Key Indicators Of A Possible Pregnancy
Many women experience one or more pregnancy symptoms during a normal menstrual cycle, so you shouldnât panic if youâre a little nauseous, tired, or experiencing cramping. If youâve noticed several of the indicators below over the last few weeks, however, itâs worth a closer look. These signs often signal a pregnancy, but only an official pregnancy test or doctorâs visit will be able to tell you for sure.
Don’t Expect To Do Everything Right
Are you a perfectionist? If so, take a chill pill. Mindful Return author Lori Mihalich-Levin told The List, “Do not make to do lists of things you’d like to accomplish during your maternity leave. As I discovered quickly, the goal of maternity leave is truly survival, not accomplishment. Don’t plan to clean the garage, undertake craft projects, or make photo albums.”
She suggested, “Do not have a fixed idea in mind of how life will look after baby. … A child care option you thought was going to work might not work out. You may have thought you wanted to go back to work after 16 weeks, and now you can’t bear the thought of it. Or you may have thought you wanted to stay home with baby, but after 12 weeks, you are itching to be back at work.”
Elly Taylor, a parenthood expert, agreed: “Don’t expect to be in control or on top of it all. Babies come with their own needs, time-frame, priorities and way of doing things and this all takes time to figure out. … Plan on being a learner and not an expert, you won’t want that pressure.”
You Think You Might Be Pregnant
Pregnancy scares can be intimidating. You might know you had unprotected sex or you might be worried that your contraception didn’t work properly. Maybe your period is late, or maybe you just feel a little bit off.
If you have recently had unprotected sex or a contraceptive failure , emergency contraception is available. Although it’s commonly called the morning after pill, it can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex. It is most effective if taken within 24 hours. It’s available over the counter, without a doctor’s prescription, at pharmacies.
If the reason you’re worried about pregnancy is because you have been sexually assaulted, there are free, confidential support services who you can talk to about the assault. You can contact these services at any stage, so you don’t have to make the decision to seek counselling or support straight away if you have been assaulted. However, it is important to seek medical assistance, including emergency contraception, as soon as possible. You can present to your local hospital, although you should be aware that if the hospital is run by a faith-based organisation they may not provide you with emergency contraception.
How do I know if I’m pregnant?
You might be nervous about the result, or worried about what you will do if it comes back positive, but the first step is to take a pregnancy test.
Check the box is in date and doesnt look damaged. If it is out of date or looks damaged, get a new test.
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Loss Of Appetite For Favourite Foods
Pregnancy can really mess with your eating habits, thats for sure. As well as craving foods you may not have previously been interested in, you can actually lose a taste for some foods and drinks that are usually a big part of your normal diet. Women sometimes go off staples such as coffee, tea or fatty foods. Changes in tastes and a heightened sense of smell are very common and can persist throughout pregnancy but do tend to be strongest early on, Dr Knight explained.
What else could it be?People often experience a loss in appetite when theyre feeling anxious or stressed. This is because anxiety triggers emotional and psychological changes in your body to help you deal with the pressure, they often affect the stomach and digestive tract and can make you lose your appetite. When youre feeling more relaxed, your appetite should return back to normal.
Could I Have The Symptoms Of Early Pregnancy And Not Be Pregnant
Many of the symptoms of early pregnancy overlap with other medical conditions, as well as your typical menstrual cycle. Premenstrual symptoms can be very similar to pregnancy symptoms. This can make it difficult to tell the difference. You can also miss a period without being pregnant. This can happen when you exercise in extreme amounts, lose or gain a lot of weight, or even are stressed. Breastfeeding can also cause your period to stop for a while.
The best way to know youre pregnant is to take a pregnancy test. If you have missed a period and think theres a chance you could be pregnant, consider taking a test.
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Why Might You Think You’re Pregnant When You’re Not
You haven’t had access to accurate sex information, so don’t know what is and isn’t a real pregnancy risk, or how pregnancy actually happens and works.
If we don’t know how pregnancy really happens, and what the real risks are and aren’t, then it’s going to be easy to panic everytime we’re near the vicinity of the most general thing — sex — we understand it to be related to.
Your next steps are: Reread the text above. Look at pieces like this, this or this. Try this one at Planned Parenthood, or this one at Teen Health Source. Check your local library for books like Our Bodies, Ourselves: look up the facts in sound resources. You can talk to an obstetrician/gynecologist and ask them to explain how pregnancy really does and doesn’t happen. If you have been given misinformation growing up, or recently, in a way that felt so compelling you believed it, you can take some time to fact-check that with less emotional, more accurate information like I’ve suggested above. You can also take some time to figure out why you believed misinformation and learn about how to figure out when information is and isn’t likely to be credible, like looking into what someone’s agenda is who is giving it to you, what their education and other credentials are, and reminding yourself that just because someone says something is true doesn’t mean that it is.
