When a woman finds out that she is pregnant, it can be the start of a remarkable, life-changing experience.
The first sign is usually a missed period, followed by a pregnancy test, said Lia Moss, a certified nurse midwife at Northwestern Medicine, who delivers babies at Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago.
Pregnancy tests, whether done at home or at a doctor’s office, measure the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in a woman’s urine or blood. This hormone is released when a fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus. Urine pregnancy tests can detect levels of hCG about 10 days after conception, Moss told Live Science, while blood tests, usually done at a doctor’s office, can detect a pregnancy about seven to 10 days after conception. Testing too soon can produce a false negative result.
Women typically have many of the early signs of pregnancy, with the most common symptoms being fatigue, breast tenderness, nausea and bloating, Moss said. But not all women will have the same symptoms in early pregnancy or will experience them to the same extent.