The World of Pregnancy

How Pregnant Am I?

You think you are experiencing some early pregnancy symptoms and you ask yourself: “How pregnant am I?”

Currently, online and through other sources you can find a large number of different materials that can help you interpret the symptoms of a pregnancy. Unfortunately, most of these materials contain some speculative recommendations, unfounded and inaccurate from a medical point of view, which can induce the women to error and allow a number of very dangerous simplifications.

Most experts consider that for every woman the question whether or not is pregnant is too important to accept approximate or inaccurate answers, so here instead of trivial descriptions of pregnancy symptoms are given specific recommendations on how to really confirm the presence or the absence of a pregnancy.

You should be aware from the start that only a few pregnancy signs should really be taken into account as being accurate.

How Pregnant Am I?

If in your case the answer to the question “How far along am I?” is very important, if you need an exact answer as soon as possible and you don`t have time or desire to read the explanations outlined below, do the following:

  • Wait for 2 weeks after the sexual contact during which the conception may have taken place and consult a doctor or make an appointment directly to the laboratory to take a pregnancy test based on blood sample for hCG.
  • If from certain reasons you aren`t able to do the pregnancy test based on blood sample for hCG, wait until there`ll pass around 4 – 5 weeks after the sexual contact during which the conception may have take place and take a regular pregnancy test that you can buy for your pharmacy. No matter the results of the test, repeat the test again after a few days (read How to Read a Pregnancy Test?).
  • In case of a positive result from the pregnancy test based on blood sample for hCG or of the regular pregnancy test, visit your doctor as soon as possible;
  • The doctor will prescribe you an ultrasound examination of your uterus and fallopian tubes to definitively confirm if you are pregnant or not, and to exclude an ectopic pregnancy, which can be very dangerous for your life (read Ectopic Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors & Treatment).

In How many Days after Sexual Contact Appear the First Symptoms?

During pregnancy, the woman`s organism goes through complex changes that manifest themselves through various symptoms.

From many people`s point of view, the conception takes place during the sexual contact, so because of this lots of women wait for the pregnancy signs to occur even from the next day and consider the day of the sexual contact the day of the conception.

Actually, this is completely wrong. The actual conception takes place not during the sexual contact, but only over 6 to 12 days after that. Therefore, the first signs of pregnancy can appear no sooner than 6 – 12 days from the sexual contact when the baby was conceived.

Any symptoms or changes in the woman`s health (nausea, sleepiness, etc), which appear sooner than 6 – 12 days from the sexual contact, cannot be interpreted as pregnancy signs.

Early Signs of Pregnancy before Missed Period

As mentioned above, it may not be about any sign of pregnancy in the first, second or any other day from the first week after the sexual contact. The first symptoms can appear no sooner than the beginning of the second week after the sexual contact.

As you`ll notice below, the early signs of pregnancy are closely related to the processes that take place in the woman`s organism after the sexual contact that leads to the birth of a new life. The first signs of pregnancy cannot appear sooner than the moment when the fertilized egg attaches itself from the uterine lining. This process is known as implantation.

The signs of implantation, and thus, the early symptoms of pregnancy are the following:

Decreased Basal Temperature (BBT)

Usually, a few days before ovulation and around 2 weeks after that, the BBT level in the organism increases.

The increases level of the basal body temperature after ovulation is associated with the production of a high amount of progesterone. At the end of first week after ovulation, the fertilized egg transforms itself in an embryo, which enters the uterus through the fallopian tubes and starts to implant itself, meaning starts to enter the uterine wall. During this period, the woman`s organism “doesn`t know anything yet” about the pregnancy, so all the events continue to develop in such a way as the pregnancy doesn`t exist: the corpus luteum slows the production of progesterone, which in turn leads to a decreases of the BBT.

Immediately after the embryo`s implantation, there`s a special hormone that starts to develop known as hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) through which the woman`s body “finds out” about the pregnancy and passes on a maintenance program of the pregnancy, meaning the corpus luteum starts to produce progesterone again, and thus, the BBT increases again.

Thus, the decreases on short term and the prolonged increase of the basal body temperature, in the second half of the menstrual cycle can be the first sign of pregnancy (in case the period is late).

