Pregnancy Symptoms Soon After Sex

Positive Pregnancy Test
How soon after sex can you show pregnancy signs?. Photo © Burazin/Getty Images

Question: Can I be pregnant if I have pregnancy symptoms shortly after sex?

Answer: Other than a missed period, pregnancy symptoms tend to really kick in around week five or six of pregnancy. This is about two weeks from when you missed your last period or six weeks since you actually had a period. Occasionally you will hear of someone who has symptoms right around their first missed period.

"It's easier to look back at just before I missed my period and say, I wasn't really feeling pregnancy symptoms, but at the time you couldn't have convinced me that it was anything but that.

Now that I know I'm pregnant and have felt what this feels like - before? That was just my body doing what a body does in your cycle," remembers Sharon.

Nausea after sex is something that I get asked a lot about in my practice. The truth is that nausea after sex is not going to be related to a new pregnancy that resulted from that sex act. It's not saying you didn't get pregnant before and are experiencing pregnancy-related nausea, just that your body doesn't have enough time to react with that symptom - most women don't experience that until weeks five or six of pregnancy.

Why You Feel Pregnant

It can be fairly common as you enter into what many people call the two week wait, the period of time between when you ovulate and when you expect your period, to experience some physical symptoms. These symptoms can include:

  • feeling bloated
  • experiencing mood swings
  • increased number of headaches
  • changes in appetite
  • breast changes
  • a heavy feeling in the abdomen

While all of the symptoms could be pregnancy symptoms, they are more likely explained by either fluctuations in your hormones due to your menstrual cycle, or by other events in your life. These events can include illness, stress, or even something as simple as not enough sleep or too much exercise.

Some women will experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms as pregnancy symptoms, where other women do not typically have these symptoms every cycle. When you experience a symptom that is not common to your cycle, it may be easily confused with a potential pregnancy. This is particularly true when you are trying to get pregnant.

"I never got headaches with my cycle before, so when I had headaches a few times in the week before my period, I just knew I was going to be pregnant," recalls Emelia. "Imagine my surprise after two negative pregnancy tests and my period showing up as scheduled."

So having symptoms a day or two after having sex is usually not a sign of pregnancy. A pregnancy test is the best way to tell if you are pregnant or not. Though you must wait until you miss your next period to get the most accurate results. This can be a home pregnancy test or a pregnancy test from your doctor, midwife or health department. In most cases you do not have to notify anyone of the test or the results.

Symptoms That Can Tell You If You're Pregnant Before Your Period

Short of the world's most accurate pregnancy test, the best symptom that you can go on in trying to determine if you are pregnant prior to being able to take a pregnancy test would be your basal body temperatures (BBT). This only works if you have been taking it in the days prior to ovulation, and the longer you have been collecting this data, the easier it is to tell what your pattern looks like. If your temperatures stay high, above cover line, you should assume you are pregnant until you know otherwise.

Not Trying to Get Pregnant?

If you are trying to avoid getting pregnant find a method of birth control. Condoms, birth control pills (oral contraceptives), intrauterine device (IUD), foams, Depo provera shots, patches...there are plenty of methods to choose from. Be sure to ask your midwife, doctor or local health department for advice on the method that is best for you.

For more answers to pregnancy questions: ​Can I get pregnant if...

Sources:

Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy. Symptoms That Happen Right Away. May 2011.

National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pregnancy/conditioninfo/Pages/signs.aspx July 2013. Last Accessed January 24, 2016.

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