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Pregnancy & ChildbirthWellness & PreventionTreatment & Care

Signs of Pregnancy

What are the signs of pregnancy?
The signs of pregnancy vary from woman to woman. Usually the most obvious sign is the absence of menstruation (amenorrhea). However, some women continue to have bleeding even while pregnant. The following are the most common initial signs of pregnancy. However, each woman may experience the signs of pregnancy differently. These may include:

  • fatigue
  • sore and swollen breasts
  • nausea or vomiting (also called morning sickness)
  • frequent urination
  • certain food cravings or aversions
  • bloating of the abdomen
  • darkening of the skin around the nipples (also called the areola)
  • bluish-purple vaginal and cervical tissue due to blood engorgement, which can be detected during a pelvic examination.

These early signs may not positively indicate pregnancy, but may actually signal another process occurring within the body. A pregnancy test can provide more accurate results.

What is a pregnancy test?
Pregnancy is confirmed with a pregnancy test. A pregnancy test can be performed on either urine or blood. Pregnancy tests detect the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (hCG), a hormone produced by the placenta about 10 days after fertilization. Levels of the hCG hormone approximately double every two days during the first 60 days of pregnancy. Pregnancy tests performed using the woman's blood are done by a physician and are usually performed to obtain a very early diagnosis of pregnancy or also to confirm an at-home pregnancy test. Blood tests are very accurate and can detect pregnancy by the second week after conception.

Women can conduct an at-home pregnancy test by testing a sample of first morning urine about two weeks after conception. Home pregnancy tests have become more accurate in the last decade. Urine tests, in general, are usually 97 percent accurate if the result is positive, indicating that you are pregnant. However, if the test result is negative and no menstrual period resumes, a pregnancy test should be repeated one week later.

Always consult your physician to confirm a positive at-home pregnancy test with a more reliable pregnancy test and physical examination.

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