Signs You Might Be Pregnant

A lot of women think that the first sign you could be pregnant is a missed period. In reality, there are a lot of early signs pointing to a possible pregnancy. Of course, things vary from one woman to the next, so you may not experience all of them, or some may not appear as early for you as they do for someone else.

At Willow Womens Center, we know that facing an unexpected pregnancy can be hard. It certainly starts you on an emotional roller coaster that isn’t nearly as fun as those at Six Flags. If you think you might be pregnant, take a look at the early signs of pregnancy below and see if any of them match up to things you are experiencing.

Early Signs of Pregnancy

Fatigue: You may feel exhausted and want to sleep all the time. This is because your body is working very hard and all your energy is being used on your pregnancy.

Nausea/vomiting: A lot, but not all, women experience this. For some, it’s first thing in the morning, while others have it happen at night. Eating many small meals or snacking regularly on crackers may help you through this.

Tender/swollen breasts: Remember the way your breasts feel when you get your period? Multiply that by 10. They may enlarge, the nipples can become darker, and a vein may become visible.

Spotting: Light bleeding or spotting can mean the embryo has implanted into the uterine wall. This usually happens about a week before you would expect your period but can fool some women into thinking they’ve had a period.

Aversion to certain foods: You may experience times when foods you normally like make you feel sick. Even the thought of some can do that, and the smell can do it as well. Beware, sometimes your sense of smell is enhanced and that might lead to nausea as well.

Cramping: Cramping, similar to menstrual cramps, can occur, but is less common than other symptoms.

Mood swings: Hormones get the blame for this one and can affect the neurotransmitters in the brain. This can take the crabbiness level you usually experience during your period and make that seem like Happy Days. If you have trouble dealing with this, talk to your doctor and see what help they can offer.

Peeing: Another one to blame on the hormones, increased blood flow through your kidneys, and a growing uterus pressing on your bladder. This can begin as soon as one week after implantation.

Dizziness or fainting: This can happen due to the uterus compressing major arteries in your legs while standing and cause your blood pressure to drop. Don’t skip meals or going too long without food as it can cause blood sugar to drop and result in feeling dizzy.

Constipation: Hormones can slow down bowel functions to allow for better absorption of vitamins and nutrients.

Heartburn: As the uterus grows, the hormone HCG slows down digestion, so your stomach doesn’t empty as fast, increasing stomach acid and causing that uncomfortable feeling of heartburn.

Come See Us for Testing

If the early signs you might be pregnant sound familiar, you are probably thinking its time to take a pregnancy test. We are here to help you at Willow Womens Center with no cost pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and STI testing.

One of our licensed medical staff members will administer the medical-grade pregnancy test and discuss your results with you immediately afterward. If the result was positive, we will provide you with a no-cost ultrasound.

An ultrasound can tell you how far along you are, determine the location of the pregnancy (If your pregnancy develops in your fallopian tubes, this is called an ectopic pregnancy and can be life-threatening), and will tell you the gestational age, an important piece of information if you are considering an abortion.

An ultrasound may also help determine the risk that you might miscarry: 20% of all pregnancies do not carry to term and 80% of all miscarriages happen in the first trimester (first 13 weeks). If it is determined that you are at risk for a miscarriage or have an ectopic pregnancy, you may not need to have an abortion. Instead, you would need to seek prompt medical attention.

Willow Womens Center also provides testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Since abortion can be an invasive procedure, untreated STI’s can be pushed into the uterus where they can drastically affect your long-term reproductive health and future fertility. An untreated STI can leave you with Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, causing chronic abdominal pain, fever, abnormal bleeding, nausea and infertility.

Once all the testing has been completed, we will give you clear, unbiased information, answer all your questions openly and honestly, and give you the support you need to make a decision about your future. We know that having all the information you need will give you the confidence and peace about the choice you make, whatever it is.

 

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Is My Girlfriend Pregnant?
Is My Girlfriend Pregnant?

You think your girlfriend might be pregnant, but you are not sure. The thought of facing an unplanned pregnancy is scary, but it is best to know the answer sooner rather than later.

To find out if your girlfriend is pregnant, you can ask her, look for obvious signs, and encourage her to take a pregnancy test.

