So you were “late” and you began to think, “Could I be pregnant?” You went to your local drugstore, purchased a home pregnancy test, and sure enough it read positive.
The home pregnancy test works by detecting a hormone in your urine called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone will appear in a pregnant woman’s urine approximately 20 days after her last period. The levels rise rapidly, reaching peak levels in the following 60 to 80 days. If the test is done too early, there is a chance it could be a false negative. 21-25 days after your last period is about the right time to take the test or approximately 3 weeks after the specific sexual encounter that you are concerned about.
It is normal to feel a range of emotions when you find out you are pregnant. You may feel some, all, or none of the following:
- Happiness that you are able to get pregnant
- Shock that you are pregnant
- Worry that you are not ready or cannot afford to have a baby
- Anger that you are pregnant and that you did not chose to be
- Anxiety over what others may think or how they may react
- Concern that you may make the wrong decision
- Fear about the process of pregnancy and childbirth
- Fill in the blank_______________… You are, after all, a unique person in a unique situation!
Whatever you may be feeling, take a deep breath. It is always best when you give yourself the space to respond to your situation rather than react. The best and healthiest decisions are made when we take time to gather factual information and consult trustworthy sources. Good decisions are never made when we are emotional, panicked, and rushed.
After a positive pregnancy test, there are some things you will want to do right away. You should schedule an appointment with the Prestonwood Pregnancy Center (PPC) for another test. You will want to do this for several reasons. First, you will want to verify your pregnancy. Secondly, it is important to have a sonogram to determine dating and viability.
At this appointment, if you are pregnant, PPC will provide you with a proof of pregnancy should you need it. This is essential for applying for Medicaid or Chip Perinatal and will allow you to access prenatal care if you do not have insurance and meet the qualifications (see article). In addition, PPC will provide guidance and resources to help you make the best and healthiest decisions.
Find a good support system. Especially if this is an unplanned pregnancy, it is vital that you find “safe” people to walk alongside you in this journey.
It is never too early to start learning all that you can about pregnancy. Even if you have had a baby before, you should start brushing up on the things you should do and the things you should avoid for a healthy and successful pregnancy. While you do not need to sign up for childbirth classes just yet, it does not hurt to begin to start to read.
Finally, take a few moments to yourself to reflect. What is happening inside your body is both common and thoroughly miraculous. Many decisions may lay ahead, but they do not need to be overwhelming at this point.