How do I know if I’m pregnant?

9 Jul 2020

Chest pain, morning sickness, delayed menstruation … what if I was pregnant? Discover the signs that indicate a possible pregnancy.

To get pregnant, sometimes all it takes is unprotected sex … or a forgotten pill. But others, even when using a “reliable” contraceptive method, the surprise comes anyway!

The warning signs of pregnancy vary from woman to woman but we may think that if you have any of these symptoms and have recently had sexual intercourse it is worth getting a pregnancy test.

1.- Delayed rule

It is “the” most common clue that you should put on notice. If you have a fairly regular menstrual cycle and your period is delayed by about 7 days, there is a risk of pregnancy. On average, menstruation occurs every 28 days, but the length of a cycle can range from 25 to 35 days.

The rules correspond to a decrease in the production of hormones (estrogen and progesterone). Since the egg has not been fertilized, the endometrium (that is, the part of the uterine lining that is intended to receive the embryo) breaks loose and manifests as blood flow. But if you are pregnant, estrogen and progesterone levels remain high – suddenly, menstruation does not occur.

Keep in mind also other factors can cause a delay in the period: a significant weight loss (in which case it is an alarm signal that should not be overlooked), a change in contraception or an emotional shock, just to put a few examples.

Were your last periods less abundant than usual? Were they just small blackish or brownish bleeds? Caution: they can be synonyms of pregnancy.

According to experts, this phenomenon affects approximately 1 in 4 women during the first trimester of pregnancy. In some women, implantation (that is, when the embryo attaches to the uterine wall, approximately 8 days after fertilization) is accompanied by small bleeding, usually not very important.

2.- Chest pain

Do you have pain or tenderness in the breasts? Do you feel like your breasts are heavier or tighter? Again, this may be a sign of pregnancy.

From the first day of pregnancy, the breast begins to transform. Under the influence of progesterone and estrogen, the breasts become heavier and more swollen, the nipples and areola gradually change color (darker). The halo becomes more visible. Sometimes this phenomenon occurs even before menstruation stops.

3.- Stomach ache

To accommodate the embryo, the uterus can contract to increase in size. This is a phenomenon that can be painful: specifically, it looks like a premenstrual syndrome. But again, not all women experience it.

This pain in the lower abdomen can be accompanied by pressure on the groin: under the effect of estrogen, the ligaments soften to allow the abdomen to grow. Additionally, pregnant women may experience a frequent urge to urinate, which is also related to the action of estrogen.

Of course, there are other clues. In case of pregnancy, some women will experience nausea, cravings, mood swings, they will feel very tired, they will suffer swelling or constipation … All this is related to hormonal changes.

I think I am pregnant: what do I do?

The first thing is to get a pregnancy test. Urine pregnancy tests are sold in pharmacies or supermarkets: they cost between € 2 and € 10. There is no need to invest in more expensive tests at first.

You also don’t need to rush to get a pregnancy test the day after intercourse. The test won’t really be effective until the day your period is supposed to come.

Has the test been positive? Find out about all the options you have and make a decision calmly and without external pressure.