Signs of pregnancy

Parentree-editors 2008-08-18 12:18:15

You maybe looking at this article because you might have missed your period and are suspecting that you might be pregnant.  Some women might suspect that they might be pregnant even before they miss their period.  In case you suspect you are pregnant, first do a home pregnancy test and then call and schedule an appointment with your doctor (Gynaecologist).

Home Pregnancy Test

Get a Home Pregnancy Test kit.  A top-selling brand in India is Velocit (manufactured by Dr. Reddy).  Some other reliable brands are ClearView, Acutest and Pregcolor.  These kits are inexpensive (around Rs 45-50). Then follow the instructions in these kits. 

Most of these tests have a stick that you have to dip in your urine.  If it changes color (mostly these turn blue), then it means that you have tested positive and are pregnant.  That is why a positive home pregnancy test is also referred to as the "stick turning blue".

You can test positive for pregnancy, using these tests, 8-10 days after you conceive.  Sometimes you can test positive even before you miss your period. 

If you test too early, the test may show a negative, though you could be pregnant. So if it is negative, wait a couple of days and test again.

These tests measure the pregnancy hormone hCG (human Chorionic Gonadotropin) in your urine and and usually claim to be be 99% accurate. But research has shown that typical test kits missed 85% of pregnancies on the first day after the missed period. Another week had to pass before the accuracy improves to the claimed levels1 . So do not be disappointed with a negative result. You may have tested too early. Test again after a few days.

Call your doctor

If you have not already, select a good gynaecologist.

Schedule an appointment with the doctor.  The doctor will confirm your pregnancy by examining you and by conducting a blood test. 

Confirmed that you are pregnant? Congratulations!! Now you are ready to move to the Pregnancy area of Parentree.

Some pregnancy signs

Some women experience all, one or some of these symptoms.  Also, these symptoms are not necessarily pregnancy specific and there can be other explanations of these symptoms.  That is why it is important to do a home pregnancy test and consult the doctor before jumping to the conclusion that you are pregnant.

  • Missed Period
This may be your first sign of pregnancy, especially if you're normally quite regular. Combined with other positive signs you may be pretty sure you're pregnant, even before you do a home pregnancy test and consult the doctor. But your period could be delayed because of other factors as well, like stress, travel etc.  Once you miss your period, you should do a home pregnancy test and consult the doctor soon.
  • Slight bleeding / cramping

For some women, a small amount of spotting or vaginal bleeding is one of the first symptoms of pregnancy. Known as implantation bleeding, it happens when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus — about 10 to 14 days after fertilization. This type of bleeding is usually a bit earlier, spottier and lighter in color than a normal period and doesn't last as long.

Some women also experience abdominal cramping early in pregnancy. These cramps are similar to your menstrual cramps.

But if the bleeding is heavy and bright red or/and the pain is too much, then it could be signs of a miscarriage and you should call a doctor as soon as possible.

  • Frequent urination
Because of the increased hCG (pregnancy hormone), many women experience increased urination in the first few weeks of pregnancy.  This is different from the frequent urination in the last trimester which happens because the growing baby puts pressure on the urinary bladder.
  • Extreme Fatigue
Some women feel that they are getting tired more easily than before. The hormonal changes cause a lot of metabolic changes in your body.  This gets better in the 2nd trimester.    
  • Food cravings and aversions
This is the time when women develop pet cravings for certain foods.  Some  women can have strong aversions to certain foods as well.  For example, some women have a craving for "sambhar" and some cannot stand it.  Women also have heightened sense of smell and might have strong aversions to certain strong smells like cooking smells etc.
  • Darkening of areolas
Most women experience darkening of the areolas, which is the area around the nipples.
  • Tender swollen breasts
  • Nausea or vomiting
Some women experience nausea and vomiting also called "morning sickness".  Though morning sickness is a misnomer because this nausea can occur at any time during the day and not just the morning.
  • Constipation
Progesterone hormone can affect the bowels and cause constipation in some women. This is another reason to eat a good diet with lots of fruits and vegetables during pregnancy.
  • Backaches
For some women backaches might occur only in early pregnancy and for some, over the entire pregnancy.
  • Headaches / dizziness
  • Raised basal body temperature
Basal body temperature is what shows up  when you take your temperature orally, the first thing in the morning.  Immediately following ovulation, progesterone “turns up the heat” a bit, and the basal body temperature rises a little bit until the time of your next menstrual period. After your menstrual period starts, it comes down. If your BBT remains elevated even past the time that your menstrual period is due, it could be a very early indicator of pregnancy.

Good Luck!

References

1. Laurence A Cole, Sarah A Khanlian, Jaime M Sutton, Suzy Davies, William F Rayburn, "Accuracy of home pregnancy tests at the time of missed menses", American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology - January 2004 Vol. 190, Issue 1, Pages 100-105


 

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