Early pregnancy care


Early pregnancy can be a worrying time, HCA UK outlines the personalised care and support it provides for peace of mind

Enquiries & Appointments


What are the signs of early pregnancy?

For most women with a regular, monthly cycle, one of the first signs you may be pregnant is missing your period. At this time, it is completely normal to feel a range of emotions from joy and excitement to feeling vulnerable and anxious.

Some signs that you may be expecting a baby include:

  • missed period or very light period
  • nausea and/or vomiting
  • feeling dizzy or faint
  • fatigue
  • tender or sore breasts
  • tummy cramps or twinges
  • strange taste in the mouth
  • sensitivity to smells
  • aversion (dislike) to certain foods or food cravings
  • need the toilet more frequently
  • constipation
  • excess saliva (ptyalism)

Frequently asked questions

Every woman is different and the symptoms of early pregnancy can vary greatly.

Some women experience severe nausea during early pregnancy and find themselves being sick constantly and unable to keep anything down. This is a serious pregnancy condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum and requires medical treatment, you will need to see your GP for a referral or you can see an obstetrician experienced in this condition.

If you think you might be pregnant, one of the quickest ways to find out is to do a pregnancy test at home. The most reliable time to take a test is from the first day of your missed period.

Pregnancy tests detect the hormone ‘human chorionic gonadotrophin’ (HCG) in urine. The test is quick and easy to do. It involves holding a stick under your stream of urine. Most pregnancy tests will give you the correct result if you follow the instructions properly.

A positive test result is almost always correct. Negative results are less reliable and if you still think you might be pregnant, it’s worth waiting a few more days and taking another test.

Your consultant will discuss with you the tests and scans available to give you added peace of mind.

These may include:

  • ‘dating scan’: to provide an estimated date of delivery (EDD) based on your baby’s measurements
  • Combined test: includes a blood test and an ultrasound scan to screen for Down’s Syndrome, Edwards’ and Patau’s syndromes
  • Amniocentesis: involves removing and testing a small sample of cells from the amniotic fluid (fluid surrounding the baby in your womb)
  • Chorionic villus sampling (CVS): a needle is inserted into your tummy and a small sample of cells is removed from your placenta (the organ linking your blood supply to the baby)
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Maternity care at The Portland

At HCA UK we have a hospital dedicated to the care of women and children designed to allow you the possible experience before, during and after the birth of your child.

The hospital has a large maternity unit managed by experienced midwifes and specialist nurses. The unit has an onsite special baby unit as well as paediatric intensive care for any unexpected post pregnancy problems.

Patient stories

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.