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How can I be sure?


By Elaine Zwelling with Prof Dieter Wolke RN, PhD, FACCE

"Teaching pregnant women and their partners has been the highlight of my career," says Elaine Zwelling. "I love helping expectant parents enjoy their pregnancy, plan and create a positive birth experience, and then learn about parenting their newborn baby."Elaine Zwelling, RN, PhD, FACCE, is the director and member of the faculty of the Lamaze International Childbirth Educator Certification Program at the University of South Florida. Dr Zwelling is the co-author of Maternal Newborn Nursing: Theory and Practice. She is also a consultant in the field of maternal newborn care, currently working with Phillips+Fenwick, Scotts Valley, California. Dr Zwelling was a professor of maternal-newborn nursing for 23 years, at Capital University and Ohio State University. There, she taught undergraduate and graduate students and conducted research on maternal newborn health care. Dr. Zwelling is certified by Lamaze International as a childbirth educator and is a Fellow in the American College of Childbirth Educators.Dr Zwelling has a grown son and two grandchildren.

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You can confirm you're pregnant with a home pregnancy test - but they can be wrong.

If you think you may be pregnant, you will be eager to confirm it.

The easiest way is to take a home pregnancy test. The latest kits can be used within a few days of a missed period and give results in less than 30 minutes. They work on a urine sample. They're fast, convenient, confidential and very accurate. However even modern home tests can get it wrong. Very occasionally the test will tell you you're pregnant even though you're not. If you do discover you're pregnant, it's important that you make an appointment to see your general practitioner.

You can also get a pregnancy test from your own general practitioner or family planning clinic. You don't have to pay for these on the NHS, but you will need to make an appointment, and many practices send such tests to a central laboratory, so it may take a day or two to get the result.

There are also signals your body gives you to let you know you're pregnant. Look for these signs:

  missing a menstrual period (amenorrhea)

  frequent urination

  tender, tingling, swollen breasts

  "morning sickness," a queasiness that can occur any time of day

  changes in skin colour: darkening of the areola (the area around your nipple), deepening colour of veins in your breasts, appearance of a dark line from your navel to your pubic bone

  food cravings

If you're having any of these symptoms, see your doctor or midwife as soon as possible. They will be able to observe other signs to confirm a pregnancy, such as changes in the colour or firmness of your cervix, changes in your uterus, hearing the baby's heartbeat, or seeing the baby on an ultrasound monitor. If you are pregnant, they will set up your antenatal care arrangements for the pregnancy, and get you and your baby off to the best start possible!


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