This is a new week and I came back to you again as promised. I hope you have read my first post and thought about it long and hard .Let us begin now with few more interesting questions and answers for this week. You can pass on any comment in the comment section and I will read it with a lot of interest. So please get involved.
Q.7. How do I find out for certain that I am pregnant?
A.7. Well those of you who had been pregnant before will know that your body starts to behave differently once you are pregnant. A few days after missing your period you start to feel tired for no reason, start to experience some pain or tightness in your breast or start to wee a lot.Then there is the familiar ‘sickness’ or actual vomiting even at the sight of food sometimes.
But most of you nowadays avail a pregnancy test by using a pregnancy detection kit. These kits are widely available at any pharmacy or chemist store. What you intend to see a blue or brown line in the middle which indicates a positive test for pregnancy. Congratulations!
Q.8. What does a pregnancy test involve?
A.8. Any pregnancy test looks for the presence of a particular chemical in your body what we call a ‘pregnancy hormone’. This pregnancy hormone is produced and released by some of the cells of the embryo ( earliest baby ).Later on, these cells of the embryo specialise and instead of becoming a part of the baby they develop into a special structure called the ‘placenta’.These cells of the placenta continue to produce and release the hormone of pregnancy called ‘Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin ‘( HCG ). There after,the HCG hormone starts to move around your blood and then finally escape through urine. So you know now if I get a small amount of your urine or blood I can test it for the presence of HCG and if I find the test positive you are pregnant.
Q.9. Shall I buy any pregnancy test kit or something that you specially recommend?
A.9. I do not recommend anyone in particular as I know all these kits test for HCG hormone in your urine. The cost varies from company to company due to various reasons, say for example, which chemical technology is employed to detect HCG, its brand name in the market or the quickness with which it produces the result. For me the best test is the one which can detect the presence of HCH (that means a pregnancy) in your urine in the minutest quantity most reliably. In other words, I will know that my patient is pregnant much earlier than anyone else. It helps me then to calculate the age of the baby more accurately. So look at the kit carefully where it says that it detects the HCG hormone at a certain value and pick up the one which detects the lowest value. For example, I will choose 10 milli international unit over 50 milli international unit because the test becomes positive even at a lower value of 10. Please remember that a positive test is more reliable than a negative test. So if you still feel pregnant when the test is negative consult your doctor. The simple explanation will be that perhaps the test was done too early.
Q.10. How early I can do a pregnancy test?
A.10. You could wait at least for your period to be missed first. Then it depends on the sensitivity of the test. Some urine pregnancy tests are so accurate and sensitive nowadays that it can produce the result within a few days of missing the period. I will suggest that wait two weeks after missing the period. There are several reasons for that. Firstly, it will eliminate the possibility of a simple delayed period which is so common in women. Secondly, there is less possibility of a falsely negative test because by that time there is enough HCG in your urine as the HCG producing cells have grown in sufficient number. Finally, you will avoid the disappointment of a positive test turning into negative later on. Don’t be surprised. It happens quite commonly as some of the very early pregnancies do not survive long and it is lost with a ‘heavy delayed period’, what we know as ‘biochemical pregnancy’. That explains why the test becomes negative.
Q.11. What else the urine pregnancy test tells me?
A.11. Well, the test can be either positive or negative meaning you are pregnant or not. It doesn’t give you any other information like the age of the baby, its sex or its location in your body. Interestingly, few tumours originating from ovaries (ovarian tumour) can also give a positive pregnancy test as they harbour the same kind of cells that are found in the placenta. So before you jump up in joy think twice.
Q.12. My pregnancy test was positive two weeks ago and now it is negative. What does it mean? Have I lost the baby?
A. 12. It is a very tricky question. If you ask me to answer it then I will ask you several questions? Are you certain that the first test was positive? Did anyone else also confirm it at that time (always better to have two pairs of eyes than one )? Is the second test surely negative? Did you miss the faint line which suggests that you are still pregnant ? Did you change the pregnancy kit for the second test? (Does not matter if both the kits have the same sensitivity to pick up pregnancy). Did you check the expiry date of the kits? Was there any bleeding in between? Has the pregnancy related symptoms disappeared in this two weeks? Some of the answers to these questions will indicate to you if you have lost the pregnancy this time.
Remember there is another way to check if you are pregnant or not. I told you before that HCG hormone (Pregnancy Hormone) is found in your blood as well. You can check your blood for the same HCG hormone. It is a much more sensitive yet costly test. Generally speaking, we check blood for HCG if there are other serious reasons involving your pregnancy, for example, if your pregnancy is found in the tube rather than the uterus ( Ectopic Pregnancy) or if you are miscarrying but I find it difficult to clinch the diagnosis.. Also you have to remember that one blood test result may not always prove or disprove that your pregnancy is lost. Sometimes you may have to do more than one blood test to check if the pregnancy is doing well. That means a lot of money will be spent.
Q.13. I am really worried now. I need to know for certain if I am still carrying the pregnancy or not. Can’t you do an ultrasound scan to check it?
A.13. Well, yes and no. It depends on how many weeks or days you have been pregnant. It takes a little while to see the early signs of a pregnancy by a scan. Usually the urine pregnancy test detects pregnancy much earlier than an ultrasound scan (USS). So unfortunately you may have to wait a few more weeks before you can see anything on a scan. It may be interesting to know that of the two types of scan that we offer, the transvaginal scan (TVS) will pick up pregnancy earlier than the transabdominal scan (TAS) ,at least by a week. So when you are at least five or six weeks pregnant we can try a scan.
Q.14. What is TVS and TAS? And why do TVS detects pregnancy earlier than TAS? Does any one of these scans harm my baby?
A.14. TVS means transvaginal scan.The sonographer (the person who does the scan) introduces a small probe into your vagina and examines the womb and the baby. Because the probe reaches close to the womb it can produce more accurate information than the transabdominal scan. Generally speaking, TVS can show details of your baby one week before TAS. You may find the TVS slightly uncomfortable but not painful. Certainly, it causes no harm to you or your baby. In case of TAS, you need to have some urine in your bladder. The sonographer will not be able to see the pregnancy details unless there is some urine. Many patients find a full bladder very uncomfortable though. You will find that the sonographer will put some gel on your tummy and move probe the gently across and you can see the details of the baby.
We will end here today. I hope you have found it useful. I will return to you again with some more interesting questions on this topic so until such time keep well.