About 3 weeks ago I started having stomach aches after


Q: About 3 weeks ago I started having stomach aches after I ate. Similar to a swollen or bloated feeling. Quickly after I started feeling nausea when I was eating and after a bit even at times when I was not eating. I began feeling fatigue as well generally at the same time everyday. My friend suggested that I could be pregnant because her mom had similar symptoms when she was pregnant with her (my friends) sister. My last period about 2 weeks ago was late by a couple days and shorter and more painful than usual. After pregnancy was suggested I took a test since I am sexually active although it came back negative. In the week since the test though I have begun having cravings and new dislikes for different foods and drinks. I have not thrown up. I have not have sore breasts although they have been more sensitive. It now hurts to lay on my stomach at any given time. It also seems slightly bloated/swollen in appearance as well although not by much.

I know this was lengthy and I may have forgotten a few details but I wanted to get the best answer possible.


A:   Thank you for writing to us.

A pregnancy test attempts to determine whether a woman is pregnant. Markers that indicate pregnancy are found in urine and blood, and pregnancy tests require sampling one of these substances. Most chemical tests for pregnancy look for the presence of the beta subunit of hCG or human chorionic gonadotropin, in the blood or urine. hCG can be detected in urine or blood after implantation, which occurs six to twelve days after fertilization. It is estimated that the highest possible screening sensitivity of a home pregnancy test by one week after the first day of the missed period is 97 percent. The earliest you can get a positive result on the most sensitive pregnancy tests is seven days after ovulation ( Ovulation occurs on the 14th day prior to the next menstruation cycle). Thus, Implantation needs to occur before hCG is produced and that generally happens between 6-12 days post ovulation, usually by 10 days after. For this reason, it makes economical sense to wait until 10-12 days after ovulation, but even then a significant percentage of women who are indeed pregnant will still show a negative result. Nausea during pregnancy typically starts within four to eight weeks of gestation and is expected to subside between 13 and 14 weeks. Please, consult a doctor for your symptoms as these may be related to other medical problems, too.

Hope this helps.

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