Posted by: brambledoula | August 30, 2007

New question of the day…

“How do you know if you’re pregnant”

That’s a pretty easy one. Wait 9 months. If a baby comes out, you were pregnant :-p

Ok really, that said, it’s still pretty easy to find out. Generally you will just KNOW. There will be something off or not quite right. But sometimes our internal monitor isn’t always right so there’s other ways to find out. A missed period is often a sign, but since simple stress can also make a period jump a week or two, it’s not 100%. Here is a nice comprehensive list of ways to confirm pregnancy:

Early Signs:

Tender Swollen Breasts

Fatigue

Implantation Spotting

Nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to strong odors

Frequent need to pee

Dizziness or fainting

Heartburn

Change in bowel regularity

Skin changes

Higher body temp

Low back pain

Change in libido

Feeling of fullness or bloating in the abdomen

Chadwick’s Sign (Bluish tinge to the vagina and cervix)

Softening of the Cervix (Goodell’s Sign)

Leaking breasts

Mood swings

Strange food cravings

Missed period

If you have all, any, or some of these proceed to the next step: Take a Pregnancy Test! While these do have a slight inaccuracy rate you are far more likely to get a false negative (I had a negative first go around with my first two boys, I have to be at least a week late to show on a test) than a false positive so odds are if it’s positive, you’re pregnant, if its negative wait a week and if theres still no period or signs of pregnancy increase, test again.

Some women choose to just trust their body and not test but personally I like something to show my husband. He’s a very visual kinda guy and just saying “uh yeah my boobs hurt and no flow for the last two months” he’d still rather see a line on a stick. It’s completely harmless, so if it makes you feel better drop the $3-20 on the brand of your choice and head to the toilet. (While it’s not necessary, if you’re barely late or not even late use your first morning pee it’ll be stronger.) It really won’t screw with your intuition for the rest of the pregnancy.

Once you’ve got that positive on a stick there are more ways to confirm. If you’re medically minded you can head to your doctor or midwife for a blood test. You can also choose to hear the heart bear on a doppler if you’re early along, on a fetoscope if you’re a little further along, or get an ultrasound. There is quite a bit of controversy over the safety of ultrasound, so make sure it’s really the right choice for you before indulging in one. I admit I chose one for purely selfish reasons; as my last child after two boys I felt I would bond better if I knew right now that it’d be another boy than if I found out at the end. I didn’t have one with DS2, and I didn’t find out the gender with DS1 so I just wanted to know. Considering it’s the only intervention I’ve planned for the pregnancy, I’m still a step ahead of the game.

Keep in mind however outside of whatever risk there may be to the ultrasound itself, there is also misread due dates, wrong size of baby, and defects show up that aren’t really there. The inaccuracy rate of these things is astounding and for one last comment on my tangent here, I suppose it even could still possibly be a girl in there, again due to inaccuracy of ultrasound, but, it sure looked like a boy to me.

Moving on…

After a positive pregnancy test, and any of the other aforementioned confirmations, you may begin to notice an enlarged abdomen, and possibly quickening (I’ve known women to feel movement as early as 7 weeks but early movement is more common in multiparous mothers who know what to look for or mothers carrying multiples). Down the line you will probably be able to feel fetal parts through your belly as well and sometimes even be able to count toes as feet stick out of your ribs.

If all that doesn’t convince you one way or another, well then go back to step one (wait 9 months and see) and you will without a doubt have your answer.

Warning: Signs of ectopic pregnancy– This is a potentially fatal condition and does warrant medical attention and if you read my blog long enough you’ll soon find that’s saying something coming from me.

Early symptoms will mimic regular pregnancy making this sometimes difficult to diagnose. First sign that something isn’t right is often bad abdominal pain. It will be sharp and stabbing and sometimes can even radiate into the neck or shoulder.

Other signs include:

  • vaginal spotting or bleeding
  • dizziness or fainting (caused by blood loss)
  • low blood pressure (also caused by blood loss)
  • lower back pain

While occasionally babies and moms do survive this condition it’s worth getting checked out for.
Hope this info helps all who are wondering what’s in their womb.

And just in case your answer wasn’t found here, here’s an online pregnancy test just for fun.

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