More Pregnancy Information
If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms or think you may be pregnant, schedule a free appointmentwith Care Pregnancy Clinic today to medically confirm your pregnancy and how far along you are.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms
Delay/Difference in Menstruation
A delayed or missed menstruation is the most common pregnancy symptom leading a woman to test for pregnancy. When you become pregnant, your next period should be missed. Many women can bleed while they are pregnant, but typically the bleeding will be shorter or lighter than a normal period.
Other Explanations: Excessive weight gain/loss, fatigue, hormonal problems, tension, stress, ceasing to take the birth control pill, or breast-feeding.
Implantation bleeding can be one of the earliest pregnancy symptoms. About 6-12 days after conception, the embryo implants itself into the uterine wall. Some women will experience spotting as well as some cramping.
Other Explanations: Actual menstruation, altered menstruation, changes in birth control pill, infection, or abrasion from intercourse.
Swollen or tender breasts is a pregnancy symptom which may begin as early as 1-2 weeks after conception. Women may notice changes in their breasts; they may be tender to the touch, sore, or swollen.
Other Explanations: Hormonal imbalance, birth control pills, impending menstruation (PMS) can also cause your breasts to be swollen or tender.
Feeling fatigued or more tired is a pregnancy symptom which can also start as early as the first week after conception.
Other Explanations: Stress, exhaustion, depression, common cold or flu, or other illnesses can also leave you feeling tired or fatigued.
This well-known pregnancy symptom will often show up between 2-8 weeks after conception. Some women are fortunate to not deal with morning sickness at all, while others will feel nauseous throughout most of their pregnancy.
Other Explanations: Food poisoning, stress, or other stomach disorders can also cause you to feel queasy.
Lower backaches may be a symptom that occurs early in pregnancy; however, it is common to experience a dull backache throughout an entire pregnancy.
Other Explanations: Impending menstruation, stress, other back problems, and physical or mental strains.
The sudden rise of hormones in your body can cause you to have headaches early in pregnancy.
Other Explanations: Dehydration, caffeine withdrawal, impending menstruation, eye strain, or other ailments can be the source of frequent or chronic headaches.
Around 6-8 weeks after conception, you may find yourself making a few extra trips to the bathroom.
Other Explanations: Urinary tract infection, diabetes, increasing liquid intake, or taking excessive diuretics.
Darkening of Areolas
If you are pregnant, the skin around your nipples may get darker.
Other Explanations: Hormonal imbalance unrelated to pregnancy or may be a leftover effect from a previous pregnancy.
While you may not have a strong desire to eat pickles and ice cream, many women will feel cravings for certain foods when they are pregnant. This can last throughout your entire pregnancy.
Other Explanations: Poor diet, lack of a certain nutrient, stress, depression, or impending menstruation.
American Pregnancy Association (2011). Pregnancy Symptoms – Early Signs of Pregnancy. Retrieved from:http://www.americanpregnancy.org/gettingpregnant/earlypregnancysymptoms.html
Home Pregnancy Tests
The home pregnancy test has become the typical first step for women who think they may be pregnant. Pregnancy tests work by measuring the levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone that is produced by the placenta during pregnancy.
Many tests claim 99% accuracy in clinical studies. But how accurate are they, really?
Pregnancy tests vary in their sensitivity, or how much hCG is needed to trigger a positive result. In early pregnancy, the concentration of hCG in a woman’s urine can double every two or three days! For a 95% accurate result on the day of missed menses, a test must be sensitive to 12.5 mIU/mL. According to one study, only 16% of tests were accurate one or two days after a missed period.1 However, highly sensitive tests are often more prone to false positives. Typically, it is better to wait one week after missing a period to take a home pregnancy test, at which time a sensitivity of 100 mlU/mL should be sufficient.
