No matter the situation, it can be both exciting and overwhelming to suspect a new pregnancy.
You may also feel confused about how to interpret your symptoms and what types of detection methods to try. How can you know if your hunches and your pregnancy test results are accurate? In order to approach early pregnancy detection with success, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of the process.
Early Signs and Symptoms
While the most notable sign of early pregnancy is a missed period, it’s important to look at this event with some context. If your period is only a day or two late, but you have no other new symptoms, it may be prudent to save yourself the money and wait a few more days before testing. This is especially true of women with irregular cycles who are not taking regular hormonal birth control.
However, if new or unusual symptoms, such as nausea, fatigue, breast tenderness or change in appetite accompany your missed period, it may be a good idea to take a pregnancy test. Also, if you typically have very regular periods and/or faithfully utilize hormonal birth control, your missed period may signify more than just a slight change in your cycle. In some cases, women experience symptoms long before a missed period.
Using a Home Pregnancy Test
Whether you’re several days late or are experiencing other early symptoms, taking a home pregnancy test can help provide answers very early in the first trimester. Some tests claim to detect pregnancy as much as a week before the scheduled start of your next menstrual cycle. However, it’s important to note that this depends on how much hCG hormone or human chorionic gonadotropin is present in urine while testing.
This hormone is produced by the placenta an average of nine days after conception and multiplies exponentially every day during the first trimester. Keep in mind that every mother, baby and pregnancy are different, so levels can vary vastly from one person to another.
While some tests can detect the hormone very early, false negatives are always a possibility, especially when testing before the start of your next period.
Another cause of false negatives is improper testing techniques. Be sure to read the instructions thoroughly before removing the test from its individual sealed wrapper. Take note of the recommended time frame for use and use the recommended method to apply urine to the testing strip.
Early in pregnancy, it’s easiest to detect hCG first thing in the morning, when urine is more highly concentrated. For the best and most accurate results the first time, use the test according to the instructions at the recommended date when you wake up in the morning.
Scheduling an Ultrasound
Once you’ve had a positive pregnancy test, it’s important to schedule a visit with a medical professional for an evaluation. You can schedule an appointment with an OBGYN or midwife or contact a local women’s pregnancy clinic, many of which offer Free pregnancy ultrasounds in Iowa. During an ultrasound, a specialist will use a wand to detect the presence and status of a fetus, either over the belly or vaginally.
This process is painless and harmless to the mother and baby but is an important step in confirming a pregnancy, along with blood work and a physical exam. While false positives are rare, they are possible due to certain medications or the presence of blood or protein in the urine. An ultrasound is the most reliable method of accurately detecting early pregnancy.
If you suspect you may be pregnant, be sure to consider the timing and all of your symptoms as a whole. Then choose the appropriate testing method that will offer you the answers you need for peace of mind about this journey in your life.