Am I Pregnant?
You just realized that you missed your period. Maybe you track it on an app and “late” is glaring you right in the face. Maybe it’s a slow realization that you should have had it by now. Either way, your anxiety level goes up as you think, “Now what?”
You run to the nearest pharmacy or grocery store and hope you don’t run into anyone you know. You find the right aisle, grab a pregnancy test, and check out as discreetly as possible. Your nerves are frazzled because there’s really no way to hide it. You think you’re pregnant.
Take a deep breath. A missed period isn’t always a sign of pregnancy. It can sometimes be a result of stress, exercise, or thyroid issues. But if you are sexually active, a missed period often points to pregnancy.
Think about it. Have you noticed any other changes recently? Are you feeling more tired than normal? You’re getting plenty of sleep, but you can’t seem to shake this exhausted feeling. Has your appetite changed? Are you feeling hungry more often, or does the thought of eating foods you used to enjoy seem gross now? You might notice other things too, like your breasts have become more sensitive, you’re constantly in the bathroom because you either have to pee or you feel like you’re going to puke. These are all symptoms of early pregnancy, but they don’t necessarily prove you’re pregnant.
You take the pregnancy test. You pee on the stick, set the timer on your phone, and slowly begin to see that line appear; you know the one that means “positive”. Pregnancy tests are designed to detect the hCG hormone in urine, a hormone that’s only present in women’s bodies when they’re pregnant. Pregnancy tests can detect this hormone less than one week after you’ve missed your period! This hormone multiplies in early pregnancy. But a positive pregnancy test doesn’t mean your pregnancy is viable.
Did you know that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage? Women often miscarry before they realize they’re pregnant, and most miscarriages happen in the first trimester, or 12 weeks of pregnancy.
So how can you know if you’re really pregnant? The only way to know that a pregnancy is viable, is to know if it is developing within the uterus and if there is the presence of a heartbeat. An ultrasound can prove both and will also rule out something that’s extremely dangerous – an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy is a fertilized egg that has implanted outside of the uterus. This is not a viable pregnancy; it can cause serious complications and requires immediate medical attention.
If you’ve missed your period and have seen a “positive” on that pregnancy test, it’s important to make an appointment for an ultrasound. Did you know that pregnancy resource centers offer ultrasounds for free? You have nothing to lose. You can find out for sure and then deal with the bigger, “Now what?”. You have time to think through your options. Let’s make sure you’re pregnant first.
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