Each pregnancy test will come with specific instructions for how it is to be used and how and when the results are to be interpreted. Test types vary from cassettes and strips that display colored lines to tests with digital read-outs. A recent study showed that women misread cassette and strip tests 30 to 40% of the time.2 Tests with digital displays are much easier to read and use, but are usually a bit more expensive.
Quick Home Test Tips
It is best to get confirmation of pregnancy from a medical professional. A home pregnancy test can only indicate hormone levels, not confirm that you are pregnant or that you have a pregnancy that will develop. An ultrasound exam is the best and fastest method to confirm a viable pregnancy.
The professionals at Care Pregnancy Clinic can provide free appointments for Pregnancy Diagnostic Services and Pre-Termination Evaluations to confirm your pregnancy via ultrasound.
Cole LA, Khanlian SA, Sutton JM, Davies S, Rayburn WF (2004). Accuracy of home pregnancy tests at the time of missed menses. AJOG, 190(1):100-5.
Pike J, Godbert S, Johnson S (2013). Comparison of volunteers’ experience of using, and accuracy of reading, different types of home pregnancy test formats. Exp Opin Med Diagn, 7(5):435-41.
Follow the instructions for taking the test and reading the results exactly.
Taking a home pregnancy test with the first urine of the morning will yield the best results. The longer the urine used for your pregnancy test has been in your bladder, the better.
Do not drink a lot of extra water immediately before taking a pregnancy test, as extra fluids could over-dilute the urine.
For best results, home pregnancy tests should be taken 5 to 7 days after missing a period. Be sure to check the sensitivity of the test that you are using.
Self-care During Pregnancy
It’s important that you make an extra effort to take care of your self and your body during pregnancy. Here are some helpful tips.
Take prenatal vitamins with a meal
Eat a healthy balanced diet
Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water
Do not try to lose weight during your pregnancy
Get plenty of calcium through foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and fortified juices
Get plenty of iron – meat is a good source of this (see your doctor for other choices if you are a vegetarian)
To help manage nausea, eat small meals, keeping something in your stomach at all times. Make sure to stay hydrated. Nausea usually subsides after the first trimester.
Try to quit smoking
Get plenty of rest – naps can help
Do not take any medications unless otherwise directed by your doctor
A fetus is a developing human being with its own separate, distinct set of DNA that manages its own development. Nourishment is the only thing it will need to grow – from conception until the end of its natural life.
Last Menstrual Period
Baby attaches to the uterus
Nerves, brain and spinal cord begin to develop
Baby’s heart begins to beat
Eyes, arms, legs, lungs, and stomach begin to form
Hands and feet are forming
Upper lip, teeth, fingers and ears begin to form
Toes and genitals are forming
Baby has permanent fingerprints
Baby starts to produce urine
Fingernails are forming
Baby flexes and kicks
Hormones gear up
Skin begins to form
Facial expressions are possible
Baby begins to hear
Lanugo covers baby’s skin
The halfway point
Taste buds develop
Lungs prepare for life outside the womb
Sense of balance develops
Eyes remain closed
Second trimester ends
Baby’s eyes open
Movement is more forceful
Baby packs on pounds
Reproductive development continues
Downy hair falls off
Baby detects light
Protective coating gets thicker
Rapid growth continues
Baby can suck
Baby is full-term
Organ function continues to improve
Placenta provides antibodies
Your due date arrives
Symptoms of Pregnancy Complications
The following symptoms may indicate a serious or life-threatening pregnancy condition. If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, and have any of these physical problems, call your doctor or go to the emergency department right away.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2011). STDs and Pregnancy – CDC Fact Sheet. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/std/pregnancy/STDFact-Pregnancy.htm
Abdominal pain with a fever
Cramping and abdominal pain more than your period
Burning with urination
Puffiness in your hands or face
First Prenantal Visit
What You Can Expect on Your First Prenatal Care Visit
You will meet your doctor who will review your health history. You will be asked a lot of questions about you and your partner’s health.
