Tag Archive: pregnant

Rape victims can’t get pregnant?

The long-discredited notion that rape victims cannot become pregnant—a claim that pushed Republicans to repudiate one of their own US Senate candidates—dates back centuries to when human reproduction was hardly understood.

But the medieval theory has surfaced in 21st century political discourse as a result of the US abortion wars. Writers from the Middle Ages and modern politicians alike have based their arguments on the idea that a trauma of the magnitude of rape can shut down the body’s reproductive system.

The combination of misunderstanding and cherry-picked science even led some to conclude that a woman who says she was raped yet becomes pregnant must have been lying about the attack. Modern proponents of the claim repeat it despite empirical research showing that rape victims are at least as likely to become pregnant as women who have consensual sex, and possibly more likely.

Representative Todd Akin, the Republican candidate for the US Senate in Missouri, spurred new outrage on the subject when he told a St Louis TV station he does not support abortion for rape victims because “if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Akin, a member of the House science committee, apologised for his statement, calling it “ill conceived” and “wrong”. Senior Republicans scrambled to distance themselves from the comments a week before the party holds its presidential nominating convention in Florida.

The claim that rape is unlikely to lead to a pregnancy has “no biological plausibility”, said Dr Barbara Levy, vice president for health policy at the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The claim is “not grounded in any physiology or scientifically valid data”.

Akin is not alone in his view about rape and pregnancy, however. It dates at least to medieval times, when a 13th century English legal tome called Fleta asserted that pregnancy was prima facie evidence against a charge of rape, “for without a woman’s consent she could not conceive”.

A 19th century book, Elements Of Medical Jurisprudence by Samuel Farr, said that conception is unlikely “without an excitation of lust, or the enjoyment of pleasure in the venereal act”. That reflected the common notion that pregnancy requires a woman, like a man, to reach orgasm during intercourse.

Both early references were noted by The Guardian newspaper in a blog post. In fact, “human … female orgasm is not necessary for conception”, explained a 1995 paper in the journal Animal Behaviour, one of many studies reaching the same conclusion.

In more modern times, the rape-pregnancy claim seems to have been linked to the fact that stress can decrease fertility. “Mental stress can temporarily alter the functioning of your hypothalamus—an area of your brain that controls the hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle,” explains the Mayo Clinic in a publication about infertility. “Ovulation and menstruation may stop as a result.”

But the stress that reduces fertility is the chronic kind that occurs over months or years, not the acute trauma of a rape.

“A woman who is raped at a vulnerable time in her menstrual cycle is as likely to conceive and retain a pregnancy as a woman who was voluntarily attempting pregnancy,” said ACOG’s Levy. “There’s absolutely no validity to any sort of theory that the trauma related to rape—or to any thing else for that matter—would shut down ovulation that has already begun.”

Physicians and researchers had long thought that conception occurs when sperm encounter an already-waiting egg. Recent research has shown that in fact sperm do the waiting, remaining in the woman’s uterus or fallopian tubes until an egg is released from the ovaries.

Although the trauma of rape might impair a woman’s fertility months or years later, said Levy, “you’re not going to interrupt something (like the release of an egg) that’s already started.”

Numerous studies support that. In a 1996 study in the American Journal Of Obstetrics & Gynecology, researchers surveyed 4,008 American women for three years. Among women in their prime reproductive years, 12 to 45, five percent of rapes resulted in pregnancy, mostly among adolescents.

One-third “did not discover they were pregnant until they had already entered the second trimester”, the researchers found, concluding that “rape-related pregnancy occurs with significant frequency”.

It may occur with greater frequency than after consensual sex. Indeed, evolutionary psychologists—who seek to explain human behaviour by imagining what actions might have helped our ancient ancestors survive and reproduce—say the reason rape has been so endemic throughout history is precisely because it often leads to pregnancy: men who commit that crime, goes the argument, were more likely to have progeny, passing along their “rape genes” to the next generation.

While the explanation for rape has been discredited, the fact that rape often leads to pregnancy has not been.

