At this time of waiting, you are not alone in thinking one of the most frequently asked questions: ‘Am I pregnant?’
Can we answer this? What’s going on? How do you feel?
Absence of menstrual period
At the end of week 2 after conception, the first firm indication that you are pregnant will be when your period doesn’t arrive. This is due to the high levels of progesterone and oestrogen continuing to circulate in your body due to being pregnant.
If you were planning to have a baby, hopefully you will have:
- Thought ahead,
- Cut out alcohol and smoking,
- Considered a health-friendly diet,
- Started daily folic acid –
Before trying to become pregnant. If this pregnancy is a surprise for you, then – it’s never too late. You and your baby will benefit so much.
Early breast changes
Some women feel a difference in their breasts even before the first missed period. All breast changes in pregnancy are due to increased hormonal activity in the body. Oestrogen develops the duct system of the breasts and progesterone increases the glandular tissue. The breasts start enlarging early in pregnancy because of the increased tissue growth and blood supply. The increase in size is one of the first things you notice and also a prickling tingling feeling due to the hormonal changes. Your breasts might also feel quite tender. This is quite similar to the fullness and tenderness many women feel in their breasts before a period. The difference is that when or just before a period comes, the tenderness goes as the hormone levels fall. When you are pregnant, the breast changes continue.
Although some women don’t feel sick this early in pregnancy, it does sometimes happen and should be acknowledged. This is another early sign of pregnancy. A related sign is the thought or taste of certain foods or drinks. For instance, some women go off coffee before they know that they are pregnant, even though they have been coffee drinkers all their lives. Could Nature be telling us something? More about sickness – morning or any time – next week, in the meantime if you have extreme morning sickness or are worried speak to one of our experts
This is another common symptom which sometimes occurs very early. Tips to avoid this:
- Get up slowly from lying down.
- If you feel faint while standing, find a seat.
- Don’t stand for too long.
- Lie down on your side if that helps.
What about a pregnancy test?
Most women who think they may be pregnant want to know for sure as soon as possible. Nowadays you can find out for yourself at an early stage by buying a home pregnancy testing kit from your pharmacist. Although some pharmacists will do the test for you there and then, it is more likely that you will want to take the testing kit away to the privacy of your own home.
When you are pregnant, the hormone, Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (HCG) is present in body fluids like blood or urine. Pregnancy tests depend on the presence or absence of HCG. The pregnancy test you buy at the pharmacist is performed on urine. The levels of HCG start to rise sharply when fertilisation occurs – about two weeks before your first missed period – and reach a peak at around ten weeks. Some of the tests are very sensitive, picking up HCG even before the first missed period but may not be so accurate this early. However, most women who think they may be pregnant do the test when they have missed a period.
The instructions are quite straightforward. Usually it takes about 5 minutes to see a result. Different brands display results (positive or negative) differently. Some show two lines for a positive result and one for negative. But others may change the colour of the urine in the sample, or vary the colour of lines on the tester, show a plus or minus sign, or even say in a window, ‘pregnant’ or ‘not pregnant’. Whatever the test does, it’s a long five minutes. Results are 97% accurate.
Some women just ‘know’ they are pregnant.
This is a very important point and should be taken seriously.
How is your baby getting on at this point?
In week one we looked at the development of the newly fertilised ovum which becomes known as the zygote and, as it develops through the beginning of week two, becomes the embryo. It’s now safely embedded in the wall of the uterus and is still developing in a most complex way as the cells divide, and begin to differentiate between the systems they are going to represent.
Watch for the beginning of week three for some more action. Until then enjoy your pregnancy!