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Getting Pregnant

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Getting pregnant can be a frustrating process for many couples. If you have recently begun trying to get pregnant, you and your partner might be upset if conception hasn't occurred in a short period of time. You might wish to see a fertility specialist for help getting pregnant; this specialist can determine whether fertility treatment would be beneficial and give you tips for getting pregnant.

Conception Tips

Women can do many things to increase their chances of getting pregnant. First, women should stop using birth control pills and other forms of contraception. Getting pregnant after being on the pill shouldn't be a problem, as women generally recover their fertility within a month of stopping usage. Visit our conception tips page to learn more about fertility and acupuncture, as well as the vitamins and herbs that boost male and female fertility.

Fertility Charting

Charting your fertility can help you determine when ovulation occurs and thus when you are most fertile, giving you help in getting pregnant. Fertility charting is done by carefully observing several of your physical signs, such as your basal body temperature and the position of your cervix. Sometimes, a failure to get pregnant can simply be a question of poor timing - and charting your fertility for a few months can help improve your chances of getting pregnant by showing you what days are best for conception. For more information, read our page dedicated to charting your fertility and use our ovulation calculator to help you determine which days are best to conceive.

Pregnancy Signs and Symptoms

During pregnancy, a woman's body undergoes many changes, some more noticeable than others. It is important for women and couples to recognize the most common first signs and symptoms of pregnancy in order to be aware of the pregnancy as soon as possible. Carefully noting early pregnancy signs and symptoms along with at-home and physician-assisted pregnancy testing will help you to be prepared as early as possible for the changes you will be experiencing over the months to follow.

Early, First Month Symptoms

Pregnancy symptoms differ from woman to woman, and not all women will experience all of the typical early signs of pregnancy. However, many of the symptoms are extremely common, and nearly all pregnant women will experience one or more of these first signs of pregnancy. Note that while these are all common pregnancy signs, they can also be indicative of other changes in the body or even disease. If you think you are noticing pregnancy signs and symptoms, see a physician or specialist as soon as possible.

  • Tender, swollen breasts are one of the early pregnancy symptoms. The discomfort you experience in your breasts may be similar to, but will usually be stronger than, that which you feel before your period. After the first trimester, the pain should diminish significantly, as your body adjusts to the new hormonal levels.
  • Fatigue is another of the most common early signs of pregnancy. The stress of adjusting to the many physical changes you will experience along with the increased levels of progesterone your body will produce can lead to exhaustion, though this will most likely become less noticeable during the second trimester.
  • Food cravings and aversions are extremely common during the early stages of pregnancy. Though food cravings are among the most well known early pregnancy symptoms, you may also experience aversions to foods that you previously enjoyed. This distaste may come and go throughout the pregnancy.
  • A missed, late, or particularly light period is one of the more obvious early signs of pregnancy, especially if your period is usually regular. During the first month of your pregnancy, it is possible that you will have no symptoms other than this.
  • Nausea or vomiting, commonly called morning sickness, can happen at any time of the day or night. Most women do not experience this symptom of pregnancy until about a month after conception, though some experience it very early.
  • A heightened sense of smell can be one of the first month pregnancy symptoms. It is not uncommon for newly pregnant women to find normally acceptable or even pleasant smells repulsive and overpowering early in the pregnancy. Certain aromas may even trigger your gag reflex.
  • Frequent urination is another of the most common early pregnancy symptoms. During pregnancy, the amount of blood and other fluid in your body rapidly increases, and your kidneys must process more than usual. As a result, more liquid ends up in your bladder. This will most likely persist during the pregnancy, as your growing baby exerts increasing pressure on your bladder.

Later Signs of Pregnancy

As the pregnancy progresses from the first to the second trimester, your pregnancy symptoms will become much more apparent. The most obvious to observers will be the weight gain as your baby grows. Your breasts will continue to grow and may begin to secrete a small amount of thin fluid called colostrum. Along with this, your hands, face, ankles, and feet may begin to swell. A dark line between your navel and pubic area is another of the common signs of pregnancy. Most excitingly, you will begin to be able to feel the fetus move inside of you.

As you progress into your third trimester, your pregnancy signs will begin to reflect your new temporary shape. You will be able to see the fetus move from the outside. Your navel will push out, you will likely experience backaches, and you will begin to walk differently to accommodate the added weight. You will have shortness of breath and experience painless "practice" contractions. You'll know that the moment you've been waiting for is not too far off.

Pregnancy Testing

If you experience a combination of the signs and symptoms of pregnancy, you should take a home pregnancy test. While still not 100 percent accurate, home pregnancy testing can offer a relatively safe determination of whether or not you are pregnant if used properly. If the test comes back positive, or if you think you have made a mistake in reading or administering the test, you should immediately see a physician for pregnancy testing. He or she will conduct a blood test that is much more accurate than home pregnancy testing. This is the only definitive way to confirm conception. Later, a physician will be able to conduct a test to check for a fetal heartbeat. Only the presence of a fetal heartbeat is a definitive indicator of pregnancy.

How Soon Can I Take a Home Pregnancy Test?

Some at-home pregnancy tests are able to detect pregnancy as early as four days before a woman's expected period. However, these tests are not accurate for all women.

Home pregnancy tests are designed to recognize the presence of a certain hormone that is produced only in women who are pregnant. Human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, is a hormone that is produced after the embryo implants itself in the uterus. This process can take place six to 14 days after conception. Even the most advanced home pregnancy tests cannot confirm pregnancy until embryo implantation occurs and hCGs are released. If conception occurs during the 14th day of the menstrual cycle and implantation does not occur until 14 days after conception, hCGs will not be present until the date of the woman's expected period.

False Positive Pregnancy Tests

A false positive result from a home pregnancy test can be the result of several factors. If you have taken any fertility drugs or received any fertility injections, you may not be able to use early home pregnancy testing, as it will most likely show a positive result even if you are not pregnant. Sometimes, evaporation lines-lines where the liquid has dried and left a mark-are incorrectly read as positive results. Another very common reason for a false positive result is not reading the pregnancy test in time; if the test is left to stand for longer than the stipulated time, it may show a false positive.

Pregnancy Due Date Calculator

Want to find a predicted due date for your baby - before your appointment with your doctor? DocShop's online pregnancy due date calculator can estimate the day your baby will be born in a matter of seconds. Simply select the first day of your last period and we will provide you with the date on which you can expect to deliver.

Of course, it is important for couples to understand that the due date we provide you with is an estimate. Pregnancy due dates are calculated by adding 40 weeks to the first day of your last period. This is the convention used by doctors, as most normal pregnancies last between 38 and 42 weeks. While your baby may not necessarily be born on the projected due date, the majority of babies (about 80 percent) are born within 10 days of the predicted due date.

Getting pregnant is exciting for couples; if you are not sure you are pregnant, look out for common pregnancy symptoms. If you find out you are not pregnant, monitor your fertility cycle and read our tips on how to get pregnant.

Locate a Fertility Doctor

Use DocShop to locate a fertility specialist in your area that can help you pinpoint the reasons you are having problems getting pregnant, give you tips for getting pregnant, and guide you through a successful pregnancy.

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