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Am I Pregnant?

Symptoms
Frequently Asked Questions

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This question - Am I pregnant? - is one that most women ask, whether they're trying to conceive or trying not to conceive. Among those who are TTC (trying to conceive), it's usually a crazy two weeks between their ovulation or the fertility treatment they've gone through until the pregnancy test. (If you've already gotten a positive, see our early pregnancy page.)

Every little thing can become a 'definite' sign in either direction - "I'm not nauseous, so I couldn't possibly be pregnant." or "My breasts are sore, I must be pregnant."

Surviving the two week wait is tough. You try not to think about it, but you can't get it out of your head & everything reminds you of it... Often, it seems like that's the only thing happening in the world.

Unfortunately, it takes time to find out. In this world where we're so used to having phenomenal amounts of information instantly at our fingertips, it seems odd that to find out something so important takes so long...

After fertilization (which generally happens in the fallopian tubes), it takes time for implantation. Even after IVF, implantation doesn't take place immediately. Some embryos begin to implant and then don't develop. Some begin to develop but aren't strong enough to continue. This is why, even though some HPTs (home pregnancy tests) or EPTs (early pregnancy tests) say you can test even before your missed period, it isn't always the best idea... You could get a faint positive 2 days before you miss your period & then get your period a few days later because the pregnancy didn't take. If this happens, it's not usually a sign that anything's wrong & it doesn't mean anything about what will happen next month.

TTC without fertility treatments:
You can know pretty accurately when your ovulation is. If your period is regular, you can calculate that it's between 11-16 days before you expect your next period (generally around 14 days) & if it's not regular, you can buy ovulation tests & use them to find out when your ovulation is. You can test for pregnancy 15-16 days after a positive ovulation test, or 14 days after ovulation.

TTC with fertility treatments:
Since you'll know the exact day of your treatment, you can test 14 days later. Be careful not to test too early, since medication containing Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) can give a false positive if it is still not out of your system. These medicines include Novarel, Profasi, and Pregnyl. Make sure to ask your doctor how soon you can test! Usually after fertility treatments, the clinic will want you to perform a quantitative hCG test -- (blood test). It's a very good idea to test even if you have no pregnancy symptoms. Think of it as closure. It's how I found out I was expecting twins... (see my story)

See also: Ramblings about the two-week-wait.

Additional Topics of interest:

Pregnancy
Early Pregnancy
Getting Pregnant
Fertility Problems
Infertility Resources

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Symptoms

What about the 14 days *before* I can test?

It's rare to have any symptoms until at least a week after ovulation or embryo transfer.

If you're taking progesterone, it can mimic pregnancy symptoms or it can also make you feel like you're period is on its way.

You might be pregnant if you're having symptoms that keep getting stronger such as:

  • Tenderness in the breasts
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • A general feeling of "something different"
  • A sensitivity to scents
  • Headaches

Note that morning sickness frequently starts only in the 5th or 6th week of pregnancy!

You might be pregnant even if:

  • You don't have any symptoms
  • You feel like you're getting your period (though strong cramping is usually not indicative of pregnancy)

In the meantime:

  • Plan fun things to do
  • Enjoy the fantasy that you might be pregnant
  • Take good care of yourself -- eat healthy, drink enough water, sleep well

Good luck!

Disclaimer: The information on this page is provided for informational purposes only and is not intened to be medical advice. If you have any questions, make sure to consult with your physician.

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Common questions & simple answers:

Q - My stomach hurts - does this mean I'm pregnant?
A - It definitely doesn't mean you're pregnant. It's probably not related & if anything, it may have to do with stress or something you ate.

Q - I feel bloated. Could I be pregnant?
A - It could be a sign of pregnancy, but a 'bloated' feeling is too common to draw any conclusion based on it.

Q - I've been really nauseous in the morning - does this mean I'm pregnant?
A - No. Usually pregnancy won't make you nauseous so soon.

