Am I really pregnant? Yes, this is a confusion most women come across after a missed period!
Shall I paint pregnancy dilemma in a picture for you?
A woman has skipped her period and is now two weeks overdue; the couple was physically intimate only three times since the last period and that too far from the days of her ovulation. She takes a pregnancy test once and it is negative; she takes another one a week later, and it comes back positive! What can be more maddening?
Until you go and get that confirming scan or blood test, you may neither feel ecstatic nor plan ahead. Phew! If only there were some ways to confirm pregnancy without a test!
Causes of Confusion in Conception:
Most of this confusion is caused by delayed ovulation, which happens when the woman ovulates very late in the cycle. Another factor that causes confusion regarding pregnancy is irregular period. If you have regular periods, you can easily map your ovulation days, hence making sure of the exact dates your ‘fertile period’ falls on. Also hormonal imbalance can cause problems like PCOD (polycystic ovary syndrome) and thyroid diseases; all these may make conception dubious.
Factors That Delay Ovulation:
A woman’s menstrual cycle is between 28-32 days; sometimes the duration is shorter or longer. Ovulation is actually calculated from the first day of the last menstrual period (LMP) or by calculating 12-16 days from the next period. Most women ovulate between day 11 and day 21 of their menstrual cycle. It is very important to keep track of your ovulation cycle. If you conceive, the doctor will definitely ask you about the duration of your last menstrual cycle because the expected due date is calculated on the basis of the last menstrual period (LMP).
Sometimes, the ovulation doesn’t happen in the right time. This is the main cause behind infertility. There are many factors that disrupt the normal ovulation cycle. These are:
a. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS):
This is a common cause of female infertility. The reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone are out of balance, this triggers ovarian cyst.There are changes in the pituitary glands, hypothalamus and the ovaries that cause the delay in ovulation.Other than delaying ovulation it also causes abnormal growth of hair in the face and neck, insulin resistance and acne.
b. Hypothalamic Dysfunction:
The pituitary gland secretes two hormones – the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) that is responsible for ovulation every month. Physical and emotional stress, obesity or low body weight can disrupt the hormone flow and pattern. This affects both ovulation and menstrual cycle. This is the main cause behind irregular menstrual cycles.
c. Premature Ovarian Insufficiency:
This disorder happens due to an autoimmune response, when the body attacks the ovarian tissues by mistake. This naturally leads to loss of eggs. Genetic and environmental factors can also cause ovarian insufficiency. Also with age the amount of estrogen decreases and thus fewer eggs are formed in the ovary.
d. Over Secretion of Prolactin:
The pituitary gland can cause excess production of prolactin. This condition is called hyperprolactinemia. The over secretion of prolactin disrupts estrogen production and this eventually cause infertility.This problem occurs when the pituitary gland doesn’t function properly.Sometimes, medicines also cause excess of prolactin and cause infertility.
Signs of Pregnancy / How to Confirm Pregnancy without Test?
If you were trying to become pregnant, you will naturally want to know if you were successful in the attempt. You don’t need to buy those expensive pregnancy test kits over and over again, and fret about the results. If you have conceived successfully, your body will definitely show some signs, you just need to listen closely to your body to observe the changes.
If any of the above mentioned causes of delayed ovulation make a mere ‘missed period’ a feeble sign of pregnancy to you, you can try looking for these other, softer signs of pregnancy. Here is how to tell if your pregnant without a test, if you happen to notice these signs.
1. Missed Period:
If your ‘otherwise regular period’ is delayed by more than ten days, it is time to consult a doctor, as it might be good news!
However, missing menstrual cycle is not an accurate signal of pregnancy. Sometimes, medications like contraceptives and eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia can affect the menstrual cycle. So missed period is sometimes a false alarm, you have to ask your doctor the reason behind missed periods.
It takes time for the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Hormone to rise to a certain level. If you rush with your pregnancy tests, sometimes the results show negative. This means there is no rise in HCG levels. If there is a rise in HCG levels the test kit will show positive results. If you think you are not having regular periods, confirm with your doctor first. Since, if you are detected pregnant, the prenatal care has to start without delay
[ Read: Pregnancy Symptoms After Missed Period ]
If you notice a few drops of blood about between 1-2 weeks of your last period, this could be implantation bleeding. Implantation bleeding occurs when the embryo implants itself into the wall of the uterus. However, this is not the scene with every expectant mom.
3. Nausea and/or Vomiting:
As early as three weeks into your pregnancy, you may experience nausea and/or vomiting due to no apparent reason. Any smell or taste can trigger such unpleasant response to pregnancy.
Nausea is the most visible symptom of pregnancy. If you are rushing to the restroom often due to nausea, then it is an indication that the hormonal levels are rising. It is a sure sign that your body is preparing for pregnancy. You don’t even have to do a test to confirm pregnancy.
A feeling of fullness or abdominal bloating is also a sign of being pregnant. The hormonal changes in your body cause the body to bloat. You may also experience cramps along with bloating. Your clothes may feel tight across your waist, even though your uterus is still small.
Now that you know, bloating is a sign of pregnancy, you should ask the doctor beforehand to prescribe you medicines to tackle bloating. Never do self-medication when pregnant.
5. Soreness of Nipples:
Changes in your breast are often an early visible signs of pregnancy. You will find that your breasts are tender and painful to touch. A close look at the mirror will tell you, that your breasts are bigger and fuller. Also the areolas and nipples are darker. There are small bumps on the nipples that show you are pregnant.
