Some women sail through pregnancy with only very minor signs or symptoms, whereas others seem to have it all. If this is you, don't be afraid. There are many things you can do to ease the effect your pregnancy symptoms have on you. Also, take comfort in the fact that many of the things described below will disappear by the early portion of your second trimester. Most likely, you won't experience any symptoms of pregnancy until about the time you've missed your period or shortly thereafter.
If you start to experience one or many of the symptoms below and you haven't had a period for a while, you may very well be pregnant. Take a home pregnancy test and find out for sure. It's best to wait until at least the first day of a missed period before you take a pregnancy test. If it's negative, try another test again in a few days. Once you have a positive result, make an appointment with your practitioner and head on over to our Stages of Pregnancy section.
Among the first signs of pregnancy is a missed period. If you have missed your period, then home pregnancy test kits can help determine if you are indeed pregnant. These tests measure the levels of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG. This is secreted in large amounts if you are pregnant and can be found in your urine.
It is best to purchase an ultra-sensitive home test. The most sensitive tests register below 20 mIU/ml and can detect pregnancy as early as six to eight days after conception. Tests that are less sensitive can often be incorrect. Others may not be able to detect pregnancy if they are performed on the first day of a missed period. It is best to determine if you are pregnant as soon as possible so you can start taking care of yourself.
Reasons for a Missed Period
- Pregnancy is the most common reason for a missed period.
- During breastfeeding you may find that you will miss your period. However, it is important to realize that you can still get pregnant during this time.
- Certain medical conditions can cause you to miss your period, with it resuming when you are healthy again. If you have a co-existing illness that may be causing you to miss your period, see your medical doctor.
- Excessive exercise. Females who exercise excessively (e.g. marathon runners) will have periods of menstruation cessation. By reducing their exercise to more appropriate levels, they are usually able to return to normal cycles. Also, low body weight associated with excessive exercise or poor eating habits/malnutrition can cause disruptions in your cycle.
- Birth control pills often cause some women to miss their period completely. Even after you stop taking the pill, you may experience aberrant menstrual cycles for three to six months.
- Menopause. As women approach menopause, their periods continue to get more and more irregular until they eventually stop completely.
Implantation bleeding is often confused for a period as it occurs at the same time as the expected period would occur. Since implantation bleeding is lighter than your normal period, it is also easy to mistake it for breakthrough bleeding or spotting. Implantation bleeding occurs when the trophoblast attaches itself to the endometrium and slowly starts eating away the lining, thereby causing implantation bleeding. It usually appears light pink or brown in color. How long it will last tends to vary from woman to woman.
Although some women may refer to implantation bleeding as pregnancy spotting, they are not one and the same thing. Spotting in early pregnancy can occur for various reasons and is not necessarily implantation bleeding.
Pregnancy can be a difficult time for a woman, even more so if you're going it alone. If you're a single mom or single mom-to-be, then visit Pregnancy Stories to share your experience and words of advice with other single mothers.
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