The world of pregnancy is riddled with steps and things you need to do. If this is your first pregnancy, you are bound to have a million questions (or more – no judgment here). In this article, we aim to tackle two distinct topics – pregnancy scans and tests.
If you have been trying to get pregnant, or if your period is late – you will realize sooner or later that taking a pregnancy test is not as simple as what they show on TV. You need to know when to take the test, how to read it correctly and know how to judge the test’s validity and accuracy as well. Once you are on the road to having a baby, you’ll find that there are many ways in which you can ensure your proper health and that of your fetus. They include timely vaccinations and immunization, cultivating a balanced and nutritious diet, and adopting other healthy habits such as exercise.
Pregnancy tests and scans are thus, yet another measure to see to it that you are healthy and that your fetus is on the right path of growth and development. There are many types of tests and scans that doctors may ask you to get done. All of them have their own purpose to serve in keeping you safe and healthy. If there are any complications that can be averted with early treatment or medication, your doctor can get the process started right away. Make sure to reach out to clinics or hospitals near you that provide these services as soon as you can.
Know more about the pregnancy tests and scans
The accuracy of at-home pregnancy kits is highly dependent on factors like their validity, how long it has been since your period was supposed to start etc.
- You can check if you are pregnant in the five days leading up to when your period is due. Studies do show that the day after your period is due is the best time to conduct the test. This is so because in the first few days of your pregnancy, the levels of hCG increase at a huge rate. So whether the result is positive or negative, you are bound to get a very accurate answer.
- Before taking the test, try not to drink too much water or juice – that will only lead to dilution of the hormone levels in your urine, thus further decreasing the accuracy of the test. Read all the instructions and directions printed on your at-home pregnancy kit.
- The way the kit will show the result will vary – some kits have two line indications, while others may have only one line. Remember that the faintness of the line is not a marker – if the line is present in whatever capacity, chances are you are pregnant.
Do bear in mind that every person’s body is different – which means their levels of hCG will also be relative. So if your test is negative in the very early days, do not take it as the final result. Doctors often say that while positive test results are very much likely to be accurate and correct, negative ones are comparatively less so.
Now, when it comes to pregnancy scans, there are at least two that will be recommended to you at specified intervals.
- The first scan takes place at eight to fourteen weeks. It is usually called the dating scan. If you wish to, you can also have your fetus screened for Down’s syndrome.
- The second one is scheduled between eighteen and twenty-one weeks into the pregnancy. This scan’s purpose is to check for any structural anomalies in the fetus.
These are the scans that are recommended to all people during pregnancy, but depending on factors like health, previous pregnancies, and family history, doctors might prescribe more than two.
Ultrasounds usually are performed on your abdomen. To obtain an image on the computer screen, the sonographer will apply a gel and run the probe across your stomach. This procedure entails, if any, minimal discomfort. The sonographer might ask to drink water before the scan to make the fetus appear more prominently on the screen in some cases.
If the fetus is situated deep in your abdomen or if you are having the ultrasound less than eight weeks into your pregnancy, the sonographer will do the ultrasound vaginally. Again, this procedure also causes minimal discomfort. The grey areas, the dotted spaces, and the white parts on the screen – all of these help your sonographer in reading the image so as to give you a clear idea of how your pregnancy is going so far. Parents (and close ones too) look forward to these scans as they offer a view of the coming baby. So, take all the pictures you want to mark this milestone!
Though ultrasound scans are not mandatory per se, they are suggested to you because they give your doctor/s and sonographers the extra, important information they need to take better care of you and the fetus. These scans help determine how far along you are along in your pregnancy and your due date. You also get to know the size of your fetus, signs of any abnormalities and later on, position (which will help in deciding which form of delivery is most suitable for you).
Most importantly, these scans tell you whether you are going to have more than one baby – something parents prefer to know early on so that they can take adequate measures. If you are concerned about the costs of these scans, mention it to your doctor and family members so that you can figure out an appropriate solution.
Remember that each of these steps is recommended for the well-being of you and the fetus. And when you have access to healthcare services, it is of utmost importance that you avail them mindfully. But during all these procedures, do not forget to put aside a moment or two to take in the changes that are happening, and the ones yet to come.