In a 2003 study in the journal Human Nature, researchers found that 6.4% of rapes in the hundreds of women they surveyed caused pregnancy; that compares to a rate roughly half that with consensual intercourse. In Mexico, rape crisis centers have reported that some 15% of rapes cause pregnancy.

The rate may be high because rape victims are less likely to be using contraception at the time of the crime than are women in a relationship, who can also choose to forego sex during fertile periods in their reproductive cycle if they do not want to conceive.

Source: Reuters

Fetal development begins before you even know you’re pregnant. Here’s a weekly calendar of events for the first trimester of pregnancy.

You’re pregnant. Congratulations! You’ll undoubtedly spend the months ahead wondering how your baby is growing and developing. What does your baby look like? How big is he or she? When will you hear the heartbeat?

Fetal development typically follows a predictable course. To help answer some of these questions, check out this weekly calendar of events for your baby’s first three months in the womb.

Week 1: Getting ready

It may seem strange, but you’re not actually pregnant the first week or two of the time allotted to your pregnancy. Yes, you read that correctly!

Conception typically occurs about two weeks after your period begins. To calculate your due date, your health care provider will count ahead 40 weeks from the start of your last period. This means your period is counted as part of your pregnancy — even though you weren’t pregnant at the time.

Week 2: Fertilization

The sperm and egg unite in one of your fallopian tubes to form a one-celled entity called a zygote. If more than one egg is released and fertilized, you may have multiple zygotes.

The zygote has 46 chromosomes — 23 from you and 23 from your partner. These chromosomes contain genetic material that will determine your baby’s sex and traits such as eye color, hair color, height, facial features and — at least to some extent — intelligence and personality.

Soon after fertilization, the zygote travels down the fallopian tube toward the uterus. At the same time, it will begin dividing rapidly to form a cluster of cells resembling a tiny raspberry. The inner group of cells will become the embryo. The outer group of cells will become the membranes that nourish and protect it.

Week 3: Implantation

The zygote — by this time made up of about 500 cells — is now known as a blastocyst. When it reaches your uterus, the blastocyst will burrow into the uterine wall for nourishment. The placenta, which will nourish your baby throughout the pregnancy, also begins to form.

By the end of this week, you may be celebrating a positive pregnancy test.

Week 4: The embryonic period begins

The fourth week marks the beginning of the embryonic period, when the baby’s brain, spinal cord, heart and other organs begin to form. Your baby is now 1/25 of an inch long.

The embryo is now made of three layers. The top layer — the ectoderm — will give rise to a groove along the midline of your baby’s body. This will become the neural tube, where your baby’s brain, spinal cord, spinal nerves and backbone will develop.

Your baby’s heart and a primitive circulatory system will form in the middle layer of cells — the mesoderm. This layer of cells will also serve as the foundation for your baby’s bones, muscles, kidneys and much of the reproductive system.

The inner layer of cells — the endoderm — will become a simple tube lined with mucous membranes. Your baby’s lungs, intestines and bladder will develop here.

Week 5: Baby’s heart begins to beat

Your baby at week five (three weeks after conception)

Your baby at week five (three weeks after conception)

week five, your baby is 1/17 of an inch long — about the size of the tip of a pen.

This week, your baby’s heart and circulatory system are taking shape. Your baby’s blood vessels will complete a circuit, and his or her heart will begin to beat. Although you won’t be able to hear it yet, the motion of your baby’s beating heart may be detected with an ultrasound exam.

With these changes, blood circulation begins — making the circulatory system the first functioning organ system.

Week 6: The neural tube closes

Your baby at week six (four weeks after conception)

Your baby at week six (four weeks after conception)

Growth is rapid this week. Just four weeks after conception, your baby is about 1/8 of an inch long. The neural tube along your baby’s back is now closed, and your baby’s heart is beating with a regular rhythm.

Basic facial features will begin to appear, including an opening for the mouth and passageways that will make up the inner ear. The digestive and respiratory systems begin to form as well.

Small blocks of tissue that will form your baby’s connective tissue, ribs and muscles are developing along your baby’s midline. Small buds will soon grow into arms and legs.

