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Can pregnancy symptoms show up even before a missed period?

Q: My 28 years old wife has been feeling heavy in her breasts from 5-6 days. She also has low back pain, nausea and headache. We had unprotected sex last month and her menstrual period is due in 3-4 days. Are these signs of pregnancy? We did a home test, which didn't show anything. Maybe we checked too early. Or could there be any other reason? Can pregnancy symptoms show up even before a missed period?

A:Pregnancy symptoms do not show up before the missed menses. You can wait for 7 days after the expected date of menses to check for pregnancy, if you are not in a dire hurry. Otherwise, you can get a blood test for beta HCG done even 1 or 2 days before the expected date of menses to check for pregnancy. However, this blood test is expensive (about Rs 600- 700), and it is usually not advised unless we are treating the woman with assisted reproductive techniques (e.g. test tube baby), to help in fine-tuning of the drugs required. If the symptoms are bothersome, please consult a gynaecologist.

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