When and How You Should Test for Pregnancy
For most women, there likely has been a time when they think that they may be pregnant. This happens to those who are a bit carefree when it comes to sex as well as some of those who are incredibly cautious. This can happen – and be a tremendous source of joy – for those women who have been trying to conceive and also those who cannot physically, financially or psychologically afford to endure a pregnancy. Whatever the case, being certain is necessary, so you can plan for the future.
Why Are People So Uncertain About Their Pregnancy Status?
Some of you may be reading this just for reference and wondering why it is that so many women are unsure as to whether or not they are pregnant. After all, doesn’t it seem like this is something that would be obvious no later than a month or two after having sex?
Like most things in the life, determining if conception has occurred isn’t a clear-cut thing without the use of modern medical technology. For one, while the majority of women in the industrialized world who aren’t trying to conceive are on some form of birth control, and while the majority of scientifically-backed methods are highly effective, there is a small failure rate for nearly all of them.
Further, some women who do take birth control like the hormonal pill may forget to take their medication or women who use intrauterine devices may not have them replaced before they expire.
Second, many women who are earnestly trying to get pregnant experience problems when trying to conceive. In fact, according to some medical sources, about 10% of women have a hard time either becoming pregnant or staying pregnant. To make things even more challenging, a significant minority of men have infertility problems which will frustrate a couple’s attempt to conceive.
In many of these problems, getting pregnant naturally isn’t impossible but will require a great deal of effort. Even for couples who invest in in vitro fertilization (IVF), some women’s uterus don’t reliably retain a fertilized embryo long enough to develop into a baby. This is the reason why implant between 3 to 5 embryos during IVF. Even then, less than 30% of IVF cycles result in pregnancy, and only about 22% of IVF procedures result in a successful live birth.
Third, women who may or may not be prepared for pregnancy but are suffering from unusual persistent symptoms such as nausea, changes in appetite and cramps when not menstruating may want to use a pregnancy test to rule pregnancy out as a cause.
Of course, women who have intercourse without using protection have ample reason to be concerned about their status.
When to Take a Pregnancy Test
As previously stated, pregnancy can mimic the symptoms of other bodily changes or afflictions. So going by symptoms alone isn’t sufficient to determine whether or not you are pregnant. However, these signs are important to watch out for:
- Breast sensitivity – During early pregnancy, having sore breasts is commonly associated with being pregnant. Further, since the body is preparing to nurse in the coming months, swelling of the breasts throughout the pregnancy and after is possible as well.
- Cramping – Of course, cramping can be a sign of other things such as a difficult period, but cramping accompanies a pregnancy, too.
- Fatigue – While labor refers to the process of giving birth, the nine-month journey of pregnancy is hard work, too. In fact, feeling strangely tired as a change in hormones is typical of the entire first trimester.
- Nausea – Often called morning sickness, feelings of queasiness and even vomiting during the day may be a sign that you have conceived. While temporary, this symptom is experienced between the 2nd and 8th week after conception.
- Changes in appetite – In addition to not being able to keep food down, women often find that their taste buds change so drastically that they may avoid certain foods altogether and experience extreme cravings for others.
Other physiological changes associated with being pregnant include mood shifts, bloating, excess flatulence, and constipation. Of course, the supposed biggest dead ringer for pregnancy is the absence of having a menstrual cycle, though this should be interpreted as a sign if other symptoms are present. After all, missing your period can be a result of many other things such as stress, having too little body fat, poor dieting and many more.
What Are the Best Pregnancy Test Options
While you can get a test for pregnancy through your healthcare provider, there are more time-efficient, cheap means to test your status. Many manufacturers produce reliable and easy-to-read test kits, which are available in supermarkets, retail outlets, pharmacies or through online stores.
There are online pregnancy tests available, but since they rely on self-reported symptom reports, they aren’t the most reliable methods to determine your status. For this reason, we strongly suggest getting some kind of kit which will allow you to test at home or be examined by a medical professional.
If you cannot afford to pay for a checkup with a physician or an over-the-counter test, there are ways to get a free pregnancy test. In many regions, particularly those in densely populated areas, you might have access to non-profit, government-subsidized or government-owned pregnancy test centers which don’t charge for service. If you aren’t sure where to get one, simply enter a search term like “get a free pregnancy test near me” into your favorite search engine, and you should find some useful results.