You feel guilty, ashamed or scared about some kind of sex you took part in, or being the victim of a sexual abuse or assault.
Do Be Careful About What You Eat When You’re Pregnant
Pay attention to what you eat when pregnant. Dr. Sherry Ross, OB/GYN, told The List that it’s especially important to avoid raw or undercooked foods. “Food poisoning can occur when eating raw vegetables, unpasteurized juices, and undercooked meat, poultry, or eggs that can be linked with salmonella and Escherichia coli bacteria,” she said. “Cooking properly and thoroughly kills bacteria in the majority of foods.”
Also be careful about eating fish, whether raw or cooked. Dr. Ross shared, “Eating raw fish, such as sushi, has not been recommended in pregnancy since it can carry certain bacteria and parasites. Mercury is very toxic and can cause problems to the fetus and to the newborn nursing infant.” She noted that fish like halibut and tuna “have increased mercury levels and cause the most concern for consumption by pregnant women.”
But you don’t have to stop eating fish. Dr. Ross noted, “A pregnant woman can safely eat 12 ounces per week of varieties of fish thought to be low in mercury. The safest fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, scallops, oysters, squid, and salmon.”
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Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
If you havent started already, you should begin taking a prenatal vitamin right away, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists . This will help make sure that youre getting all the vitamins and minerals you need for a healthy pregnancy.
You can purchase prenatal vitamins over the counter at most major pharmacies or grocery stores. Just be sure it has at least 400 mcg of folic acid, per the .
You can also ask your pregnancy care professional for recommendations or a prescription.
Prenatal vitamins are crucial because your babys neural tube which later becomes their brain and spinal cord develops during the first month of pregnancy. Folate helps reduce the chances of neural tube irregularities, such as those that cause spina bifida.
Other things your prenatal vitamins should have are:
- vitamins A, C, D, and E
- vitamin B12
Your healthcare professional will also generally recommend you separately take an iron supplement as well.
Some prenatal vitamins also include choline, which is essential for brain development and placental function, according to .
They also may include docosahexaenoic acid , which is important for babys brain growth and function.
Pack Your Purse With Water And Snacks
Your hormones are raging thanks to the little one now growing in your belly. As a result, its tough to predict when your blood sugar will suddenly hit a low. The best defense is to carry snacks in your bag at all times. Something as simple as a pack of almonds or piece of fruit should do the trick in a pinch.
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Make An Appointment With A Professional
If you go to school near home or you have a gynecologist from home, its a good idea to make an appointment with him or her. Your gynecologist or general practitioner is familiar with you and your body and will be better able to tell you what is normal and what isnt. Tell your doctor when your last period was and how many days late you are. Also tell him or her whether or not you are on birth control and what kind, and how long ago you had unprotected sex. Your doctor will ask you additional questions to rule out the possibility that youve missed your period for other reasons and advise you on whether or not you need a pregnancy test, as well as what your next steps should be.
Your schools health center is trained to deal with issues specific to college students, so theres no reason to be embarrassed about talking with a nurse or doctor at your college . Not only will these nurses and doctors be able to answer your questions and provide you with their professional opinion, they can also often administer free pregnancy tests to students.
Regardless of which type of health care professional you seek out, its crucial to make an appointment right away, especially if you have had unprotected sex in the last 120 hours, so that a doctor can help you explore your options for emergency contraception. A pregnancy scare can leave you anxious, distraught and vulnerable, so be sure to seek out help as soon as you can.
Don’t Isolate Yourself When You’re Pregnant
You may be the one who is pregnant, but you don’t have to approach your pregnancy as a solo act. That could lead to depression. Parenthood expert Elly Taylor told The List, “Include your partner every step of the way. Fathers can feel excluded during pregnancy, birth, and early parenthood, but not many will open up to tell you that.”
Taylor added, “The most important thing for a pregnant woman to keep in mind is that motherhood is not a path she’s meant to walk alone. Feeling isolated and alone can contribute to postpartum depression. Include your partner in the journey, and reach out for help from family, friends and professionals if you’re finding something gets tough. It really does take a village.”
