Monday, February 18, 2008

A Pregnancy Blood Test or the Home Variety

If you feel you may have become pregnant or indeed feeling or seeing the early signs of pregnancy, you will want to ascertain definitively whether you are pregnant or not. This will enable you to start your planning and seeking professional pre-natal care at the earliest opportunity. Either a pregnancy blood test or a home pregnancy kit will determine this for you.

To ascertain pregnancy, both types of test will look for the pregnancy hormone HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotpopin). The home pregnancy test will look for this in the urine whereas the pregnancy blood test will check for this in your blood. So, to determine your condition, either will provide the results you seek.

The pregnancy blood test is the preferred method of testing for pregnancy clinics and doctors. This is because, apart from ascertaining pregnancy or otherwise, far more data can be established from a blood serum test.

Benefits of a Pregnancy Blood Test

The pregnancy blood test falls into two categories; qualitative and quantitative. The former is just like the home pregnancy tests in that it will be looking for traces of HCG and will provide a yes or no answer.

The quantitative pregnancy blood test will measure the amount of HCG in the body. This test is not just taken once but at certain strategic times during early pregnancy. HCG levels are predictable at differing times of the pregnancy and following these tests, comparisons can be made to the test results which will help professionals assess a normal and healthy pregnancy or otherwise. This type of pregnancy blood test will normally also be requested by your doctor if problems with the pregnancy are being experienced.

Even if you have determined that you are pregnant by using a home pregnancy test, it is very important to see your doctor as early as possible to not only confirm the home test but to ensure, using blood pregnancy tests, that your pregnancy is healthy and safe.

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The Early Signs Of Pregnancy

Signs of pregnancy differ from women to women. Some women may experience early signs of pregnancy within days of conceiving while other might experience the signs much later. There is nothing wrong with experiencing early signs of pregnancy right away or later.The most common early sign of pregnancy is missing the menstrual period. This is when most women go for a pregnancy test to determine whether they have conceived or not. However, many women bleed while they are pregnant and this bleeding is generally lighter and for a shorter duration than the normal periods.Another early sign of pregnancy is the implantation bleeding. This happens when the embryo implants itself on the uterine wall after fertilization has taken place. Implantation bleeding is generally pink in color and it is not bleeding per se. It is spotting and is accompanied by cramps.Some women complain of frequent urination and this occurs even before they miss their periods. Usually frequent urination happens because of the changes in hormone levels. Many women also check their body temperature to determine whether they are pregnant. An increase in body temperature is an early sign of pregnancy.If you experience one or all of the sign listed above, it is time to do a pregnancy test. You can either do the test at home or visit a doctor. Even if your home pregnancy test is negative and you are still having the early signs of pregnancy, make sure you visit a gynecologist to be on the safer side.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Pregnancy - identifying fertile days

When trying to conceive a baby, many couples plan intercourse around days 11 to 14 of the woman's 28-day cycle. However, it is often difficult to know exactly when ovulation is going to occur. Doctors recommend that couples who are trying to have a baby have intercourse between days 10 and day 20 of a woman's menstrual cycle. Studies have shown that having intercourse every other day works just as well as having intercourse every day in order to become pregnant.

If you have an irregular menstrual cycle and are no sure when or if you are ovulating, ovulation predictor kit can help. These kits, which can be bought at most drug stores, check for LH (luteinizing hormone) in the urine.

There are other various methods to help detect when you are most likely to be able to conceive a baby.

Evaluating Your Cervical Fluid

Cervical fluid plays protects the sperm and helps it move through the cervix toward the uterus and fallopian tubes. Cervical fluid changes in preparation for ovulation. You will notice clear differences in how it looks and feels over the course of the cycle.

  • Menstrual period occurring (no cervical fluid is present)
  • Vagina is dry (no cervical fluid is present)
  • Sticky/rubbery fluid
  • Wet/creamy/white fluid -- FERTILE
  • Slippery/stretchy/clear "egg white" fluid -- VERY FERTILE
  • Dry (no cervical fluid)

The cervical fluid will be slippery and stretchy on your most fertile days. You can use your fingers to check the consistency of your cervical fluid. Find the fluid inside the lower end of the vagina. Tap your thumb and first finger together -- if the material stretches while you spread your thumb and finger apart, this could mean ovulation is near.

After you ovulate, your body temperature will rise and stay at an elevated level for the rest of your ovulation cycle. At the end of your cycle, it falls again.

You can use a special thermometer to take your temperature in the morning before you get out of bed. Use a glass basal thermometer or a digital thermometer so that you can get accuracy to the tenth of a degree. Keep the thermometer in your mouth for 5 minutes. Try not to move too much, as activity can raise your body temperature slightly. If your temperature is between two marks, record the lower number. Try to take your temperature at the same time every day, if possible.

Create a chart and write down your temperature everyday. If you look at a complete cycle, you will probably notice a point at which the temperatures become higher than they were in the first part of your cycle. More specifically, the rise is when your temperature increases 0.2 degrees above the previous 6 days.

