Am I Pregnant? - How to Tell if you Are Pregnant

I Might Be Pregnant. Am I Pregnant?

Am I pregnant? Find out if you are pregnant if you are experiencing pregnancy symptoms.
Am I pregnant? Find out if you are pregnant if you are experiencing pregnancy symptoms. | Source

Pregnancy Test Results

Waiting to see a positive or negative pregnancy test result?
Waiting to see a positive or negative pregnancy test result? | Source

I Think I Am Pregnant : Now What?

Do you feel as if you may be pregnant? You're not alone; hundreds of thousands of women every day contemplate the same question.

Any time you have unprotected sex, there's a chance of pregnancy. Here you will learn about pregnancy symptoms, early signs of pregnancy, and taking a pregnancy test.

Before you read, take the quiz below to see how much you know about pregnancy symptoms.

Early Pregnancy Quiz

When Would Pregnancy Begin?

Example of a 28 day menstrual cycle.
Example of a 28 day menstrual cycle. | Source
Example pregnancy calendar. Pregnancy is counted from the first day of the last period.
Example pregnancy calendar. Pregnancy is counted from the first day of the last period. | Source

When Do Pregnancy Symptoms Start?

How much do you know about your menstrual cycle? Did you know that when you're pregnant, your first week is the first week of your last period?

It may seem confusing, but health care professionals have tracked pregnancies beginning with the first day of the last menstrual period. Forty weeks from that is when birth occurs on average. They did not and do not track from the moment of conception, simply because it is nearly impossible to determine the actual date and time of conception, when the sperm meets the egg. Sperm can live from 3-5 days (sometimes a bit longer) inside of a woman's body after intercourse, so there's no way to know exactly the moment of conception.

In the time from your last period, your body is preparing itself for a pregnancy. In a 28 day cycle, an egg will be released from the ovaries around the 14th day of the cycle, in a process called ovulation. That time is considered your most fertile time, when there's potential for sperm to fertilize an egg if you had intercourse. If they do meet and the egg becomes fertilized, it is considered conception.

Would you begin feeling pregnancy symptoms then? Not exactly. The fertilized egg, now a ball of developing cells, still needs to travel down to your uterus and implant itself in the uterine wall, releasing the hormone hCG (what is detected in pregnancy tests) as it completes implantation. That can take up to 6-10 days after conception. At that point in your cycle, you would be very close to expecting your next period.

For most women trying to have their first baby, the first noticeable sign then of a pregnancy would be the missed period. Others who are more in tune with their bodies or who have already experienced a pregnancy would notice other symptoms, like fatigue, a few days sooner, suspecting pregnancy before the missed period.

To answer the question then, pregnancy symptoms do not start until either a few days before the missed period or at the time of the missed period, both of which are at the end of a menstrual cycle.

How Much Are Pregnancy Tests?

Buying a multitude of pregnancy tests can get expensive, especially if you are testing too early. There are tests at the dollar stores for (you guessed it) a dollar, or you could buy one test at a superstore or grocery store for $3-$4. Some tests come in packs of twos or threes and can range from $10-$15.

Pregnancy tests can also be found online. Testing strips can be as little as $0.32 each and are usually sold in bulk.

Clinics may give pregnancy tests for free. Health care professionals may also give blood tests, which should be covered by insurance.

Home Pregnancy Tests with Early Results

Pregnancy Symptoms Before Missed Period

As stated above, some women can sense that they're pregnant before a missed period due to some early symptoms. Those symptoms are usually pregnancy fatigue, constipation, increase in breast size and sensitivity, and frequent urination.

Some symptoms can actually be signs of an upcoming period, though. Many women experience breast changes before a period, along with some bloating of the stomach. On their own, they may not be signs of pregnancy but instead signs of impending menstruation.

Another very early sign of pregnancy may be implantation bleeding, which some may confuse with an early period. Implantation bleeding can occur when the fertilized egg burrows into the lining of the uterus, a week or so before the next expected period. It's usually light spotting and does not last long. Fewer than half of all pregnant women experience implantation bleeding.

