Am I Pregnant? How to Know

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One of the most popular questions we get here on Sexual Health Connection is, "Am I pregnant?"   There is one predominant emotion for the person who asks this question and this is usually anxiety.   Yet this anxiety can come from two very different perspectives.   Some women will ask, "Am I pregnant?" and be hoping that they are not, and some women will ask this same question and be hoping that they are.   I can tell you that I have asked this very question from both perspectives.   I remember the first time I missed taking a birth control pill.   I was so terrified that I was pregnant.   But imagine back then there was no Internet or Plan B.   It was a really long agonizing wait until I had my period before I could feel relief from all that anxiety.   And then there were the numerous times in later years when I was trying to get pregnant and was experiencing fertility problems.   I read and researched all the signs of pregnancy.   If I was a day or two late I would ask this question with hopeful anticipation only to be devastated when my period came.

So for all the ladies out there who ask, "Am I pregnant?" I want you to know that I do understand your fears and your hopes as I have been through it myself.   It can be very hard to wait to know the answer whether you are hoping that you are or are not pregnant.

In this post I am going to be giving you a lot of links to information that I feel will be helpful to you if you are here asking if you might be pregnant.

Am I pregnant if I am experiencing nausea, irritability, breast tenderness, and fatigue?

Although these symptoms can be signs of pregnancy, there is absolutely no certainty that you are pregnant if you have them.   In fact, these symptoms are also quite common to experience during PMS.   Here is a list of PMS symptoms from Sexual Health Connection's PMS Survival Guide: "Bloating, breast tenderness, acne, increase in appetite, food cravings, headache, upset stomach, constipation, swelling of hands and feet, clumsiness, and fatigue."     Some of the psychological symptoms of PMS include loss of concentration, mood swings, forgetfulness, and irritability.   What you are thinking are the signs of pregnancy just may be symptoms of an impending period.

"My period is late" or "I missed my period this month."   Doesn't this mean that I am pregnant?

One of the first things most people think if your period is late or does not come at all is that you may be pregnant.   But in fact, there could be other reasons which have nothing to do with pregnancy for a late or missing period.   To read more about these possible reasons please read my article entitled, "My Period is Late   Reasons other than Pregnancy for a Missed Period."

I am bleeding so I must not be pregnant.

Sometimes women bleed   6-12 days after conception as the embryo implants itself into the uterine wall.   This is called implantation bleeding.   Also it is very possible to bleed during pregnancy, especially during the first trimester.   I did and I discuss my experience with this post about first trimester bleeding during pregnancy.

So how can I reliably tell if I am pregnant or not?

One of the best ways to tell if you are pregnant is to take a home pregnancy test.   We have tons of information right here on Health Central about home pregnancy tests.     Some of the ways to increase the reliability of the test are to take the test a week after your missed period, use your first morning urine, and check to make sure that your test is not expired.   Also make sure to follow the directions on the box and set a timer of when you should look at the results.   If you let the test sit too long the results may not be accurate.   Some tests will produce a faint positive test result if you read it after the time specified in the directions.   Here is an article from Wellsphere which charts the sensitivity of the various home pregnancy tests.

If you are doubtful of your home pregnancy test results you can take a second test in a couple of days after the first one.

Is there any way to know sooner whether I am pregnant or not?

Yes, you go see your gynecologist or doctor and get a blood test for pregnancy.   The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shares information about this type of blood test in their informational article "Knowing if you are pregnant":

"Blood tests are done in a doctor's office. They can pick up hCG earlier in a pregnancy than urine tests can. Blood tests can tell if you are pregnant about 6 to 8 days after you ovulate (release an egg from an ovary). "   A blood test is also very accurate and if you are pregnant, your doctor can provide the on-going treatment and care that you will need.

Waiting to know if you are pregnant can be an emotionally exhausting experience.   Patience will be needed to survive this anxious time.   In order to get peace of mind it is wise to seek the advice of your doctor or gynecologist.   In the meantime I hope that the resources and information we offer here on Sexual Health Connection will help you along your journey, whatever path that turns out to be.

For more information, be sure to check out:

Types of Emergency Contraception

What You Can Expect After Taking the Morning After Pill

Emergency Contraception: How Much Do You Know About the Morning After Pill?

The Morning After Pill

Understanding the Risks of an IUD