The importance of early pregnancy detection
For some women, the tell-tale signs of pregnancy are all there, even in the early stages: Their periods stop, they experience morning sickness (which can actually last all day!) and they’re tired all the time. But for other women, the early stages of pregnancy can go almost unnoticed, because every woman’s body is different and every woman experiences pregnancy in a unique way.
However, just because you don’t have the early symptoms of pregnancy doesn’t mean you’re not pregnant – and finding out as soon as possible will ensure a healthy pregnancy or give you enough time to explore alternatives and make other choices.
If you think you might be pregnant, read these frequently asked questions:
1. Why am I still getting my period if I’m pregnant?
Most women who still get their period in the early stages of pregnancy say that it is not exactly the same as a normal period – often, it’s lighter or shorter. This is usually due to implantation bleeding, which is when the ball of cells (that will become the embryo) implants itself into the lining of the uterus. Although it is may seem like a period, it will be shorter. If this kind of bleeding happens, it’s best to repeat the pregnancy test a few times or even go to a clinic where you can have an ultrasound to be sure.
2. I took a home pregnancy test but it was negative, even though I’m pregnant. Why?
Pregnancy tests work by detecting hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) levels in your urine. This hormone is secreted by your placenta once the embryo implants in the wall of the uterus, about seven to 10 days after ovulation. So, if you take the test only a few days after ovulation, there might not be enough hCG in your urine to be detected, even if you are pregnant. If you practiced unsafe sex and received a false pregnancy result, you must follow up with a clinic visit to get a pregnancy scan.
3. What are my options if I’m not sure what I want to do about my pregnancy?
If the pregnancy was unplanned, you have three options: 1. Carry the baby to term and raise it with some family support. 2. Give the baby up for adoption after it is born. 3. Terminate the pregnancy if your gestation period is less than 20 weeks, which is the legal limit for medical abortions.
4. Where can I go for help?
For pregnancy tests, counseling or safe abortions, you can visit any Marie Stopes clinic in South Africa. We offer affordable, confidential services and we can help you to make the best possible choices for yourself and your unborn child.
If you have even the tiniest suspicion that you may be pregnant, make an appointment now and let us assist you.