If you are experiencing some of these early signs of pregnancy, it would be wise to wait until you miss your period to begin taking pregnancy tests. It will give your hCG levels a chance to build up in your system to be detected by the tests. Despite how early some pregnancy tests say they will detect pregnancy, it's best to wait so that you are not wasting money taking multiple tests.

First Trimester Pregnancy Symptoms

Symptoms of Pregnancy
frequent urination
implantation bleeding
morning sickness
sore breasts
missed period
These are just some of the first symptoms of pregnancy. Others experience a variety of symptoms, adding to the list things like acne, or nasal congestion.

Home Pregnancy Test

Positive result on a home pregnancy test.
Positive result on a home pregnancy test. | Source

Faint Line on Pregnancy Test

Did you see two lines on the pregnancy test, but one of them was faint? Guess what? That's a positive result. It's possible that your levels of hCG aren't strong enough yet to produce a stronger colored line. If you're concerned about it, take a second test in a few days or ask for a blood test to determine pregnancy.

Home Pregnancy Test Accuracy

If used correctly and at the right time, home pregnancy tests are fairly accurate at detecting pregnancy. Used correctly means that you read the directions and follow them. Each test has slightly different directions, so if using different brands, it's important to read the directions. Also, using the test at the right time makes a difference in 'accuracy'. Women who test too early (and even sometimes too late) will get inaccurate results.

The absolute best time to take any pregnancy test is a few days after a missed period. This is when the hormone hCG, the pregnancy hormone produced by the growing balls of cells if there is indeed a pregnancy, is most easily detected by home pregnancy tests. Too soon before that and you may get a false negative as your body has not produced enough hCG.

Some tests do claim that they can get you early results, meaning results before your next expected period. If you truly read their statements, however, you'll find that the early results are only possible for a small percentage of women, not every woman. It's most likely a marketing ploy to encourage you to take more tests and hence spend more money.

I have had three different experiences with home pregnancy tests. With my first pregnancy, I saw a positive result on the day of my expected period. With my second pregnancy, I didn't get a positive result until almost my sixth week of pregnancy (two weeks after the expected period). With my third, I was able to test two days before my expected period and get a positive result.

Bottom line, testing with a home pregnancy test is different for very woman and every pregnancy. If you can wait until your next expected period, do so and save your money. If you can't wait, contact your health care provider and ask when it would be possible to have a blood test.

Planned or Unplanned Pregnancy?

Is this a planned or unplanned pregnancy?

  • Planned
  • Unplanned
See results without voting

I'm Pregnant; Now What?

If you get a positive result on the test(s), you're pregnant! You're next step is to contact your health care provider and set up your first prenatal appointment. It's so important to make sure that you and your baby get the best possible care during this pregnancy.

It's also important that you start taking prenatal vitamins to ensure that you and the baby will get the proper nutrients needed to sustain a healthy pregnancy. The most important vitamin to have right now is called folic acid, which is a B vitamin that helps to prevent neural tubal defects (i.e. brain and spinal cord defects) in the early development of the baby.

Having a healthy diet during pregnancy will help you gain the right amount of weight and help with ailments like pregnancy fatigue and pregnancy constipation. You only need about 300 extra calories per day. Make sure those extra calories are from healthy sources or you could gain too much weight during pregnancy.

Birth Control Options

Depo Provera is one option for long-term birth control.
Depo Provera is one option for long-term birth control. | Source

Pregnancy Scare

Find out that you're not pregnant? Sometimes a pregnancy scare can be stressful, especially if you are not planning on having children any time soon.

If this is the case, it would be wise for you to refrain from having unprotected sex, use protection, and find out about birth control options. Simple birth control options like the Pill or patch can be used on a monthly basis. Other methods of birth control like the shot Depo Provera or an IUD have longer lasting effects and are better for those who wish not to get pregnant for a long time or ever. Speak with a health care professional who can help you decide what is right for you.

How Do I Know if I Am Pregnant?

The only way to know for sure if you are pregnant would be to get a positive pregnancy test, whether it be a home pregnancy test or a blood test. Symptoms may show up prior to taking a test, but they could be a sign of impending menstruation, so it's best to wait and see if you miss your period.

Best of luck to you!


