancies. They can be attributed to the pregnancy implanting and the uterus growing. Of course, if you notice any heavy bleeding or concerning abdominal pain, this is definitely a reason to see your doctor.

Bloating sometimes can make you look much further along than you actually are, and frequent urination can be hard to keep up with. These can both be blamed on pregnancy hormones. Try to maintain a healthy diet, wear comfortable clothing, and contact your provider if you notice any burning or discomfort when you urinate (this could be a sign of a bladder infection).

Finally, fatigue, mood swings, and food aversions may show up too. As for the fatigue, even though you might not be physically showing yet, growing a new baby takes a lot of work, so go easy on yourself!

Remember that being pregnant is different for everyone. Even if you know these symptoms can be normal, if they are worrying you, feel free to reach out to your midwife or doctor for reassurance.

Reviewed by Dr. Jen Lincoln, November 2018


  • It can be normal to not feel any different when you find out you are pregnant.
  • Many early pregnancy symptoms are caused by the increased hormones of pregnancy.
  • Light spotting and mild cramping can be normal.
  • First-trimester fatigue can be significant. Rest up!


  1. American Congress of Obstetricians/Gynecologists. FAQ #126: Morning sickness.
  2. The Mayo Clinic. First trimester pregnancy: what to expect.


  1. With my son, I experienced the worst cramps of my life before I knew I was pregnant. They woke me up (in tears!) in the middle of the night. I also had very light spotting off and on in those early days, which is why I was a full 14 days late before I even really realized I was late. I just kept thinking it was coming since I was cramping and spotting. Several years ago, I was told that I have an inverted uterus and that I may experience cramping early on in a pregnancy as my uterus grew up and over my pelvis. So I wonder if those extreme cramps in the beginning could be attributed to that…

    1. Ouch that does not sound fun. I wonder if they meant incarcerated uterus? Those can definitely cause some discomfort.

  2. I remember having cramps early on in both of my pregnancies. I would always worry, but my doctor was there to assure me that everything was just fine. She said it was exactly as your article stated, implanting and a growing uterus. Luckily, the cramps passed and everything turned out just fine. 🙂

    1. Good I am glad all is well!


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