When you first discover you’re going to have a baby, you may feel a jumble of emotions from excitement to fear and more. No matter if this will be your first child or your third and whether the pregnancy was planned or a surprise, you want your baby to be healthy and your pregnancy to go as smoothly as possible.

That means that as soon as you see that plus sign on the home pregnancy test and know you’re expecting a baby, when should you go to the doctor? Read on to discover everything you need to know and what you need to do if you suspect you are pregnant.

How do you know if you’re pregnant?

If you’ve taken one or more home pregnancy tests and gotten positive results, you can probably be sure you’re pregnant. But are there signs to look out for before you even decide to take a test? According to the Mayo Clinic, some common and not so common symptoms could indicate you’re going to have a baby.

If you think you’re pregnant, here are some of the signs to look out for.

Common Early Pregnancy Symptoms

Many women experience one or more of the following symptoms during the early days and weeks of pregnancy:

Missed Period

You’ve probably seen this one depicted in a movie or tv show. The lead character tells her best friend, a family member, or maybe her romantic partner that her period is late. The missed period is the classic sign from pop-culture that a woman might be expecting. And if your cycle is regular, it’s often your cue to either call your doctor or take a home pregnancy test.

Vomiting and/or Nausea

Another common 1st-trimester pregnancy symptom is “morning sickness,” the mild to severe nausea, often accompanied by vomiting that many women feel during the first month of pregnancy. Some women never experience morning sickness; others experience it in the early weeks or months of pregnancy, and a rare number may have it throughout their pregnancies.

Sore, swollen, sensitive breasts

When you first become pregnant, your breasts will often feel tender and sore. But as your body adjusts to the shift in hormones that expecting a baby produces, this normally subsides for most women.

Fatigue

As levels of the hormone progesterone rise during the first stage of pregnancy, you might feel sleepier or more tired than usual.

Increased Urination

Because pregnancy increases your blood volume, your kidneys need to work harder, and they produce more fluid. That often results in an increased need to urinate.

Are there any less common symptoms of pregnancy?

While the above symptoms are the most common early signs of pregnancy, some women don’t have any of them, or also may have the following less classic symptoms:

Light Spotting

While the missed period is the classic sign of pregnancy, some women miss that symptom and mistake spotting for a lighter period. If you spot or have a “light period,” it could be a sign you’re pregnant.

Cramping

Hormone changes can cause some women to experience uterine cramping during the first weeks of pregnancy.

Bloating

When you first become pregnant, you might mistake the bloating that pregnancy hormones cause for the signs that you’re about to start your period.

Moodiness

Some women experience mood swings during pregnancy. You might also feel weepier and emotionally sensitive when you’re expecting.

Sensitivity to certain smells, food textures or tastes

The hormones your body produces when you’re pregnant can change your senses of smell and taste. As a result, you might become more sensitive to some smells, and foods you typcally enjoy might become things you can’t stand to eat or be around.

Nasal Congestion

If you think you might be pregnant, and also experience a stuffy nose or sinus headaches, don’t worry. You’re not allergic to your baby. It’s just how your hormones are changing your body, and another less common early sign of pregnancy.

Keep in mind that every woman is different. Furthermore, to confuse matters, some of the early signs of pregnancy are the same as some premenstrual symptoms. And some symptoms, such as missed periods and moodiness, can also be signs of perimenopause and menopause in older women. That’s why no matter what, if you’re not sure, or your cycle seems to be changing, whether you’re pregnant or not, it’s always a good idea to check in with your primary care physician or Gynecologist to see if you’re pregnant or if you have another health concern.

When should you see a doctor?

How soon do you need to see a doctor if you’re pregnant? Even if a home pregnancy test confirms you’re pregnant, you still need to make an appointment with an Ob/Gyn. The American Pregnancy Association recommends you make an appointment with your doctor for your first prenatal visit within eight weeks of your last menstrual period (LMP). Even if you’ve been pregnant before, every pregnancy and every baby is different. That’s why starting out with the best care, and following your doctor’s advice for prenatal care, including regular appointments, is critical to the health of both you and your baby.

If you just found out that you’re pregnant, your first will help you and your Ob/Gyn discover things like:

  • Your due date
  • Any potential hereditary, health-related, or age-related pregnancy risk factors
  • Your family health history
  • Your best schedule of prenatal care

After that, you’ll set up how often you’ll need to see your doctor and how to recognize any potential emergencies. The typical prenatal schedule of visits often looks like this:

First Trimester

During the first 4 to 28 weeks of your pregnancy, you will need to see your doctor once a month.

Second Trimester

During the second trimester — weeks 28 to 36, your prenatal visits will increase to once every two weeks.

Third Trimester

Then when you reach the third trimester, during weeks 36 to 40, you will see your doctor every week until it’s time to deliver your baby.

Again, no matter what life throws at you, it’s vital you stick to the prenatal appointment schedule. Prenatal care helps to ensure a healthy pregnancy and improves outcomes for not just your health, but the health of your child.

What to do next

Now that you know what to when you suspect you are pregnant and when to contact your primary care doctor or obstetrician/gynecologist, what happens next? If you’re in Cooke County, Texas, you contact the North Texas Medical Center (NTMC) to set up all your prenatal care. We specialize in everything from prenatal care to labor and delivery to maternal newborn care and beyond. Our women’s health specialists and state of the art facilities will give you and your baby the best care. We also can provide you with education and are always happy to answer any questions you might have. Contact us today to set up your appointment.