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Am I Pregnant FAQ’s

What are the chances that I could be pregnant?
If you are a healthy woman and having unprotected sex on a regular basis, you’re chance of becoming pregnant on any given month is 20 to 25 percent if you are in your twenties, 15 percent if you are in your early thirties, and less than 10 percent if you are 35 years or older.

When exactly does conception occur?
It is impossible to tell the exact moment of conception, but it typically occurs 2 weeks after your period ends. Conception is a process involving three steps: ovulation, when the ovary releases the egg; fertilization, when the sperm and egg combine in the fallopian tube, about 24 hours after ovulation; and implantation, when the fertilized egg implants into the uterine wall, about 6 to 12 days after ovulation.

Can women feel when conception occurs?
Although some women claim they can sense a change in their bodies, most women won’t notice any changes until well after implantation – once the fertilized egg connects with your blood system and progesterone is produced and the pregnancy hormone hCG is released.

How early can a pregnancy be detected?
It depends on your hCG level. This level gradually increases throughout pregnancy. In general, a blood test for hCG, done about two weeks after ovulation can confirm whether you’re pregnant. Results of a urine test for hCG may not be accurate until after a missed period. However, you may have symptoms before then.

What does a blood pregnancy test measure?
A blood test measures the actual levels of hCG and progesterone in your blood. The normal range for these levels is quite large. You should not be concerned if your hormone levels are on the lower end of normal, a positive result is still positive.

What does a urine pregnancy test measure?
A urine pregnancy test detects only the presence of hCG. The amount of hCG in your urine can change over the course of the day depending on how much you drink and how diluted or concentrated the urine is. If your urine is too diluted, the amount of hCG may be inadequate for a positive result.

There are so many different pregnancy tests, how do I know which one to choose?
If you are like most women and want to know as early as possible, take a look at the test’s sensitivity (or the hCG threshold at which a positive result is indicated). Sensitivities are given in mIU/mL. The lower the number, the higher the test sensitivity – and the sooner you can find out if you are pregnant.

Does a positive urine pregnancy test result mean I am pregnant?
The answer is yes, BUT you should realize that hCG is produced in all pregnancies, even in those that do not continue, such as chemical pregnancies. Because many pregnancies result in miscarriage shortly after implantation, it might be best to wait until you have symptoms before taking a urine test.

What does a faint line on a urine pregnancy test mean?
It could mean that you are pregnant, but you should retest yourself to be sure. A faint line could result if you took the test too early or didn’t follow the test directions correctly. However, it could also mean a chemical pregnancy.

Could I be pregnant even if a urine pregnancy test is negative?
Yes, a false negative pregnancy test can happen when testing is done too early or there is not enough hCG in the urine sample. It is important to follow the test instructions carefully. Your hCG level may be below the test’s hCG threshold. Or implantation may have occurred later, which will delay a positive result.

I still haven’t gotten my period even though a urine pregnancy test was negative. Is this normal?
It is not unusual to miss a period. Any number of things can affect your menstrual cycle. Diet changes, anxiety, lack of sleep, medication, and thyroid problems are just a few examples of what can cause disturbances in your cycle. Your doctor can confirm or rule out pregnancy with a simple blood test.

Is it possible to get my period and still be pregnant?
The simple answer is no. When you are pregnant, you will not ovulate and shed the lining of your uterus (endometrium), which occurs as a result of ovulation and manifests each month as your period. Bleeding in pregnancy, while common, is never normal.

Does a missed period mean that I’m pregnant?
It’s possible. A missed period is one of the first signs of pregnancy. It may be what prompts you to take a home pregnancy test. However, our menstrual cycles change over time and vary from month to month. So a missed period alone is not a good indication of pregnancy. Taking a pregnancy test is the best way to tell whether a visit your ob-gyn is in order.

Aside from a missed period, what are the most common pregnancy symptoms?
These can vary significantly among pregnant women. Some women may notice little or no changes in the beginning. As pregnancy hormone levels rise, symptoms become more apparent. These often include fatigue, frequent urination, nausea, tender or swollen breasts, and food aversions or cravings.

Will I be able to tell the difference between implantation spotting and my menstrual period?
Not every woman has spotting with implantation. Implantation happens before your period, which typically starts about 14 days after ovulation. So if you see light, pinkish spotting early in your cycle, it could be a sign of implantation. Implantation spotting rarely lasts longer than a day or two.

How do I calculate my due date?
Your obstetrician will calculate your due date by taking the first day of your last period, even though you were not pregnant at that time, and adding 40 weeks. If you have a predictable 28-day cycle, this calculation will give you good idea when you might have your baby.

I have erratic periods, how can I be sure my due date is accurate?
At your first prenatal appointment, or your first appointment in which an ultrasound scan is performed, you will receive a more accurate due date for your baby. The scan can tell the size of the fetus and its stage of development, which can determine the baby’s actual gestational age and likely birthday.

[Page updated April 2016]