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Comments 61 comments

Jay 2 months ago

I had unproteced sex in april and i got my period that same month but very light then i missed a period for may , june & july but i got negative pregnancy test .

Jocelyn J 10 months ago

I am one of those obsessive early testers, I don't know why! I convinced myself I was pregnant and having "symptoms" countless times. Now that I'm pregnant, I don't even want to admit how many FRERs I have taken apart in my adult life ;-o My early crazy testing did let me know i was probably pregnant at 9dpo this pregnancy... which, now, 5 months later, the extra day or two hardly seem worth it! There just really is no moment in the world like the moment you find out youre actually pregnant, whether planned or not.

Sandra Watts 11 months ago

I am all done with pregnancy but I am expecting my 4th grand baby in February.

Lara C. 13 months ago

You're right that the only way to know for sure is testing -- my PMS symptoms are often just like pregnancy symptoms so I could drive myself nuts thinking that they were proof when they aren't! Great hub.

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ThePracticalMommy 14 months ago from United States Author

caitmummy, darker lines is definitely a good sign! If you're that late for your period, it's time to call a doctor for an appointment to confirm. Best wishes!

caitmummy 14 months ago

Been getting faint positives for week now and took test this morning an its slightly darker is this a good sign?? Am almost 2 months late for my period so iI wouldn'teven no how far long am did ave a small bleed bwt 3 weeks ago but tthat wasjust a smear so may ave been iimplantation I think :-) any advice be great x

JewelWood 15 months ago

I really found this to be so interesting! I did not know that your first week is the first week of your last period! And that sperm live for 3-5 days, maybe longer. I think this is good to know, and really helpful to know and I know that I experienced nausea, morning sickness for every one of my pregnancies.

Diana 15 months ago

Thanks for the info, will come in handy for when we start trying!

rebecca kellerman 15 months ago

I agree that you don't want to waste money on a test, so you should wait until your missed period.

Pam Gurganus 15 months ago

This was a very interesting and informative read! There have been so many times I thought I was pregnant, but wasn't! Thanks for this article.

Nicole Dziedzic 15 months ago

I really didn't need a pregnancy test when I got pregnant, since I had the worst morning sickness ever, it felt like I had the flu it was so bad, but the doctor to confirm it though with a test. Love this article!

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ThePracticalMommy 16 months ago from United States Author

Hopingforanotherchance, there's always a possibility if you've been trying. I know that feeling of waiting and feeling the symptoms, even after a loss. It can be hard to wait, but hang in there until Friday to test. Not only will you save money, you'll save your sanity. Testing too soon can drive you insane if you start getting negatives; trust me. Best wishes!

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ThePracticalMommy 16 months ago from United States Author

Celinne, a faint test line only is an indication of a low HCG level, nothing else. Women with strong test lines can have abnormal pregnancies. Only blood tests can determine abnormalities. I suggest speaking with your doctor if you have any questions.

hopingforanotherchance 16 months ago

In January I had an ectopic pregnancy, needed to have emergency surgery at 7 weeks. I was crushed. Started my period exactly 1 month after the surgery, been having my period regularly. Doctor had me have an HSG test to confirm my other tube is ok , and they said it was. They said to wait until my 3rd cylce to try to conceive so we did. Used the ovulation kits to help determine when I ovulated. Im due for my period this friday. Since yesterday I have been feeling nauseous, very tired, and my breasts are sore. Is there a possibility Im pregnant?

celinne 17 months ago

is it possible to have an abnormal pregnancy if the pregnancy test have a faintline?

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ThePracticalMommy 18 months ago from United States Author

bill, right now, based on your LMP, you would be in your ovulation days. Your next LMP isn't for another two weeks, which is when you'd be able to test. I suggest waiting until then to test. The symptoms you feel now could be because of ovulation or something else going on. Best wishes!

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ThePracticalMommy 19 months ago from United States Author

mandilyn, if you have irregular periods, there's no real way for me to know. Your best bet is to take a pregnancy test to find out. Best wishes!

mandilyn 19 months ago

I had a period on February 14-16 and then had another period march 12-14 more like a spotting could I be pregnant when I normally have my period every other month..

