The days leading up to your period can be nerve-wracking if you are trying to get pregnant. Unfortunately, the signs of early pregnancy are also the same as those of your menstruation. Some women are not sure if these symptoms they experience are already a sign that they are expecting.
It is perfectly understandable why many women are looking for ways to find out early on if they are pregnant. The early days are critical and expectant mothers need to be cautious in order to avoid a miscarriage. This means, they should avoid stress and too much physical work, they should stop drinking alcohol and smoking, and they should start eating healthy or taking prenatal vitamins. If they find out even before they skip their period that they are pregnant, they can take the necessary precautions to protect their growing little one.
The most important question is, “How soon can you take a pregnancy test?” The good news is newer tests are available now so that women can find out even before they miss a period. Waiting until a day after the period is supposed to come is always best, but some women do not have regular cycles. This means they cannot really pin a date when they should expect their menstruation and they are sometimes clueless that they have actually missed it. It is also very easy to mistake implantation bleeding for their actual period.
Doing a home pregnancy test is always the easiest way to determine in the privacy of your home if you are, indeed, expecting. Although a woman aged 30 years old has only about a 20% chance of getting pregnant each month, you never really know when it truly works out.
How a Home Pregnancy Test Works
These home test kits are very easy to purchase at any drugstore and are just as simple to use at home. Basically, they work by looking for traces of a pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG, in your urine. hCG is released when a fertilized egg implants in your uterus.
These tests work in different ways. Some will have you pee in a cup and dip the stick to check for hCG. Some will require you to use a dropper to place a small amount of your urine into a special container. Others will just need you to hold the stick where your pee will hit it. According to the manufacturers of pregnancy tests, it is best to check in the morning, when hCG levels are highest.
Generally, the rule is that the longer you wait, the higher levels of hCG can be detected in your urine. If you do not want to wait very long, you may try 7 to 12 days after the egg successfully implants on the uterine lining. However, the results may not be as accurate as doing the test later.
Nowadays, tests that can detect very trace amounts of hCG can be purchased, even as early as 4 days before you are supposed to have your period. You may check the packaging of your pregnancy test first. They normally lie between 10 mlU/mL (or milli-international unit per milliliter) and 40 mlU/mL. Lower values are more sensitive and therefore better for early testing. If you suspect that you are pregnant but still get a negative result, relax. You might still have too low levels of hCG for the test to detect it. You should then wait a couple of days to a week before trying again.
When you go to the doctor, he may also do a blood test to verify the result. This kind of test is more accurate because it is more sensitive to hCG levels. However, your doctor might prefer to wait until there is a missed period before he will do this.
When You Should Go for a Pregnancy Test
Even if you are not necessarily trying to get pregnant, it might still happen especially if you are not taking any precautions and are fertile. Not wanting to get pregnant is simply not enough. If you are experiencing these symptoms, then you should try purchasing a pregnancy test as soon as possible.
A Missed Period
Because this is the first reliable sign of pregnancy, this is the normal trigger for women to buy a pregnancy test. It might be difficult if you are not regular or not tracking your menstrual cycle. Also, there are other reasons why you might have a disruption in your cycle, like stress, exercise, or even specific medical conditions. But if it has been more than 1 month since you have had your last menstruation, you should definitely go for a test.
Take note that you may still experience some bleeding if you are pregnant. Implantation bleeding occurs as the fertilized egg burrows itself deep into your uterine lining. However, this is different in color, amount, and texture than your normal period.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms
Your body will be going through a lot of changes while you are growing a little baby inside you. A lot of them will manifest in symptoms that might catch your attention. You might feel some cramps, your breasts might hurt, and you might go through some bad nausea. Other symptoms include exhaustion and food aversions, as well as the sudden need to always pee. While these might be common during your menstruation as well, they might also be signs that you are pregnant.
Failed or No Contraception
If you have been sexually active but have not been religiously using contraceptives, there is a chance you will get pregnant. This includes missing some days on your pill or even just not using it properly. If you have had unprotected sex in the past month, you might consider taking a pregnancy test just in case.
There is no restriction in taking a pregnancy test anytime you want, however, it is best to understand some key concepts to make sure you get the most accurate result possible. When you choose to purchase a home pregnancy kit, make sure you read the instructions carefully and do as stated there. This way, you find out as soon as possible if you have finally succeeded this month in creating new life.