For many women, those weeks before you're able to take a pregnancy test can be filled with anxiety.
Often they will show the first signs of pregnancy but wonder – "am I or aren't I"?
While at home pregnancy tests are pretty good these days, they aren't perfect.
For those wondering, an at-home pregnancy test measure the level of the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in urine. It is the hormone, which is released into the bloodstream soon after conception and is usually a sure indicator that you're pregnant.
About 5% of pregnant women will return a positive result from an at home test as early as eight days into their pregnancy, most doctors recommend waiting until at least 14 days have past since intercourse and the predicted conception date.
Many women spend a week or two with anxiety after feeling very early signs of pregnancy; frantically searching on the Internet for signs you're pregnant before they consult a doctor.
Then there's some women who show pregnancy symptoms but negative test results lead them to believe they're not pregnant.
So we spoke to Dr Elizabeth Farrell, Medical Director and gynaecologist at Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, about some early symptoms and signs of pregnancy before positive test results.
Can you have pregnancy symptoms before a positive test?
4 signs of pregnancy before positive test
Missing a period
Whether you're using birth control or not, a missed period is often a major sign that you're pregnant.
While there are many other reasons for an irregular cycle – illness, stress, and strenuous activity – it's one of the main indicators for a lot of women that they're expecting.
However, it's important to note that some pregnant women may get a very light period.
An increase in breast size and tenderness
Once again, there are many causes for increased breast size and tenderness, in fact many women suffer from both every month when they get their period.
But, if you notice a difference or it seems out of the ordinary, this could be a sign of pregnancy.
Some women will notice a tingle in their breasts or that veins are more visible, and their nipples may darken and stand out.
After a skipped period, probably the most classic sign of pregnancy is nausea and morning sickness.
Not everyone will experience nausea when pregnant.
Sometimes an increase in urinary frequency
Many women notice an increased need to urinate when in the early stages of pregnancy.
This is due to your body increasing the amount of blood it pumps, causing your kidneys to process more fluid than usual, which leads to more fluid in your bladder.
Why it is possible for to get a negative result even though you are actually pregnant?
Dr Farrell: If you’re under two weeks pregnant it will be negative, it’s just too early. The HCG levels are usually not high enough to detect in urine or blood under two weeks. (HCG, human chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone normally produced by the placenta.)
When should I seek extra medical advice?
Dr Farrell: If you’ve done a pregnancy test and it’s positive, organise an appointment with your GP, hospital or obstetrician. They’ll then instruct you on what to do next.
What is Couvade syndrome?
Also called a sympathetic pregnancy, Couvade syndrome is the term to describe when a pregnant woman's partner experiences some of the same symptoms and behaviour as an expectant mother including weight gain, altered hormone levels, morning nausea, and disturbed sleep patterns.