Ask Your Girlfriend If She Thinks She Is Pregnant

Although you usually would not ask a woman if she is pregnant, it is ok to ask your girlfriend. Remember that she is just as fearful as you are. Assure her that she has your support whether she is pregnant or not, and you will work through this together.  

Signs Your Girlfriend Is Pregnant

You may not get the definite answer you need, but you can also look for early signs of a possible pregnancy. When women become pregnant, their bodies go through tremendous changes and produce pregnancy hormones that trigger common symptoms of pregnancy, which include:

  • Missed period

A missed period is the most common sign your girlfriend is pregnant. Understanding how her cycle works can help you know how likely she is to be pregnant.

  • Nausea with or without vomiting

It is called “morning sickness,” but nausea with or without vomiting can occur any time of the day or night. In addition, foods and odors can trigger nausea in early pregnancy.

  • Tender or swollen breasts

Tender and swollen breasts can start one to two weeks into pregnancy. It can also be a sign that your girlfriend’s period is about to begin. But if they are combined with other symptoms, it could indicate that she is pregnant.

  • Fatigue

Thanks to high progesterone hormone levels in early pregnancy, your girlfriend may feel exhausted if she is pregnant.

  • Bloating

Bloating is another early pregnancy symptom that mimics signs your girlfriend’s period is about to start. Sometimes, bloating occurs before she misses her period as progesterone hormone levels rise and cause the digestive system to slow down and gas to be trapped.

If you see any of these signs of pregnancy in your girlfriend, encourage her to take a pregnancy test so you can determine your next steps and take them together.  

Encourage a Pregnancy Test

The best way to know if your girlfriend is pregnant is by a urine pregnancy test – no-cost pregnancy clinics can offer free testing with highly accurate pregnancy test results.

Medical pregnancy clinics are skilled at determining if a pregnancy is viable and will answer all your questions about each of your options for an unexpected pregnancy.

Willow Womens Center Has Answers

At Willow Womens Center, we understand that taking a pregnancy test is scary for anyone thinking they might be unexpectedly pregnant because it means acknowledging reality and facing tough decisions.

Our licensed healthcare professionals offer no-cost limited medical services and compassionately empower you with the information you need to make the best decision about an unplanned pregnancy. Contact us online today or call 1-608-312-2025 to schedule your confidential appointment and get the answers you deserve.


How I Can Help My Partner After an Abortion
How I Can Help My Partner After an Abortion

After much research and soul-searching, your partner decided that this was not the time to continue her pregnancy, and she had an abortion. Even if she was confident about her abortion choice, you see that her recovery is not easy. You are going through your own process of coping with the abortion, and you still compassionately wonder how you can help your partner.

The first step is to understand what she is going through, so keep reading to learn more about her experience and practical ways to help.

How Your Partner Might Feel After an Abortion

Immediately following a surgical abortion or medical abortion, your partner may feel a sense of relief together with uncomfortable physical symptoms. As time goes on, emotional difficulties may set in. Here is what you can expect your partner to feel soon after a medical or surgical abortion:

  • Pain: Cramping after abortion is normal because it helps the uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size. Cramping can last for one to two weeks.
  • Nausea: Nausea and diarrhea are common after an abortion.
  • Bleeding: It’s normal for your partner to pass small clots and bleed for one to two weeks after the abortion. She may experience spotting for longer.
  • Tiredness: Your partner has been through much physically and emotionally after an abortion, contributing to fatigue that can last a few days.
  • Emotional highs and lows: Your partner may feel a complicated combination of relief and sadness. This can be partly due to the sharp hormonal drop that occurs after an abortion. If she had a medical abortion at home and could visualize the pregnancy, that can also contribute.

Some partners may also suffer from long-term effects if they had abortion complications. Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS) is a common syndrome that affects both women and men who have been affected by an abortion, and help is available.

Now that we have discussed how your partner might be feeling after an abortion, you might be wondering how you can help.

Ways You Can Help Your Partner After an Abortion

If there is a time when your partner needs to feel safely cared for, it is now — after her abortion. Here are examples of how you can help:

1. Offer practical support

  • Ask what kind of help is most supportive for her.
  • Ask if she wants to be alone or prefers your company.
  • Offer pain medication, a heating pad, and extra pillows to increase her comfort.
  • Bring her food and water.
  • If there are other children, arrange care for them so you can be available for her.
  • Run errands as needed.
  • Bring her to follow-up appointments.
  • Watch for signs of complications needing medical attention.