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ThePracticalMommy 2 years ago from United States Author

Sarah, sometimes the shot stops your period all together. I had that experience with the shot, including the pregnancy symptoms, but it was all just side effects. I suggest taking a test just to be sure or speaking with your doctor. Visit my profile to find my hub about my experience with Depo Provera (the shot) to see what I'm talking about. Best wishes!

sarah 2 years ago

I'm on the shot but had to take antibiotics... I have signs of pregnancy, no period,....but I'm scared to take the test....if I am it will b baby #4..I'm only mentally draining right now

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ThePracticalMommy 2 years ago from United States Author

Miranda, I'm glad you have an appointment. I hope everything works out well for you. :) I know you may be scared; it's a completely normal reaction. I'll keep you in my thoughts.

miranda 2 years ago

Thank you. I have an appt. Monday morning. I am 23 and very scared. I just don't feel pregnant so im not believin the tests or im in denial. But thank you for your feedback:)

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ThePracticalMommy 2 years ago from United States Author

Miranda, if you got three positives, chances are very high that you're pregnant. I don't believe positive tests show anything but pregnancy for women, but for men they can indicate a problem. I highly suggest calling your doctor for an appointment. Best wishes!

miranda 2 years ago

I have irregular periods & people have been tellin me I looked pregnant. So I have taken three tests and they all came back positive. Now im a little scared maybe they turned out positive because somethin else may be wrong? How likely is it to get three positives?/different brands?

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ThePracticalMommy 2 years ago from United States Author

Nelly, it could be a shift in hormones. I suggest seeing your doctor for a blood test to check for pregnancy and to discuss the change in your cycle. Best wishes!

nelly 2 years ago

i got my period late in june and then missed it in july with spotting,but got a negative test in august i spotted on the 9 and on the 11 i got light bleeding for a day what could it be

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ThePracticalMommy 2 years ago from United States Author

Sandy, a week after your period you may have been in your ovulation days, so not yet pregnant. Some of your symptoms suggest pregnancy, but the timeline doesn't quite line up, especially in terms of the pain you're experiencing. It may be an infection of some sort. I suggest waiting to see if your period arrives on time. If it doesn't show I suggest speaking with your doctor to see what the issue might be. If it does show up, and you still experience those symptoms, I suggest speaking with your doctor to see what the issue might be. Best wishes!

sandy 2 years ago

Hi I been trying to get pregnant for 2years for the first, but since last month that I had my period which was on 19th, a week after, I notice that my body change, lift side pain, sleeping, breasting pain, unrine. Am I really pregenant, though my period will be coming soon, but with the way am feeling, weak, fatige , and some time I notice am unfit to stand for too long, always feeling like am fainting.

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ThePracticalMommy 2 years ago from United States Author

Naiomi, the spotting you saw could have been ovulation spotting since that's about where you are in your cycle. It happens to some women when the egg is released. It's too soon in your cycle to determine pregnancy, but if in two weeks or so you miss your period, you can take a test. Best wishes!

Naiomi 2 years ago

Hello I had my period on July 23 and it ended on July 26 I bled for 2 days and the last day it was brown however I woke up August 11 bleeding a pinkish brown blood I didn't see it until I wiped but when i went back to the bathroom I was not bleeding anymore I don't have any pregnancy symptoms so can I be pregnant???

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ThePracticalMommy 2 years ago from United States Author

Iliana, without having consistent dates, it's hard to tell whether or not you may be pregnant. You may have taken the pregnancy tests too soon, as usually you may not get a positive pregnancy result until at least a week or so after having intercourse. Have you taken any recent tests? Since you have an irregular period, I highly suggest seeing your doctor to determine if your symptoms are due to pregnancy or not. Best wishes!

iliana 2 years ago

I think im pregnant not sure I sleep more than usual. Like today I worked out at the gym today came home and took a nap from 6pm & didn't wske up until 10pm. Last week I was feeling nawshes. Well this week I don't. Now im starting to have bad cramps on my left side.i have irregular periods so I have them like once or twice a year. I took a pregnancy test day 5 & 6 after I had sex & both said negative. Am I pregnant or not ????

