Set politics aside for a minute. Ignore whatever laws are on the books. Hit snooze on any moral or religious alarm bells ringing in your head.
What you think or feel about Georgia becoming the latest US state to sign a bill that would ban abortions at six weeks — or as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected — is of no consequence for this story.
We’ve heard that women often don’t know they’re pregnant at six weeks, so we asked experts to tell us why. Here’s what we learned.
Pregnancy isn’t anticipated or confirmed
The reality is that nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended or, more specifically, 45-49% of the time they are unplanned, said Dr. Jen Villavicencio, an ob-gyn who lectures at University of Michigan Medicine and is also a fellow with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Those actively trying to get pregnant may be monitoring every aspect of their cycles and have pregnancy tests at the ready, but for many women getting pregnant comes as a surprise.
Even if a person is perfect at staying on top of birth control — and most humans typically are not, said Vacillation — there’s room for error. A birth control pill taken exactly as it is supposed to be taken, for example, fails 1-2% of the time, she said. This means one or two out of 100 users relying solely on the pill will get pregnant.
On a weekly basis, Vacillation said she sees patients who are blindsided by the news. Maybe they’re among the many who don’t experience symptoms like morning sickness. Perhaps their menstrual cycle is irregular, more on that in a bit, or so routine that it doesn’t garner much attention. Or maybe they experienced spotting, which is “extraordinarily common” after getting pregnant, and assumed that was just their period, she said.
They could have been conditioned, after trying for so long, to believe pregnancy wasn’t possible for them. There’s a chance they had someone — even another doctor — tell them they couldn’t conceive. Villavicencio spoke about one patient with breast cancer who’d been told the chemo would shut down her ovaries — except it didn’t.
There are those who claim they knew instinctively when they got pregnant. But that’s not the case most of the time, Vacillation said.
If a woman suspects she’s pregnant, she explained, at-home pregnancy tests vary in their ability to give accurate results, especially in the earliest stages. Generally, they work at five-to-six weeks, the doctor said. But even then, it can take multiple tests — or a visit to a doctor — to be 100% sure.
And an appointment with a doctor can often take
Periods can be unpredictable
Irregular periods are not uncommon, especially in the early stages of experiencing menstruation or as a woman approaches menopause, Vacillation said.
There are a multitude of other reasons, aside from age, that can make a menstrual cycle unreliable.
Vacillation called out conditions like poly cystic ovary syndrome, which causes cysts and hormonal imbalances and, as a result, leads to irregular menstruation in about 1-in-10 women, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Medications, other illnesses and being an extreme athlete, too, can take a toll on a cycle, Vacillation added.
The Office on Women’s Health, at the Department of Health and Human Services, offers a long rundown of reasons a period may not arrive like clockwork.
Eating disorders, weight changes and obesity can lead to missed or irregular periods, So, too, can hyperthyroidism, stress or uncontrolled diabetes. Medicines, including those for anxiety or epilepsy, can mess up a cycle.
The list goes on.
Resource URL: https://tinyurl.com/yx9hsc9u
Deepa is a writer and a passionate blogger. She has years of experience in writing articles, blogs and press releases after a deep research. At http://healthcaretipstoday.com she writes interesting topics on all health, beauty, fitness and healthy life. She loves exploring, researching and providing the best information to readers. In her free times, she loves to read books.
How useful was this post?
Click on a star to rate it!
Average rating / 5. Vote count: