For most women, the first sign of pregnancy is when your menstrual period doesn't arrive on the expected date. When your period is late and still doesn't come after a few days, it might be a sign you're pregnant, providing you've been sexually active. However, there are several factors that might conceal your pregnancy, even at six weeks pregnant.
According to the website Medical News Today, oligomenorrhea is the medical term describing menstrual periods that are irregular or infrequent. A number of causes can be attributed to irregular menstrual cycles, including a change in your method of contraception, some type of hormonal imbalance, excessive exercise, poor diet, hay fever and asthma. If you suffer from oligomenorrhea, it might not seem out of the ordinary if your period is late, leading you to assume its tardiness is related to menstrual irregularity, not pregnancy. Under this set of circumstances, you could be six weeks pregnant and not know it.
Although a missed menstrual period is the most obvious sign, there are other early symptoms that might indicate pregnancy up to and beyond six weeks of pregnancy. As Medical News Today points out, these include nausea — which can be accompanied by vomiting — excessive fatigue; dizziness; changes to your breasts, including increased breast tenderness; and the need to urinate more frequently than normal. If you experience any or all of these symptoms but ignore them, or you simply don't notice, you might not be aware that you're pregnant.
Home Pregnancy Tests
If you suspect you might be pregnant, the fastest, easiest way to find out is to use a home pregnancy test. According to MayoClinic.com, you'll obtain the most reliable test results if you wait until one week after the date of your missed period. Pregnancy tests detect a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which your body begins to produce at a rapid rate after the fertilized egg attaches to your uterine lining; in fact, the level of HCG in your blood might even double every two days. If the home pregnancy test indicates that you are pregnant, you need to schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to take a blood test.
Folic acid is extremely important during your first month of pregnancy and is necessary to ensure normal development of a baby's brain and spine; however, many women don't realize they're pregnant until they've been pregnant for a month. For this reason, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, if you're sexually active and entertaining the possibility of becoming pregnant, you should be taking folic acid supplements regularly.
- Medical News Today: What Is Pregnancy? How Do I Know If I Am Pregnant?
- MayoClinic.com: Fetal development - The First Trimester
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 10 Things You Need To Know About Birth Defects
- MayoClinic.com: Home Pregnancy Tests - Can You Trust the Results?
- Medical News Today: What Are Irregular Periods (Oligomenorrhea)? What Causes Irregular Periods?