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ThePracticalMommy 2 years ago from United States Author

Hi chibs, do you mean the 7th of March? If so, then you may have experienced bleeding because you might have been in your ovulation days. Some women experience bleeding during this time, especially after intercourse. If you think you may become pregnant, you won't be able to find out until at least around March 24th, which is when you can take a HPT. Best wishes!

chibs 2 years ago

I had my periods from 22 Feb to 25 and have been having unprotected sex ,I noticed some blood blood after sex on the 7th of Feb could I be pregnant.

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ThePracticalMommy 2 years ago from United States Author

Cece, you won't know until you take a test. Lower back pain isn't usually associated with early pregnancy, but you won't know until you take a test. If the test is negative, I highly suggest you go to see a doctor.

cece 2 years ago

And today ive been feeling worse and having lower back pain. I made chicken and it made me feel sick after i eat it are these signs of being pregant

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ThePracticalMommy 2 years ago from United States Author

cece, without knowing any other details about your cycle, it's hard to say if you could be pregnant or if you are suffering from a virus of some sort. If you have been trying to get pregnant and you have these symptoms, then you need to take a test to see if indeed you are pregnant. That is the only sure way to find out. If you are not pregnant, you may just have a virus now. Since you have irregular cycles, you can try charting your ovulation by using an ovulation kit to determine when the best time to have intercourse is. I would also suggest speaking with your doctor.

Best wishes!

cece 2 years ago

I really have been feelung nausous the past few days when i wake up till i go to bed i have been getting headaches alit as well om overly tired and don't really feel my best. I use to take birthcontrol to help me have periods but got off the pills when i got married we have been trying to have a baby but still no luck i eas wobdering what is wrong or if im pregant. I did have my galbladder removed so im full sure on what is wrong. Please reply

cece 2 years ago

Hi i have never had normal periods and well im trying to see if im pregant. I have nausia and headaches and its been going on a few days now could i be pregant?

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ThePracticalMommy 2 years ago from United States Author

Lovable Baby, if you haven't had your period yet, as it was probably due a few days ago, then it's time to take a test! I can't say why your dogs are reacting like that, but some people believe that animals have an uncanny sense about things like this. Only a test will give you the answer, though. Best wishes!

Lovable Baby 2 years ago

HI, I was wondering was I pregnant due to sine symptoms I've been having. My period was November 29-December 1, i had unprotected sex December 7 & 8. It's now the 23rd of December. I'm having heartburn, frequently urinating, sleeping, and nausea(I vomited once). Also I have two dogs a female and male. The female won't let me touch her and she won't come back to me anymore . The male on the other hand is next to me every day. He barks and growls when people are near me, he lays either in between my legs or next to my stomach. My dogs didn't act like that till after me and my

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ThePracticalMommy 2 years ago from United States Author

Hi Blanca Medina, if you had intercourse any time from your last cycle until now, then there's always a chance you could be pregnant. You would definitely be able to take a test now to find out. If it's not pregnancy, then it could be a glitch in your cycles due to another reason, like a hormonal change, a change in sleeping or eating habits, etc.

Best wishes!

Blanca Medina 2 years ago

Hi my last period was on oct. 30 and I haven't had my period could I be pregnant?????

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ThePracticalMommy 3 years ago from United States Author

meya, it all depends on when you missed your pill and for how long. If you only missed it for a day, chances are you were still protected from the effects of the pill. If you missed it for longer than a day, then there's definitely a chance of pregnancy, OR your body could be readjusting the hormones, resulting in some spotting, sleepiness, and frequent urination.

If it has been at least two weeks since you last had intercourse or you have already missed your period, you can take a pregnancy test. Best wishes!

meya 3 years ago

i missed my birth control no on my expected period i got it for a day not normal is that implantation bleeding been usin the bathroom a lot and sleeping

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ThePracticalMommy 3 years ago from United States Author

Sam, there's always a chance of pregnancy when you're having unprotected intercourse. Have you had any other symptoms besides the lack of a period? The missing period could just be due to the effects of the pill still since it's only been a month. Most doctors recommend waiting at least three months after stopping any kind of birth control before trying to conceive, just to give your body time to readjust and get back on schedule.

