The sooner you identify and confirm your pregnancy, the better care you'll be able to provide for your baby.
Know the Signs
Do you think you might be pregnant? For many women, the first sign will be a missed period - the most classic and definitive sign. But some women will experience a combination of symptoms caused by changes in the body, including hormonal shifts. These signs include:
- Tender, swollen breasts
- Slight bleeding or cramping
- Nausea (with or without vomiting)
- Food aversions or cravings
- Mood swings
- Faintness and dizziness
- Increased basal body temperature (your temperature immediately after you wake up)
If you experience these symptoms or miss a period and think you might be pregnant, take an at-home pregnancy test. If it's positive, schedule an appointment with your doctor right away to receive confirmation and to begin prenatal care.
Due Date Calculator
Your doctor will help determine your due date. This date is an estimate and might change as your doctor monitors the development of the fetus. Until then, you can use an online due date calculator as a general guide.
Remember that every woman and every pregnancy is different, so be sure to talk with your doctor about your due date.
Do's and Don'ts of Early Pregnancy
The early days of pregnancy are important - and maintaining healthy habits all the way through pregnancy is critical. Don't slack off in the beginning because you think it doesn't matter.
- Do exercise. Unless you have a special situation and your doctor advises against exercise, be sure to keep moving. Talk to your physician about appropriate levels for you.
- Do take folic acid. You've probably been taking this vitamin for a while now. Don't stop.
- Do drink plenty of water. It's good for you - plus, it helps keep nausea at bay.
- Do sleep. It's natural for women to feel fatigued in the early days and weeks of pregnancy. Strive for seven to nine hours of shut-eye every night.
- Do see your doctor. Start prenatal care right away. Ask about medications and any habits or activities you may need to modify to accommodate the baby.
- Don't smoke, drink or use illegal drugs. Yes, we've said it before, and we'll say it often. These are the three most important things you can do to provide a healthy place for your baby to develop. Plus, it's good for you, too!
- Don't stop taking any medications. If you are on prescription medications, it is important to contact your physician right away to find out if you need to stop or alter medications. But don't stop taking them until you've had that discussion.
- Don't sit in hot tubs. Stay away from saunas, and don't take super-hot baths. The high temps can harm the fetus.
- Don't use scented feminine hygiene products. They can irritate your vaginal area, and increase your risk of a urinary tract infection or yeast infection.
- Don't have X-rays if possible. If you must have an X-ray for diagnostic reasons or for a dental appointment, tell your doctor or dentist that you're pregnant so they can take proper precautions. A lead apron is typically adequate protection, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.