This is a call I get all the time. Help, When exactly did I get pregnant?
First of all, you’re not alone. If you need to know when exactly you got pregnant, you probably have a lot of good reasons to try to figure this out. Many women need to know this information right away.
So, even if the circumstances surrounding this conception may not have been ideal, it’s important to first take a few slow deep breaths so that you can think clearly. Then, make sure that you’re actually pregnant by doing a urine pregnancy test, if you haven’t already. Don’t panic, unless this is a real issue, not just something that you’re worried could be happening.
If you have had a positive pregnancy test and you’re worried about exactly when you conceived, you’ll want to discuss this with your health care provider. In order to for you to get the information you need from them, there’s a few things you need to write down and bring with you to your appointment.
What you need to know
#1 What was the first day of your last menstrual period?
#2 Were you using any form of contraception, if so which ones and when? Did you stop the pill, forget them, remove the ring, did the condom break? It doesn’t matter what happened, just when those things may have happened?
# 3 Did you use any form of emergency contraception? If so, when and what happened.
#4 When did you have intercourse?
#5 Is there anything else you’re worried about? Any medications, alcohol, drugs used, how much and when?
#6 Are you concerned about who the father is? If this is the case, it’s helpful to know when you were intimate with each partner?
What you can expect from a health care provider
Your provider may want to repeat the pregnancy test and if it’s positive, will want to do an exam and ultrasound to help date the pregnancy. One thing that you’ll hear from your provider is that even with very sophisticated technology like ultrasounds that can give us a fairly accurate idea of how far along a woman is, these have a plus or minus 3 to 7 days of variation. They’re good, but they can’t pinpoint conception to the day or hour.
Up to 1 week of uncertainty
We know that when a woman ovulates, the egg lives in the tubes for about 24 hours, and yet, we still can’t predict exactly the day or time that a woman got pregnant for a few reasons: Not every woman ovulates and produces an egg exactly 2 weeks after the first day of her period. And, unless you’re tracking ovulation with basal body temperature charts or urine LH tests, knowing when you ovulated may be at best, a guess.
To make it even more difficult to pinpoint the exact date of conception, sperm can live up to 5 days before meeting up with an egg. Here’s a scenario to help explain. If a woman has sex on a Saturday night, the sperm can live in her body just waiting for the egg to be released on Wednesday. If she has intercourse again on Monday or Tuesday, it’s impossible to know which time led to the pregnancy.
If a woman is worried about determining exactly when she conceived, she may also be concerned about who the father of the baby is. In many cases, health care providers can’t give 100% guarantees with out genetic testing during the pregnancy or blood tests after the baby’s born.
Medications, Drugs and Alcohol
Many women want to know when they conceived because of concerns about exposures to drugs and alcohol. If these are your concerns, it’s important to know that if exposures to any of these occurred before the period was missed, in the first 10 days after conception, the likelihood is that there was not effect.
However with certain medications or long-term use of drugs or alcohol, there can be effects, so it’s best to discuss this with your health care provider as each woman and each situation is different.
In any case, remember to gather the information you need and then see your health care provider for more information and advice.