torstai 4. marraskuuta 2010

Finding out if you're pregnant

Whether or not you've had a pregnancy test, you should see a member of the maternity team, such as your GP or midwife, as soon as you think you're pregnant. Being pregnant may affect the treatment of any current or future illness. Your pregnancy will be treated confidentially, even if you're under 16. Your maternity team will advise you about the antenatal care choices in your local area.

If you wish to register with a midwife, or you're not yet registered with a GP and would like to see a doctor, use the Services near you box (bottom right) to find one near you.

The signs of pregnancy
For women who have a regular monthly cycle, the earliest and most reliable sign of pregnancy is a missed period. Sometimes, women who are pregnant have a very light period, losing only a little blood. Other signs of pregnancy are:

* Feeling sick: you may feel sick, or vomit. This is commonly known as morning sickness, but it can happen at any time of the day. If you're being sick all the time and can't keep anything down, contact your GP.
* Changes in your breasts: your breasts may become larger and feel tender, just as they might do before your period. They may also tingle. The veins may be more visible, and the nipples may darken and stand out.
* More frequent urination. You may also have to get up in the night to pee.
* Constipation.
* An increased vaginal discharge without any soreness or irritation.
* Tiredness.
* A strange taste in your mouth, which many women describe as metallic.
* Craving new foods, or losing interest in certain products that you previously enjoyed, such as tea, coffee, tobacco smoke or fatty food.

Pregnancy tests
Pregnancy tests can be carried out on a sample of urine from the first day of a missed period. If you're pregnant, this is about two weeks after conception. You can collect urine at any time of the day. Collect it in a clean, soap-free, well-rinsed container.

You can get pregnancy tests free of charge from your GP or community contraception clinic. Pregnancy tests are also available at NHS walk-in centres. Many pharmacists and most pregnancy advisory services also offer tests, usually for a small fee. You can also buy do-it-yourself pregnancy testing kits from pharmacists. They can give a quick result, and you can do the test in private. A range of tests is available. The way they work varies, so check the instructions first to make sure that you get the right result.

A positive test result is almost certainly correct. A negative result is less reliable. If you still think you're pregnant, wait a week and see a midwife or GP again.

Knowing that you’re pregnant
When you find out you're pregnant, you may feel happy and excited, or shocked, confused and upset. Everybody is different, and don't worry if you're not feeling as happy as you expected. Even if you've been trying to get pregnant, your feelings may take you by surprise. Some of this may be caused by changes in your hormone levels, which can make you feel more emotional.

Even if you feel anxious and uncertain now, your feelings may change and you may start to enjoy your pregnancy and look forward to having a baby. Talk to your midwife or GP. They will help you to adjust, or give you advice if you don't want to continue with your pregnancy.

Men may also have mixed feelings when they find out that their partner is pregnant. They may find it hard to talk about these feelings because they don't want to upset her. Both partners should encourage each other to talk about their feelings and any worries or concerns that they have.

However you're feeling, contact an NHS professional (for example, a midwife, GP or practice nurse) so that you can start getting antenatal care. This is the care that you'll receive leading up to the birth of your baby.

Telling people
You may want to tell your family and friends immediately, or wait a while until you've sorted out how you feel. Many women wait until they've had their first scan before they tell people that they're pregnant.

Members of your family or extended family may have mixed feelings or react in unexpected ways to your news. Try to talk about this with them or with your midwife.

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