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Whether you are trying to get pregnant or to prevent pregnancy, here is some basic information about pregnancy that you should know, explained in simple terms.
Whether you’re trying to get pregnant or not, there’s an alarm that starts ringing when your period is a few days late. If you and your partner have been trying to have a baby, there can be no better news. But, if it is an unexpected surprise, then you need to be prepared.
Here, we will attempt to throw light on some important facts about pregnancy that you may need to know.
If you’re sexually active, conception can happen anytime. The probability is vastly reduced when a couple uses birth control contraceptives and protection. The most commonly used birth control tool is a condom.
There are other methods to have protected sex too if condoms are not working out for you and your partner. Many people use a diaphragm, which is a dome shaped silicone with one spring in its rim.
Female condoms are also used. They work like a pouch and cover the vagina, collect the sperm and thus prevent it from entering the vagina. Other birth control methods are patches, pills, control rings and morning-after pills.
Remember that if you and your partner practice the pull out method, it is probably the most risky one.
During the menstrual cycle, the egg is released and stays in the fallopian tube. This is the ovulation period. The egg stays there for a while (for a week or more) and this is the most likely time that you can get pregnant if you have intercourse. So you can calculate your ovulation period backwards. It usually occurs 10-15 days before your period cycle.
So if you’re intending to get pregnant, this is the time you need to keep in mind. It has the highest probability of the sperm catching on to the egg.
The most commonly used method of determining pregnancy is a home pregnancy test. The kit comes with a small stick with a panel that houses agents lined to detect markers. These markers catch human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) in urine that can confirm pregnancy. So if you’re pregnant and pass urine on the stick, the marker will indicate a positive result.
The important thing to remember is that the timing of taking the test is crucial. The correct time to take the test is typically a few days (4-6) days after fertilization. You can take the test a week after your missed period to confirm your pregnancy.
Keep in mind that there can be false positives too, so don’t panic too soon. The stick can show you a positive result if you’re using medicine that has excess hCG such as medicines used for psychological problems like chlorpromazine, phenothiazines and methadone among others. Therefore, more effective is the beta hCG test which is a blood test that determines the quantity of the marker in your body and gives you a more accurate result.
In India, home pregnancy kits cost anywhere from Rs 200 and above. If you’ve taken the home pregnancy test a couple of times and have got different results each time, then you might want to go for a blood pregnancy test.
Symptoms of pregnancy are sometimes difficult to differentiate from symptoms of menstruation related issues. But if you know your menstruation pattern and the effects you suffer from regularly, then you can differentiate between the two.
One of the early symptoms is spotting and cramping. Besides bleeding there is a white discharge that is due to the thickening of vaginal walls. Pay attention to these slight symptoms that can be associated with pregnancy; however, as mentioned before, can also be the mistaken for a period cycle.
Tracking your days on a calendar to know the exact dates when you’re ovulating and having a family planner may help you to get the timing right. If you calculate correctly, but are still not getting pregnant, then a visit to the doctor can be helpful.
Image source: woman holding a pregnancy test by Shutterstock.