Getting to hear that one is pregnant is a news that makes everyone happy, assuming it was planned one. It is a joy to conceive, a delight for the parents. Yet an unplanned pregnancy is the worst news one could receive. It turns the whole world upside down and in a bad way. it has psychological effects that are both tiring and disturbing. It is therefore best to know and understand the theories of pregnancy better. This article will discuss the stages of pregnancy, the signs and symptoms of pregnancy and how early it is possible to test of pregnancy using some tests.
- Stages of Pregnancy
- Early signs and symptoms of pregnancy
- How To Tell If You are Pregnant Without a Test, Simple ways to check pregnancy
- Other symptoms that indicate that you may be pregnant
- Medical Tests Used To Confirm Pregnancy
- Frequently Asked Questions
Stages of Pregnancy
A typical pregnancy lasts for about 40 weeks. The timeline is measured form the last menstrual period to the birth of the baby. This time period is divided into 3 stages of roughly 3 months each. The first three months are the first trimester. the next three are the second trimester and the last three are the third trimester.
This time period last from conception to the 12th week of pregnancy, roughly. Some physical and psychological changes in this period are the earliest and proof of the fact that one is pregnant. Classified as hormonal changes, the following changes occur in the first few weeks itself.
- Extreme fatigue
- Nausea (with or without throwing up)
- Cravings to certain foods
- Aversions to certain foods
- Mood swings
- Frequent urination
Other significant changes that will show physically will be weight loss or gain and swollen, tender breasts. One noticeable change that is a rather strong proof is that the berets become swollen and the nipples become sensitive. There are also changes in the daily routine of pregnant women. You may need to go to bed earlier or eat more frequent or smaller meals.
By the 4th week the embryo is formed and is 1/25 of an inch long. The heart and limbs begin to take shape and so have the brain and the spinal cord. By the 8th week all major organs take shape, sex organs form and facial features begin to develop. The umbilical cord becomes clearly visible. The baby is now called a foetus in medical terms and is an inch long. By the 12th week the nerves and muscles begin to work together. Eyelids close to protect the eyes and the baby reaches a length of 3 inches.
This period is famous for the baby bump that will start to show. Early changes like morning sickness and nausea will eventually subside and will be overtaken by other physical changes.
- Back, groin or thigh aches and pains
- Stretch marks on the abdomen
- Darkening of the skin around the nipples
- Numb or tingling hands called the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
- Patches of darker skin on the face, usually over the cheeks and forehead.
This period incorporates the 16th week in it where the baby begins to form skin and is about 4 to 5 inches long. The intestinal tract begins to develop and the musculoskeletal system continues to form. beginning at the 20th week, the baby begins to move around. It can hear and swallow and the eyelashes, nails have formed. By the 24th week the bone marrow starts producing blood cells. Taste buds form and fingerprints and footprints form. The lungs take shape but do not work yet. The baby is now about 12 inches long.
The third trimester is the final stage on the pregnant timeline. Difficulty in breathing may occur along with frequent urination due to the baby pushing on the organs.
Other significant changes will include:
- The belly button may protrude
- Tender breast which may leak watery pre-milk
- the baby dropping or moving to lower spot in the abdomen
- Contractions, which could be a sign of false labour
If there is swelling of ankles, fingers or the face call the doctor immediately as it could be Preeclampsia, a serious condition.
As the due date draws near the cervix will become thinner to allow the baby to pass. The baby’s bones are fully formed and the eyes can open and close. Movements increase and the baby kicks more often. By the 36th week, the movements become less forceful and the baby will be about 16 to 19 inches long. Between the 37th and 40th week is when the delivery will usually happen. The baby will be at an average length of 20 inches, but happiness comes in all sizes, right?
Early Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy
The most important sign of a pregnancy and one that is almost a sure shot is a missed period. If a week has passed without the start of your menstrual period, then you are pretty much pregnant, unless you have an irregular menstrual cycle. Light spotting called as implantation bleeding is also one of the first few signs of pregnancy. this means that if you are pregnant you may bleed a little, about 10 to 12 days after conception.
