You’re pregnant! The baby is only a rapidly growing ball of cell called blastocyst, but you may already be experiencing nausea, cramps, light bleeding or fatigue, and may get a positive result on the pregnancy test.
Congratulations! One lucky sperm cell has fertilized your egg, and you got pregnant. The wonderful journey has begun. The physical features of your child, such as eye and hair color and gender, have been determined at the moment of conception. A few days later, the fertilized egg, which has evolved into a microscopic ball of cells, has reached the uterus and implantation occurred. During the third week of pregnancy, your baby is just a tiny dot, now called a blastocyst. It contains no more than a hundred cells, but the cells keep multiplying and the tiny ball keeps growing at an amazing rate. During this week, your baby’s major organs – brain, heart, gastrointestinal tract and spinal cord, all start developing, and amniotic fluid that will protect the baby during the following months starts to collect inside the blastocyst.
As there are no inner organs yet and the placenta won’t start functioning until next week after the implantation occurs the blastocyst gets its nutrients and oxygen directly from the blood vessels in your uterus. The future placenta produces hCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin), the pregnancy hormone that allows the home pregnancy test to detect your pregnancy, helps the placenta grow and prevents you from menstruating. It is also responsible for the increased production of progesterone and estrogen.
Some women experience pregnancy symptoms as early as a few days after conception. Your basal body temperature is higher than usual, you may feel tired and experience cramps increased vaginal discharge and possibly light bleeding or spotting. You may also find that your breasts feel more tender than usual and that you need to pee more often than before. Another common symptom is a heightened sense of smell – smells of certain foods, cigarettes, cooking gas and perfume might make you rush to the bathroom and smells you barely felt before suddenly become overwhelmingly strong. You may also find that the foods you used to love now make you gag. You can finish a whole plate of food you barely touched before pregnancy but find yourself repulsed by chicken.
One of the most common symptoms in the early weeks of pregnancy is nausea, commonly called morning sickness. It usually starts at the sixth week but may start much earlier, even around the time of your expected period. Unlike its popular name suggests, nausea doesn’t only come in the mornings, and many women experience it anytime during the day or even all day long. The newly acquired sensitivity of your stomach means that it is too early to speak of any weight gain yet, and you might even lose some weight during the first trimester, so your body will still look the same and obviously, there’s still no visible belly. No worry, things will probably brighten up when your morning sickness subsides, especially after the second trimester starts. In the meantime, try to avoid fried, spicy, fatty or acidic foods and drinks that might trigger nausea, eat small, frequent meals and drink fluids between the meals.
If you’re trying to get pregnant, you may ask yourself when is the right time to take a pregnancy test and which test will give you the most accurate results. There are several types of pregnancy tests, some are intended for use at home and others will be offered to you at the clinic. Some tests can detect pregnancy earlier than others.
1. What Types of Pregnancy Tests are Available?
There are two main types of pregnancy tests: Urine home pregnancy tests and blood tests. Both detect pregnancy by the levels of the pregnancy hormone hCG.
2. When should you Take a Pregnancy Test?
Some home pregnancy tests can supposedly detect pregnancy as early as five days before your expected period, but you may never know whether your hCG levels are high enough at this point to get a positive result, so as annoying as it is, you better wait a few more days before taking the test. Most pregnancy tests are accurate enough and can detect pregnancy about six days after your period was supposed to start. It is usually recommended to test the first thing in the morning, as first-morning urine is less diluted due to the fact that you probably haven’t had your morning coffee yet (so the urine contains the highest concentration of hCG). Strictly speaking, testing first thing in the morning is not necessary, but it might help in case you take the test relatively early.
3. You Received a Negative Result. What Next?
If you get a negative result, it may mean that you tested too early and your hCG levels are still too low for the test to detect. The hormone levels rise rapidly every few days, so if you get a negative, just wait a few more days and repeat the test. It is a good idea to buy more than one test in case you have to repeat it. If you keep getting a negative result and your period still doesn’t come, do a blood test. A blood test can detect much lower hCG levels (which also means that it can detect your pregnancy much earlier than a home urine test) and the result is absolutely reliable, even though you don’t receive the results on the spot.
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