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Nicole the Fertile Chick: Symptoms Spotters Club



Oh, the joys of being a member of this “fun” club! And so many of us are esteemed members. Especially for those of us constantly on ovulation watch! As soon as you are sure (or you think) the eggy has dropped, and your partner’s swimmers have (hopefully) done their job, the madness begins. That is when every little twinge or ache you feel is analyzed over a telescope, and every feeling is interpreted as a pregnancy symptom for sure. Except more than half the time, it really isn’t.

The first few cycles of my marriage, it was amazing how my body would immediately switch to “pregnancy” mode from day 14 of my cycle. I would immediately start feeling weak, nauseous, and a downright mess! A few days into this state, say by day 22, nothing in this world would be able to convince me that I was anything but pregnant…and by day 26, I would start savouring these symptoms of the so called pregnancy. This would repeat itself cycle after cycle, and it always ended the same way….false alarm!

By the time I started obsessing over these symptoms online, I was immediately provided with more faux symptoms to add to my list. It was as if all I had to do was read about a new symptom, for me to immediately start feeling it. A classic example is the “metallic mouth taste”. This was an extremely popular one I found online, especially with the members of the online forum I belonged to at the time, and I remember pondering over what this could possibly feel like, the first time I read about it. Fast forward a few weeks, when I was obsessing over a new set of symptoms, and there it was! In my case, it wasn’t quite metallic….it was more of a bloody taste. Because this was a “new” symptom for me, I was so convinced that the cycle had been a successful one, and my bambino was already on board. Imagine my shock when Aunt Flo arrived, fast and furious, and right on time! I immediately added that to my list of symptoms to ignore.

Another example of something I read about that immediately became art imitating life for me were the pronounced breast veins. My breasts were always prone to soreness around this time, but I had never noticed any pronounced veins. Well, all it took was for me to read about this symptom and there the veins were, in their bulgy, pronounced glory. I can still remember smiling like a Cheshire cat when I noticed them one morning, standing in front of my bathroom mirror. For me, that was as good as a positive pregnancy test. Needless to say, that cycle was another bust. I can say the same for so many other symptoms I read about, such as under arm soreness, vivid dreams, aversion to smell and taste, etc. There was absolutely no symptom on the planet I did not have.

Don’t get me wrong. A lot of these symptoms do lead to pregnancy….but well, a lot of them don’t. And here’s a theory. From ovulation up to when your period begins, or pregnancy is confirmed, the hormone progesterone increases considerably, in order to prep your body for pregnancy. The increased progesterone can bring on pregnancy-like symptoms, most especially the breast tenderness and nausea. It can also mimic PMS symptoms like irritability and mood swings, all of which could be misinterpreted.

The truth is, if you are looking out for pregnancy symptoms, I would only recommend starting from about 7 – 9 days after ovulation, when a fertilized egg should have implanted and started secreting the hormone hCG, or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. It is this hormone that brings about the real pregnancy symptoms. Some people still swear by having pregnancy symptoms the day after sex….but truthfully, such symptoms are more than likely as a result of the progesterone.

The cycle I got pregnant, I felt absolutely nothing during the 2 week wait. On one day towards the end of the 2ww, I developed a bad cold, and an odd vaginal itch. Neither of these I had experienced before. But by the next day, both symptoms were gone, and I was left with nothing. I was almost convinced the cycle hadn’t worked. Even after my positive pregnancy test, I still felt perfectly normal….until my 7th week, when the symptoms descended on me with a vengeance, as if to make up for lost time. But that’s a story for another day.

