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Signs of Pregnancy: How Do I Know?

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Sometimes it's hard to interpret the signals your body is sending you. So if you suspect you may be pregnant, you're probably eager to confirm it.

One easy way to find out is to take an over-the-counter home pregnancy test. The latest kits can be used within a few days of a missed period and give results in less than 30 minutes. Simple urine tests, they're fast, convenient, and confidential, and they have a false-positive rate of only about 5 percent (false-positive means the test tells you you're pregnant even though you're not). If you do discover you're pregnant, it's important that you make an appointment for your first prenatal visit with your medical caregiver. There are also signals your body gives you to let you know you're pregnant. Look for these signs:

  • missing a menstrual period (amenorrhea)
  • frequent urination
  • tender, tingling, swollen breasts
  • "morning sickness," a queasiness that can occur any time of day
  • changes in skin color: darkening of the areola (the area around your nipple), deepening color of veins in your breasts, appearance of a dark line from your navel to your pubic bone
  • food cravings

If you're having any of these symptoms, see your health care provider (physician, nurse practitioner, or certified nurse midwife) as soon as possible. As she examines you, she'll be able to observe other signs that can confirm a pregnancy, such as changes in the color or firmness of your cervix, changes in your uterus, hearing a prenatal heartbeat, or detection of the fetus on an ultrasound monitor. If you are pregnant, she will also set up a series of prenatal appointments to get you and your baby off to the best start possible!

 

 
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It's no fun, and no fair: Just when we were getting excited about being pregnant, that awful queasy feeling started coming on. For some of us, the nausea is worse in the morning (hence the name). Get some tips on coping with morning sickness.
Read Dealing With Morning Sickness
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