Following on from our article When is a Woman Most Fertile?, the next question asked is often “am I pregnant yet?“. While the most obvious sign of pregnancy is a missed period, there are other clues that may appear beforehand.
The First Signs of Pregnancy
As well as a period being late, other early signs include tender breasts, which can also appear slightly swollen, and morning sickness (nausea gravidarum, nausea).
For many women who have an unplanned pregnancy a sudden onset of morning sickness is the first sign. This can be very distressing, especially if it happens in a public place.
If your period is late, you have morning sickness or tender breasts, and you had sex in the last few weeks, then the next step is to purchase a pregnancy test kit from your local pharmacy and do a test. Nowadays the test kits are very easy to use – you just urinate on the device and wait for the result to show.
In the UK family doctors and Family Planning Clinic both will provide a free test – the kits are usually around £7-10 each, and can also be ordered online. Clearblue is one of the more popular brands at the moment.
Home pregnant test kits are now very advanced. The Clearblue one is generally 99% accurate from the day your period is due. It can also provide a very good prediction of how many days have passed since your last ovulation. This is to allow you to determine when your baby will be due.
The pregnancy test works by measuring the levels of hCG in your urine. As soon as you become pregnant your body produces the hormone called human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG).
What To Do If You Are Pregnant
No matter how old you are or if the pregnancy was planned or not, you need to make an appointment to see your GP. This is to ensure that you are currently healthy, and also to get advice on how to stay healthy during pregnancy. You will also be put in contact with a midwife who will visit you and provide a lot more information.
Further Reading and Advice
- Your pregnancy and baby guide – NHS, accessed 7 Feb 2013
- Healthy mums-to-be – NHS, accessed 7 Feb 2013
- Pregnancy – BBC Health, accessed 7 Feb 2013
- Pregnancy – Mumsnet, accessed 7 Feb 2013