Temperature is a useful indicator of fertility. After monitoring several cycles, you may be able to see a predictable pattern and get a sense for your most fertile days.

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Pregnancy Tips: Knowing Which Ones To Observe

Not all pregnancy tips that you get from friends and family members should be taken seriously. Many of these are simply old wives' tales or are told to you just to make you feel anxious about your pregnancy. By reading literature on your delicate situation, you will learn to weed out the good pregnancy tips from the bad ones.

Pregnancy tips you should ignore

Some pregnancy tips, such as the one about eating strawberries causing strawberry birthmarks, is simply baseless. There are other pregnancy tips, on the other hand, which may seem senseless at first, but may actually be backed by scientific explanation.

One such pregnancy tip is avoiding cats during pregnancy. This is advice that a pregnant woman should listen to â€" not for any reason related to bad luck â€" it is because cat feces may be contaminated with Toxoplasma gondii which is the microorganism responsible for toxoplasmosis.

If you haven't developed an immunity, and if you're infected for the first time during your pregnancy, there's a high possibility that the fetus might be affected in several ways â€" from premature birth to grave nervous system defects.

There are pregnancy tips, though, that you need to strictly observe as they have been proven beneficial time and again.

Have the right kind of diet

Your condition requires you to have a well-balanced meal, for your own sake and for the baby's welfare. You need not "eat for two" volume-wise, but you should definitely have more than the regular amount of vitamins and minerals.

Vegetarians must consult with their doctors to have an assessment of their existing diets. They should be able to find out which foods to substitute for those required for pregnant women but are disallowed in their vegetarian diet.

Keep away from harmful substances

Smoking is a no-no because it can definitely result in low birthweight. Drugs and alcohol intake will also wreak havoc on the normal development of your baby. Keep away from secondhand smoke as well, and it's best to make your partner aware of the dangers of being exposed to secondhand smoke.

Avoid using strong disinfectants and insect spray at home. These can cause irreversible harm to your baby. Be careful, too with the foods that you crave. If they are healthful for you, then you can indulge. However, there are dangerous and strave cravings such as the desire to eat chalk, clay, dirt or laundry starch. This odd craving is called pica, and should be referred to the doctor immediately.

It's okay to exercise

If you have been leading an active lifestyle prior to your pregnancy, then it is assumed that you are in good shape and can continue with your regular exercises. Howvere, there are sports that are unquestionably dangerous for pregnant women, whether they've been at it for a long time or not.

During pregnancy, reliable pregnancy tips dictate that one should not engage in sky diving, scuba diving, horse jumping, and other sports which could cause a change in body pressure or induce you to repeatedly contract your abdominal muscles with force.

Relax and listen to your doctor

Try not to get too agitated by all the warnings that the people around you give. The experience of carrying a child inside your womb should be a wonderful one, so it's best not to listen pregnancy tips that could cause undue stress.

The best ever pregnancy tip is to visit your doctor according to schedule, ask him or her all the questions you have about pregnancy, and try to relax and enjoy your daily life. Keep a journal if you must or make a poster of all the pregnancy tips you find useful, so you won't forget to practice them everyday.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

First Month Pregnancy Symptoms

Although it's best to know that you are pregnant at the earliest possible time, particularly because you'll be able to nourish the baby better during this critical stage, not knowing that you are pregnant until after eight or so weeks could strangely be a boon as you would have gotten over the first month pregnancy symptoms without even knowing what they are.

As they say, what you don't know won't hurt you - and this applies to women who become so traumatized with first month pregnancy symptoms. Actually, they can be tolerable if you know which things to avoid and if you learn how to condition yourself to ignore them.

Pregnancy doesn't have to be a frightening experience. Once you know what the nature of the first month pregnancy symptoms are and how long they would last, you will be able to better cope with them and welcome the newcomer in your womb more warmly.

One of the first month pregnancy symptoms is nausea or intermittent dizziness. A majority of pregnant women experience the so-called "morning sickness" which is characterized by a queasy feeling in the stomach often accompanied by vomiting. Although it most often occurs as soon as you wake up in the morning, nausea can be experienced any time of the day.

This first month pregnancy symptom can be neutralized by sucking sour candy or sniffing smelling salts or ammonia. Nausea can be triggered by various smells which are unpleasant for the pregnant woman. Mild headaches can be relieved by drinking cold water. Although there are safe paracetamol medications, you should always consult your doctor before taking any medication while you are pregnant.

Morning sickness last until around your third month of pregnancy until it disappears completely. Most first month pregnancy symptoms are brought about by the hormonal changes that simultaneously happen due to your delicate condition.

Having tender breasts, or experiencing soreness and heaviness, is another first month pregnancy symptom, as is experiencing pain in the lower part of your abdomen. These symptoms, though, are also present during PMS, so many pregnant women confuse them as signs of an upcoming menstrual period.