2. Offer emotional support

  • Be emotionally present.
  • Do something special for her or with her (give a gift or do something she loves).
  • Ask her how she is feeling.
  • Listen actively.
  • Be sensitive to her experience and patient with the healing process.
  • Watch for signs that she needs professional mental health support.
  • Willow Women’s Center Can Help

Willow Womens Center offers no-cost medical services if you and your partner are facing an unexpected pregnancy or considering abortion. Reach out online or call 608-312-2025 today for your confidential appointment and get the answers you deserve.


How Soon Is Too Early to Test for Pregnancy?

When you think you might be unexpectedly pregnant, it can feel like torment waiting to know for sure. You might have sore breasts, mild cramping, and other signs of early pregnancy that could also be premenstrual symptoms, and it causes you to waver back and forth, thinking you are pregnant and then thinking you are not. That can leave you feeling more confused and wondering how soon you can get the answers you need. You have seen ads for pregnancy tests that claim to detect pregnancy five days before your expected period. So, should you test that early? And how soon is too early to test for pregnancy? We will answer those questions here.

When Is It Too Early to Test for Pregnancy?

If you take a pregnancy test before you have missed your period, you increase your chances of getting a false negative result. This means the test will read negative when you actually are pregnant, so experts recommend waiting until you have already missed your period to prevent false-negative test results.

Why Wait?

As hard as it is, it is best to wait so that if you are pregnant, your body has enough time to produce human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), the hormone that a pregnancy test will detect in your urine. Your peace of mind in knowing your result is accurate is worth it!

How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?

After sex, an egg is fertilized with sperm (fertilization). The fertilized egg travels to the uterus and attaches into the uterine lining (implantation). Implantation occurs about 7-14 days after you have had sex, and it triggers your body to start producing the pregnancy hormone, hCG. Your hCG levels will double every 48-72 hours after implantation, and it is important to give those levels time to climb.

What About Early Pregnancy Tests?

Early pregnancy test manufacturers market to your desire to get answers as early as possible. It is not hard to see the advertising on the box and read the claims of 99% accuracy along with the ability to detect pregnancy six days before your missed period.

But let us take a closer look, so you do not test too early for pregnancy. The first thing to consider is that the percentage provided on the front of the package is only accurate when you take the test on the day of your expected period — and in a laboratory setting by professionals. The same goes for the the instructions printed inside the pregnancy test kit; the claims of accuracy are elevated because they do not reflect real-life testing in real-life situations.  The results from a University of New Mexico study reveal the chances you can anticipate getting the right answer from an early home pregnancy test:

  • One day past your expected period: 100% of pregnancies detected
  • On the day of your expected period: 96% of pregnancies detected
  • On the day before your expected period: 93% of pregnancies detected
  • Two days before your expected period: 81% of pregnancies detected
  • Three days before your expected period: 68% of pregnancies detected
  • Four days before your expected period: 42% of pregnancies detected
  • Five days before your expected period: 33% of pregnancies detected
  • Six days before your expected period: 25% of pregnancies detected

When Is the Best Time in Your Cycle to Test?

Although your body begins to produce hCG 7 to 10 days after fertilization, waiting provides the most accurate results. In order to give your body enough time for hCG to build up to a detectable level in your urine by a pregnancy test, it is best to take a pregnancy test about 14 days after fertilization. For a woman who has a 28-day cycle and ovulates 14 days after her last period, this would mean testing on the day you expect your next period if you suspect you are pregnant. For the most accurate results, take a pregnancy test a couple of days after your missed period.

If your test is negative and your period does not start, you still might be pregnant, but your hCG levels are just not high enough to register on the test. Most testing kit instructions recommend you wait one week to take another test; however, many women test a few days later. Contact a healthcare professional if you still have a negative pregnancy test or have further questions.

When Is the Best Time of Day to Take a Pregnancy Test?

