Finding out that you are pregnant may give rise to very different feelings for different people. Some people may feel excited and happy, others may feel scared and uncertain. All of these feelings are normal.
Signs of Pregnancy
The earliest and most reliable sign of pregnancy for women with a regular menstrual cycle is a missed period. Sometimes women who are pregnant have a shorter or lighter period than normal.
Other symptoms of pregnancy:
- Feeling sick: you may feel sick, or even be sick. This is commonly known as morning sickness but it can happen at any time of the day.
- Changes in your breasts: your breasts may become larger and feel tender, like they might do before your period. They may also tingle. The veins may show up more and the nipples may darken and stand out.
- Needing to pass water more often: you may find that you have to get up in the night to do so.
- Being constipated.
- An increased vaginal discharge without any soreness or irritation.
- Feeling tired.
- Having a strange taste in your mouth: many women describe it as metallic.
- Going off things, for example tea, coffee, tobacco smoke or fatty food.
If you think you might be pregnant you need to take a pregnancy test.
Taking a Pregnancy Test
You can get a free pregnancy test from:
- Condom Ccard Outreach sites
- BSHaW Sexual Health Clinics
- Your GP
- Or you can buy pregnancy tests from supermarkets or community pharmacies
You can carry out a pregnancy test from the first day of a missed period. Tests carried out earlier than this are not always accurate. If you don’t have regular periods, the earliest time to do a test is 21 days from the last time you had unprotected sex.
A positive test is almost always correct. But women can sometimes get a negative result if the test is carried out too early or not correctly, even though they may be pregnant.
If you are pregnant there are four choices available to you:
- Keeping the pregnancy and having the baby
If the pregnancy was unplanned the decision about what to do can be a very difficult one. You may need to consider your age, relationship with the father, family, financial situation, housing, and cultural factors amongst others. You can get advice and support with decision making from your GP as well as friends and family.
Continuing the pregnancy
If you want to continue the pregnancy, you should go to your GP as soon as possible to begin your ante-natal care (care leading up to the birth of the baby). They will arrange appointments with the midwife and scans as necessary.
The GP and midwife will give you lots of information about how to care for yourself and your growing baby during pregnancy.
This will include:
- Taking folic acid during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy (a supplement which is available to buy from most community pharmacies and supermarkets)
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
- Avoid smoking and cigarette smoke
- Eating healthily and taking regular gentle exercise