Mood swings are also common first month pregnancy symptoms. You easily get irritated and the little things that you used to brush off now become magnified. Again, these are brought on by the secretion of pregnancy-related hormones in your body.

In terms of weight, not all women experience an increase in girth around the midsection. A few, in fact, even lose weight - probably because another first month pregnancy symptom is loss of appetite. After a few months, however, your appetite will return and you will undoubtedly be eating much more than your regular intake in order to nourish the developing baby.

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Friday, February 8, 2008

How to Get Pregnant and How to Know You are Pregnant

So you are thinking of getting pregnant. For some this happens as soon as you stop using contraceptive methods, for others it becomes a long, torturous journey leading to such methods as IVF after years of trying. In this article we will be looking at what you should do once you decide to get pregnant and how you will know you have succeeded, assuming your experiences will lie in the middle ground.

If you are thinking of starting, or continuing, with your family it is a good idea to visit your doctor to get a checkup. He or she can discuss your current health, any issues that might affect your ability to get pregnant or cause issues in pregnancy. You can also get advice on diet. sleep. etc to ensure you are ready for the challenges a pregnancy can give the body.

As you have probably worked out by now, your body is on a monthly cycle, with a period about every four weeks. Conception actually occurs about two weeks before your period so for many people you will be pregnant for a few weeks before you know it.

Is this a problem? Well this comes down to preparation. Your baby is at its most sensitive to harm in the first 2 to 8 weeks of its existence. If you are intending to change your diet, alcohol intake or smoking habits during pregnancy then maybe you should be starting before your pregnancy is confirmed to ensure the safety of your baby.

Ok you've done your preparation, you've been having intercourse (another prerequisite for pregnancy), how do you know that you have been successful? The symptoms can vary from woman to woman but I have listed below the most common ones of which you will probably experience several from the list.

  1. Changes to your breasts, often they will become swollen and tender to the touch. Your areola (skin around your nipples) can darken.
  2. Skin Changes, patches on your forehead or cheeks.
  3. Frequent Urination, I know I had this one, you get to visit the toilet more often.
  4. Food cravings, not always a definite sign but combined with others can point to pregnancy.
  5. Fatigue, this was another of mine, you suddenly feel very tired each day.
  6. Morning sickness, I got to miss out on this one, it can happen at any time of day (despite the name) and varies from nausea to full on vomiting.
  7. Missed period, this is getting into the serious signs of pregnancy, if this happens try a home pregnancy test.
  8. Home pregnancy test, these are pretty accurate these days.
If you get to the positive home pregnancy test then it's off to the doctor to confirm and set you on the path to a successful pregnancy.

This article is a really brief overview of getting pregnant and is not meant to replace qualified medical opinion. From my experiences and memories, particularly of your first pregnancy, it is a time of many questions mixed with some anxiety overlaid with anticipation and excitement. I thoroughly recommend purchasing a comprehensive guide book or ebook which covers all of this stuff and can step you through your pregnancy, answering your questions at every step of the way. It's a great way of ensuring you have the answers at your fingertips and don't have to wait until you next see the doctor.

On such resource that I recommend is A-Z of Pregnancy, an ebook by Dr Irina Webster. As a doctor and a mother she has a wonderful insight into this exciting time in your life. The beauty of being an ebook is that you can search for specific issues easily and quickly on an electronic copy.

All the best on your journey to become pregnant!

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Saturday, February 2, 2008

Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy

Pregnancy is the best time for every mother. This nine-month journey teaches a woman to feel a veil of emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual changes in her life and her surroundings. The ultimate joy and pleasure of carrying out a new life in you is just something cannot be expressed in mere few words. This exclusive time period incorporates unimaginative feelings within you that will help you to prolong your joyous feelings and fun throughout the life.

This difficult time needs constant monitoring and lots of care for a woman to deliver a healthy and smiling life. To carry the changes within, you need to watch your body on a regular basis to adept the changing needs and requirements and discover an inner strength to become a really loving and caring Momma.

In this article, we will talk about the signs of pregnancy that will help you to monitor your situation and you can better take care of yourself and the baby within you.

Contact a good gynecologist to treat you and partner you throughout your journey of motherhood. Get your blood test done and you can be assured of your status. However, there are other symptoms that need to be taken care of and can give you the news, you're looking for.

Pregnancy Symptoms
Often missing period or irregular period with less bleeding than usual.
Pain in Back
Problems like Constipation
Color deepness of areola
Increase in salivation
Feeling exhausted every time or sleepy feeling
Craving for food or consumes more food.
Frequent urination
Pain in head
Nauseating feelings
Cramps in lower abdomen
Feeling of vomiting throughout the day
Tender or swollen breasts

These symptoms are often caused by changes in hormones and the uterus keeps growing to provide ample space for the growing life.

To avert complexities, a woman needs to consult a good physician, who will provide you good solutions and treatments for her problems.

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