Wondering if you’re pregnant can be stressful whether or not you are planning a family. While every woman is different, the most common sign of pregnancy is a missed period, and this is the way most women realize that they are pregnant. Some women seem to know that they’re pregnant even before they miss a period. Signs can include the ones listed on this page..
Could I be pregnant?
Within several weeks of conception (the fertilization of an egg with a sperm), many pregnant women will begin to notice some physical signs or clues that tell them they are pregnant.
Early physical signs of pregnancy may include:
- nausea and vomiting (especially in the morning)
- breast swelling and tenderness
- increased frequency of urination
- unusual fatigue
- a missed period – It is normal for some women to miss a period occasionally, especially during times of physical or emotional stress, when breastfeeding, while taking birth control pills or if they have an eating disorder. If you have been sexually active, however, a missed period can be an indication that you are pregnant. NOTE: On the other hand, some women have ‘breakthrough bleeding’ at the time of their period even when they are pregnant.
If you suspect that you might be pregnant, a pregnancy test can be done to confirm or deny your suspicions. Pregnancy tests measure the amount of a certain hormone in your body. This hormone is called ‘human chorionic gonadotropin’ (or HCG). HCG is produced by the placenta. The placenta is the place where the growing baby is connected to the inside of the uterus. Urine testing is the type of pregnancy test done most often. While blood tests for pregnancy can be done, they are generally not ordered by a doctor unless there are special circumstances.
To get a pregnancy test done, you can:
- have a pregnancy test arranged for you by your doctor or by one of your Health Care Providers.
- buy a home pregnancy test kit at a drug store without a prescription. If you plan to do your own pregnancy test:
- be aware that the pregnancy test kits now available in Canada or the U.S. are very reliable when used correctly. No home pregnancy test kit is 100% accurate, however.
- choose a pregnancy test kit that has easy to follow instructions and follow them exactly.
- ask your pharmacist if you have questions about the use of a pregnancy test kit — your pharmacist is the health care professional who is most familiar with the use of the various self testing products.
- check the pregnancy testing kit carefully for an expiration date before you buy it to ensure that the kit is not outdated (an outdated kit will not give you accurate results).
- be aware that, if you test too soon, the pregnancy test may indicate that you are not pregnant when you really are. Some pregnancy test kits can give you a reliable result about 14 days after conception. Each product is different, however, so read the information on the test kit carefully or ask your pharmacist how soon you can use a pregnancy test kit to get reliable results.