What are the signs of being pregnant?

Becoming pregnant for the first time is a unique experience for every woman. It is not only a physically unique experience, but emotionally different one too. However, while no two pregnancies are completely identical, there are many common signs.

Home pregnancy tests

Many women today buy home pregnancy test kits that are on sale over the counter at most pharmacies and health clinics. We sell them here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall as part of our GP/pharmacy and women’s health screening services.

All pregnancy test kits measure the amount of chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) in urine. Some test kits are more sensitive than others, varying anywhere from 10 mIU/ml to 40 mIU/ml. The abbreviation “mIU/ml” stands for milli-international Unit per millilitre, and in terms of sensitivity, the lower the number, the more sensitive the test.

How quickly can you take a home pregnancy test?

The most sensitive tests, (the ones designed to measure hCG at 10 mIU/ml), can detect a pregnancy as soon as 4 days prior to the commencement of your next period, or 7 days following conception. However you should be aware that early tests are not necessarily conclusive. Positives tests usually are, but negative tests may not be. If you suspect you are pregnant and your first home-test proves negative, you should retake the test 3 days later.

The majority of home-test kits will give accurate results if taken when you would normally expect your next period to begin; somewhere around a fortnight after you ovulate.

Blood test for pregnancy

The most sensitive of all pregnancy tests are blood tests. These can detect pregnancy from around 6 to 8 days following ovulation. Your GP would not normally agree to you undergoing a pregnancy blood test until after your period is due, and even then, only if there are specific medical grounds.

You could of course use a private health GP clinic, such as the walk-in women’s health screening services we offer here at Broadgate Clinic London Wall.

If you do suspect you might be pregnant, and you’ve either had a negative home test result, or you’ve not yet decided to buy one, here are some pregnancy tell-tale signs that you can look out for.

Missing your period

For those women who usually have their periods regularly, on-time, like clockwork, missing a period is the most reliable sign that you might be pregnant. You should also be aware however, that you could still initially experience a light period whereby you lose very little blood.

Early morning sickness

Early morning sickness is real classic when it comes down the early signs of pregnancy. However, not all women suffer from this symptom, and if they do, it can occur any time of day – it’s not necessarily confined to early morning. Despite what they like to portray in the movies, sickness, early morning or otherwise, doesn’t normally kick in until somewhere between week 4 and 6 of pregnancy. Some women who suffer this simply feel nauseas, whereas others are actually physically sick.

Your breasts may swell and become tender

Swollen, tender breasts are another common symptom of pregnancy. This usually occurs during the first trimester. It’s been likened to how some women’s breasts feel just before their periods set in. As well at the breasts becoming slightly distended and tender, small blue veins sometimes materialise just below the surface of the skin. All of these symptoms normally disappear after a few weeks, as the pregnancy progresses.

Feeling fatigued

Fatigue on its own is not necessarily a symptom of pregnancy, but when experienced alongside other pregnancy symptoms, it can be a strong indicator. These feelings of fatigue come about because of the enormous change in the balance of hormones that takes place in your body when pregnancy hormones kick in.

Passing urine more often

Many women feel a need to urinate more often after about 6 weeks into their first trimester. It’s caused by a number of things:

•                The fact that you have more blood in your circulatory system to support baby

•                The fact that your kidneys have to work overtime filtering blood for mother and baby

•                The effect of the pregnancy hormones.

Darkening nipples

Several changes take place to a woman’s skin during pregnancy. The areolas surrounding the nipples may become darker. This often happens about 8 weeks into your term. You may also notice that tiny bumps around your nipples become more defined. Although not so noticeable, you may also find that your vagina takes on a darker, slightly purplish hue.

Specific food cravings

Many women experience a metallic taste in their mouths. Others might develop an aversion to coffee, or some other foods or drinks that they would normally otherwise enjoy, while also having sudden cravings for certain other food and drinks; sometimes in quite odd combinations. You may also find that your sense of smell may alter.

Call in at Broadgate Clinic London Wall and put your mind at rest

If you experience one of more of the above symptoms, you may well be pregnant. If you live and/or work in London, you can call on the walk-in women’s health screening services at Broadgate Clinic London Wall to buy a pregnancy detection kit, or to have a specific pregnancy blood text