Empowering Pregnancy: Understanding Your Support Options

During your first pregnancy, everything is new. The way your hormones shift. The symptoms your body experiences. The hopes, fears, and expectations of what’s to come. It’s the first time for all of it. 

Any new experience can be stressful, especially when it’s happening inside your body! An unplanned pregnancy can bring an added layer of stress, as it may not have come in the timing or circumstances you would have chosen. Even so, an unplanned pregnancy can still become a beautiful experience. Sometimes the best gifts in our lives are surprises. 

If your positive pregnancy test came as a surprise, that doesn’t mean the rest of your pregnancy has to be. Use the information in the blog to get started learning more about what to expect throughout pregnancy. You’re not alone! We are here to support you on each step of your journey. Let’s get started with some of the basics about pregnancy signs and symptoms.

Pregnancy Signs & Symptoms

According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the most common signs of pregnancy include: 

  • Missed period
  • Tender, swollen breasts 
  • Nausea (with or without vomiting) 
  • Increased urination 
  • Fatigue 

While the above are some of the more obvious symptoms, other signs can include: 

  • Moodiness 
  • Bloating 
  • Light spotting 
  • Cramping 
  • Constipation 
  • Food aversions 
  • Nasal congestion 

While not all these signs indicate pregnancy, if you miss a period and are experiencing some of these symptoms, take a pregnancy test or visit your healthcare provider to find out. At Clearway Clinic, we also offer free pregnancy testing. Call to schedule your appointment today. 

Ultrasound Confirmation

Once you have tested positive for pregnancy, there’s still a bit more information you need to confirm your pregnancy. A pregnancy test measures levels of hCG in your urine, a hormone that typically indicates pregnancy. Once this hormone has been detected, there are three more things you need to identify a viable pregnancy. These are: 

  1. Visualization of a gestational sac within the uterus 
  2. Visualization of a fetus within the gestational sac 
  3. Presence of a fetal heartbeat 

How can you see all this? Well, with an ultrasound! 

Pregnancy can usually be confirmed via ultrasound around 6 weeks gestation, meaning six weeks after the first day of your last period. Before 6 weeks, you might see some of the above indicators, but not necessarily all 3 of them. If your 6 week ultrasound scan shows all 3 of these factors, it is still recommended to get another scan in 1-2 more weeks to confirm the pregnancy.  

You might be wondering, why would I want to confirm my pregnancy with an ultrasound if I already tested positive? There are a few reasons. 

  1. The spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks gestation is called a miscarriage, and miscarriage is very common. A urine pregnancy test can’t tell you if your pregnancy is where it should be or if there is a fetal heartbeat. 
  2. If you are unsure approximately when you got pregnant, an ultrasound will also tell you another key piece of information: gestational age. Maybe you tend to have irregular periods or you have a different reason for being unsure of when you conceived. An ultrasound can help you determine approximately how far along you are as you start your prenatal care journey. (Please note that if you are considering abortion, gestational age is also a key piece of information to determine the options available to you.)

At Clearway Clinic, we offer free pregnancy confirmation ultrasounds in both Worcester and Springfield. Call to schedule your appointment today.

Prenatal Care: Getting Started

Okay, so you’ve taken your pregnancy test. Positive. You’ve gotten your ultrasound. Confirmed. Now what? 

Your body is doing something amazing right now. It might not feel amazing, but it is truly incredible! Your body is nurturing, sustaining, and growing life. One way to celebrate your body for all the work it’s doing is by taking the best care of it that you can. There are so many ways to do this, but here are a few to get you started: 

  1. Pregnancy is a great time to think about what you’re eating. Eating healthy during pregnancy doesn’t mean changing everything you ever eat. Instead, try to have some balance in your diet. If you can, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. These not only provide many important nutrients, but they also contain lots of fiber which helps prevent constipation. Whole grains are recommended as a source of carbohydrates. You can also look for healthy sources of fats and proteins, such as lean meats, nuts, oils, etc. 
  2. Take prenatal vitamins! During pregnancy, you need more folic acid and iron than usual. Prenatal vitamins are available over the counter, but you can also talk to your doctor if you have questions about which vitamins are best for you (1).
  3. Prenatal care is an important part of a healthy pregnancy. Whether you choose to see an OB/GYN, a midwife, or a family practice doctor, your provider should support and empower health in your pregnancy journey. If you don’t currently have a prenatal care provider, we are here to help you get started. We can provide you with medical confirmation of pregnancy for your continuum of care and offer you referrals for providers near you. 
  4. At Clearway Clinic, we also offer free prenatal health education classes! Being informed is key to being empowered. We offer free classes monthly in labor and delivery and newborn care. Call to sign up for your class today. 

Finding Support

Last but not least, good support is one of the most important factors for you to thrive in pregnancy. Maybe you have a supportive partner. If so, great! We are here to support you both on this journey. If you are planning to parent solo, we’ve got you too. Our patient advocates are here to connect you to whatever you might need to thrive, whether that be support groups, baby showers, housing resources, scholarship opportunities, or something else entirely! 

Our priority is that you are loved, seen, and supported. Whether you need a pregnancy confirmation appointment, resource referrals, prenatal education, or just a safe space to pause and process, we are here for you. Schedule your appointment today. 

Reviewed by Lisa D., MSN RN

  1. Learn more about prenatal vitamins from the Mayo Clinic

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Clearway Women's Health Clinic - Pregnancy & STI Appointments Available

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