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Signs of pregnancy

January 5, 2011
The most obvious sign is a missed period, but there are other things to look out for.

Am I pregnant?

Many women don’t suspect they’re pregnant until they’ve missed a period, but there may be other indications, sometimes even before that missed period, too.

  • Sickness and/or feelings of nausea
  • A strange, ‘metallic’ taste in your mouth
  • Breast tenderness, tingling and enlargement
  • The small bumps – ‘Montgomery’s tubercules’ – on your nipples becoming more obvious
  • Stomach pains
  • Tiredness
  • Constipation
  • Needing to urinate more often
  • Going off certain things, such as coffee and fatty foods
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Some women experience very light bleeding (called ‘spotting’) that they mistake for their period

When should I do a test?

Home pregnancy tests can be used on the first day of your missed period, and some very sensitive tests can be used sooner than this.

The tests work by detecting the hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) in your urine. A chemical in the stick changes colour when it comes into contact with this hormone, so the usual way of testing is to urinate on the end of the stick and watch for the result in the window of the stick.

Pregnancy tests are very accurate as long as you use them properly. It’s possible to have a false negative, when the test says you aren’t pregnant but you are. If your period still doesn’t arrive, repeat the test or check with your GP.

You can buy home pregnancy tests online, in the supermarket or at your local chemist. Some GPs, family planning clinics and young people’s services (such as Brook Centres) offer free tests, as do some pharmacies, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and Marie Stopes International clinics.

When is my baby due?

The length of your pregnancy is dated from the first day of your last period, even though you actually conceive two weeks or so after this date (depending on the length of your cycle). Your baby is likely to be born two weeks either side of the due date.

Check your due date and what’s happening within your body week by week with our pregnancy calendar. All you need to know is the first day of your last period.

Most women see their GP to arrange antenatal care, but you can book directly with a community midwife if you prefer. Call your doctor’s surgery, or your primary care trust, to find out how to do this.

Does a GP need to confirm my pregnancy?

If you’ve had a positive home test, you just need to tell your doctor. They’re unlikely to test you again. You may be offered a ‘dating’ scan, even if you’re sure of your dates. This is an ultrasound scan done in early pregnancy to find out the size of your uterus and the embryo, to help determine how many weeks pregnant you are.

Source: BBC – Health
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