Week 7: The umbilical cord appears

Your baby at week seven (five weeks after conception)

Your baby at week seven (five weeks after conception)

Seven weeks into your pregnancy, your baby is 1/3 of an inch long — a little bigger than the top of a pencil eraser. He or she weighs less than an aspirin tablet.

The umbilical cord — the link between your baby and the placenta — is now clearly visible. The cavities and passages needed to circulate spinal fluid in your baby’s brain have formed, but your baby’s skull is still transparent.

The arm bud that sprouted last week now resembles a tiny paddle. Your baby’s face takes on more definition this week, as a mouth perforation, tiny nostrils and ear indentations become visible.

Week 8: Baby’s fingers and toes form

Eight weeks into your pregnancy, your baby is just over 1/2 of an inch long.

Your baby will develop webbed fingers and toes this week. Wrists, elbows and ankles are clearly visible, and your baby’s eyelids are beginning to form. The ears, upper lip and tip of the nose also become recognizable.

As your baby’s heart becomes more fully developed, it will pump at 150 beats a minute — about twice the usual adult rate.

Week 9: Movement begins

Your baby at week nine (seven weeks after conception)

Your baby at week nine (seven weeks after conception)

Your baby is now nearly 1 inch long and weighs a bit less than 1/8 of an ounce. The embryonic tail at the bottom of your baby’s spinal cord is shrinking, helping him or her look less like a tadpole and more like a developing person.

Your baby’s head — which is nearly half the size of his or her entire body — is now tucked down onto the chest. Nipples and hair follicles begin to form. Your baby’s pancreas, bile ducts, gallbladder and anus are in place. The internal reproductive organs, such as testes or ovaries, start to develop.

Your baby may begin moving this week, but you won’t be able to feel it for quite a while yet.

Week 10: Neurons multiply

Your baby at week 10 (eight weeks after conception)

Your baby at week 10 (eight weeks after conception)

By now, your baby’s vital organs have a solid foundation. The embryonic tail has disappeared completely, and your baby has fully separated fingers and toes. The bones of your baby’s skeleton begin to form.

This week, your baby’s brain will produce almost 250,000 new neurons every minute.

Your baby’s eyelids are no longer transparent. The outer ears are starting to assume their final form, and tooth buds are forming as well. If your baby is a boy, his testes will start producing the male hormone testosterone.

Week 11: Baby’s sex may be apparent

Your baby at week 11 (nine weeks after conception)

Your baby at week 11 (nine weeks after conception)

From now until your 20th week of pregnancy — the halfway mark — your baby will increase his or her weight 30 times and will about triple in length. To make sure your baby gets enough nutrients, the blood vessels in the placenta are growing larger and multiplying.

Your baby is now officially described as a fetus. Your baby’s ears are moving up and to the side of the head this week. By the end of the week, your baby’s external genitalia will develop into a recognizable penis or clitoris and labia majora.

Week 12: Baby’s fingernails and toenails appear

Twelve weeks into your pregnancy, your baby is nearly 3 inches long and weighs about 4/5 of an ounce. Your baby’s head is nearly half the size of his or her entire body.

This week marks the arrival of fingernails and toenails. Your baby’s chin and nose will become more refined as well.

Taking care of your baby

Healthy lifestyle choices — beginning even before conception — can support your baby’s development. Consider these simple do’s and don’ts:


  • Take a prenatal vitamin
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Exercise regularly, with your health care provider’s OK
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Manage stress and any chronic health conditions
  • See your health care provider for regular prenatal checkups
  • Talk to your health care provider about any medications you’re taking


  • Smoke
  • Drink alcohol
  • Use illicit drugs

Your baby is growing and changing every day. To give your baby the best start, take good care of yourself.

Source: Mayoclinic

Pregnancy and prenatal care go hand in hand. During the first trimester, prenatal care includes blood tests, a physical exam, conversations about lifestyle and more.

Prenatal care is an important part of a healthy pregnancy. Whether you choose a family physician, obstetrician or nurse-midwife, prenatal care is the key to monitoring your health — and your baby’s health — throughout your pregnancy. Here’s what to expect at the first few prenatal appointments.