The precision of the pregnancy`s determination depending on the BBT is very low. As you may have noticed above, the basal temperature decrease isn`t a direct consequence of the implantation, but rather a process which takes place simultaneously with implantation. Even in case of a daily and accurate measurement of the BBT, the determination of the respective decrease isn`t always possible. At many women this phenomenon simply doesn`t happen.

You cannot rely on the changes of the BBT as a pregnancy sign if:

  • You don`t have enough experience in measuring the BBT;
  • You didn`t measure the BBT during the first half of the menstrual cycle.

Implantation Bleeding

During implantation, the embryo seems like is “digging” in the uterine walls, which may result in small vaginal bleedings that have a pink or brown color, a dull pain and a pulling sensation in the lower abdomen.

Implantation bleeding and abdominal pain can be the earliest pregnancy symptoms, and they can be noticed without tests, analyzes or measurements. However, the presence or absence of implantation bleeding cannot indicate with accuracy the existence or absence of pregnancy. Practical observations show that at most women with a normal pregnancy implantation bleeding and the abdominal pains associated with implantation, either don`t manifest themselves or are mild and go unnoticed.

The Positive Result of the Pregnancy Test based on Blood Sample for hCG

After 2 weeks from the sexual contact which led to the development of the pregnancy, the embryo, which is not attached from the uterine lining, starts to actively produce a special hormone known as hCG, which can be determined through a special laboratory analysis.

The hCG test is the first accurate pregnancy test, but even so, its results cannot be take into account with a guarantee of 100% that there`ll be a normal development of the pregnancy.

For the final confirmation of the pregnancy, after the positive results of the tests based on blood sample, there`ll be required an ultrasound examination.

Early Signs from the 3rd Week of Pregnancy

After 3 weeks from the sexual contact, the pregnancy signs can consist in the period being delayed and maintaining the BBT.

Late Period

About a period being late can be talked only for women with a regular menstruation, who previously had almost never been late. If until the possible conception, you had a irregular menstrual cycle and the period between 2 menstruations is always changing, you cannot rely on your being late as a sign of pregnancy.

Moreover, even though a late period is one of the most frequent early pregnancy symptoms even at women with a regular menstruation, this shouldn`t been considered a sure sign of pregnancy. There can be many causes not related to a pregnancy which can lead to a period being late.

If you got your period, than this means for sure that you aren’t pregnant.

Some women during the first 1 or 2 months (more often during the 1st month) of pregnancy, in the days according to the calendar, they should have their period (or with a few days later) accompanied by vaginal bleeding, similar to normal menstrual bleeding, but shorter less abundant. In such cases, a late period cannot be interpreted as a sign of pregnancy either.

The Persistence of a High BBT

In case of a successful implantation and of a beginning of active development of the embryo, the corpus luteum continues to produce a high quantity of progesterone, which blocks the onset of the menstruation and supports the maintenance of the BBT at a high level.

If in the first stage of the menstrual cycle you followed closely the values of your BTT, and in the second stage of your cycle you notice a constant increase and your period is late, you can assume with a high degree of probability that you are pregnant.

Early Signs during the 4th and 5th Week of Pregnancy

The possibility of determining accurately the presence or absence of a pregnancy appears only after 4 or 5 weeks after the sexual contact. During this period, pregnancy signs can consist in: positive pregnancy sign and the results of an ultrasound exam.

The Positive Result of a Pregnancy Test

Modern pregnancy tests that can take at home are one of the most accurate, less expensive and accessible ways of determining a pregnancy in the first stage of its development.

Pregnancy tests are sold in almost all pharmacies, are cheap and are very simple to use. With the help of a pregnancy test, in 3 to 5 minutes, any woman can obtain a precise answer (up to 99% accuracy) to the question “How many months pregnancy am I?” Well, maybe not precisely know in how many months as this will be the doctor`s task to tell you, but at least you`ll know if you are pregnant or not.

The Ultrasound of the Uterus & Pelvic Organs

An ultrasound is the most precise method that exists today in determining an early pregnancy. More than this, an ultrasound is an examination absolutely necessary which needs to be performed by all women who received a positive result for their pregnancy tests, no matter if it was based on urine or blood sample.

