Idries J. Abdur-Rahman, MD, FACOG
Obstetrician/Gynecologist
TwinDoctorsTV

 

Are you pregnant? Are you not pregnant? Is your period just a bit late? What the heck is going on? Regardless of what you hope the answer to that question is, not knowing if there is a bun in the oven can cause a lot of anxiety. So, how exactly can you figure out of you are pregnant? You can find answers to these questions and more in our book Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Pregnancy on Amazon.

 

What Are Some Signs of Early Pregnancy?

Many women will experience early signs of pregnancy before they even have a positive pregnancy test. So, what are some symptoms that could be an indication of early pregnancy?

  1. Spotting a week before your period is due: About a week before a period is due, many women will experience a few days of spotting. This bleeding is known as implantation bleeding and it occurs when the fetus first implants in the uterus.
  2. Fatigue: Extreme fatigue is a common sign of early pregnancy that usually persists through the end of the first trimester.
  3. Nausea: Much like fatigue, nausea can begin before the missed period and it usually lasts through at least the end of the first trimester. Early nausea is mild and gets worse as the pregnancy progresses.
  4. Cramping and bloating: The cramping and bloating of early pregnancy is often mistaken for pre-menstrual symptoms. Early pregnancy bloating tends to be more severe than pre-menstrual bloating while the cramping is usually milder.
  5. Increased vaginal discharge, often with a thick mucus: The discharge of early pregnancy is usually white or pale yellow, is odorless, and is mixed with mucus
  6. Frequent urination: Within the first two weeks of pregnancy, most women will notice an increase in how much time they spend in the bathroom.
  7. Breast tenderness: Within the first two weeks of pregnancy, many women notice breast tenderness that like many of the other symptoms will increase as the pregnancy progresses. Unlike pre-menstrual breast tenderness, the tenderness of early pregnancy is described as more of a burning sensation.
  8. Headaches and Dizziness: Both tend to be mild starting in the middle of the day.

 

So, how can you actually confirm that you are pregnant?

  1. Urine pregnancy test: A urine pregnancy test is the easiest and cheapest way to confirm pregnancy. Urine tests detect hCG, the pregnancy hormone. Pregnancy tests have become more and more sensitive, and many can diagnose pregnancy 5-7 days before a missed period. The best time to take a urine pregnancy test is first thing in the morning because the hCG hormone concentrates in the urine overnight.
  2. Blood pregnancy test: A blood pregnancy test also measures hCG, this time the hCG circulating in your bloodstream. A blood test is more sensitive than a urine pregnancy test, so it is able to diagnose a pregnancy a few days earlier than a urine test.
  3. Ultrasound: An ultrasound is the only way to diagnose that you are pregnant and that the pregnancy is in the uterus where it belongs. Early in pregnancy, an ultrasound will likely have to be performed vaginally because that allows the sonographer (person performing the ultrasound) to get a closer look at the uterus.

 

Check out our book Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Pregnancy in print and digital on Amazon.

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