Prenatal care: The first visit

As soon as you think you’re pregnant, schedule your first prenatal appointment. Set aside ample time for the visit. You and your health care provider have plenty to discuss! You might want to include your partner in the appointment as well.

Here are the basics:

  • Medical history. Your health care provider will ask many questions — including details about your menstrual cycle, use of contraceptives, past pregnancies, and allergies or other medical conditions. Bring a list of any prescription or over-the-counter medications you’re taking. Share any family history of congenital abnormalities or genetic diseases.

    Be sure to mention even sensitive issues, such as abortion or past drug use. Remember, the information you share will help your health care provider take the best care of you — and your baby. If there’s any part of your medical history that you don’t want to share with your partner or other loved ones, mention it to your health care provider privately.

  • Due date. Establishing your due date early in pregnancy allows your health care provider to monitor your baby’s growth as accurately as possible. To estimate your due date, your health care provider will count ahead 40 weeks from the start of your last period. If there’s any question about your due date, your health care provider may use an early ultrasound to help confirm the date.
  • Physical exam. Your health care provider will check your weight, height and blood pressure. He or she will listen to your heart and assess your overall health.
  • Pelvic exam. Your health care provider will examine your vagina and the opening to your uterus (cervix) for any infections or abnormalities. You may need a Pap test to screen for cervical cancer. Changes in the cervix and in the size of your uterus can help confirm the stage of your pregnancy.
  • Blood tests. Your health care provider will do blood tests to determine your blood type, including Rh factor — a specific protein on the surface of red blood cells. Blood tests also can reveal whether you’ve been exposed to syphilis, measles, mumps, rubella or hepatitis B. You may be offered a test for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Tests for chickenpox and toxoplasmosis immunity may sometimes be done as well.
  • Urine tests. Analysis of your urine can reveal a bladder or kidney infection. The presence of too much sugar or protein in your urine may suggest diabetes or kidney disease.
  • Lifestyle issues. Your health care provider will discuss the importance of nutrition, prenatal vitamins, exercise and other lifestyle issues. You’ll also discuss your work environment. If you smoke, ask your health care provider for suggestions to help you quit.
  • Screening tests for fetal abnormalities. Prenatal tests can give you valuable information about your baby’s health. Your health care provider may recommend ultrasound, blood tests or other screening tests to detect fetal abnormalities.

Prenatal care: Other first-trimester visits

Subsequent prenatal visits — often scheduled every four to six weeks during the first trimester — will probably be shorter than the first. Your health care provider will check your weight and blood pressure, and you’ll discuss your signs and symptoms. You probably won’t need another pelvic exam until later in your pregnancy. Near the end of the first trimester, you may be able to hear your baby’s heartbeat with a small device that bounces sound waves off your baby’s heart.

Remember, your health care provider is there to support you throughout your pregnancy. Your prenatal appointments are an ideal time to discuss any questions or concerns — including things that may be uncomfortable or embarrassing. Also find out how to reach your health care provider between appointments. Knowing help is available when you need it can offer precious peace of mind.

Source: Mayoclinic

First trimester pregnancy can be overwhelming. Understand the changes you may experience and how to take care of yourself during this exciting time.

First trimester pregnancy is marked by an invisible — yet amazing — transformation. Knowing what first trimester pregnancy changes to expect can help you face the months ahead with confidence.

Your body

Within two weeks of conception, hormones trigger your body to begin nourishing the baby — even before tests and a physical exam can confirm the pregnancy. Here are some common physical changes you may notice during first trimester pregnancy.

  • Tender breasts. Increased hormone production may make your breasts unusually sensitive. Your breasts will probably feel fuller and heavier. Wearing a more supportive bra or a sports bra may help.
  • Bouts of nausea. Many women have queasiness, nausea or vomiting in early pregnancy — probably due to normal hormonal changes. Nausea tends to be worse in the morning, but it can last all day. To help relieve this first trimester pregnancy symptom, eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. Choose foods that are low in fat and easy to digest. It’s also helpful to drink plenty of fluids. Avoid foods or smells that make your nausea worse. Try drinking ginger ale. For some women, motion sickness bands are helpful. For others, alternative therapies such as acupuncture or hypnosis offer relief. If you’re considering an alternative therapy, get the OK from your health care provider first.