Mindful Return author Lori Mihalich-Levin told The List, “One of the most important things women who are about to have a baby can do is to make friends with others who will have babies born around the same time.” She suggested, “Explore hospital new mother support groups, baby yoga classes, etc., and don’t forget to talk to other working moms at your office. Think about both in-person and online communities, too.”
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Schedule Your First Prenatal Appointment
Your first prenatal appointment may involve confirming the pregnancy with an early ultrasound or blood work and going over your medical history and medications to set your pregnancy off on a healthy start.
A healthcare professional will also calculate your due date and provide lots of information about what to expect during pregnancy.
Be sure to ask your pregnancy care professional lots of questions. Feel free to write some down ahead of your visit. Your prenatal appointments are your opportunity to ask any and all questions to better help you care for yourself during pregnancy.
You should let your doctor or midwife know if youre experiencing any symptoms such as bleeding, cramping, or pain.
Changes To Your Body That May Indicate Pregnancy
You may first realise that youre pregnant when you miss your period. Thats a good time to take a pregnancy test or speak with your doctor.
In early pregnancy, you may experience some of the following symptoms:
- aches and pains
- morning sickness, which may be nausea or actual vomiting, and does not just happen in the morning
- fatigue, or lack of energy
- nasal problems, or shortness of breath
- larger, tender breasts.
Better Health Channel has more information about these pregnancy symptoms.
If any of the symptoms become difficult to manage, talk to your doctor about what to do. In particular, if any morning sickness, aches and pains, dizziness or breathing difficulties make it hard to get through your normal day, ask for advice.
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Then Call Your Insurance Company
Youll want to get a sense of whats covered and whats not, based on your plan, so that you can start budgeting early for any high-deductible expenses. Important details to confirm include finding out the portion of hospital bills theyll pay for, as well as prescribed medical tests. It also never hurts to triple check that your OB-GYN is in network.
What To Do If You Think You Are In Preterm Labor
Brian Levine, MD, MS, is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology as well as in reproductive endocrinology and infertility.
Preterm labor is one of the most serious things that can occur in a pregnancy. Although not very likely, serious health issues or even an increased risk of death can occur when a baby is born a few weeks before its due date. Sometimes, the effects of preterm labor and birth can last a lifetime for a baby.
It is important to know the signs of preterm labor during pregnancy. Your midwife or doctor should go over the signs with you at a prenatal visit early in your pregnancy. This is particularly true if you are considered high risk for preterm labor.
Some reasons that you may be considered high risk for preterm labor include:
- You are carrying more than one baby
- You have a history of preterm labor
- You have had previous surgery on your cervix
- You have certain infections
Even if you have none of the risk factors for preterm labor, you can experience labor before a full-term pregnancy. Any signs and symptoms of preterm labor prior to 37 weeks of pregnancy should be reported immediately to your doctor or midwife.
The signs and symptoms include a backache that does not stop, more than five contractions in one hour, a release of your bag of water, cramping, bleeding, any lower abdominal or back pain, and anything else that you find concerning.
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What Are Some Less Common Signs Of Early Pregnancy
There are some additional signs of early pregnancy that arent as common. Just like with the most common symptoms, these signs of pregnancy may or may not happen. Its important to remember that everyone is different and will experience unique symptoms.
Less common signs of early pregnancy can include:
How Soon You Can Take A Pregnancy Test
Step back from the supermarket shelves you should wait until the first day of a missed period before you do a pregnancy test . This is usually about two weeks after you think you conceived. So get your diary out and start counting.
Too keen to wait? Some tests are more sensitive than others and can be taken earlier . This might be four or five days before your period is due .
If you can though, its most reliable to wait for the first day of your missed period. And that way you wont get any upset from an inaccurate result.
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How Do I Find Out If I Am Pregnant
Take a pregnancy test to find out if youre pregnant. There are two kinds:
- Urine test: This type of test is also called a home pregnancy test. You can buy them at most drug stores, grocery stores, and discount stores. You also can have this test done at your doctors office. Most home pregnancy tests can tell if you are pregnant about the time you would expect to get your period. The test is typically very accurate if done correctly.
- Blood test: This test is done at your doctors office or at a health clinic. It can tell if you are pregnant about a week before you would expect to get your period. This test is very accurate.
If you take a home pregnancy test and the result is positive, you should see your doctor to confirm the results. Your doctor will likely do a blood test or urine pregnancy test to confirm.
If you are pregnant, deciding what to do about an unexpected pregnancy can be very difficult. There is a lot to think about. You have to make the decision that is right for you. Consider your personal situation and your beliefs. Every pregnant woman has three options: