Wondering if you’re pregnant? Maybe you’re not sure how to reliably confirm your pregnancy, how to determine whether you’re pregnant or not, or you just need some help navigating how to tell your partner and family about the new baby. We know this time of uncertainty can be stressful, which is why Embrace is here to walk you through every step of your first pregnancy in our new mother’s guide.
Pregnancy Signs & Symptoms
“Could I Be Pregnant?”
This is a common question we hear. If you’ve been asking yourself this question, you’re not alone. It can be tough to tell if you’re pregnant – in fact, many women don’t even know the signs and symptoms to watch for. Below you’ll find a brief explanation of some of the most common pregnancy signs and symptoms so you know what to look for:
A missed period is one of the most common and noticeable symptoms of pregnancy. If you miss your period soon after having sex, there’s always a possibility you could be pregnant. This is also true even if you have a light or irregular period. If you aren’t sure whether your period is late or not, taking a pregnancy test can help confirm your suspicions.
Spotting & Cramping
These symptoms are caused by the implantation of the embryo into your uterus. Implantation often leads to feelings of discomfort, followed by spotting or light bleeding.
Sore Or Swollen Breasts
A few weeks into your pregnancy you’ll often notice your breasts are getting swollen or more sensitive to touch, even to the point of soreness. These are classic symptoms of pregnancy triggered by the hormonal changes in your body.
Many pregnant women report feeling symptoms of nausea, with or without vomiting, early in their pregnancies. These symptoms are often more acute early in the day, which is why many pregnant women refer to it as “morning sickness.”
Fatigue & Muscle Pains
The hormonal changes in your body can lead to changes in your energy levels as well as soreness in different parts of your body. Soreness can also be caused by changes to your circulation and the increased demand placed on your body’s resources.
This is usually due to changes in blood circulation, elevated hormone levels, and dehydration. One thing to remember: If you think you could be pregnant, avoid taking NSAIDs like Advil, Aleve, or aspirin for headaches or other pain, as they can harm the developing baby. Use Tylenol (acetaminophen) instead and stay well hydrated.
When you become pregnant, your blood circulation speeds up to supply enough oxygen and resources to the growing baby. Your body also needs to naturally process more waste. These factors lead to an increased need to urinate for many women. It’s also natural to increase your fluid intake during pregnancy, which again leads to more frequent urination.
Food Cravings or Aversions
Researchers aren’t sure what makes women crave unusual foods during pregnancy or feel sudden aversions to foods they normally like. Yet many women report these exact symptoms – either suddenly desiring foods they usually detest or feeling a strong distaste for foods they love. For many women, even the smells of foods and drinks are enough to trigger cravings or nausea.
Increased changes in your mood can happen rapidly and without warning when you’re pregnant. If you notice yourself feeling more sad, angry, or emotional than normal, taking a pregnancy test can rule out if that could be due to pregnancy.
It might seem strange, but nasal congestion is actually a common pregnancy symptom for many women. The hormonal changes in your body can lead to the mucous membranes in your nose and sinuses drying out, which in turn can make your nose feel stuffy and congested.
Pregnancy Confirmation At Embrace
If you think you could be pregnant or you’re not sure whether your symptoms are related to pregnancy, we can help. Confirming your pregnancy is the first step in your pregnancy decision. Embrace offers free & confidential services starting with an initial pregnancy test, no appointment needed. For more information, see our walk-in hours or give us a call.
How A Pregnancy Test Works
Could you be pregnant? If you’re dealing with any of the symptoms listed above it’s a possibility, but you’re not alone. Unexpected pregnancies happen to women from all walks of life. And no matter what your situation is, the best first step in pregnancy confirmation is to take a pregnancy test.
If you’ve ever been to the family planning aisle in a drugstore or pharmacy, you know that there are dozens of different brands of pregnancy tests with a variety of features: easy to read screens, fast results, easy to use, etc. However, despite their differences, all these tests work the same way at their core.
Virtually every over-the-counter pregnancy test is a test for a specific hormone in your body – human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG. In healthy adults, HCG is only produced during pregnancy, which is why it is used for simple and accurate pregnancy tests.
When your body begins producing HCG, it is absorbed into your bloodstream. From there, it also passes into your kidneys and eventually ends up in your urine. This is why home pregnancy tests are urine-based – they work by detecting the amount of HCG in your urine.
Some pregnancy tests are more sensitive than others, but that doesn’t make these less sensitive tests unreliable. They simply may not be able to detect your pregnancy as early as others.
Most OTC pregnancy tests are over 99% effective when used properly. If you do get a positive pregnancy result from an OTC test, a pregnancy clinic or doctor’s office can perform an ultrasound to check for a fetal heartbeat and confirm your pregnancy.
When To Take A Pregnancy Test
Unfortunately, you can’t take a pregnancy test immediately after having sex and see if you are pregnant. HCG hormone takes time to build up in your bloodstream.
Most women need to wait until after they miss their period to confirm if they are pregnant. Some pregnancy tests can work sooner and are able to detect HCG in your body 7 to 14 days after conception.
If you take a test before your body has adequate HCG levels, you probably won’t get an accurate result. In other words, a “negative” result could just be due to not waiting long enough.
To ensure an accurate result, you should wait at least 2 to 3 weeks after having sex to take a pregnancy test. It’s also best to take a pregnancy test in the morning since the HCG hormone builds up in your body overnight.
Free Pregnancy Testing Services
Pregnancy tests are remarkably accurate at determining whether or not you’re pregnant, but only when you follow the instructions and use them correctly. If you want to be sure, you can also take a free pregnancy test at Embrace, no appointment needed.
Get A Free Limited Obstetrical Ultrasound
Come in during our walk-in hours and see if you qualify for a free limited obstetrical ultrasound.
A sonogram helps us answer the following 3 questions:
- Is there a baby in the uterus?
- Roughly how old is the baby?
- Does the baby have a heartbeat?
Click here for more information on why it’s important to get an ultrasound.
How To Tell Your Boyfriend You’re Pregnant
When you’re in a committed relationship, planning your pregnancy announcement can be exciting and fun. However, if you weren’t planning to become pregnant, this moment can turn into a nerve-wracking experience.
We understand that it can be scary to unexpectedly find out you’re pregnant – and even scarier to discuss it with your partner.
Here is some advice to help you through this situation:
Consider Your Own Feelings
If your pregnancy test and ultrasound come back positive, it can be tempting to rush to your boyfriend for support. However, we recommend you consider your own feelings first before you tell anyone else.
One of the best ways to come to terms with your own thoughts is to write them down. When you write something down, your mind has to slow down and think about each word.
Your thoughts don’t get a chance to “run away,” and it’s easier to keep track of all the feelings in your head and heart. This is a good way to consider and process all your feelings and ideas.
Understand Your Options
Many women have misconceptions about the different pregnancy options available to them. That’s why it’s important to get the truth about every option (parenting, adoption, and abortion) before you make any decisions you can’t take back.
At Embrace, we offer free information and education about all of these options. There is no appointment needed to sit down with one of our volunteers and ask your questions in a safe, comfortable, and confidential setting.
Tell Your Partner
Once you have the information you need and you’ve taken time to sort out how you feel, you need to tell your partner. But where?
We recommend giving the news in a comfortable and familiar setting, such as at home or in another private space. Don’t bring it up when you’re out in public, like at a restaurant or cafe. This can make the situation more uncomfortable for both of you.
When you tell your boyfriend, make sure you’re open and honest about your own feelings and plans. Don’t try to hide your own thoughts or emotions.
However, you should also expect your boyfriend to need some time to process the news as well. He might be confused, angry, scared, or even excited. Give him time to work through his own thoughts and feelings before you ask how he wants to proceed.
It’s also important at this stage to be a good listener and to allow him to be open with you. In many cases, the boyfriend feels differently about pregnancy than the girlfriend does. This is natural, and you will need to work through these differences together.
If you’re single, click here to learn more about single parenting and if it’s for you.
If your partner is pressuring you to get an abortion and you don’t know what to do you can read our blog on this very subject.
How To Tell My Parents I’m Pregnant
No teen or young adult wants to go through this situation, but it still happens to thousands every year. You might feel paralyzed by feelings of guilt, embarrassment, or shame.
However, the longer you put it off, the more difficult the situation can become. Here is some simple advice to help you tell your parents about your pregnancy:
Sooner Is Better
If there’s one thing you can be sure about, it’s that telling your parents you’re pregnant early on is always better. The longer you wait to tell your parents about your pregnancy, the more complications and difficulties can arise.
Often, waiting to tell your family causes stress and anticipation – which is exactly what you don’t want in early pregnancy. Besides, in many cases, the reaction you imagine is much worse than the reaction you will actually get. It’s best to tell your parents soon and start working out your next steps.