    Contact your health care provider if the nausea is severe, you’re passing only a small amount of urine or it’s dark in color, you can’t keep down liquids, you feel dizzy or faint when standing up, your heart is racing, or you vomit blood.

  • Unusual fatigue. You may feel tired as your body prepares to support the pregnancy. Your heart will pump faster and harder, and your pulse will quicken. To combat fatigue, rest as much as you can. Make sure you’re getting enough iron and protein. Include physical activity, such as a brisk walk, in your daily routine.
  • Increased urination. You may need to urinate more often as your enlarging uterus presses on your bladder. The same pressure may cause you to leak urine when sneezing, coughing or laughing. To help prevent urinary tract infections, urinate whenever you feel the urge. If you’re losing sleep due to middle-of-the-night bathroom trips, drink less in the evening — especially fluids containing caffeine, which can make you urinate more. If you’re worried about leaking urine, panty liners may offer a sense of security.
  • Heartburn and constipation. During first trimester pregnancy, the movements that push swallowed food from your esophagus into your stomach are slower. Your stomach also takes longer to empty. This slowdown gives nutrients more time to be absorbed into your bloodstream and reach your baby. Unfortunately, it may also lead to heartburn and constipation. To prevent heartburn, eat small, frequent meals and avoid fried foods, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits or juices, and spicy foods. To prevent or relieve constipation, include plenty of fiber in your diet and drink lots of fluids. Regular physical activity also may help.
  • Dizziness. Normal circulatory changes in early pregnancy may leave you feeling a little dizzy. Stress, fatigue and hunger also may play a role. To prevent mild, occasional dizziness, avoid prolonged standing. Rise slowly after lying or sitting down. If you start to feel dizzy while you’re driving, pull over. If you’re standing when dizziness hits, sit or lie down.

    Seek prompt care if the dizziness is severe and occurs with abdominal pain or vaginal bleeding. This may indicate an ectopic pregnancy — a condition in which the fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus. To prevent life-threatening complications, the ectopic tissue must be removed.

Your emotions

Pregnancy may leave you feeling delighted, anxious, exhilarated and exhausted — sometimes all at once. Even if you’re thrilled about being pregnant, a new baby adds emotional stress to your life.

It’s natural to worry about your baby’s health, your adjustment to motherhood and the financial demands of raising a child. You may wonder how the baby will affect your relationship with your partner or what type of parent you’ll be. If you’re working, you may worry about your productivity on the job and how to balance the competing demands of family and career.

You may also experience misgivings and bouts of weepiness or mood swings. To cope with these emotions, remind yourself that what you’re feeling is normal. Take good care of yourself, and look to your partner and other loved ones for understanding and encouragement. If the mood changes become severe or intense, consult your health care provider for additional support.

Your relationship with your partner

Becoming a mother takes time away from other roles and relationships. You may lose some of your psychological identity as a partner and lover — but good communication can help you keep intimacy alive.

  • Be honest. Let your partner know that you need support and tenderness — sometimes without sexual overtones. Identify the stress points in your relationship before they become problematic.
  • Be patient. Occasional misunderstandings and conflicts are inevitable. Consider both sides. If your partner dives into work, for example, you may feel hurt and rejected because it appears as a withdrawal from your relationship. Your partner, on the other hand, may simply be trying to provide more security for your family.
  • Be supportive. Encourage your partner to identify any doubts or worries. Do the same yourself. Discussing your feelings honestly and openly will strengthen your relationship and help you begin preparing a home for your baby.

Appointments with your health care provider

Whether you choose a family physician, obstetrician or nurse-midwife, your health care provider will treat, educate and reassure you throughout your pregnancy. He or she is there to help you celebrate the miracle of birth.

Your first visit will focus mainly on assessing your overall health, identifying any risk factors and determining your baby’s gestational age. Your health care provider will ask detailed questions about your health history. Be honest. The answers you provide will help you and your baby receive the best care. If you’re uncomfortable discussing your health history in front of your partner, schedule a private consultation with your health care provider.

After the first visit, you may be asked to schedule checkups every four to six weeks until the last month of your pregnancy, when you may need checkups every week or two. During these appointments, raise any concerns or fears you may have about pregnancy, childbirth or life with a newborn. It may help to write down your questions so that you remember to discuss them. No question is silly or unimportant — and the answers can help you take the best care of yourself and your baby.

Source: Mayoclinic

Pregnancy happens when semen enters a girl’s or woman’s vagina. This can happen during unprotected vaginal sex or by alternative fertilization, where a health care provider inserts the semen into the vagina. Semen is a white, sticky fluid that contains hundreds of millions of sperm, which can fertilize an ovum or egg. The sperm swim through the cervix and uterus into the fallopian tubes. If a woman has recently ovulated (released an egg), then the sperm can join with the egg. This is called fertilization. Ovulation usually happens once a month.

An egg can live and be fertilized for about 24 to 36 hours. Sperm can live for up to five days. That means a couple can have intercourse on Saturday, the girl could ovulate on Wednesday, and the sperm could find an egg on Thursday.

Once the sperm and egg connect, they form what’s called a zygote. The zygote begins to grow and by the fifth day it has a new name, a blastocyst. The blastocyst travels along the fallopian tube, dividing and changing as it goes, and eventually lands in the uterus.

The lining of the uterus is full of blood and tissue. The blastocyst attaches to this nutrient-rich lining. This is called implantation. Once that happens, the pregnancy has officially taken root and can begin to grow. The blastocyst becomes a mass of cells that divide and develop into an embryo. The embryo, in turn, becomes a fetus over the next nine months.

If an egg and sperm fail to connect, the egg dies and the lining of the uterus disintegrates. A girl has her period or is menstruating when the blood and tissue that line the uterus pass out of the body through the vagina.

Could you be pregnant? For some women, the earliest symptoms of pregnancy appear in the first few weeks after conception. Here’s what you may experience.

Are you pregnant? The proof is in the pregnancy test. But even before you miss a period, you may suspect — or hope — that you’re pregnant. For some women, early symptoms of pregnancy begin in the first few weeks after conception.

Symptoms of pregnancy

Consider these classic clues:

  • Tender, swollen breasts. Your breasts may provide one of the first symptoms of pregnancy. As early as two weeks after conception, hormonal changes may make your breasts tender, tingly or sore. Or your breasts may feel fuller and heavier.
  • Fatigue. Fatigue also ranks high among early symptoms of pregnancy. During early pregnancy, levels of the hormone progesterone soar. In high enough doses, progesterone can put you to sleep. At the same time, lower blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure and increased blood production may team up to sap your energy.
  • Slight bleeding or cramping. Sometimes a small amount of spotting or vaginal bleeding is one of the first symptoms of pregnancy. Known as implantation bleeding, it happens when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus — about 10 to 14 days after fertilization. This type of bleeding is usually a bit earlier, spottier and lighter in color than a normal period and doesn’t last as long.

    Some women also experience abdominal cramping early in pregnancy. These cramps are similar to menstrual cramps.

  • Nausea with or without vomiting. Morning sickness, which can strike at any time of the day or night, is one of the classic symptoms of pregnancy. For some women, the queasiness begins as early as two weeks after conception.

    Nausea seems to stem at least in part from rapidly rising levels of estrogen, which causes the stomach to empty more slowly. Pregnant women also have a heightened sense of smell, so various odors — such as foods cooking, perfume or cigarette smoke — may cause waves of nausea in early pregnancy.

