Pregnancy Questions

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Topics in this article:

Are You Really Pregnant? | A Positive Test: What Next? | When Am I Due? | How Pregnancy Occurs | Your Reproductive Cycle | Birth Control

Are you really pregnant?

You may suspect that you are pregnant if you are experiencing certain signs and symptoms, such as:

No menstrual period
Nausea and/or vomiting
Soreness and/or enlargement of the breasts
Increased urination

Even if you have some or all of these symptoms, you may not be pregnant. And it is perfectly normal not to have any symptoms whatsoever during the first month. Except for the fact that you have missed your period, you might not notice anything different.

The best step is to take a pregnancy test to determine if you are really pregnant.

A Positive Test: What Next?

Consult a health care provider for prenatal (before birth) health care immediately.

If you use alcohol, recreational drugs or tobacco products, discontinue their use immediately.

Some prescription and over-the-counter medications should not be taken during pregnancy, so check with your doctor immediately.

When Am I Due?

If you think you know when conception may have occurred, use our Due Date Calculator to determine your due date.

If you are unsure of the date you became pregnant, an early ultrasound can help your doctor estimate your due date. There are two kinds of ultrasound examinations. For an abdominal ultrasound you will be asked to drink a specified amount of water prior to the exam. A small amount of gel will be squeezed onto your abdomen before the procedure. The technician or doctor will then move the ultrasound instrument across your abdomen in order to get a clear image of the fetus. This type of ultrasound is a painless procedure except for the discomfort of a full bladder. The second type of ultrasound, which is called endovaginal, is conducted less frequently. An ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina, which gives the doctor a clearer image of the fetus. This ultrasound procedure can cause slight discomfort.

How Pregnancy Occurs

Each month your body releases only one egg from your ovaries into the fallopian tube. The process of your egg being released from your overies is known as ovulation. When your body is ovulating, you are fertile--able to become pregnant. This is because the egg is in an area that sperm can reach. This occurs about two weeks before (and after) your menstral period (in most women), it is known as your menstral cycle. If the egg is fertilized by sperm at this time, it can implant inside your uterus and you can become pregnant. Abstinance is always recomended; however, sexually active couples should abstain from any sex, even protected sex during this time.

Your Reproductive Cycle

Do you know that your ovulation cycle can last up to 35 days? Do you know what proliferative phase and secretory phase means? Did you know that your menstrual cycle is also known as shedding?

Fact: Most women ovulate 14 days BEFORE menstruation.

What this means: About 14 days before the first day of your menstrual cycle, an egg is released through your fallopian tubes. It has about 24 - 72 hours of healthy life. During this time, if you are not wishing to become pregnant you SHOULD use some form of birth control protection or abstain from sexual activity all together.

Fact: Your Ovulation Cycle and your Menstrual Cycle are two different cycles.

What this means: Menstrual Cycle refers to your Uturine lining and its cycle of building up (proliferative phase), preparing hormonally for pregnancy (secretory phase), and shedding (menstruating phase). Basically - your uterus builds up a lining to support your egg. Your body then secretes hormones necessary to sustain a pregnancy. If the egg is not fertilized the lining is then shed, thus causing your menstruating phase.

Ovulation Cycle refers to the release of an egg from your ovary. Basically - you already have all the eggs you will ever have. What is happening is that the egg is released, where upon it can live for about 24 hours. If it isn’t fertilized it is then absorbed into the uterine lining.

If you are trying to avoid a pregnancy, the most important information you can know is when you will begin the first day of your menstrual period. Begin empowering yourself by studying your cycle and recording the first day of bleeding every month. (Use a P to designate that’s the day you start) After three months you will know how long your cycle is and you have the ability to plan ahead. Count back 14-16 days from the first day of your period and mark that day on your calender. (Use an O to designate that’s the day you begin ovulation)

Q. So, in all reality, is there only about one week where I’m not likely to get pregnant?

A. Yes. Unless you count the days you are "shedding" there seems to be only about one week of the month that you are safe from pregnancy. It is reported that although becoming pregnant while on your period is unlikely, it has been known to happen.

Q. How do I know how many days my cycle is?

A. Count the days between the last day of your period and the first day of your next period. I.e.; If you end your period on January 7th and begin your next period on February 4th then your menstrual cycle is 28 days long. In order to calculate when you ovulated, go back 14 days from February 4th. That is the first day you began ovulating.

Q. If the egg can only live for 24 hours, how come I can get pregnant anytime during the 14 - 16 day time-frame before the first day of my period?

A. Because you really have no way of knowing on which of those 14 - 16 days that egg is actually being released and is ready for fertilization.

Q. How long does sperm live inside of the uterus?

A. Sperm can live for 72+hours. This means that you can become pregnant even before you actually ovulate. (This is why it is recommended that you chart your ovulation cycle two - three days before it actually begins)

It’s better to be covered at all times. Either refrain from sex when you know it’s a possibility you might become pregnant, or protect yourself! This is your body ~ you’re in charge.

There are many different forms of contraception. Learn more.

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