Since it's only been four weeks and you stopped your pill a week early, you may still be in the middle of a cycle. I would wait another week before trying to test again. The other tests may have been too early.

If you still don't get a period, you should contact your doctor. Best wishes!

Sam 3 years ago

I stopped my pill a week early and have had unprotected sex everyday from then wich ha been nearly 4weeks I haven't bleed from I stopped my pill so I have took tests but all are negative! However I think I am pregnant! Could someone please help as I don't know what do now! Could I be pregnant??

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ThePracticalMommy 3 years ago from United States Author

claboughsgirl, implantation bleeding usually occurs in the week before you expect your next period, and it's either a light pink or a brownish color. Most of the time it does not include bright red or clots. It seems as this could be your period starting early. Of course, if it suddenly stops, you may want to take a pregnancy test just to be certain.

claboughsgirl 3 years ago

so yesterday which was the 23rd 4-5 days before my expected period I started bleeding really light was almost pink in color and only there when I went to the bathroom this morning it's a little heavier and light red with very small clots no cramps or anything and using a pad just in question is could that be implantation bleeding or just my period starting early? To my knowledge (its been a while) I didn't have implantation bleeding with my other pregnancies and I don't know if IB can occur that close to a regular cycle I should also add that yesterday I had cramps a few hours before I started bleeding.

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ThePracticalMommy 3 years ago from United States Author

claboughsgirl, oh, I know all about waiting to see a positive pregnancy test! I'm currently pregnant with my third child, for whom I ttc for nearly 18 months. :) Best wishes again to you!

claboughsgirl 3 years ago

thanks for the feed back I knew it was too soon like I said I think I'm just driving my self crazy thinking about it. I know better than to let myself get caught up in the waiting game lol just couldn't help myself I guess. It's just so many symptoms of pregnancy are happening and I don't wanna be disappointed with negative results but the waiting is horrible!!! I recently removed a mirena IUD on jan. 11th during which I was menstruating and had another regular cycle on the 30th so this is just the first actual time of ttc so I'm not expecting a pregnancy but would def welcome one.

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ThePracticalMommy 3 years ago from United States Author

claboughsgirl, if you're not due for your period until the 27th, you shouldn't test until then or even after. The test you took was way too soon. If you are pregnant, you may have just experienced implantation and the hCG hasn't taken full effect in your body just yet.

Wait until you miss your period. Best wishes!

claboughsgirl 3 years ago

Im due my period on the 27th however i have had sore breasts and light cramping along with nausea for about a week now also my fiancé has had weird food cravings. i have tested negative so far an with this being what would be my third pregnancy i would like to think i would know if im pregnant or not unfortunately i aint sure! i think im just driving my self crazy thinking about it but in my defense i wouldn't have thought about it if people hadn't brought it to my so when should i test in order for it to be accurate

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ThePracticalMommy 3 years ago from United States Author

tabrezrocks, yes, blood tests can give accurate results, if taken at the right time. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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tabrezrocks 3 years ago from Calcutta, India

yes blood test can give the exact result

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ThePracticalMommy 3 years ago from United States Author

sivklemets, yes, blood tests can give the most accurate results. Thanks for reading and commenting!

sivklemets 3 years ago from Los Angeles

Blood tests are the most compelling tests, if you are ensure, best to request one.

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ThePracticalMommy 4 years ago from United States Author

Sharyn's Slant, thank you so much for your comment! I appreciate that you like looking at my hubs. :D

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Sharyn's Slant 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Okay, so I am not pregnant and I will not be pregnant - but I like looking at your hubs because they are always so well done. This one is no exception. Nice job. Will share . . .

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ThePracticalMommy 4 years ago from United States Author

Glimmer Twin Fan, sick from the 5th day after conception? Yikes! It is worth it; you're right about that. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

Great hub for people. I know I was sick from about day 5 after conception and for the remaining 9 months. Ugh. But it was worth it. Useful!

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    Marissa (ThePracticalMommy)1,085 Followers
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    Marissa is the writer of ThePracticalMommy and owner of Mommy Knows What's Best. She is a stay at home mom to four and was a teacher.

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