Q - I’m nauseated but haven’t missed my period yet. Is it too early to take a pregnancy test?
A - It is probably best to wait until you have missed your period, but testing a day or two beforehand can sometimes work as well.

Q - I threw up twice. Am I pregnant?
A - See the previous answer.

Q - I suddenly can't stand the smell of coffee, does that mean I'm pregnant?
A - Pregnancy can make you sensitive to smells and can make you feel like you don't want to eat or drink something you normally enjoy. This feeling could also be caused by other things.

Q - I have heartburn. Does that mean I'm pregnant?
A - No. You can have heartburn because of any number of reasons. It is rare to have pregnancy-related heartburn prior to a positive pregnancy test. Take an antacid & feel good!

Q - Is it possible for me to be pregnant even if I haven't noticed any changes? / My home pregnancy test is positive, but I don't feel anything different at all. Is this normal?
A - Absolutely. Some women are spared the infamous morning sickness (known by some of its sufferers as all-day-sickness). Some even report not feeling anything different for the first few months.

Q - Can you feel like you are getting your period and be pregnant?
A - Absolutely, many women find the symptoms to be identical. That's one of the reasons it's so hard to guess if you are or aren't.

Q - Can i feel implantation?
A - Some women report "knowing" that they are pregnant from the moment of conception. I have searched medical journals but have not found any evidence that this is possible.

Q - If I missed my period, how long should I wait until I take a pregnancy test?
A - If you've already missed your period, a home pregnancy test should be sensitive enough to show positive if you are pregnant. Remember that sometimes ovulation is delayed, so that a negative test is not conclusive, until you get your period. If your period is very late and your pregnancy test is negative, consult with your doctor.

Q - How can I tell if I'm pregnant without taking a pregnancy test?
A - You'd probably be certain within a few months, but if you want to know any time in the first few weeks of the pregnancy, it's pretty hard to be sure without taking a pregnancy test.

Q - How early can an EPT (early pregnancy test, also known as HPT - home pregnancy test) be positive?
A - Some women report positive results as early as 8-9 days after ovulation. Normally, a day or two before your missed period (assuming your cycle is regular and depending on the sensitivity of the test), an EPT done early in the morning will show at least a faint positive if you are pregnant.

Q - I got a faint pink line on my EPT. Am I pregnant or not?
A - A faint pink line on an EPT (early pregnancy test) is considered a positive result. An EPT should always be followed up by a visit to your doctor to make sure the pregnancy is developing normally.

Note: If you have taken any fertility drugs containing hCG, make sure that you have waited a sufficient amount of time (usually 7-8 days) before using an EPT. Testing too early can give you a very disappointing false positive.

Q - How long should I wait before taking a home pregnancy test (also referred to as HPT and EPT)?
A - Ideally, you should wait until your period is due (see the note above). Some tests are able to detect a pregnancy a few days earlier. A negative result on a test taken early is considered inconclusive because the hormone level may be too low to detect a pregnancy. If your result is negative and you believe you might be pregnant, wait 2-3 days to allow the hormones to rise and then test again. As always, a positive test needs to be followed up by your doctor.

Q - I'm not sure if I'm pregnant or not - is it safe to get the H1N1 vaccine against swine flu? / Is the swine flu vaccination safe for pregnant women?

A - the NHS (UK National Health Service) website (see exact text here) states that both types of vaccines (Pandemrix and Celvapan) are licensed for use in pregnant women. "Licensed vaccines, including influenza vaccines, are held to a very high standard of safety and would not be licensed if they were unsafe."

They go on to say that "the seasonal flu vaccine has been given to millions of pregnant women at all stages of pregnancy and has an excellent safety record, with no reported safety concerns. This is why in the UK, and many other countries, vaccination against seasonal flu is recommended for pregnant women, whatever the stage of the pregnancy."

Research conducted by Jamieson et.al (2009) and funded by the US CDC (Center for Disease Control) has shown that "pregnant women might be at increased risk for complications from pandemic H1N1 virus infection". Additionally, pregnant women seem to be at increased risk of contracting the virus.


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