Pregnancy can spark an array of emotions. For some it’s great planned news and for others it’s unplanned and downright scary.
Whether or not you’re planning to get pregnant, it’s useful to learn the signs and symptoms of pregnancy. It’s also important to pay attention to your body and listen to what it’s telling you. Just remember that the only surefire way of knowing whether or not you’re pregnant is taking a pregnancy test. Many times, women jump to conclusions by ignoring the time frames of the signs, which result in false negatives from home pregnancy tests.
You haven’t been using birth control methods consistently and correctly.
Birth control pills are also highly effective. Planned Parenthood reported that less than 1 out of 100 women get pregnant each year when using the pill as directed.
For some people, these statistics are good enough but for others, the risk is still too high.
If your condom broke, you didn’t take your birth control pills, or you simply forgot or neglected to use any sort of protection, then you’ll want to take a pregnancy test. Please note that you cannot rely on pulling out is not considered “safe sex.” It doesn’t matter how fast you slick he thinks he is.
You’ve missed your period.
It’s important to log your period every month, even if you consider yourself irregular. You can do it the traditional way by marking the start and end dates in your planner or calendar. If you’re always on your phone, you might as well download one of the many period trackers.
Missing your period is one of the biggest signs of pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you should assume you’re pregnant if you miss it. Your cycle is also affected by hormonal and physical changes, including exercise, drinking, smoking, and stress.
You’ve experienced some implantation bleeding.
Implantation bleeding is light bleeding or spotting that occurs 6 to 12 days, give or take, after conception. It is easy to mistake this occurrence as your period, because you’ll notice some pink or brown spots in your underwear.
This happens because your fertilized egg travels down to the uterus, which may result in some damage to the blood vessels in that area.
Changes in your digestive system.
Pregnant women can expect morning sickness in their first trimester, usually around week six. The discomfort includes dizziness, nausea, and vomiting as well as constipation and sensitivity to smell.
These symptoms alone do not determine whether or not you’re pregnant. It depends on your hormonal changes. Some bodies are able to tolerate all the changes, while others react against it. When in doubt, take a test.
You’re always tired, more than usual.
We’re not talking about feeling lazy or tired, we’re talking fatigue, or extreme tiredness. When pregnant, your body has lower blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Your body is also producing more blood than usual, and your hormones, such as progesterone (a hormone produced by the ovaries), can make you feel extremely tired.
Hormonal changes also affect your neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers in the brain. It’s a lot to deal with on top of all the prep work and research you have to do as a new parent.
One minute you’re divine and the next you’re an absolute wreck, and that’s perfectly normal in pregnancy. This is not to say that all pregnant women have the same types of mood wings.
Some women experience extremely high highs and extremely low lows, even entering into stages of depression or anxiety. According to the site Baby Center, moodiness tends to flare up somewhere in between 6 to 10 weeks.
You’re using the restroom more frequently.
Ah, when nature calls. Frequent urination is another sign of pregnancy, usually experienced six weeks into the first trimester.
Why does this happen? Due to hormonal changes, your blood flows more quickly through your body, which means that your bladder is filled more often. Your body is also experiencing an increase in the amount of blood.
Though a nuisance, some women consider this as preparation for busy nights as a new parent (you know, when your baby wakes you up at the oddest hours and you must get up to tend to them).
Your breasts are sensitive.
Examine your breasts closely. Are they feeling sore and tender to the touch? That’s because — yes, you guessed it — those hormonal changes.
The sensation is similar to how your breasts feel before your period, leveled up. You can expect this to start around 4 to 6 weeks, and it will remain that way throughout your pregnancy.
Look out for these other changes as time goes on: breast growth, veins and pigment changes around the chest and nipple area, bumps on the areola, and leaky breasts (not all women experience this).
You’ve taken a home pregnancy test
Pregnancy tests will cost you about $8 – $20 each. If you follow the instructions, which include taking it first thing in the morning and not too soon after a missed period (wait about a week otherwise you may produce a false reading), your results will be pretty accurate.
We know you’re anxious, but follow these instructions carefully for the best results.
Finally, you should head to the doctor’s office for the most accurate results.
Research suggests that home pregnancy tests aren’t as accurate as they claim to be (many claim 99% accuracy rates), so it’s best to trust the matter with a professional.
You can test at your gyno or at a family planning clinic. They will take a sample of blood or urine from you and determine whether or not there is a presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone produced by the placenta in the early stages of pregnancy.
In short, don’t jump to conclusions. Listen to your body and get to know it well, follow instructions carefully when taking home pregnancy tests, and visit a professional if you want to find out whether or not you’re pregnant.