Am I Pregnant?
Trying to conceive can be the ultimate test of patience. Each month you wonder, "Am I pregnant?" Every little stomach gurgle or bout of fatigue seems to be an indication that a baby is on the way. The truth is, very early pregnancy is almost impossible to detect without a pregnancy test. Once you know you're pregnant, learn what to expect with our early pregnancy timeline.
How Pregnancy Tests Work
The first and most accurate symptom of pregnancy is a missed or very light period. Most women can't stand waiting that long and buy expensive pregnancy tests that promise to give an answer up to a week before a missed period. These promises aren't hollow, but it's important to understand how these pregnancy tests work before relying on them as the final word on whether or not there is a bun in the over.
Pregnancy tests work by detecting human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, a hormone that is produced by a woman's body once she is pregnant. In the first days after conception, hCG levels are very low and can only be detected by a blood test. A few weeks later, hCG levels begin to climb and are present in the urine. This is why you have to pee on a pregnancy test to get a result.
The claims made by pregnancy tests are usually valid, but it's essential to note that they are only true for average levels of hCG under laboratory conditions. What this means is that pregnancy tests are most accurate when administered perfectly to women with a normal range of hCG. In other words, if you pee wrong or miscalculated the date of conception or have low hCG levels or fail to meet one of a thousand other variables, your pregnancy test may not be accurate.
While everyone wants to know how to tell if you are pregnant as soon as possible, the truth is that it is best to wait for your expected date of menstruation before getting your hopes up or having them crushed. Once you have well and truly missed a period, take a pregnancy test and you are far more likely to get accurate results. Remember, false negatives are far more common than false positives.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms
- 1-2 weeks after conception: Many women notice little or no change during these weeks. Others begin to notice breast tenderness and some fatigue.
- 4-6 weeks after conception: This is when the dreaded morning sickness commonly found in the first trimester begins. Talk to your OBGYN about ways to combat morning sickness and how to ensure you get the nutrition your body needs. Rapid hormonal changes can also cause headaches in some women.
- 6-8 weeks after conception: You more than half way through your first trimester. At this point you will probably notice that you need to pee more often and may experience food cravings.
Early pregnancy is a time of mixed emotions. One moment you feel elated that a baby is on the way. The next, you feel overwhelmed and burdened by morning sickness or fear that you'll lose the baby. The best thing you can do now is find some good friends who have been there to help get you through these first trying weeks. With the support of loved ones, you're bound to have a happier, healthier pregnancy.