Tender breasts are also one of the first signs that you’re probably pregnant. They feel heavier and fuller. This is because of the hormone progesterone. Your body also keeps more water during pregnancy and that is also the reason you feel the breast are bloated or swollen.
Fatigue is another sign that warns you about pregnancy. The extra progesterone produced makes you feel tired and you may feel the need to take naps throughout the day. Uterine cramping is also a sign of the same
A lot of women start feeling lightheaded and dizzy. You may even have fainting spells. Nausea and vomiting are also a strong sign that you’re pregnant already. Although they don’t show up until the 7th or 8th week, nausea starts pretty soon. You might also start to experience frequent urination due to the pressure of the uterus on the bladder. You might also feel bloated along the waistline and clothes may feel tighter along the waistline.
One other sign is the sense of smell. If you start getting disgusted with certain food smells that you were previously comfortable with, it probably means that your sense of smell has been heightened. It is one of the earliest signs that you’re pregnant.
One important sign of pregnancy is high body temperature. This sign comes even before the missed period. If there is a marked elevated sign of a higher body temperature than normal then the chances are you might just be pregnant.
How To Tell If You are Pregnant Without a Test, Simple ways to check pregnancy
Since ancient times, the best way to find out if you were pregnant was to wait and watch, but there were also different ways one could check if she was carrying a baby or not, some of the ways you can try out include :
Stored Urine Test
Collect urine in a bottle and leave for 3 to 4 hours. If a foamy layer appears on top then chances are you’re pregnant. If not then rest safe, you’re probably safe.
Wheat and Barley Test
Originating in ancient Egypt, this test has proven to be 70% accurate even in a laboratory. Over the course of a few days, urinate over what and barley seeds. If the barley seed sprout then you’re probably pregnant with a boy and if the wheat seeds sprout then it’s a girl. If neither, then you’re not pregnant.
Since the first urine of the day is important, collect it in a bottle and add some white toothpaste to it. If the solution changes colour or begins to froth, you’re mostly pregnant.
Mustard Powder Test
Mustard powder has been considered to be a period inducer. So if you have missed your period or it is delayed, add a bit of mustard to your bath. Put it in a bucket or in the tub and soak yourself with it. If in a day or two your period shows up, it was probably a false alarm. But if it doesn’t, chances are you’re pregnant.
Vinegar Pregnancy Test
take some Vinegar. Pour your collected urine over it and leave for a few hours. If the colour changes then you’re pregnant.
Sugar Clump Test
Take a spoonful of sugar in a bowl. Pour some urine over it and let it stand for a few hours. If the sugar dissolves then you’re not pregnant, but if it does then consider going to the doctor for a check-up.
Baking Soda Test
Take baking soda in a bowl and urinate over it. If the powder collected starts to fizzle then chances are you are pregnant. If that is not the case then stay assured you are not.
Other symptoms that indicate that you may be pregnant
- Swollen Breasts
- Nausea (with or without vomiting)
- Cramps in the uterus (Uterine cramps)
- Numb hands and palms
- Dizziness, light-headedness
- Aversion or craving towards certain foods
- Frequent urination
- Higher body temperature
- Increase in the waistline.
- Toothpaste test is positive
- Barley and wheat test indicates you’re pregnant.
- Stored Urine Test indicates pregnancy due to froth being formed.
- Mustard Powder Test
- Vinegar Pregnancy Test
- Baking Soda Test
- Sugar Clump Test
Medical Tests Used To Confirm Pregnancy
Although one of the above symptoms usually inform you about your chances of pregnancy, a medical test will let you know accurately about your status. One most probably gets accurate results one day after her missed period but it is always better to wait a week to test for pregnancy as the results are 100% accurate.
Home Pregnancy Test (HTP)
A home pregnancy test can easily be done on the first day of your missed period. There are some other very sensitive tests can be called upon even earlier.