The best time of day to take a pregnancy test is first thing in the morning because at that time your urine  contains the highest concentration of hCG. This is particularly important the earlier you are taking your pregnancy test. You can test later in the day, but you will have a higher chance of seeing a false-negative test result because your urine will be diluted. Tips for testing include:

  • Use first-morning urine (or after you haven’t urinated in at least four hours).
  • Don’t drink a lot of fluid that could dilute your hCG levels before your test.
  • Check to make sure the pregnancy test is not expired, which can provide inaccurate results. Checking the expiration date is particularly important if you keep pregnancy tests at home “just in case.”
  • It is understandable that once you have the pregnancy test in your hands, you want to get to the answers quickly. Plus, it seems like a no-brainer because they are designed to be easy to use. Take time to read all of the instructions and follow them precisely. Even if you have taken pregnancy tests before, little variances between them can be the difference between a result you can count on and a wrong one.
  • We all know how easy it is to lose track of time, so do not try to estimate when to read your results. Set a timer so you can read your test results exactly at the time directed in the instructions. Do not read the test window after that set time because a faint “evaporation line” can appear, which makes your test appear to be positive when it is really negative.

Hopefully, this information is helpful to understand the value of not testing too early for pregnancy, so you can have peace of mind knowing your results are accurate.

If you think you might be unexpectedly pregnant, Willow Womens Center is here for you. We offer medical-grade pregnancy testing at no cost to you. Our licensed healthcare professionals provide other no-cost services that empower you to make informed decisions that you are comfortable with. Make your appointment today by calling 608-312-2025 or use our online scheduler.


3 Tips for Improving Communication in Your Relationship

You asked your partner for a straightforward request: be on time, so you do not miss the beginning of the movie. But he is late, and you are going to miss the film’s plot layout. How do you respond? Do you yell? Do you keep your frustration to yourself and fume inside throughout the movie? Or do you assume there must be a good reason he is late and forget about it?

Relationships are rewarding, but good relationships don’t just happen. They need intentional nurturing to grow strong. Most of us know about the importance of communication in a relationship. But how does that practically look? Here are three tips for improving communication in your relationship:

1. Seek to Understand

When you seek to understand, you are actively listening. Active listening means you are trying to understand your partner’s point of view.

We all want to be understood. Have you heard the phrase, “There’s another side to every story?” It is an excellent reminder to enter every conversation to understand the other person’s perspective before getting our viewpoint across.

Using the movie scenario as an example, you would be justified in being disappointed. At that moment, you have two options. You can begin by trying to make your partner understand your disappointment, or you can start by seeking to understand your partner’s perspective.

If you jump right into trying to make him understand your disappointment, you are most likely assuming your partner was irresponsible or disrespectful by running late. If you begin by asking the right questions and seeking to understand, you might discover there was a legitimate reason for his delay. In that case, you have just built a bridge between the two of you.

Another way to improve communication is to cultivate mutual respect for one another.

2. Cultivate Mutual Respect

When there is mutual respect in a relationship, it means one person does not have power or control over another. Both partners can express themselves freely. Each partner can have their own opinion, and it is respected by the other even if they do not agree. Other signs of respect in a relationship also include:

  • Speaking about and to each other considerately
  • Supporting one another’s interests, education, hobbies, etc.
  • Interdependence vs. independence or codependence
  • Always honoring each other’s boundaries

Cultivating mutual respect in your relationship is a great way to strengthen your connection with your partner.

3. Pursue Connection

At the core of every relationship is connection. Connection is an emotional bond that holds you and your partner together. When there is a sense of healthy connection in a relationship, improved communication follows. You can look at connection as the glue that strengthens your relationship. There are simple ways to enhance connection with your partner:

  • Show appreciation every day.
  • Give your partner your full attention when you are talking.
  • Be the first one to apologize (without defending yourself) for your part in a disagreement.
  • Make physical connections daily by holding hands, hugging, etc.
  • Show compassion for your partner’s experiences.
  • Create fun time to laugh and play together.

It is not unusual for relationships to become more challenging when you are facing an unexpected pregnancy. Keep reminding yourself of who you are and what you really expect out of your relationship and what each of you can do to make it work.

We Are Here for You

If you think you may be pregnant and would like to visit us for a pregnancy test and ultrasound at no cost to you, please make an appointment at Willow Womens Center by calling 608-312-2025. You can also schedule your appointment directly on our website.