About 2 years ago, I polled about 35 pregnant women to find out what pregnancy symptoms they had had, just to help me analyse what these real life women had actually felt…and the results are as follows. Note that DPO means days past ovulation:
• 1 DPO – 69% of the women felt nothing
• 2 DPO – 49% of the women felt nothing
• 3 DPO – 49% of the women felt nothing
• 4 DPO – 31% of the women felt nothing
• 5 DPO – 31% of the women had only cramps
• 6 DPO – 40% of the women had only cramps
• 7 DPO – 40% of the women noticed changes in their cervical mucus and had sensitive breasts
• 8 DPO – 31% of the women suffered exhaustion and had sensitive breasts
• 9 DPO – 34% of the women had cramps and nausea
• 10 DPO – 41% of the women suffered exhaustion
• 11 DPO – 36% of the women had cramps
• 12 DPO – 41% of the women noticed changes in their cervical mucus
• 13 DPO – 42% of the women had cramps
• 14 DPO – 22% of the women had cramps, noticed changes in their cervical mucus, were gassy and bloated, and had sensitive breasts
• 15 DPO – 50% of the women had cramps, suffered exhaustion, and felt like they were about to start their period
• 16 DPO – 67% of the women had sensitive breasts and felt like they were about to start their period
• 17 DPO – 50% of the women had cramps, noticed changes in their cervical mucus, and had positive pregnancy tests
• 18 DPO – 50% of the women had cramps, noticed changes in their cervical mucus, and had positive pregnancy tests
• 19 DPO – 100% had positive pregnancy tests
There were other recorded symptoms, such as frequent urination, spotting, insomnia, diarrhea, etc., but their frequency of occurrence was lower than the symptoms captured above.

Even though this survey helped me analyze the symptom phenomena a bit more scientifically, it became even clearer to me that pregnancy indicators differ from woman-to-woman. I realized that there are many women who, like myself, had no symptoms at all. And there are many women who can tick off every single one of these “genuine” symptoms every failed month.

But here’s the part that fascinates me the most. Today, and as was the case before I got married and started trying for a baby, I have z-e-r-o symptoms to spot. None. I go through my entire cycle feeling pretty much the same. I sometimes don’t even notice ovulation, and even occasionally forget when my period is due. But what about the progesterone induced symptoms I’m supposed to have at a certain time of every cycle? Surely, and going by what literature says about the spike in progesterone and the ensuing faux symptoms, I’m still supposed to have the aching breasts, and nausea, and “metallic mouth taste”, right? How come they have all vanished into thin air, now that I am not necessarily TTC?

For me, the answer is quite simple….and it leads to my personal theory on the matter. These symptoms, these oh-so-convincing symptoms, are mostly from our heads…purely psychological. When we are fixated on something, when it is all we can think about, it starts to become all we see…all we feel. The more symptoms we read about, the more of these jump right out of our screens to nestle with us in bed. And further proof that most of these faux symptoms are psychological is the speed with which they vanish the minute you take a pregnancy test. For most of us, we would walk into the toilet stall, test in hand, feeling as pregnant as a woman with one foot in the delivery ward, and we would walk out with only the most devastating disappointment for company, with no pregnancy symptoms in sight.

My advice is simple. Ignore these symptoms. Pay them no mind. Keep away from Dr. Google, and try not to obsess. No matter how intense they present themselves, try not to attribute them to anything. Not until you have had a missed period. Once you miss your period, preferably after a few days, you can proceed to take a pregnancy test. Waiting this long could save you from that gut-wrenching heartache of a negative pregnancy test, arising after a cycle of Oscar winning symptoms.

The truth is that this is easier said than done, and most of us will, in fact, continue to symptom spot, month after month. It’s okay if you do, but just be sure to prepare yourself for any possible outcome….good or bad.
So, good luck…..and baby dust to all!

Photo Credit: Dreamstime |  Wavebreakmedia Ltd 

Nicole is a woman in her late 30s, with a passion for all things fertility related. She suffered infertility for the first 3 years of her marriage, and found it extremely isolating. After she had her kids, she started The Fertile Chick ( to create a community and happy-place for all women, in various stages of the fertility journey.


  1. mam

    March 9, 2015 at 9:10 am

    As for me no hopes of getting pregnant again, i have stop menstruating for four years now and am only 29. I took clomid and got pregnant and it ended in missed abortion.

    • Kay

      March 9, 2015 at 9:36 am

      Have you seen a fertility specialist? It might mean you have PCOS or some underlying issues. Don’t give up hope. With God all things are possible. Not seeing your period does not mean you will not get pregnant. I didn’t see my period for a few months due to PCOS, but I was placed on Metformin and this helped to regulate my period. If you are married and you are actively trying, there are various fertility treatments your doctor would recommend. But you certainly need to see a doctor.

    • nicolefertilechick

      March 9, 2015 at 9:40 am

      Mam, you absolutely must not give up. The fact that you have been able to conceive is a good sign. Please speak with your doctor about hormone management, and you can try clomid for a few more cycles. The next time you conceive, be sure to have your doctor place you on progesterone supplements. Good luck dear!

