The thought of a potential pregnancy does not appeal to all women the same way. For married couples who want children, it is met with hope and optimism. For those unprepared for motherhood, the untimely news of carrying a child can lead to thinking that their lives may not go as planned. How do you know when you're pregnant?
Before any reactions, you must first know for sure if you are really expecting a baby. Below are some steps you can take to find out.
How would I know if Im pregnant without taking a test?
If you think you might have conceived after intercourse but you are not 100% sure, there are early pregnancy signs that you can observe if testing is not an immediate option. These include:
- Delayed menstruation
- Sudden craving for various food
- Aversion from food you usually like
However, the only method that proves to be most effective in spotting pregnancy is by taking a pregnancy test. Here are your options:
- Pregnancy test strips - these are available over-the-counter and the testing can be done at home. Just follow the instructions carefully, which mainly involves urinating on a strip. The strips are designed to scan if a woman's urine is present with a hormone called chorionic gonadotropin. These hormones are produced by the body as soon as a fertilized egg attaches to the uterus. Urine tests are 99% accurate.
- Blood testing - these also test for pregnancy hormones and can be requested at your doctor's office. This option is a little more accurate but with the affordability, convenience, and privacy of pregnancy test strips, this method is rarely ever chosen.
Early signs of pregnancy
While the early signs of being a child-bearer vary from woman to woman, these symptoms can often go undetected because they resemble the feeling of having a period. However, it is important to remember that the pregnancy signs listed below can also be the result of another condition. Their manifestation does not necessarily mean that you are carrying a child. Below are the symptoms
- Delayed menstruation - Regular menstruation can be considered delayed if a woman has gone five days without it. This is one of the most frequently reported early symptom of pregnancy. Menstruation stops during the early phases of pregnancy because the body starts to produce pregnancy hormones. However, little bleeding can still be observed. This is called spotting.
- Morning sickness (vomiting) - There is no clear reason why vomiting occurs during the early stages of pregnancy. It is speculated, however, that morning sickness could be the result of rapid hormonal changes in the body.
- Fatigue - Fatigue or the feeling of tiredness is common during early pregnancy, but it may go away in the second trimester (4th-6th month).
- Cramps - Cramps are sharp, stabbing pains in the abdominal area. This sensation can be easily mistaken as a regular period cramp. This occurs when the uterus expands, causing the ligaments that support it to extend.
- Mood swings - Changes in a woman's mood are common during the menstrual cycle, but it also tends to happen during the early stages of child-bearing.
- Tender or swollen breasts - Swelling in the breast is also common in expecting women. This is the organ's response to rapid hormonal changes that occur when pregnant. It is also inferred that swelling means the breast is preparing for lactation.
What week do pregnancy symptoms start?
Most women pay attention to their regular menstruation cycle. For this reason, most will notice if there is a delay in their period, which could indicate pregnancy in as early as five days. However, other symptoms will show in different periods during the stages of pregnancy. Delayed menstruation aside, pregnancy symptoms typically start four weeks after conception.
How do you know if your pregnancy is going well?
After taking the test and feeling the symptoms, you are now certain that you have a baby growing inside you. Like all expecting mothers, it is normal to worry about the status of your child. Luckily, there are also signs that point to a healthy pregnancy. A woman who is expecting can check for the following:
- Growth of the belly - This is, of course, the most outward sign that a pregnancy is going well. If you think the growth is too little or too big, you can check with your physician.
- Increase in weight - You should gain about 2-4 pounds during your first trimester. This is also a sign that all is well with your child.
- You feel your baby kick - This is one of the most exciting moments during a woman's pregnancy. For first time mothers, you will typically feel your baby kick during your third trimester (6th - 9th month).
Maintaining a healthy pregnancy
Pregnancy does not begin with making love and end with childbirth. During all the stages, your personal health and well-being can directly affect the health of your baby. For this reason, you need to watch what you eat and avoid factors that contribute to stress. Obviously, you should refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol at all times. Other tips to maintaining a healthy pregnancy include:
- Make regular appointments with your doctor - Only your physician can provide accurate information about how your baby is growing inside you, so make it a point to visit him or her at least once a month or when you feel something that should get checked.
- Get enough sleep - Sleep is essential for you and your baby's growth.
- Take necessary supplements
- Pay attention to your office workload - While desk jobs usually pose little threat to progressive fetal development, you still need to watch how hard you work while carrying a baby.
- Do gentle exercises - Avoid strenuous exercises such as heavy lifting and running. Swimming and walking are great choices for a pregnant woman.
- Regulate caffeine intake - Casual office coffee will not hurt your child but cut off energy drinks completely.
- Avoid heavy household chores
Pregnancy should be well monitored with the help of a physician in order to ensure that the mother-to-be gives birth to a healthy, happy baby.