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How do I know if I'm pregnant?

If you’ve been planning a pregnancy, the 2nd line on the home pregnancy test usually gives it away, but there are some normal physical changes that occur in pregnancy that can make the “could I be???” a bit more likely.

As a rule, about 2/3 of women who are pregnant will have some symptoms by week 5 or 6 (after the last menstrual period). By 8 weeks of pregnancy, almost all women will have some symptoms.

What are the signs and symptoms of pregnancy?

The most common early signs and symptoms are

  • Missed menstrual period
  • Nausea, with or without vomiting
  • Breast tenderness and enlargement
  • Needing to pass urine more frequently (without the burning or stinging that goes along with a UTI)
  • Tiredness

As the pregnancy progresses, other changes also occur (which will be the subject of another leaflet).

How is pregnancy confirmed?

The developing placental cells produce a hormone called hCG which is measurable in the blood and urine. Detection of this hormone (except for very unusual circumstances) confirms the pregnancy.

The next two most important questions to be answered are “where is the pregnancy located?” and “is the pregnancy developing normally?”

In order to answer these questions, an ultrasound examination should be performed to exclude ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the womb) and to determine if the developing baby’s heart rate is present.

Depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy and what the level of hCG is, it may be too early for the ultrasound to answer these questions. It may be necessary for the hCG and ultrasound exams to be repeated.

So the answer to the “Could I be pregnant?” question is always “Possibly” so if you think you might be, then check with a home test or see your doctor.

Please seek advice if you need assistance in any of these areas, and all the best in your future pregnancies.

The above information doesn’t take the place of a medical consultation so please seek further advice if your symptoms continue to concern you.

Download the PDF of this article.

Pregnancy Pearls
Pregnancy Pearls

There are many questions and common issues that arise during pregnancy. Here are some short and helpful articles on many common pregnancy issues.

Pregnancy Checklist
Pregnancy Checklist

Congratulations on your pregnancy! If you would like some help thinking through some of the things you need to organise, I've put together a checklist to make sure the important things aren't missed.

Consulting Rooms
Consulting Rooms

Greenslopes Obstetrics & Gynaecology is closely aligned with the Greenslopes Private Hospital which opened Brisbane’s newest maternity facility in February 2013.

To speak directly with a team member please call 07 3188 5000