    • nonamespls

      March 9, 2015 at 10:09 am

      Don’t give up i am not saying you should obsess about it but science keeps advancing these days, did you take clomid after the periods stopped? have your Gynaecologist diagnosed and confirmed premature ovarian failure? Explore all options if you still want to give it a shot that is, and leave room for God(If you are religious ) ………

    • Omoté

      March 9, 2015 at 10:36 am

      Hi mam, that’s not right. U can and u will. See anoda fertility specialist if urs has told u it’s impossible. Keep searching till u find one willing to go d distance with u and dnt 4get to back it up with prayers. All the best!

    • Joyce Daniel

      March 9, 2015 at 12:44 pm

      That is not what God says about you. God said be fruitful and multiply, because he honour his words more than his name you must carry your children.

    • Dr anony

      March 9, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      It’s called missed miscarriage.

    • Work in progress

      March 9, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      There IS such a term as missed abortion.

    • belle

      March 9, 2015 at 6:41 pm

      The medical term for a miscarriage is abortion.

  2. asanwa

    March 9, 2015 at 9:12 am

    None shall be called barren in his land. I wish all hopeful mothers answered prayer this year..,,,,,,you shall hold your baby this year.Amen,

  3. Lawlah

    March 9, 2015 at 9:18 am

    Hi Nicole…. God bless you! Your soothing words remain a blessing to me – and I guess, the entire TTC family. I was a subscriber to your former blog that was taken down and every effort at signing into the new one (though I re-registered on this new one) has failed. I need to reach u ASAP. Is there anything you can do to help?

  4. Mehsee

    March 9, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Immediately after ma wedding I got pregnant in no time didn’t experience any symptom until when I was 4 month gone I started noticing and I was still seeing ma period at d same time and when it proceeded to 6 month I realised I was expecting a baby. Faux symptom is always faux.

  5. Jules

    March 9, 2015 at 11:18 am

    @Mam… Nobody is infertile my dear and nobody can make you infertile cos they dont have dominion over you.. Just dont av any hater in mind for anyone especially your EX (If any) and ask the HOLYSPIRIT to retrace your steps.

  6. babygirl

    March 9, 2015 at 11:29 am

    @mam, please be positive minded. I have a sister whose menstruation also ceased for like 5 years and she got pregnant thereafter and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl who is 3 years old now.

  7. Lola

    March 9, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    “Staying away from Dr Goggle” actually helped me. I was never bothered about my irregular periods because I was practicing abstinence, aunty flo was welcome anytime she shows up. Now I worry about it and was an emotional wreck. I was reading everything I could lay my hands on. Presently, I have left everything to God and will praise Him when it finally happens. The Dr says I am fine and God says I cannot be barren. So while I wait I will enjoy the journey-and my husband.

    • Nai

      March 10, 2015 at 3:54 am

      Dear Lola. please find a solution for your irregular periods. Do not just wait and hope God will turn it around. Remember Faith without work is meaningless. I was in the same situation as you with irregular periods for years until I got married and was wanting to get pregnant. I had my thyroid checked and that was the cause of it. I was prescribed a thyroxine medication for my thyroid and it worked like magic. I now have regular periods. I’ve had a miscarriage thru this journey and i’m still trying to balancing my thyroid hormone in order to have a successful pregnancy. Have your thyroid checked ASAP!

  8. Portia

    March 9, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Tanx Nicole for this tips, i had to bookmark this page. Everything u said abt your symptoms of early pregnancy is exactly wat I have bin going tru 4years after my marriage, I am trusting God dis year as I have decided to ignore d symptoms not until I have missed my period 16days after DPO.

  9. Anonymous

    March 9, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    The doctor told me I have pedunculated fibroids. 2 of them. 1 slightly larger than the other. I’m so scared. Will I ever be able to get pregnant? 🙁

    • U

      March 9, 2015 at 3:11 pm

      I have fibroids, not just two, they see 4 sizable ones, not yet married, got pregnant recently, not even trying, use protection but it failed lols, keeping me baby abeg, having arguments with folks but getting a positive resolution…they want me to to rush things, guy isnt keen on rushing anything cos we are expecting, besides before we do all the initial trips and both families reach an agreement i would be far gone and wouldn’t want to go thru stress to please folks on both sides and end up losing the baby or taking a risk i would regret…..i am not talking off point lols…you can have babies even with fibroids….the location matters tho…

    • amina

      March 10, 2015 at 8:53 pm

      *Hugs* I was in this situation years ago unfortunately I had a miscarriage, like you I was not trying and the guy was not keen at all sef. Keep you baby whether married or not. The joy of motherhood is irreplaceable. I’m married now and TTC and just found out I have pcos.

