Common Signs of Pregnancy:
Some women will have guessed they are pregnant even before taking any tests. Trust yourself, if you feel like you may be pregnant take your body seriously. Symptoms of pregnancy can appear quickly and may include any of the following, but many women will experience none of these.
Common signs of early pregnancy:
- Missed Period
- Breast Tenderness (similar to menstruation)
- Dizziness or Feeling of Being Light Headed
- Frequent Need to Urinate
- Runny Nose or Watery Eyes
- Constant Thoughts About Pregnancy or Baby, or the "Feeling" of Pregnancy
- Lower Back Pain, or Slight Throbbing Feeling in Abdomen
- Heightened Sense of Smell or Taste
- Nausea or Cravings (usually not until at least two to four weeks after conception)
Some women will bleed and cramp a bit and may think their period is beginning, when it is actually just the result of the egg implanting itself into the uterus. It is rare for a woman to have a normal menstrual period when she is pregnant, but occasionally this does happen.
Home pregnancy tests are very accurate and easy to use. They will usually give results as soon as you have missed the first day of your period. They work by measuring the level of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. This hormone is released by the embryo into the mother’s bloodstream. The hCG levels are most concentrated first thing in the morning, so this may be the best time to take your test.
The hCG levels can also be detected by means of a blood test that can give you an answer before the first missed menstrual period, often as early as ten days after conception.
After six weeks’ gestation, pregnancy can be confirmed by a midwife or doctor with an internal examination. Changes in the size and firmness of the uterus and cervix can be detected at that point.
Establishing Your Due Date
Not so long ago doctors would only give a very rough estimate of due date, telling their patients to expect the baby in late January or early February, for example.
Nowadays, midwives and doctors calculate due date in the following way: the woman will be asked what the first date of her last menstrual period was. Fourteen days will then be added to that date, which is the guesstimated date of ovulation. Then 266 days are added to that, and the resultant date is the due date.
However, most people don't realize how rough this calculation really is, even when early ultrasound is used to measure the baby’s size. Eighty percent of pregnancies last somewhere between 38 and 40 weeks. Only five percent of babies arrive on their actual due date. Some 10 percent more go beyond 40 weeks (if they are not medically induced first). As well, many women don’t remember exactly when their last period was, or may not ovulate exactly 14 days after her period's start.
Other factors that can throw the calculation off include having been on the pill prior to conception (which can cause irregular cycles for up to three months after discontinuation), and breastfeeding at the time of conception.
If you know exactly what date you conceived, you can add 280 days (about ten lunar months) to that and come up with a somewhat more accurate due date. Even this, however, is just a guess. Due date may be affected by many factors, such as maternal age, ethnicity, and possibly even caffeine consumption.
Getting too attached to a specific date and deeming the pregnancy early or late based on that can lead to unnecessary medical interventions and a sense that others know more about when your baby should be born than nature or your instincts do.