Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Early Testers Beware

It sounds so wonderful, right? Being able to take a pregnancy test before you even miss your period! What's the downside you may ask? Well, I will tell you. Almost every woman will experience an early miscarriage at some point in her life...the thing is most of the time it may happen before she misses her period! If you wait until you are a full two weeks "late", and then get a positive pregnancy test, you would be considered six weeks pregnant. Now imagine the excitement you feel seeing a positive pregnancy test--so much emotions, right?! Now imagine getting that positive test before you missed your period--even better, right? Because now you can start taking prenatal vitamins, etc thus giving the baby that much more of a healthy start. So now you know you are pregnant and the next three days pass, everything still good! Four more days past, and now you can say you are four days "late". Pretty exciting, huh? Now at this point you have known you were pregnant for one full week--a lot of ideas and feelings and just joy, right!? Then it happens...you get your "period"....only it's four days later than expected...and not to mention, you ALREADY KNEW it was late due to PREGNANCY. So rather than wondering where the heck your period was, and then getting it a few days late thereby going on with your life none the wiser or sadder for that matter....you are now crushed. Devastated. Confused. Hurt, to say the least. Now you can't say you were 'just late'...you 'miscarried'.

So you can see the downside to testing early. Even if you 'think' you are pregnant because you're "late", you would be spared that heartache of miscarriage because you didn't actually see that test turn positive and then have the flurry of emotions along with it. My best advice is to wait until you are two full weeks "late", thus bettering your chances of it being a viable pregnancy. Keep in mind you can miscarry at any time during the pregnancy technically speaking, but your odds of it go down the farther along you get. Waiting two weeks won't mean you are "all clear", but at least you are spared the heartache of those very common early miscarriages that most women don't even notice!

What about me personally? I've gone through it. It is awful. If I suspect I may be pregnant, I will of course continue taking my vitamins and staying healthy, but I will not so much as buy a home pregnancy test until I am a full four weeks "late". If I get a positive at that time I would be 8 weeks pregnant, and the doctor would be able to see on ultrasound and/or hear on the Doppler if the baby's heart is beating. To me that is the best sign of a viable pregnancy. However, having gone through this mess more than I care to think about, I have resolved that the next time I am in the position of thinking I may be pregnant, I absolutely will not take a home pregnancy test until I am 8 weeks "late". Why 8 weeks? Because at 8 weeks over due, you are 12 weeks pregnant, thus marking the end of the first trimester. I won't let my heart get broken again over a pregnancy! I just can't take it!

So, if you must, go ahead and test early, but: "Tester Beware"! I wish you all the best of luck if you are in this situation, and I feel for any of you who have lost as I have.