DETECTION OF PREGNANCY
Whenever a sexually active lady misses her periods the one question always arises: ‘Am I pregnant?’ Pregnancy can be easily detected by certain symptoms, examination and confirmed by certain tests.
Missed menstrual period: A regularly menstruating sexually active woman who has missed her period may be considered pregnant. However in certain situations the missed period may not be suggestive of pregnancy such as:
Nausea, vomiting, Weight change, mood changes.
In late pregnancy the following changes may be seen:
Your doctor would be checking for an enlarged and soft uterus by an internal examination (By around the fifth week after your last menses, the uterine enlargement and softening begins if pregnant).
Urine pregnancy test : This test detects the presence of a hormone i.e. the human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) secreted by the placenta when the mother is pregnant. This hormone passes into the mother’s blood circulation and also into her urine – where it can be detected if in significant amount. A first morning urine specimen is generally tested. Various home kits are also available that can be used by the woman herself at home. This test is positive within 7-14 days of a missed period. Sometimes the test may be falsely positive in conditions such as menopause, Genital tuberculosis and Brain lesions.
Blood Hormone Testing: This being a more sensitive test. It is done only if pregnancy is not detected by the urine test as in cases when the pregnancy is suspected to be out of place (ectopic) as in the uterine tubes.
Early detection of pregnancy is necessary for proper antenatal care from the beginning. Unwanted and unsupervised medication that may affect the baby can be avoided. Also, if the pregnancy is undesired and an abortion is wanted the earlier the better.
Last created on 07-05-2004
Last updated on 18-11-2006