6. Frequent Urination:
If you find yourself rushing to the washroom every 20-30 minutes, you are displaying a bigger symptom of pregnancy. Frequent urination, especially in the first trimester, occurs because of the increased water retention and blood flow in your body.
Due to hormonal changes, there is an increased blood flow through the kidneys. As a result, the bladder quickly becomes full. The intensity of urination increases as the pregnancy progresses. Since the blood volume increases and the bladder gets filled up as a result. Sometimes the growing baby exerts pressure on the bladder, causing frequent urination.
If your lower back aches just like how it does before and during a period, it could imply pregnancy. Some women experience back ache throughout the day if they are expecting and it does not go away with rest or massage.
Pregnancy back pain occurs around the sacroiliac joint. This back pain occurs due to many reasons, they are:
- Weight Gain: There is a sharp rise in weight. You may weigh between 25-35 pounds. The spine has to support the weight, this causes back pain. Also the expanding uterus puts pressure on the blood vessels, nerves, pelvis and back, causing acute pain.
- Posture Change: With increased weight gain there is a change in gravity. You start adjusting your posture and there is change in the way you move. Sometimes you tend to waddle. The posture change also cause back pain and strain.
- Hormonal Changes: During pregnancy the body secretes a hormone called relaxin. This relaxes the ligaments in the pelvic region. The joints also become loose in preparation for the delivery. The loosening of ligaments causes the instability and pain.
- Muscle Separation: As the uterus expands, the rectal abdominis muscle starts separating at the center. The rectal abdominis muscle is the parallel sheet of muscle that extends from the rib cage to the pubic bone. The muscle separation can cause intense pain.
- Stress: The body and mind goes through stress during pregnancy, this aggravates the back pain or spasms.
However, the good news is that the pain eases gradually. All you need to do is exercise. Regular exercise doesn’t mean hitting the gym; you can do a light prenatal yoga, meditation to calm your mind. You can exercise on a stationary cycle or swim to boost muscle strength and flexibility. Ask your doctor or physical therapist to give you some muscle strengthening exercises. Staying active during pregnancy ensures a smoother delivery.
You can also apply hot and cold compresses on the pain. However, don’t apply it on the abdomen. Place a hot water bottle on the painful areas for relief.
You need to adopt a proper posture while sitting, sleeping and working to ease back pain. Slouching will exert pressure on the spine and cause back pain. Like sleeping on the side with pillow between the knees will help relieve the pain to a great extent. If you are sitting at the desk, keep a rolled up towel on the back for support. Keep your feet on stool and keep your back straight.
You can also try acupuncture; it helps to relieve back pain to a great extent. You can also undergo chiropractic manipulation of the spine. You have to take your doctor’s permission before trying this alternative treatment or chiropractic to relieve pain.Only go to well-known chiropractor, so that the treatment is done accurately.
[ Read: Backpain During Pregnancy ]
Due to the stress your body goes through; added with drowsiness, cravings and physical changes, it is a common symptom to have headaches during pregnancy. These headaches normally go away with a little rest and some tender loving care!
9. Irritability or Mood Swings:
You may seem to lose your temper without much provocation! Even though you may not know it, your irritable, moody behaviour is due to pregnancy hormones. It is another easy sign to confirm pregnancy without test.
The hormonal changes affect the level of neuro-transmitters or chemical messengers to the brain. This results in heightened emotions, both good and bad. Suddenly, you are ecstatic and the very next moment you are depressed. All you need is patient hearing or try to counsel yourself. Talk to a friend, divert your mind and try to keep a cheerful disposition. It is tough, but possible!
[ Read: Mood Swings During Pregnancy ]
10. Food Aversions/Cravings:
If you find yourself desperately craving for something at odd hours of the day, you have the most common sign of pregnancy. Similarly, some women become so terribly put off by certain foods that they won’t even go near them (this may include foods that they previously loved to eat!)
With the rise of levels of estrogen in the body, you tend to react to different foods. The heightened sense of smell also happens for the same reason. You might turn away from the smell of some food that you loved, or even a perfume that you liked. Some smells can trigger nausea, so avoid them. Instead smell lavender.
[ Read: Food Cravings During Pregnancy ]
11. Disrupted Sleep Cycle:
Due to all the physical changes, your body’s sleep cycle might become disturbed. One day you sleep well, the other day you toss and turn all night. Before thinking you have a sleep-related issue, consider that you might be pregnant.
Another Way To Confirm Pregnancy:
Fatigue or exhaustion is a common symptom of pregnancy. The rising levels of progesterone cause this unusual drowsiness. Vomiting and frequent urination adds to the fatigue. So just take it easy and get some rest. This fatigue decreases as you progress towards the second trimester of pregnancy.
Don’t fret over whether or not you are pregnant! Before taking a blood test you can always take a home pregnancy test and put your heart and mind at ease. You can also take your body temperature, if it is high for say consecutively 18 days. It is a sure sign of pregnancy, and you can always confirm it with a pregnancy test kit.
We hope our article helps you in understanding first signs of conception without even going for a test. But it is always advisable to consult your doctor for confirmation. Remember, the sooner you visit the doctor, the better you will feel.
Now that you are aware of how to know pregnancy without test, you can confirm your pregnancy before going for a medical test.
Do share your first experiences of pregnancy with us in the comment section below.
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