HTP works by detecting the hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. This is a hormone only found in the body during pregnancy. A chemical in the stick changes colour when it comes into contact with this hormone. While waiting time varies depending on the test, most of them take about 10 minutes to showcase an accurate reading. A lot of manufacturers recommend that HPTs be taken twice, since the results may vary if the test is taken too soon after the first missed period. In some cases, one’s hCG levels are too low to catch early on.
Although pregnancy tests are pretty accurate when they’re used correctly, a lot of times it’s possible to have a false negative, which happens when you’re pregnant but the test says you aren’t. Thus if you missed your period and it doesn’t arrive after a few days, repeat the test or check with your doctor.
Clinical Urine Tests
Clinical Uribe Tests (CUTs) are done at any general physicians office. Not that these tests are necessarily more accurate than an HPT, but the doctor may be able to help eliminate any possible errors that might be affecting or might affect the accuracy of the test. A clinical urine test generally costs more than an HPT.
Usually, your results arrive within a week of taking the test, but sometimes it may take longer.
Blood tests are taken at the laboratory or a certified clinic. There are two types of blood types, the quantitative hCG and the qualitative hCG. The quantitative test measures the amount of hCG in the body while the qualitative test indicates a simple yes or no based on if there is any hCG in the body.
Quantitative hCG blood tests have been proved to be very accurate because they measure the exact amount of hCG in the blood. They can also detect smaller amounts of the hormone than a qualitative hCG blood test or a urine test, and thus give accurate results.
The downside is that although blood tests can detect hCG earlier than urine tests, they are usually more expensive than home tests, and the wait is longer for your results.
A lot of times there are false positive results. A false positive can occur for several reasons.
- A chemical pregnancy, in which your pregnancy ends shortly after the egg attaches to your uterine lining
- A menopause
- An ectopic pregnancy
- An ovarian condition such as a cyst.
It is therefore always better to consult a doctor in all such cases and others.
Frequently Asked Questions
1.What should I expect on my first check up?
- There will be a blood and urine test to confirm your pregnancy.
- The doctor will ask for a detailed medical history review to be done.
- A general physical health exam will be taken to examine weight, blood pressure, heart, lung, pelvic, and breast health.
- A blood test is always taken to check for things like anaemia, existing STDs (if there are any), and antibodies That show up in your medical review
- A short pap smear and culture to check for vaginal infection and cervical cancer that you might have.
- A urine test to check for infection, as well as measure sugar and protein levels in the body.
2. How important is it to take prenatal vitamins?
Growing a new person inside your body is not an easy job and it takes a lot from your body. Therefore it is really important to take prenatal medication to supplement your body with vitamins, folic acid, calcium and iron.
3. How can I do to prevent a nasty heartburn?
Due to the increased production of progesterone, the acids from the stomach flow into the oesophagus through the valves of the stomach. This causes heartburn. In order to cope with this, take frequent smaller meals. Walk a little after eating. Drink ginger tea and wear loose clothing.
4.How can I prevent stretch marks on my abdomen?
Drink lots of water. Basically keeping yourself hydrated is the trick. Massage your skin with a moisturiser high in vitamin A and E. Also consuming a diet rich in vitamin A, E, C and zinc.
5. What fitness activities can I do?
Light exercise and certain yoga postures will benefit you in keeping a healthy body. Certain exercises like walking, light jogging and low gravity swimming are totally safe.
6.Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?
Yes, it is perfectly safe to have sex during pregnancy unless otherwise specified by your doctor during the pre-natal tests.
7.What are the chances that I could be pregnant?
If you’re a woman in your 20s to 30s and you’ve bee having regular unprotected sex then chances are 30% that you might be pregnant, assuming there are certain symptoms concerning the case. If you’re in your 30s, chances are 15%.
8.Can I feel when conception occurs?
Although some women feel when it happens, it is just a matter of personal interpretation and experience.
9.When exactly does conception occur?
It’s not very accurately possible to know exactly when you conceive, but roughly conception happens 2 weeks after your period ends.
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