The strict necessity of performing an ultrasound in early pregnancy is associated with the possibility of an ectopic pregnancy, which is the main cause of death for women during the first trimester of pregnancy.

To determine the presence of a pregnancy, the ultrasound examination of the uterus and other pelvic organs is performed no earlier than 4 to 5 weeks after the sexual contact which may have led to a pregnancy. If it`s made sooner than this term, the ultrasound exam cannot detect the pregnancy.

Possible Signs of Pregnancy within the First 1 – 2 Months

Starting with the 2nd – 3rd week after the sexual contact there might be some symptoms which can suggest the presence of a pregnancy. However, in no case you shouldn`t rely on these signs and consider them accurate.

Swelling, Tension, Increased Sensitivity in Breasts

Although these symptoms can be one of the first symptoms of pregnancy, they shouldn`t be treated as being accurate. The changes in breasts are too light and too subjective to allow the confirmation of such an important phenomenon as early pregnancy is.

Frequent Need to Use the Toilet

Frequent urination can be a sign of pregnancy only at the end of the first month or the end of the second one, when the increased uterus starts to press on the bladder, which is adjacent with the uterus in the front. Also, this characteristic is inaccurate and you shouldn`t rely on

Fatigue, Irritability, Increased Sweating

Together with swelling breasts, these symptoms can be one of the first pregnancy symptoms, but just as the previous one and for the same reason they cannot serve as a sure pregnancy sign.

Nausea & Morning Sickness, Fainting

Nausea, vomiting and fainting are the most popular pregnancy signs in literature, movies and television, but in real life they rarely indicate the presence of a pregnancy with accuracy. Nausea and vomiting, which can be signs of early gestation, usually appear at the end of 2nd month and can persist along the first trimester of pregnancy.

Increased Appetite, Loss of Appetite or a Change in the Perception of Tastes & Odors

Changes in appetite can be an early pregnancy sign (starting with around the 4th week). Although pregnant women indeed notice either the increase of appetite or, on the contrary, they complain about the lack of appetite or repulsion towards certain foods which in the past they were perceived normally, these signs along with all the other ones mentioned above in this section shouldn`t be considered conclusive proof of pregnancy (since they can be experienced by women who aren`t pregnant as well.)

The occurrence of unusual preferences (for instance, the desire of eating raw meat, chalk, etc) is possible in the first or second month of pregnancy and can persist until birth. In some cases, unusual food preferences are a sign of an insufficiency of vitamins and minerals. Therefore, if you are pregnant and you experience such preferences, talk to your doctor about the necessity of administrating vitamins and minerals for pregnant women. The presence or absence of pregnancy cannot only be evaluated based on the symptoms presented in this section. Often, women are so scared or, on the contrary, so enthusiastic, that they think they notice such signs even from the next day after the sexual contact. If you believe you may be pregnant, follow the recommendation offered at the beginning of this article.

Late Pregnancy Symptoms

  • The increase of the abdominal circumference depends on the state of the abdominal muscles of the woman, but usually it isn`t noticeable earlier than the month 4.
  • The darkening of the nipples and the appearance of linea nigra can be noticed from the 3rd or 4th month of pregnancy and they persist until around the weeks 18 to 20.
  • Feeling the fetal movements – they may appear around the weeks 18 to 20. Women who were pregnant in the past and they already know how the fetus pushes, usually perceive his movements with 1 – 2 weeks earlier than women who are pregnant for the first time.

Imaginary Pregnancy

In rare cases, at women who really want to get pregnant or, on the contrary, are really scared of remaining pregnant, it`s possible the development of the so-called imaginary pregnancy. The state of a imaginary pregnancy is characterized by the appearance and prolonged maintenance of multiple possible signs of pregnancy at women who aren`t in fact pregnant. The symptoms of an imaginary pregnancy can persist for a long period of time and there were cases in which women “achieved” 9 months of an imaginary pregnancy and they were really prepared to give birth.

Pregnancy Calculator

If you are wondering whether you might pregnant or not, you definitely have a lot of questions related to your possible pregnancy. If you think it`s too early to take a home pregnancy test, for now this free online pregnancy quiz might be of some help.

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