Telling Others First Can Make It Easier
If you’re worried about how your parents will react, you can choose to confide in others first. Telling a sibling, relative, or close friend can be a good way to “test the waters” and gauge how your parents may react. It can also help relieve some of the stress and anxiety of keeping a huge secret, making the telling itself easier to do.
Make Sure They’re Prepared
Obviously, very few parents are ready to hear that their child is pregnant unexpectedly, but you can soften the impact by making sure they hear the news in a comfortable setting. Don’t blurt it out in passing or while you’re in a public place, and don’t tell them in anger or out of fear. Think through beforehand what you want to say. Think about where you want to say it and give them a heads up that you want to sit down to talk.
Anticipate And Accept Their Feelings
Your parents might be angry, disappointed, or confused by the news. But this is expected. Remember, your parents are people too, and they have their own plans and goals for you.
They might even say something that is mean or hurtful – and so might you. But it’s important not to let this conversation become an argument. You’re all in this together, and you need to support and respect each other to make it through.
Don’t Make Any Decisions Yet
Your parents might start talking about getting an abortion or placing the baby for adoption when you tell them. However, it’s important not to make any decisions right away. Time is your friend.
Make sure everyone is calm and composed before talking about your options and discussing what you actually want. Furthermore, remember that nobody – not even your parents – can make these decisions for you.
If you aren’t comfortable with their choices or reasoning, don’t let them pressure you.
In a time like this, you might be surprised by how well your parents take the news. On the other hand, not all parents will react the same way, and there is always a chance that your parents might react negatively. If you find yourself in a bad situation after you tell your parents, remember that there are other places to get help and support.
If you’re in Wichita, contact Embrace! We are here to provide a listening ear, support, and resources as you make your pregnancy decision. Call (316) 945-9400 to make an appointment, or visit our Wichita clinic at your convenience.
How To Navigate The Holidays With An Unexpected Pregnancy
The holiday season can be tough to manage at the best of times – but if you’re also in the midst of making a pregnancy decision, it can feel almost impossible. To make the holidays easier to get through, here are a few pieces of advice.
Know Your Limits
The most important thing to keep in mind when you’re trying to get through the holidays is that you need to be aware of your limits. Don’t be afraid to respectfully decline an invitation if you know you will feel stressed or if you’re worried about probing questions. On the other hand, don’t be afraid to share with friends and family if you feel like their support would help you feel better.
If you haven’t broken the news to your family yet, it can be helpful to have a close friend or family member who knows your situation who you can count on for support. And if your family does know, don’t be afraid to ask for some understanding and help.
Pregnancy is difficult even when you were planning for it, so don’t feel like you need to go through it alone. For additional support in your pregnancy decision, know you can always call Embrace.
Don’t Feel Pressured
At the same time, don’t feel pressured to share or explain anything you’re not comfortable with. Your pregnancy story, and your choices for how you will handle it, are yours alone. Don’t feel bad for avoiding uncomfortable questions or situations.
At times like these, you need to prioritize your own emotions and mental health above the feelings of your friends and family.
Practice What To Say
When you’re pregnant, questions are unavoidable. People may ask why you’re not eating or drinking certain foods. If you’re further along, they might ask about the baby’s father or if you’re planning to get married.
They might ask what options you’re considering or even try to change your mind. In these cases, it’s good to have some answers prepared so you can give them easily and avoid unnecessary discomfort. A good tip is to think of the questions you least want to be asked and how you would answer them gracefully.
Give Yourself Time
The holidays can be a whirl of activity and responsibilities, but when you’re dealing with an unplanned pregnancy you need to take time for yourself as well. Make sure you leave open time to relax, cope, and consider your thoughts and feelings. Don’t feel like you need to attend every event or host any yourself if you aren’t up to it. It’s perfectly natural and even advisable, to take things slow and easy.
No matter how hard we try to control our lives, there will always be things that catch us off guard. It’s in moments like these that we need support the most.
That’s why Embrace offers free and confidential services to the community, no appointment necessary. Regardless of your circumstances, an unexpected pregnancy is a hard thing to face alone.
At Embrace, we provide several important services at no charge so that you have all the information you need to make healthy and informed decisions. When you become a client at Embrace, you are eligible to receive the following:
- Free counseling and support resources
- Free educational materials about your pregnancy options
- Free parenting, relationship, and childbirth education classes
Here are some other helpful blogs that can help guide you through your pregnancy:
- Understanding Abortion & The Risks: Everything You Need To Know In 2021
- Parenting Through Adoption: A Brave And Loving Choice