As women we tend to fall into two categories; trying not to get pregnant or trying to get pregnant and doing so can consume much of our psychological and emotional attention.
But when should you do a pregnancy test?
Pregnancy tests are most reliable from the first day of your missed period, although some tests can be used as early as 4 or 5 days before your period is due. Check the packaging of your test to find out when it can be used.
If you have regular periods, you'll probably know when your next period is due. If you're not sure, it's a good idea to wait at least 3 weeks after you think you may have conceived before doing a test.
A positive test (pregnant) result is almost certainly correct. A negative (not pregnant) result is less reliable. If you still think you're pregnant after a negative result, wait a few days and try again.
While pregnancy tests and ultrasounds are the only ways to determine if you’re pregnant, there are other signs and symptoms you can look out for.
For women who have a regular monthly menstrual cycle, the earliest and most reliable sign of pregnancy is a missed period.
Although, some women In early pregnancy may have a bleed similar to a very light period, with some spotting or only losing a little blood. This is called implantation bleeding. This happens when the fertilised egg implants in your womb. If your cycles aren't regular, you may notice other pregnancy symptoms before you notice a missed period.
Breast changes are very common in early pregnancy. Your breasts might grow larger and/ or feel tender, tingly or sensitive. The veins on your breasts may also become more noticeable and your areola (the darker area around your nipple) may darken. These changes are mainly down to the increasing levels in the hormones such as progesterone and oestrogen.
Tiredness and fatigue are very common in the first few weeks of pregnancy. This is thought to be due to the rising levels of progesterone in your body as it maintains the lining of your womb in order to maintain your pregnancy.
One of the biggest giveaways is often feeling nauseous or even being sick. You could start feeling sick, and even vomit, between the 2nd to the 8th week of pregnancy. This is believed to be due to the rise in the hormone Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (HCG), this is the hormone responsible for the 2 blue lines on a pregnancy test. For most women the sickness subsides as they move into their 13th week of pregnancy as the placenta takes over maintaining the pregnancy instead of HCG.
Some women may also experience going to the toilet more often About 6 -8 weeks after conception you may need to urinate more frequently. This is due to your womb growing larger and pressing on your bladder. At the end of the 1st trimester your uterus rises up into your abdomen which will takes some of this pressure off your bladder.
And the symptom that your partner is most likely to notice is mood swings. Your changing hormones may cause some mood swings in the early stages of pregnancy – you could even find yourself crying without really knowing why.
It is also not uncommon to find your taste buds change and you may go off certain things like tea, coffee or fatty food. Many women will even start to crave things they don't normally eat.
Your nose in pregnancy often becomes more sensitive to smells which might make you feel queasy when you smell certain things, notably other people’s perfume or the kitchen bin can cause your stomach to turn.
You may also get some cramps in your legs or feet in the first trimester, and sometimes later in your pregnancy too. This is due to changes in the way your body processes calcium.
It’s not so surprising really that your body experiences all of these early changes and symptoms when you think that it is literally creating and preserving a whole new little life. Women’s bodies never fail to amaze me!
(NHS, 2018) (Clearblue.com)