Did you know that the first two weeks of pregnancy, by U.S. standards, are not really “pregnancy” at all, but the week leading up to ovulation and fertilization? Yes, by the time most moms-to-be learn they are expecting (around the days of the first missed period), they are considered one month into the game. Some women, especially those with irregular cycles due to polycystic ovarian syndrome or endometriosis, may not detect pregnancy until days or weeks later, placing them well into the second month before any suspicion!
Am I Pregnant?
The most common symptoms of pregnancy are: missed period, sore breasts, cramping, and nausea. There are many more symptoms of pregnancy, but premenstrual complaints can be very similar. That’s why it’s important to confirm pregnancy.
You can easily test yourself with a home pregnancy test. Experts suggest avoiding blue dye tests, due to higher false positives because of evaporation lines. Instead, choose a pink dye test or a digital. There are many options on the market at many price range. Some of the cheap tests work just as well as the expensive ones. The important thing is to read and follow the directions very carefully.
If you receive a positive result, your doctor can order a blood test to confirm the pregnancy and monitor your hormone levels if that is of concern.
If this is your first pregnancy, if you have any health issues, or if you have struggled with infertility or pregnancy loss in the past, it is important to let your care provider know you’re pregnant as soon as you find out. Your doctor can then help guide you through any special precautions for protecting your health and the life of your baby.
Otherwise, care providers usually want to see a newly pregnant woman around 7 weeks gestation. It’s still important to call and schedule ahead, as many providers are busy and need advanced notice.
Additionally, make sure you’re taking prenatal vitamins with a form of folate.
Choosing a Provider
There are many options when it comes to choosing a provider for prenatal, birth, and postnatal care. For me, the answer seemed simple at first. I stayed with my OB/Gyn office at first. But once I had a couple of appointments with the OB, I decided he wasn’t on the same page as to my wishes for care and birth. He said if I wanted a midwife, I would need to be induced. Because I preferred a natural birth with a midwife, I hired one independently and switched to her care.
Take time to talk to your partner, search your soul, and research options. Insurance and finances always play a role, so give yourself plenty of time to investigate. Feel free to try various providers if needed until you find one with whom you’re comfortable.
Should I Announce?
This is such a personal decision. The traditional rule-of-thumb is 12-14 weeks as this is when the risk of miscarriage drops significantly. Do whatever is best for you!