One of the most common questions women ask themselves when they are trying to conceive is "Could I be pregnant?" It's very normal and common to become a little obsessed with this without your even realizing it. This question usually pops into your mind during the time between when you have ovulated and the time when you expect your next period to come (or hopefully, NOT to come). For those of you undergoing fertility treatment, it is especially strong and starts to occur after your insemination or your embryo transfer.
Bear in mind that during the times in your life when you were NOT yet trying to conceive, you have had different feelings on different days. Some days, you might be more tired than others. Some days, you might get a headache or momentarily feel a rumbling in your stomach. You might have soreness in your breasts on occasion. All these things go unnoticed. However, when you are focused on conceiving, it is normal for you to pay meticulous attention to each little change. Your mind will start to play tricks on you and you will associate every little change with the possiblity of pregnancy. "Does the fact that my back aches mean that I'm feeling implantation?" "Does the increase in my appetite despite my feeling a little bloated mean I'm pregnant?" "I can't describe it but something just feels a little different these past few days, maybe it means I'm pregnant?"
When my patients undergo fertility treatment and come in on the big day when they get their blood drawn to see if they're pregnant or not, I often get to inquire how they're feeling. They are a little nervous that day, of course. Sometimes, however, they will share some additional information about some new thing they're feeling, such as being very tired or very hungry or a little nauseous or urinating a lot or noticing breast swelling or feeling like their face is glowing or having strange cramping. They often volunteer a guess as to whether their test will come back positive or not. I always tell them that we'll have their result back in an hour once we run their blood through our machine and only then can we know for sure.
From years of this, I am convinced that very few women are truly able to predict with 100% accuracy if they're pregnant or not. There was this one patient who has three babies with us in her life. She required a total of seven insemination treatments to have her three successes. The first two cycles were unsuccessful, while the third resulted in her first son. A year later, the fourth cycle resulted in her second son. A few years later, she came back and failed cycles #5 and #6 before getting pregnant on cycle #7 with her third child, a daughter. Each time, when getting her blood drawn she would either look dejected and say, "I know I'm not pregnant" OR she would beam with joy and say "I know it worked this time". Each of the seven times, she was correct! My staff would marvel at her uncanny ability and we joked that we shouldn't even bother doing her tests.
However, there have been other times when patients came in for their blood test with shining optimism that they knew they were pregnant, but when the results came off the machine, it turned out they weren't. More commonly, there are patients who come in and sadly share that they have already had a little bleeding and they feel that their period is coming, so why even bother testing. Many many times, the tests are positive and the patients go on to have a healthy baby! My point is that pregnancy tests are the best way to accurately know if someone is pregnant or not. All the little symptoms you notice may or may not mean something.
By the way, when I questioned that one patient what symptoms enabled her to predict so accurately all the times she was pregnant, she burst out laughing and confessed, "Doctor, I cheated! I always do a home pregnancy test in the morning before I come in for my blood test."