How to Tell if You Are Pregnant
(How I Found Out)
If you’re looking up “how to tell if you are pregnant”, then chances are you think you might be. What I’m about to tell you might scare you. Or maybe it will encourage you, I’m not sure. Before I go into how to tell if you are pregnant, you should know two things about when I got pregnant: 1) I was not using birth control, and 2) we did want to have kids.
Why you should know how to tell if you are pregnant
When you first suspect you may be pregnant, your first move is to run out to buy a pregnancy test. That is after you have googled “how to tell if you are pregnant”. For some, buying a pregnancy test every time you want to tell if you’re pregnant is plausible. Some people, however, go through pregnancy tests faster than others (like if you’re one of those people who takes one every time your period is a day late or if you’re trying to get pregnant and want to keep checking). No matter your reason, there are some signs you can look out for before you take a pregnancy test.
If you want to skip down to how to tell if you are pregnant, be my guest. But if you want to know how I came across these different signs when I found out I was pregnant, keep reading.
How I found out I was pregnant
I was 20 years old, and my husband was out of town. My period was late, but I didn’t worry too much about it. I never was very good at keeping track of it anyway (even though I should have been, as you will find out). So there I was, about a week late.
Spending the night at a friend’s house, she was aware of my situation. Every now and then she would give me a funny look. “I’m not pregnant,” I would tell her. The idea seemed inconceivable (no pun intended) to me, being in school and constantly busy. I was tired, but then again I was at the end of most days. While unusual for me, I had a headache throbbing in my skull like a persistent blinking light. “Okay, so I’m probably not pregnant.” I’d say.
Rather than use conventional birth control, we use natural family planning. This requires you to track not only your period but to track your basal body temperature and cervical fluid as well. Another thing about natural family planning is you have to actually do it. I was being a bit lax at the time, so I while my lack of period was suspicious, I wasn’t sure that meant anything.
One fertility app, so many features
To keep track of everything, I use the Kindara app, which I love. Of course, this app is only a means of tracking and still requires you to do the leg work. You have to take your temperature EVERY morning as soon as you wake up and then write it down. If you track cervical fluid, the app makes it easy to record everything. I don’t go so far as to record my vaginal sensation (that’s a bit icky for me, but if you want to do it go at it!).
The features I usually use are the trackers for temperature, menstruation, and -ahem- sex. You can also add custom markers for specific things such as acne, irritability, etc. Whenever you want to track these things, you create a button and simply hit it on each day you experience that thing.
Knowing when you ovulate
Here’s a copy of my chart for the month I thought I was pregnant. As you can see, I was not religious about taking my temperature. The numbers indicate ovulation, as shown by your basal body temperature. “It’s not possible,” I said, looking at the chart. But…where was my period?
Why ovulation is important
In case you aren’t aware how it works, in order to get pregnant, the sperm has to meet the egg during ovulation. This is when your eggs are released into their natural habitat where they will try to make babies. Of course, in order to make a baby you need a sperm. Sperm can live in your body up to 5 days, so this leaves an ample window of time for baby making.
Not feeling quite right but also not quite wrong
I hit “the google” and found that the signs were basically the same as starting your period: a little crampy, stomach troubles, emotional, sensitive. Thanks, internet. I wasn’t feeling uncharacteristically tired and definitely not nauseous. On the other hand, I wasn’t entirely myself. Fortunately, I knew what to do next.
Ask a friend
Another feature of the Kindara app is the community. This is probably the most helpful feature as it allows you to connect with pregnancy gurus out there. You can share your chart and ask questions. People are very quick to reply, and they are usually extremely helpful!
That night, everyone else had gone to sleep, but I sat there looking at my phone. I just wanted to make sure. Posting my chart on the community board, I waited. Not an easy wait. I had a knot in my stomach and briefly wondered if that wasn’t the only thing in there. This was how the next couple minutes went: Instagram, Facebook…check to see if anyone replied. Okay, Facebook again. Nothing on Facebook. Maybe now. Nothing yet. It’s okay, it’s been like 2 minutes. Instagram again. I already saw all of this stuff. Facebook? Nah. Checking again… Somebody responded!
Sure enough, someone had responded. In fact, two someones. And no, they did not respond in the way I had expected. Do you know what they told me? To take a pregnancy test.
How I found out I actually, 100% was pregnant
If it hadn’t been 1Am, I probably would have yelled out loud. I needed to be at school the next morning, but no way could I sleep. I wanted to talk to Ryan so, so badly! To ask him what I should do next, for him to tell me to calm the heck down. But where was Ryan? That’s right, he was in Utah, hundreds of miles away from Houston, oblivious that he might now be a father.
I quietly crept downstairs with all my emotions and ended up crying on the couch. For a moment, I couldn’t imagine how it must feel to get knocked up at 14 and have to tell your parents about it. I felt so alone! This was a moment I was supposed to share with my husband, not to discover in the middle of the night at a friend’s house. A few minutes later, my friend came downstairs and asked me what was going on. I then proceeded to word vomit on her.
I refused to take a pregnancy test without Ryan there, and he didn’t come home for two days. Yes, those days were tough. I also didn’t even tell Ryan that I was probably pregnant. That wasn’t the kind of news you gave over Facetime after a long work day.
As soon as he came home, I told him the news and then peed on a stick. No way could I bring myself to look at it, so I had him do it. I sat in the living room of our teeny tiny apartment and swayed back and forth nervously as he looked at it. His eyebrows flew up, and he smiled at me, “You’re pregnant.” Then he tackled me in a bear hug.
WOW. What a rush of emotions and thoughts! I’ve never experienced so many thoughts at one time. “Oh my gosh, I have a baby growing inside me!” “We’re going to have a little baby!” “I wonder if it’ll look like Ryan.” “We’ll have to move.” “What am I going to do about school?” “Will I use a hospital or a birthing center?” “My mom’s going to flip out!” <<< All at the same time.
How to tell if you are pregnant
In summary, here is how to tell if you are pregnant without taking a pregnancy test:
- My period was late. Of course everyone knows this one. It’s the first sign you’re going to see, and the first one to send women rushing for the drug store. I was about a week late, but I had never been extremely regular.
- Knowing when I ovulated. Originally, I had marked ovulation incorrectly. Looking back, I could see that I had marked my temperature increase (which indicates ovulation) too early. That explained how it was in fact possible for me to be pregnant.
- Feeling like I was about to start my period. Ironically, the early feelings of being pregnant are the same as when you’re about to start your period. Yes, I know, that’s no help at all.
- Peeing a lot. Actually this didn’t really tip me off to being pregnant because I always pee a lot, but it is a common early sign of pregnancy.
- Headaches. All those hormones will do weird things to your body. I mistook my headaches for stress, which also led me to the next point.
- Unexplained lack of energy. I was in school full time and working part time when I got pregnant. Of course, I was tired! But this tired is a little different. It’s sometimes subtle in that you barely notice it.
I’ve heard that some others have felt flu-like symptoms as well, but I did not experience that myself.
Reading this really makes pregnancy sound glamorous, doesn’t it? Some people love being pregnant, others hate it. But ultimately, you are growing a human person inside of you. Whether you’re two weeks along or two months, there is a baby inside of you! That kind of makes the other stuff worth it.
How did you find out you were pregnant? Share with me by commenting below!
Love, Emily XOXO