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Pregnant – yes or no? The first signs of pregnancy

Whether you become pregnant naturally or with the assistance of a fertility clinic, when you are trying for a baby, there is a lot of nervousness around each period: Was it successful? A positive pregnancy test gives you the first answer. But sometimes a pregnancy may be noticed even before you have missed your period. That’s not so strange: When an egg is fertilised, the entire body prepares itself to preserve and develop the new life.

There are major changes in hormone production in early pregnancy, which is why the first signs of pregnancy can resemble period pain. You might feel tired and have mood swings, breast tenderness and some abdominal tightening. You can get a reliable test result after you have missed a period: From the fifth week of pregnancy, the body produces hCG (“the pregnancy hormone”) which can be detected in a pregnancy test.

Pregnancy and typical symptoms

The due date is calculated based on the first day of your last period. Ovulation occurs mid cycle—about two weeks into the start of your cycle. Therefore, the start of your pregnancy is calculated from the third week of pregnancy.

The first trimester – pregnancy weeks 1–12

The first three months of pregnancy are considered to be the most critical. That is because it is during this time that all the organs and the entire nervous system are developing. Even by the time the fertilised egg implants in the womb, the sex of the child has been determined. Between the fourth and eighth weeks of pregnancy, the baby’s neck, head, arms and legs are developing, and the internal organs, brain and nervous system are present in a basic form. Towards the end of the first trimester, fingers, toes, eyes, ears and the nose are fully developed. At the same time, the muscles and nervous system have developed to such an extent that the foetus can move in the womb.

Typical signs and symptoms during the first trimester of pregnancy:

Tiredness: Many women find that they are extremely tired and need more sleep.

Constipation: Metabolism is slower due to the increased production of the hormone progesterone in the corpus luteum, and many women experience tiredness and constipation.

Nausea: The infamous pregnancy nausea, triggered by an elevated level of hCG in the blood, generally begins in the fifth or sixth week of pregnancy. Most women improve after the first 12 weeks.

Dizziness due to lower blood pressure at the start of the pregnancy.

Mood swings due to the major hormonal changes taking place

Sensitivity to certain smells

The second trimester – pregnancy weeks 13–26

The uncomfortable symptoms from the first months begin to subside by the fourth month of the pregnancy. All the baby’s basic parts have been formed, and now it is just a matter of the “finer work”: Metabolic function develops as do sucking and swallowing reflexes and breathing movements. The baby is very active in the womb and exercises its muscles and nervous system. Heart sounds can be clearly heard on examination. At the end of the fifth month of pregnancy, the sex of the baby can be determined with an ultrasound scan. A phase involving the continued development of the baby’s movements and perception starts now.

Typical signs and symptoms during the second trimester of pregnancy:

The stomach becomes more round and the breasts grow significantly

The woman may start to become aware of the baby’s movements between pregnancy weeks 16 and 18

Increased need to urinate, as the growing womb puts pressure on the bladder

Shortness of breath due to the increase volume of blood

Heartburn as the growing womb narrows the stomach

Possible production of foremilk (colostrum) that is triggered by increased levels of prolactin

The third trimester – pregnancy weeks 27–40

The baby’s eyes and nostrils open during the seventh month of pregnancy. The immune system and the bronchi begin to work independently, and the baby does some practice breaths with the amniotic fluid. Thanks to modern medicine, if the baby is born prematurely, it will have a good chance of survival. From the eight month of pregnancy, it is mostly the protective layer of fat that develops, and the baby gains about 250 g of weight per week. As there is less and less room in the womb, the baby typically lies in the foetal position with its arms folded in front of its body.

Typical signs and symptoms during the third trimester of pregnancy:

The stomach and breasts grow significantly

Increased need to urinate, as the growing womb puts pressure on the bladder

Back pain, mostly due to due to loosening of the ligaments of the back and the extra weight

Numb and itchy feet because the baby may be pressing on the main artery in the back

Problems sleeping

Braxton Hicks contractions (practice contractions) start

Early scans from week 7

Have an early pregnancy scan in our clinic in either Copenhagen or Aarhus. We can do an early pregnancy scan from week (7+0 to 13+6 weeks) to ensure that the pregnancy is progressing as it should.

The time after a positive pregnancy test can be associated with both happiness and nerves: Is everything as it should be right now? Therefore, many people decide to have an early scan for reassurance.

What can be seen on a scan?

Even on an early scan, we can provide a specialist assessment of whether the pregnancy is progressing as it should. Among other things, we can see how big the baby is, if the baby is in the right place (i.e., inside or outside the womb) and determine the due date. We can also see on the scan whether you are expecting more than one baby (twins, etc.). From week 7, you can have the very special experience of seeing the heart beat for the first time.

From its head to its bottom, the baby is now about one centimetre long. During scanning the baby’s measurement is referred to as the crown-rump length (CLR).

You are given a 2D scan (black and white) photo to take home.

It is not possible to see the sex of the baby during an early scan. It is only from week 14 that we can determine the sex of the baby.

When should I have an early scan?

At VivaNeo we recommend that everyone who has had an egg implanted should have an early pregnancy scan, i.e. women who are having IVF or who have received a donor egg. The same applies if you have had bleeding during your pregnancy, have a history of miscarriage or have pain.

Scans from week 7 are included in your IVF treatment, including egg donation. If you would like an early scan after insemination, you can of course have one done; please see the prices here.

How to make an appointment

When you have received a positive pregnancy test (a urine or HCG blood test) and are contacting us to let us know, you can make an appointment for a scan at the same time in our clinic in either Aarhus or Copenhagen. Even if you are having your fertility treatment in Aarhus, you can make an appointment in Copenhagen or the other way around—whichever suits you best.

If you would like further information about scans, you are always welcome to contact us or make an appointment at one of our clinics.

Overview of typical scans during pregnancy 

In Denmark, there is no obligation to have scans. But all pregnant women are offered a nuchal fold scan (week 12) and an anomaly scan (from week 19) via the public health service. Here is an overview of typical scans:

Weeks 7–14: Early pregnancy scan

Weeks 11–13: Nuchal fold scan

  • In Denmark all pregnant women are offered a nuchal fold scan to assess the risk of having a baby with Down syndrome. The dual test consists of a blood test and a scan of the baby

Weeks 14–18: Early anomaly scan

  • The baby is looked at very thoroughly to see if there are any malformations. All the organs are checked thoroughly during the scan.

Weeks 19–23: Anomaly scan

  • In Denmark all pregnant women are offered an anomaly scan.

Weeks 14–40: Sexing scan

  • From week 14, it is possible to see if it is a boy or a girl. 

Weeks 15–40+: Reassurance scan

Further topics you might be interested in

We are here for you!

Please feel free to contact us!

Our opening times:

Mon and Thu: 08:00 - 18:00
Tue, Wed and Fri: 08:00 - 16:00
Sat, Sun and holiday: 08:30 - 15:00

Schedule an appointment:

Fill out the contact form

✉ info[at]storkklinik.dk
+45 32 57 33 16

We look forward to hearing from you!