  10. Aderonke says #Bring BackOurGirls#

    March 9, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Dear Mam, Pleasse never give up. I have seen women without womb at all give birth, so yours wont be different. Your menses will definitely return, get ready for your “red carpet days”
    @Anonymous- Yes dear you will definitely get pregnant more than once sef. Almost every black woman between 30-50yrs have fibroids, many do not even know til they get pregnant that cos it becomes more visible or active during pregnancies.
    Most women get pregnant even with fibroids and the fibroids live happily together with babies. If they cause too much pain or lead to miscarriage God will delete them.
    So do not allow “Fear” take your hope and trust in God.
    Remember God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power and sound mind!
    Hang in there!

  11. Blessmyheart

    March 9, 2015 at 4:47 pm

    Oh my! I’m a prominent member of the symptoms spotters club. I tell myself to wait till I miss my period but it’s not so easy. Infact, I keep praying and hoping the pre-menstrual cramps I feel are implantation cramps right until the full flow starts. The only thing that keeps me going is that I know God is faithful. I’ve done some preliminary tests and there’s no indication of any infertility condition so I’ll keep trusting God. He’s gonna come through! *smiles*

  12. Aike

    March 9, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    For someone who has gone through the wilderness experience of TTC, i must ditto your thoughts on the fact that most of these false symptoms are psychologically generated. i experienced these too for three years, infact at a time it was so pronounced that my friends and family were already congratulating me because i was actually looking and feeling pregnant, even though i menstruated monthly without fail and i knew i wasnt pregnant, i was hopping against hope that i will just be miraculously declared pregnant, i convinced myself that after all some women menstruate even while pregnant.. time cured me of the false optimism. When God decided to bless my husband and i, i didnt even notice any pregnancy symptoms, in fact i didnt experience any morning sickness throughout the pregnancy. Pardon my lengthy response, but i just want to assure everyone presently TTC that your bundle of joy will come.

  13. Nancy

    March 10, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    I do hav dis spychologically created syntoms but at times i miss my period for 8days nd after a positive pregnancy test, my period will start again nd dis has happend 3times now. Pls what could be responsible for dis? Doctor says it could be stress related

    • nicolefertilechick

      March 10, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      Hi Nancy. Have you run a hormone profile test before? Your progesterone could be too low to support pregnancy. Speak with your Ob/Gyn and have him investigate further. If it proves to be the case, ask him to place you on progesterone supplements as soon as you ovulate.

    • ada nnewi

      March 10, 2015 at 3:39 pm

      You have very early miscarriages, you need to see a fertility specialist..

  14. Jojononz

    March 10, 2015 at 9:39 pm

    @ Nicole………am also having problems with irregular menses as well……being trying to get pregnant but not forth coming I need help, A good Gynaecologist address would save a soul…….cos a sister needs helpppppppppppp. God bless you,

  15. gift

    March 16, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    I have noticed dat since last year I will mestraut but I can’t see my ovulation I have gone for ovulation d guy said dat I’m ovulating inside but I want to be seeing it coming out cos I need to conceive pls wat can I do?

  16. worried much.

    March 19, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    hi,nicole. i was crying as i read this post becos it seems like you were writing about me. i ve been married for six months and my dreams of having kids immediately after marriage seems to be evaporating right before my eyes. i was really sure thismonth was going to be the month cos for the first time since we have been trying,my husband’s semen didnt come rushing out of me like its always done after sex. yes,he’s done the semen analysis and the count is very high though motility is just 35%. so i was sure i was experiencing pregnancy symptoms even the cramping surely had to be implantation cramping,right? then i saw my period yesterday right on schedule. i ve cried my eyes out because i actually let myself believe this was the month and didnt put my anti- dissapointment mechanism in place. its really really hard going thru this every month. anyway,i ve scheduled an h.s.g for next week so at least i know what i need to do next. tha
    nks for
    sharing your experiences.

  17. Buche

    March 30, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    Nicole dear, u just wrote about me I feel these symptoms every month yet nothing. my period is regular and I ovulate using clomid. just believing God for his miracles this month

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