Am I Pregnant?

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Many women over the course of history have asked the question, "Am I pregnant?" Some were purposefully trying to conceive a child while others entertained the thought with a bit of fear and trepidation as they hadn't been planning such a life-changing event. Whatever the case, the question itself can be just as confusing and worrisome for any woman. The earliest signs of pregnancy are actually quite similar to the signs of an impending period. As such, many women are confused at first as to whether or not they are pregnant or just experiencing normal cycle issues.

How then is a woman to know if she is pregnant? There are some very common symptoms that might point in the direction of a pregnancy.

  1. First and foremost, a missed period. Especially if you have a regular cycle, a missed period is the biggest hint that you may be pregnant. However, your cycle can also be delayed by stress, improper diet and other medical conditions. If you have already missed a period, purchase and take a home pregnancy test.
  2. Morning sickness is another big indicator of a possible pregnancy. Of course, the name is rather misleading. Some women actually experience their "morning" sickness in the evenings while others are doomed to a fate of "all day" sickness. To make matters more confusing, some women never get the joy of experiencing this early pregnancy symptom.
  3. A frequent need to urinate can be a pretty good indicator that something is going on in your body. This occurs because the pregnancy hormone hCG triggers the need for frequent urination. If you are not suspecting a pregnancy, however, and finding an increased need to urinate, you should see a doctor as it may be a sign of a UTI, diabetes or other health issues that need addressed.
  4. Absolute exhaustion, referred to medically as fatigue, is another red flag for pregnancy. The reason for the pregnancy related exhaustion is due to the hormone progesterone which exists at a higher level during your pregnancy. Also, quite simply, your body is working extra hard to sustain a new life within you!

There are other common signs that are even more prone to confusion with cycle symptoms. Things like bloating, breast tenderness, a change in vaginal discharge, headaches and cravings can all be either a sign of an oncoming period, a sign of pregnancy or even a sign of something totally unrelated to either issue. It can be difficult for a woman who wasn't expecting to be pregnant at all to decipher what the signs and symptoms of pregnancy are, how they are the same and different from period symptoms and to make that comparison on her own.

The best way to figure out whether or not you should be concerned with the symptoms you are experiencing is to pull out your calendar. When was the first day of your last period? Circle that day. Ovulation in women with normal cycles usually occurs 14 days after that first day of your last period. That egg has a 24-48 hour window in which it would need to be fertilized for pregnancy to occur. The tricky part is that sperm can live within a woman's body for 4-5 days. In short, if you had sex anywhere from 9 days to 16 days after your period, especially without some form of birth control, you run the risk of becoming pregnant. Now that you have looked at your calendar and guesstimated your fertile period, you can better make an educated guess as to whether the symptoms you are currently experiencing are signs of pregnancy or an impending period.

Whatever the case, if you are suspecting a period and especially if you have missed a period, purchase and take a home pregnancy test. Thanks to scientific advances, these tests are now cheaper and more reliable than ever. You can find them in drug stores, chain department stores, online and even in some dollar stores. Be sure to read the instructions on the box, even before purchasing, as some are made to be more sensitive than others.

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