The first week of pregnancy is the most confusing time for all women, especially who happen to be first time moms. Since, it is very difficult to know whether you have conceived. There are no major body changes to show that you are pregnant. Although you miss your menstrual cycle, you may still think it is delayed. Many a times you try to do pregnancy test at home to check the results. Once you are confirmed pregnant, the journey towards motherhood begins.
Diagnosis of Pregnancy:
The diagnosis of pregnancy requires a multifaceted approach. The diagnosis is done by conducting history and physical examination, laboratory evaluation and ultrasonography.
1. History and Physical Examination:
It is important for the doctor to gather information regarding the last menstrual cycle. The diagnosis will be successful only if correct information is provided. So please give all details regarding the onset of last menstrual cycle, the flow, duration and frequency. The use of any contra
Many women have vaginal bleeding during the first week of pregnancy making diagnosis really tough. Further, it is important to check the levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). Since the chances of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy are high, the diagnosis should be done thoroughly and carefully. Any mistake in diagnosis can be dangerous. So don’t hide any information.
The physical and historical examination can also reveal whether the woman had tubal manipulation and tubal disease, tubal ligation, inflammatory disease and ectopic pregnancy in the past. Also these physical tests reveal whether the woman used intrauterine devices for contraception and underwent fertility therapies. Nowadays chemical assays and ultrasonography helps to detect pregnancy even before the symptoms like nausea starts.
2. Laboratory Evaluation:
Some hormones can be measured to diagnose pregnancy. Human chorionic Gonadotropin is one such hormone, it is a glycoprotein bearing similarities in structure with Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Thyrotropin. HCG is composed of alpha and beta subunits. The beta subunits are disintegrated in the kidney by macrophage enzymes to create beta subunit core fragment, this can be detected by examining urine samples.
Generally, 4 main HCG assays are used, they are: radioimmunoassay, immunoradiometricassay, enzyme-linked immunosorbentassay (ELISA) and fluoroimmunoassay. Urine devices are often used to detect hyper glycosylated HCG, which is a key molecule in early pregnancy. Dimeric HCG and the alpha and beta units are produced by the pituitary glands of non-pregnant woman. Though the level of dimeric HCG is higher in post-menopausal women, it is below the sensitivity mark of the most sensitive clinical assays used to monitor pregnancy. 5% HCG can be detected in women eight days after conception and about 98% on the eleventh day.
The levels of HCG also determine whether the woman has ectopic pregnancy. If the rise and decline of HCG values in women is slow for those who had ectopic pregnancy or had spontaneous abortion. If the HCG levels are very high there are chances that the woman has molar pregnancy, chromosome abnormality and multiple gestations.
Measuring Serum Progesterone is important to detect chances of any early abnormal pregnancy. A dipstick ELISA is effective in determining the level of progesterone.
Early Pregnancy Factor is an immunosuppressive protein that has been isolated just after conception and it helps to indicate fertilization. It can be detected 36-48 hours post fertilization and the levels shoot up in the first trimester. EPF is used to determine the success rate of in-vitro fertilization embryo transfers. EPF can’t be detected after delivery or in cases of ectopic pregnancy.
The discovery of transvaginal ultrasonography (TVUS) has made pregnancy detection even easier and effective. It is the best method to detect intrauterine pregnancy and gestational age that usually happens during the first trimester. The vaginal probes are effective than abdominal probes, since frequency is higher and the resolution of the image is better.
[ Read: How to Confirm Pregnancy Without Test ]
Baby Development, Tips, Body Changes and Symptoms of Pregnancy at 1 Week:
There is not much difference in the body of the mother during the 1st week of pregnancy. Actually the mom to be will not be aware of her new condition for another 3-4 weeks, as that is when she will miss her period.
- Though there are no major changes in the physical appearance, the woman might face gastric problems, constipation and other digestive disorders.
- Nausea or morning sickness starts bothering you often. You tend to rush to washroom more than often. However, the signs of pregnancy in first week vary from person to person.
- Other symptoms of pregnancy in the first week are mood swings, tenderness of breast, fatigue and hormonal changes.
During the first week of pregnancy, the egg leaves the ovary and reaches the fallopian tube. You are not exactly pregnant at this time, since the conception only occurs two weeks after the last menstrual cycle. So it is important to give details of the last menstrual cycle to calculate the expected due date.