  • Food aversions or cravings. When you’re pregnant, you might find yourself turning up your nose at certain foods, such as coffee or fried foods. Food cravings are common, too. Like most other symptoms of pregnancy, these food preferences can be chalked up to hormonal changes — especially in the first trimester, when hormonal changes are the most dramatic.
  • Headaches. Early in pregnancy, increased blood circulation caused by hormonal changes may trigger frequent, mild headaches.
  • Constipation. Constipation is another common early symptom of pregnancy. An increase in progesterone causes food to pass more slowly through the intestines, which can lead to constipation.
  • Mood swings. The flood of hormones in your body in early pregnancy can make you unusually emotional and weepy. Mood swings also are common, especially in the first trimester.
  • Faintness and dizziness. As your blood vessels dilate and your blood pressure drops, you may feel lightheaded or dizzy. Early in pregnancy, faintness also may be triggered by low blood sugar.
  • Raised basal body temperature. Your basal body temperature is your oral temperature when you first wake up in the morning. This temperature increases slightly soon after ovulation and remains at that level until your next period. If you’ve been charting your basal body temperature to determine when you ovulate, its continued elevation for more than two weeks may mean that you’re pregnant.

Are you really pregnant?

Unfortunately, these symptoms aren’t unique to pregnancy. Some can indicate that you’re getting sick or that your period is about to start. Likewise, you can be pregnant without experiencing any of these symptoms.

Still, if you miss a period or notice any of the tip-offs on this list, you might want to take a home pregnancy test — especially if you’re not keeping track of your menstrual cycle or if it varies widely from one month to the next. If your home pregnancy test is positive, make an appointment with your health care provider. The sooner your pregnancy is confirmed, the sooner you can begin prenatal care.

Source: mayoclinic

Wondering how to get pregnant? Understand baby-making basics — such as how to predict ovulation, how often to have sex, and the importance of healthy lifestyle choices.

Some couples seem to get pregnant simply by talking about it. For others, it takes plenty of patience and a bit of luck. If you’re wondering how to get pregnant, start the old-fashioned way. Here’s what you need to know — and when to seek help.

Understanding when you’re most fertile

Conception is based on an intricate series of events. Every month, hormones from your pituitary gland stimulate your ovaries to release an egg, or ovulate. Once the egg is released, it travels to one of the fallopian tubes. If you want to conceive, now’s the time. But how can you tell when you’re ovulating? For many women, it’s like hitting a moving target.

Keep an eye on the calendar
Use your day planner or another simple calendar to mark the day your period begins each month. Also track the number of days each period lasts. If you have a consistent 28-day cycle, ovulation is likely to begin about 14 days after the day your last period began.

If your cycles are somewhat long, subtract 18 from the number of days in your shortest cycle. When your next period begins, count ahead this many days. The next week is a reasonable guess for your most fertile days.

  • Pros. Calendar calculations can be done simply on paper.
  • Cons. Many factors may affect the exact timing of ovulation, including illness, stress and exercise. Counting days is often inaccurate, especially for women who have irregular cycles.

Watch for changes in cervical mucus
Just before ovulation, you might notice an increase in clear, slippery vaginal secretions — if you look for it. These secretions typically resemble raw egg whites. After ovulation, when the odds of becoming pregnant are slim, the discharge will become cloudy and sticky or disappear entirely.

  • Pros. Changes in vaginal secretions are often an accurate sign of impending fertility. Simple observation — particularly inside the vagina — is all that’s needed.
  • Cons. Judging the texture or appearance of vaginal secretions can be fairly subjective.

Track your basal body temperature
This is your body’s temperature when you’re fully at rest. Ovulation may cause a slight increase in temperature — typically less than one degree. You’ll be most fertile during the two to three days before your temperature rises. You can assume ovulation has occurred when the slightly higher temperature remains steady for three days or more.

Use an oral thermometer to monitor your basal body temperature. Try the digital variety or one specifically designed to measure basal body temperature. Simply take your temperature every morning before you get out of bed. Plot the readings on graph paper and look for a pattern to emerge.

  • Pros. It’s simple. The only cost is the thermometer. It’s often most helpful to determine when you’ve ovulated and judge if the timing is consistent from month to month.
  • Cons. The temperature change may be subtle, and the increase comes too late for conception — after ovulation has already happened. It can be inconvenient to take your temperature at the same time every day, especially if you have irregular sleeping hours.

