Am I Pregnant?

Am I Pregnant? By Maria Gonzalez

Am I pregnant? This is often one of the most important questions a women can ask. If you suspect you are pregnant, getting good prenatal care early is very important, so finding out as soon as possible is vital.

Am I pregnant? Have you missed a period? Are you bloated? Are your breasts tender? These may be early symptoms of pregnancy. Have you spotted, but never gotten your period? Do things smell and taste differently? Are you tired?

If you can answer yes to at least one or two of these questions, you may be pregnant. However, some women never suspect that they have conceived. As soon as your period is late, you can perform an at-home pregnancy test inexpensively and privately. These tests can be found at your local discount or drug store. The at-home tests claim 99% accuracy, and false positives are rare, so if you test positive you are most likely pregnant. Since these tests measure the level of pregnancy hormone (HCG) in your urine, it’s important to follow the instructions carefully and repeat a negative test a few days to a week later just to be sure. Sometimes hormone levels don’t rise high enough to be detected right away.

If you suspect you are pregnant, refrain from smoking, drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs until you are sure. These substances are harmful to a developing baby. Stay away from x-rays and try to eat healthy until your pregnancy is confirmed.

Maria writes for Pregnancy Due Date, a site that tries to information for expectant mothers. For more great pregnancy articles, visit our Pregnancy articles archive.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Applying and getting Work During Pregnancy

Applying and getting Work During Pregnancy

Liz Ryan is a workplace expert, 25-year corporate (Fortune 500) HR executive, and the founder and CEO of WorldWIT, the world's largest online community for ...
Platinum Quality Author

It's happening all over: A woman is laid off while she's pregnant and finds herself job-hunting as her due date approaches. Another woman's organization tanks, and she finds herself out of work just as she realizes that that she's expecting. A third finds her consulting business too slow to sustain her financially, so she starts a job search during her second trimester.

The important thing to know about pursuing a job search during pregnancy is that it can be done. While your pregnancy is a factor in your job search — and more of a factor if your due date is coming up quickly or if, for instance, you're expecting more than one baby — being pregnant is no reason to put off a job search. You will need to incorporate your post-baby plans into your interview conversation, so that you're ready to answer questions about your return to work, your ability to manage your job with a newborn, and so on. But the fact that you're expecting shouldn't be the primary, or even a major, focus of your discussions during interviews.

If you're not "out" with your pregnancy — if you haven't reached the point where you're generally letting people know about your condition — it's not necessary or appropriate to say anything about it during an interview or when you're considering a job offer. Would you tell a relative stranger something you haven't told your best friends yet? Some women worry that if they keep quiet about their pregnancy, later they'll get sideways looks from the boss, who will never trust them again. Don't put that pressure on yourself. When the day comes to share your good news, after a month or two of productive employment at your new company, you'll say, "Sally, I wanted to let you know that Jack and I are expecting! The baby is due in February, and I feel great." That's the whole message; you don't need to get into who knew what when, and no one will be likely to be so tacky as to inquire. If anyone does ask, "Didn't you know this when you were interviewing here?" you can smile and say, "We're just official as of this week, and we're so excited."

If your pregnancy is well established, you should be prepared to discuss the logistics of your maternity leave and return to work during the job interview. Most of us in the business world are well trained (sometimes by unhappy experience) not to ask a woman if she's pregnant, so don't be self-conscious about your growing tummy. You should bring up the topic, well into the interview (don't even bother if you're completely uninterested in the job). You say to the interviewer, "Henry, may I ask you a few specific questions? Great. First, I'm curious about the relationship between the business development group and the sales organization here at XYZ Association. Oh, really? Terrific. Thanks. Secondly, I'm expecting a baby in September. I have some ideas about maternity leave and how I will manage things while away from the office, and I'd love to touch on that today. Excellent. The third is …." This way, you get the information out and let the organization know that you're not planning to fake your way through this big life change, that you have a plan, and that you'll be extremely responsible when it comes to managing your job through the new-baby time.

Is there a danger that you'll be passed over as a candidate simply because of your condition? Frankly, yes. If the organization has two excellent candidates, and you are one, and the other one is not expecting, you could lose out. But if you are the right person for the job and seem well prepared for both the new job and your other life changes, many employers will take the correct long view — what's three months of maternity leave out of a long and successful relationship?

In your confidence-inspiring remarks about your plans, you don't need to go into exhaustive detail. Your prospective employer doesn't need to know who will be watching the baby or whether or not you'll be nursing, for instance. But it might be helpful to throw in facts that will show you're not going to fall apart upon baby's arrival. For example, if this is your second child, you could mention that your past maternity leave went smoothly. One caution: Be sure to guard against the natural impulse to oversell your flexibility. Don't say, "I'll only take two weeks maternity leave!" It's more important to focus on your skills, your experience, and your enthusiasm for the job and the organization than to feel you have to apologize for or explain away your wonderful expectant state.

It doesn't hurt to look for family-friendly organizations when you're a pregnant job seeker. Ask your friends (or use a friendly, free, women-focused e-mail discussion group such as who these employers are in your city. Ask the moms in your Lamaze class or ask your doctor which employers are known for family flexibility.

Do invest in a professional interviewing wardrobe. Remember what they say: Pregnancy makes you radiant. Let yourself shine with confidence and delight in your wonderful situation and remember that you're a terrific job candidate. The squirmer in your belly doesn't take anything away from that; if anything, he or she adds to it.

Liz Ryan is a former Fortune 500 HR executive, a workplace expert and the founder of WorldWIT, the world's largest online community for professional women ( Liz is an internationally acclaimed speaker on workplace issues and networking. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.