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Diagnosis of pregnancy: what to expect

Tuesday, October 25th 2016. | Pregnancy

Women usually want to know as soon as possible whether they are pregnant. The absence of a regular period very often is the first sign that one may be so. Other symptoms such as sore breasts, feeling nauseous and a general lassitude may also appear early, often even before the missed period. Abnormal bleeding, spotting and abdominal disturbance might also present themselves.Pregnant

It is entirely possible to diagnose pregnancy with a home detection kit as these kits are usually very sensitive and accurate. Simply follow the instructions on the kit. A positive result is indicated by two lines. Even a faint line could mean positive but the test must be repeated a couple of days after when the hormone levels would be higher.

However, a visit to your doctor us a must so that the diagnosis can be confirmed professionally as well as for relevant advice on nutrition, lifestyle changes and other precautions to take to safeguard your pregnancy. The earlier you make the changes the healthier for you and the baby.

Your doctor would make the diagnosis after a detailed history of your periods, a physical examination, lab tests and an ultrasound.

Important aspects of history taking will include the date of the last menstrual period, duration, flow and the pattern of your periods. The doctor will also ask about any contraceptive use, irregular periods, and any abnormal bleeding.

You will also be asked about whether you have had any pelvic inflammatory disease, tubal manipulation, the history of any previous miscarriages or pregnancies including whether delivery was normal, and any fertility treatment.

Physical examination might include examination of the breasts and areole to check for changes. It could also include a bi-manual vaginal examination to feel the presence of the implanted foetus, and also to check for changes in the cervix and vagina.

However, usually a simple lab test for HCG hormone in your urine would suffice for a positive diagnosis. The test could be repeated later to check the progress of the pregnancy.

An ultrasonography is an essential test for the diagnosis and dating of the pregnancy. It would also rule out any ectopic pregnancy or any abnormality in the foetus.

A trans-vaginal sonography is another useful tool but must be carried out by expert doctors.
These tests would indicate the presence of a healthy pregnancy and rule out any other causes of your symptoms.

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