Try an ovulation predictor kit
Over-the-counter ovulation kits test your urine for the surge in hormones that takes place before ovulation. For the most accurate results, follow the instructions on the label to the letter.

  • Pros. Ovulation kits can identify the most likely time of ovulation or even provide a signal before ovulation actually happens. They’re available without a prescription in most pharmacies.
  • Cons. Ovulation kits often lead to excessively targeted sex — and timing sex so precisely can invite being too late. For some women, the cost of ovulation kits is prohibitive.

Maximizing fertility

When you’re trying to conceive, consider these simple do’s and don’ts.


  • Have sex regularly. If you consistently have sex two or three times a week, you’re almost certain to hit a fertile period at some point. For healthy couples who want to conceive, there’s no such thing as too much sex. For many couples, this may be all it takes.
  • Have sex once a day near the time of ovulation. Daily intercourse during the days leading up to ovulation may increase the odds of conception. Although your partner’s sperm concentration will drop slightly each time you have sex, the reduction isn’t usually an issue for healthy men.
  • Make healthy lifestyle choices. Maintain a healthy weight, include physical activity in your daily routine, eat a healthy diet, limit caffeine and keep stress under control. The same good habits will serve you and your baby well during pregnancy.
  • Consider preconception planning. Your health care provider can assess your overall health and help you identify lifestyle changes that may improve your chances for a healthy pregnancy. Preconception planning is especially helpful if you or your partner have any health issues.
  • Take your vitamins. Folic acid (vitamin B-9) plays an essential role in a baby’s development. A daily prenatal vitamin or folic acid supplement beginning a few months before conception significantly reduces the risk of spina bifida and other neural tube defects.


  • Smoke. Tobacco changes the cervical mucus, which may keep sperm from reaching the egg. Smoking may also increase the risk of miscarriage and deprive your developing baby of oxygen and nutrients. If you smoke, ask your health care provider to help you quit before conception. For your family’s sake, vow to quit for good.
  • Drink alcohol. Alcohol is off-limits if you’re pregnant — or hope to be.
  • Take medication without your health care provider’s OK. Certain medications — even those available without a prescription — can make it difficult to conceive. Others may not be safe once you’re pregnant.

When to consult a doctor

With frequent unprotected sex, most healthy couples conceive within one year. Others need a bit of help.

If you’re in your early 30s or younger and you and your partner are in good health, try it on your own for one year before consulting a doctor. You may want to seek help sooner if you’re age 35 or older, or you or your partner has known or suspected fertility issues.

Infertility affects men and women equally — and treatment is available. Depending on the source of the problem, your gynecologist, your partner’s urologist or your family doctor may be able to help. In some cases, a fertility specialist may offer the best hope.

Source: mayoclinic

th_30Do you think you are pregnant? You won’t know for sure – until you take a pregnancy test. Some women experience symptoms before a missed period! Here are the most common pregnancy symptoms others have experienced.

Fatigue: Many women experience fatigue in early pregnancy. Your body is preparing itself for the new life forming inside you, it’s also producing progesterone and high levels of this hormone may make you sleepy.

Sore Breasts: Not all women experience sore breasts, but this is another early pregnancy symptom. They may not only feel sore, but fuller and heavier then usual. This can occur as early as two weeks after conception as your breast begin to prepare themselves to produce milk.

Frequent Urination: Your uterus is enlarging and pressing on your bladder, thus intensifying your urge to run to the restroom more frequently. If you have pain, or are uncomfortable you may have a urinary tract infection, please make an appointment with your doctor.

Constipation: The increase of progesterone causes the digestive tract to slow down, so food passes slowly through your gastrointestinal tract and therefore causing constipation.

Slight bleeding: Also known as implantation bleeding. This bleeding can occur about 10-14 days after fertilization. Implantation bleeding occurs when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterus lining. Implantation bleeding can also be mistaken for a light period.

The above symptoms are generally common in early pregnancy – but this does not mean you are pregnant. The only way for you to know for sure is to make an appointment with your physician. This article is not intended to replace medical care.

If you suspect you maybe pregnant or you have taken a HPT (Home Pregnancy Test) and it is positive, please make an appointment with your physician.