The early weeks of pregnancy are fragile—and confusing. Here, the answers to your questions.
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Fifteen to 20 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, usually in the first trimester. Many women blame themselves when it happens, but there is no evidence that emotional stress, physical activity or sex causes it. If you begin spotting, bleeding or cramping, call your doctor right away.
If you do miscarry and need help coping, ask your doctor to recommend a support group or find one online. Helpful books include Empty Cradle, Broken Heart: Surviving the Death of Your Baby by Deborah L. Davis, Ph.D. (Fulcrum, 1999); and Trying Again: A Guide to Pregnancy After Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss by Ann Douglas and John R. Sussman, M.D. (Taylor, 2000).
Call your doctor for an appointment as soon as you believe you are pregnant. Some will want to see you right away, others not until you are eight weeks pregnant. Try to schedule prenatal visits so that your partner can come, too.
If you take a pregnancy test on the first day you miss your period, there’s a 10 percent chance that you’ll get a false negative reading, according to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. If you mistakenly believe that you are not pregnant, you might not avoid potentially harmful substances. In the interest of safety, assume (and act as if) you are pregnant and retest a week later.
While some women feel sexy when they’re pregnant and enjoy not having to fuss with birth control, others don’t want to do anything in bed but sleep. If you’ve lost your libido, don’t fret; you’ll probably find it in the second trimester, which many women call the honeymoon period of pregnancy.
You probably won’t look pregnant until after your fourth month, when your uterus outgrows the pelvic cavity, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to wear your clothes comfortably until then. Increased estrogen levels promote fat storage in several places, including the waistline.