For most women, missing a period is the most accurate sign of pregnancy, while others look for signs of pregnancy before a positive pregnancy test. Here are 12 things to consider when trying to conceive (TTC):
1. Calculate your period due date: The date your period is due is very important to find out if you are pregnant. Home pregnancy tests will not work unless you have missed your period. The due date of your period can be calculated by adding 28 days to the first day of your last period. If you have missed your period, it is best to wait a short amount of time before testing just to ensure the most accurate result.
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2. Notice breast changes: The breasts will become tender during the first few weeks of pregnancy. This change often signals to the woman that their period is coming unless they are trying to get pregnant.
3. Feeling tired: Fatigue is one of the first signs of pregnancy. If you are feeling unusually tired, but have few other symptoms (aside from the ones on this list) you may be pregnant.
4. Nausea and vomiting: For women who do not watch their period cycle closely, nausea and vomiting are often the reason they go to the doctor in the first place. Morning sickness is a great sign that you are pregnant.
5. Spotting and/or cramping: Many women do not believe they are pregnant because of the cramping and spotting that occurs. This spotting has nothing to do with a period. When the egg implants in the uterus some spotting and cramping can occur. This is what the woman is feeling.
6. Frequent trips to the bathroom: In very early pregnancy, the frequent trips to the bathroom have nothing to do with the weight of the fetus on the bladder. It does, however, have to do with the body preparing for pregnancy by increasing the fluid in the body.
7. Infrequent or hard bowel movements: Constipation can also occur very early in pregnancy. The progesterone levels rise early in pregnancy which relaxes all the muscles of the body including the muscles that push waste through the intestine.
8. Darker areolas: The dark circle around the nipple is called the areola. If a woman is pregnant, these circles will get darker as early as the first day of her expected menstrual cycle. This is often the best indicator (aside from a positive pregnancy test) that a woman is pregnant.
9. Take a home pregnancy test: The home pregnancy test measures the level of hCG in the urine. Commonly, if the urine tests about 20 mlU/ml the test will be positive.
10. Repeat the home pregnancy test: If the test was negative and you still have not started your period within a week, retest. This is especially true for women with irregular periods. The home pregnancy test is not infallible so a blood test may need to be performed.
11. Verify with a blood test: A blood test can offer a positive result in as little as 5 days after intercourse. These tests can be expensive, especially if they are not covered by the insurance carrier and thus the blood test is often run to verify a positive home pregnancy result.
12. Sonogram or ultrasound: If both the urine and blood pregnancy tests are negative and the period has yet to begin, many obstetricians will perform a physical exam or an internal ultrasound. This test will be able to diagnose a pregnancy that is not viable and thus not releasing hCG into the urine or blood.