Pregnancy and Fertility FAQs
CAN I STILL GET PREGNANT IF WE USE THE “PULLING OUT METHOD” FOR BIRTH CONTROL?
Yes. Seminal fluid (the fluid that occurs prior to ejaculation) contains sperm and if the timing is right (meaning you are ovulating) then you can get pregnant using this method. Remember it only takes one sperm to fertilize an egg.
I DRANK ALCOHOL WHEN I DID NOT KNOW THAT I WAS PREGNANT. DID I HARM MY BABY?
It is highly unlikely to cause harm to your unborn baby by drinking alcohol prior to missing a period. At this stage, the fertilized egg may not have even implanted in the uterus yet. It is recommended to abstain from alcohol and drug use during pregnancy to prevent complications for both the mother and the baby.
I DELIVERED MY BABY MONTHS AGO AND I STILL HAVE NOT HAD A PERIOD?
IF YOU ARE BREASTFEEDING THIS IS THE MOST LIKELY CAUSE. BREASTFEEDING CAN DELAY THE RETURN OF YOUR PERIOD FOR UP TO A YEAR. THYROID PROBLEMS CAN ALSO DELAY THE RETURN OF YOUR PERIOD. IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING SYMPTOMS OF A THYROID PROBLEM (FATIGUE, WEIGHT GAIN, INABILITY TO LOSE WEIGHT, CONSTIPATION, DEPRESSION TO NAME A FEW) YOU SHOULD CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR AND HAVE YOUR THYROID CHECKED. STRESS CAN ALSO AFFECT YOUR CYCLE. FINALLY, IF YOU ARE PREGNANT YOU WILL NOT HAVE A PERIOD.
I HAD UNPROTECTED SEX AND MAY BE PREGNANT. HOW SOON CAN I TAKE A PREGNANCY TEST?
Home pregnancy tests detect the presence of the hormone HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in the urine. Generally, once you are late getting your period, you can take a test. Just note that some HPT’s are not as sensitive as others and can take up to a week to detect HCG in the urine. So it is possible to get a false negative when you test earlier on.
AM I PREGNANT?
Pregnancy has a vast array of signs and symptoms ranging from nausea to swollen and tender breasts to food aversions and cravings. The only true way to know if you are pregnant is to take a test (whether it be a home pregnancy test or a blood test ordered by your doctor ) or by ultrasound. Home pregnancy tests detect the presence of the hormone HCG in your urine. Some home pregnancy tests can detect HCG levels as early as 4-5 days prior to a missed period. However, other home pregnancy tests are not as sensitive and can take up to a week after a missed period to detect HCG. What this means is that it is possible to get a false negative if you test earlier on. Generally speaking, if you get a negative home pregnancy test and don’t start your period, test again in another week or so. This will give HCG levels time to rise enough to be detected in your urine.
Serum pregnancy tests (or blood test) can detect HCG in the blood as soon as 7-12 days from conception. There are two types of serum pregnancy test- a quantitative HCG and a qualitative HCG. A quantitative HCG gives you the exact amount of HCG level in the blood stream. A qualitative HCG simply tells you if HCG is present in the bloodstream. Quantitative HCG levels are usually done every 48 hours and generally double every 48hours. When levels are > 2,000 miu/ml a gestational sac is usually visible with a transvaginal ultrasound. When levels are > 13,000 – 18,000 miu/ml a fetal heart beat can usually be seen.
If you miss your period and suspect that you may be pregnant, take a home pregnancy test. Remember that no form of birth control (except abstinence of course) is 100% effective. If you have a positive home pregnancy test, contact your doctor so that you can start your prenatal care as soon as possible.