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 on how to tell if your pregnant 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 ]
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