Make sure you know the date of your last menstrual period (LMP). This date will be used to approximate your due date. If you’re not sure of your LMP, other methods can determine your due date as well.
At each doctor’s visit you will have your weight, blood pressure and urine checked. At the first visit you may have an internal exam done to check for any problems. The doctor will also check the size of your womb to be sure you have the right due date.
Routine tests will be performed during your pregnancy to rule out other complications.
It is normal to visit your health care provider once a month during the first 7 months, twice during the 8th month and then weekly until your baby is born.
Each of these visits to your health care provider gives you the opportunity to discuss the normal changes you go through during pregnancy and allows you the chance to share your feelings and concerns as you prepare for your baby.
10 Questions Expectant Mothers Ask About Adoption
How can adoption be good for my baby and me?
If you are not ready to be a parent, you can still give your baby the gift of life by choosing adoption. You can plan for your baby’s future by selecting a stable, loving family to care for your baby. After birth, you can see your baby, name your baby, and spend time with your baby. If you so choose you may be able to get updates on your child’s progress or have ongoing visits throughout your child’s life while you continue your education or career goals. Finally, you can be proud that you chose life for your baby.
Can I choose a family for my baby?
Yes! Most agencies have many different families you can choose from. These families have been screened and approved. There are additional options such as choosing a friend or someone who has been recommended to you. Your agency will discuss these options with you.
How much contact can I have with my baby after birth and after adoption?
You may have as much contact with your baby at the hospital as you desire. When planning your child’s adoption, you can choose an open-adoption plan that allows ongoing visits with your child, or you can choose less open adoption that keeps you informed about your child’s progress through letters and photos. Adoptive families respect your need to know that your child is loved and happy. If you prefer not to have any contact with your child or the adoptive family, confidential-adoption plans are also possible.
How soon after birth can my baby go to the parents I choose?
The timing of your child’s placement depends on three factors:
Many birthmothers want their baby placed with the adoptive family directly from the hospital. Some women prefer to place their baby in temporary care while they consider their adoption decision. Your agency can help with either option.
How much will my child know about me?
That depends on what type of adoption you choose – open, semi-open, or confidential. Also, your agency will encourage you to provide your complete medical and social history to your child, no matter what type of adoption plan you make, and in some states that information is required. You may choose to share your identity and where you live with the adoptive family. If you’ve made an open adoption plan, you may have ongoing, direct contact with your child and the adoptive family. The information your child will know about the birthfather depends on his relationship with you and your counselor. Most birthfathers give their complete medical and social history, recognizing how important it is for the child. In some cases, the only information available about the birthfather is what the birthmother provides.
Does the birthfather have any rights?
Both you and the birthfather have rights. If you disagree about adoption or you no longer have a relationship with him, your agency will work with the birthfather and/or the courts to determine if his rights can be terminated.
Can my child find me if he/she wants to search someday?
The laws in your state determine when and how your child may have access to information in the adoption file. Your caseworker will explain the current laws as they apply to your adoption plan.
How can I be sure my child will be well cared for?
Adoptive families approved by your agency must meet standards that are shared with you. Your agency will make every attempt to complete a thorough assessment of potential adoptive families. Prior to finalizing the adoption, a caseworker will make home visits to ensure the child’s well-being. In an open adoption, you will see for yourself how well your child is cared for and how much your child is loved.
Do I need an attorney or do I pay my agency to assist me with the adoption?
In most states, you do not need an attorney and there are no costs to you. The adoption agency will handle all of the legal details for you and the birthfather.
Does the agency offer assistance with medical and living expenses while I am making an adoption plan?
Assistance with medical and living expenses is available through many agencies. For details about how your agency can help you in your particular circumstances, contact a caseworker.
Bethany Christian Services. 10 Questions Expectant Mothers Ask About Adoption, MD.118.BRO.2968 8.06
Your preference for the time of placement
Legal aspects of adoption, which may vary from state to state
The cooperation of the birthfather