Can You Feel Pregnancy Symptoms Soon After Sex?

Woman looking at pregnancy test
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In This Article

While some pregnancy symptoms start very early, most of the time, you won't notice anything right away. Anything that happens immediately after having sex, like spotting or increased discharge, is usually not related to pregnancy.

Other than a missed period, pregnancy symptoms tend to really kick in around week five or six of pregnancy; 60% of women experience some signs or symptoms of pregnancy as early as five or six weeks after the last menstrual period. Symptoms tend to develop abruptly.

This is about two weeks from when you missed your last period (six weeks since you actually had a period). Occasionally you will hear of someone who has symptoms right around their first missed period.

Things to Consider

Whether you are hoping for or fearing pregnancy, it can be easy to ascribe any sensations to pregnancy symptoms. Keep in mind, premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms and those of early pregnancy can be similar.

Having symptoms a day or two after having sex is usually not a sign of pregnancy. Here are some things to consider as you try to determine if you're pregnant.

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Am I Pregnant? Real Women Share Their Early Signs

Nausea

Nausea immediately after sex is something that women question as a sign of pregnancy. However, your body doesn't have enough time to react to produce that symptom due to a pregnancy resulting from that sex act. 

For most women, pregnancy-related nausea begins two to eight weeks following conception. If you are having pregnancy-related nausea, you became pregnant weeks before.

Pregnancy Test

A pregnancy test is the best way to tell if you are pregnant or not. However, you must wait until you miss your period to get the most accurate results from a urine test.

This can be a home pregnancy test or a pregnancy test from your doctor, midwife, or health department. A blood test (quantitative beta hcg) might show positive results as early as six days after ovulation.

Basal Body Temperature Charting

Basal body temperature (BBT) can predict and suggest ovulation. This only works if you have been taking your temperature in the days prior to ovulation. Temperature elevation (approximately 0.5 degrees F) begins one or two days after LH (leutenizing hormone) surges and the rise in progesterone and persists for at least 10 days.

Temperature elevation identifies ovulation in hindsight. It does not diagnose pregnancy.

Why You Feel Pregnant

It can be fairly common to experience some physical symptoms 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. These symptoms can include:

  • Feeling bloated
  • Experiencing mood swings
  • Increasing number of headaches
  • Seeing changes in appetite
  • Noticing breast changes
  • Feeling heavy in the abdomen

While all of the symptoms could be pregnancy symptoms, they are more likely explained by either fluctuation 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.

To help relieve focusing on these symptoms, you can take positive steps for your physical and emotional health. Eating nutritious foods, not smoking, and limiting or avoiding alcohol will promote your health and wellness whether or not it turns out you are pregnant.

When Pregnancy Is Unintentional

If you had unprotected sex or a contraceptive failure and fear you could get pregnant, emergency contraception is an option. Commonly called the "morning-after pill," medications are available over-the-counter (without a prescription) that can prevent pregnancy if taken within a couple of days of having unprotected sex.

The sooner you take these medications, the more effective they are in preventing an unintended pregnancy. These medications do not cause an abortion, but rather prevent a pregnancy from being established.

A Word From Verywell

Fears or hopes of getting pregnant can be an emotional roller coaster. You won't know for sure whether you are pregnant until a couple of weeks have passed since conception. During that waiting time, take good care of yourself and try not to be overly vigilant in looking for signs of pregnancy.

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Article Sources
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  1. Sayle AE, Wilcox AJ, Weinberg CR, Baird DD. A prospective study on the onset of symptoms in pregnancy. J Clin Epidemiol. 2002;55(7):676-680. doi:10.1016/s0895-4356(02)00402-x

  2. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Morning Sickness: Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy. Updated December 2018.