Am I pregnant?
Pregnancy was the third-most Googled health condition behind Ebola and the flu last year, but if you search “Am I pregnant?” on the Internet, you may not be able to find an answer very quickly.
More than 317,000,000 search results will pop up causing women to wonder, “Where do I begin?”
“Pregnancy symptoms are vague, and the signs and symptoms are not exclusive to pregnancy,” says Dr. Melissa Miller, obstetrician/gynecologist at Advocate Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Ill. “They can signal anovulation [not ovulating], pregnancy or PMS. A delayed or missed menstrual cycle is the most common false alarm for pregnancy, and while it is a possibility that pregnancy has occurred, that is not always the case.”
The most common early signs of pregnancy include:
- Missed period
- Breast tenderness
- Pelvic bloating
- In some cases, there are no symptoms at all.
Dr. Miller recommends women who have missed a menstrual cycle take a pregnancy test one to two weeks after their missed cycle.
“There are some tests that report being able to confirm a pregnancy weeks before the missed menstrual cycle, but they are not always accurate because there must be a certain amount of hormones circulating in the mother in order for the urine test to come back positive,” says Dr. Miller. “The difference of a day or two could result in a positive test as the concentration of hormones increases rapidly.”
If a woman is experiencing vaginal bleeding, similar to a menstrual period, Dr. Miller cautions it doesn’t mean she isn’t pregnant. First trimester bleeding can be caused by impending spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) to implantation bleeding or vaginitis.
“Most causes are benign, but it is important to speak with your physician’s office regarding your concerns,” she says.
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