To know if you're pregnant, pay attention to the symptoms given by your body. Even women who have given birth many times sometimes "misread" the physical signs of pregnancy. It is therefore important to be conscious of one's menstrual cycle. The cycle of an egg cell from the ovary. After the egg leaves the ovary, it spends a couple of days in the fallopian tube until it reaches your womb or uterus. Ovulation happens once a month, and it helps to be able to calculate it. Normally, ovulation occurs 14 days before the first day of your monthly period. For healthy women, the cycle is 28 days. So your next ovulation will occur 14 days after the first day of your previous menstrual period. Pregnancy occurs only if the egg is fertilized within 24 hours from its release. Fertilization only happens if you had sexual intercourse and your partner's sperm is normal enough to fertilize the egg. Thus, for couples who plan to have a child, the "rhythm" method may be useful because it tells them the best time to conceive. It is also useful for couples who are limiting the number of children.
- Common Signs if Pregnancy
- Missed Period. The most common sign of pregnancy is a missed menstrual period. When this occurs, women often conclude that they are pregnant. But in some cases this also may be caused by physical illness, anxiety, and emotional shock. Normally within two weeks of fertilization, you will no longer expect your menstrual period for the next cycle.
- Cravings for Food. Even before you miss a period, you may experience drastic changes in your appetite. It's normal to crave different kinds of food but try to eat nutritious ones to ensure good health for you and your baby.
- Frequent Urination. In the early stages of pregnancy. The uterus begins to swell, pressing the bladder downward and causing you to make frequent trips to the bathroom. Pregnant women experience frequent expulsion of small amount of urine. This is normal and must be tolerated. If it's making you uncomfortable, you may use sanitary pads or adult diapers that can absorb the expelled urine.
- Nausea. This refers to the feelings of impulsive and involuntary vomiting usually occurring in the early part of the day (that's why it is also called "morning sickness"). Actually, it may felt any time of the day because the increased levels of hormones circulating in the blood can have an irritant effect on the lining of the stomach, thus causing nausea. However, this kind of discomfort will disappear once you're past the first stage of pregnancy. You can cope with nausea by eating slightly salted biscuits and avoiding acidic foods and drinks that may upset your stomach.
- Restlessness, Fatigue, and Dizziness. It is normal to feel uneasy and tired, especially during the early stage of pregnancy, as your body is coping with the change. You will also feel sleepy perhaps due to the increased level of hormones in the blood, which has a tranquilizing effect. The hormone progesterone, which is related to pregnancy, is believed to have a hypnotic effect.
- Increased Vaginal Discharge. The discharge that you normally experience when you're not pregnant may increase substantially, once you conceive. It is often thin, odorless, and white. It may require you to use panty liners and change them often. If your discharge has a different color and a foul odor consult your gynecologist.
- Tender Breasts. Progesterone plays another important role in pregnancy. Due to the stimulation of this hormone, your breasts will enlarge and your nipples will feel sore and sensitive ( the same feelings you experience a few days before your menstrual period). Hence, they will become bigger, tender, and darker. Some veins running through may be visible because of the swelling.
- Confirming your Pregnancy
Identifying the symptoms of pregnancy is not enough. Of course, you want someone (or something) to prove that you're really pregnant. If you're eager to confirm but you can't go to the doctor yet, you could do a home pregnancy test. Home kits as well as laboratory urine tests can give instant results. If you opted for these tests but remain doubtful, you could go to a clinic and have the test done by a health care practitioner.
- Home Tests. Home kits are possible the easiest and quickest way to determine pregnancy. These are sold at drug stores and are basically simplified chemistry tests. They are designed to detect the presence of the pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG, the hormone produced by the developing placenta) in urine. The hormone hCG is mostly concentrated in the urine that is discharged upon waking up in the morning. This is the best time to use the test. Put a few drops of urine on the device (depending on the instructions provided in the kit) and wait for atleast three minutes for the result. Home kits can determine pregnancy two days after your missed period. Depending on the brand, and handle may show one bar (which means negative) or two bars (positive), or may display a change in color. For your convenience, always pick the brand that gives quick, easy-to-follow instructions
- Urine Tests. This is similar to the procedure of urinalysis. You put a sample of your first urine in the morning in a clean and tightly closed container and bring it to the laboratory for medical technologists to test for positive pregnancy. A negative result for the first try may not mean that you're not pregnant. Don't hesitate to repeat the test in six of seven days. Laboratory urine and home kit tests are usually 90% reliable.
- Blood Tests. These tests check for hCG presence in the blood. This can be done through the positive-negative test and the quantitative type which measures the actual hCG amount in your blood.