free pregnancy test and ultrasound

Pregnant? What’s your next step?

Nausea, fatigue, and those frequent trips to the bathroom can all be indications that a woman might be pregnant. Many women miss those early warning signs and do not suspect pregnancy until they miss a period. Even then, some women still do not worry about it because they may be prone to irregularity. It may take several months to spot – and correctly interpret – pregnancy symptoms.

Whether planned or unintended, a pregnancy can be a life-changing moment for most women. The first thing many women do is buy a home pregnancy test, pee on the stick, and wait for their results to confirm their suspicions. Trusting the results can be a little trickier. While home pregnancy tests claim 99 percent accuracy, they differ in their ability to diagnose pregnancy in women who already have missed a period.

Women who want to be certain about their negative – or positive – pregnancy test results can take a few steps to confirm their results. Getting a free pregnancy test and ultrasound is one of the first things they should do.

What interferes with results?

Women who have a negative test but exhibit typical signs of pregnancy have reason to doubt the results. Home tests work by detecting the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in urine. A few things can interfere with the ability to accurately measure hCG at home. Improperly using the test, testing too soon, using an expired test, and diluting your urine by drinking too much water before taking the test all influence the results. These things usually produce false negatives.

Some medications can mess with home pregnancy test results, triggering false positives. Women using fertility-enhancing medications like Clomid often get incorrect results from home testing. Clomid works by using a “trigger shot” of another medication designed to mature a woman’s eggs and induce ovulation. It can take 10 days for a woman’s system to clear this synthetic form of hCG. Pregnancy testing before the 10 days is up can produce a false positive.

How to be sure you’re pregnant

Free pregnancy ultrasound clinics can help confirm or refute a positive home pregnancy test. Most free pregnancy ultrasound clinics offer women a free pregnancy test and ultrasound. How does this help? Clinics like Care Net Pregnancy Centers of Albuquerque use hospital-grade pregnancy tests that can detect levels of hCG in urine sooner – and more reliably – than over-the-counter pregnancy tests. Our free pregnancy testing centers can detect hCG as soon as three weeks after a woman’s last period. Appointments take between 30 and 60 minutes, but women never have to wait long for an answer. We have results to share within three to five minutes of administering the test.  

If our testing returns a positive result, we follow up with a free pregnancy ultrasound. We do this for two reasons:

  1. To confirm the pregnancy.
  2. To learn information about the development of the fetus to determine an estimated due date.

Our free pregnancy ultrasound can be shared with a woman’s regular OBGYN or another healthcare provider to help guide her pregnancy care.

Free pregnancy ultrasound: what to expect

Free pregnancy ultrasound clinics have trained staff to administer ultrasounds. Women who have never had an ultrasound may have questions about what to expect. Ultrasounds do not use ionizing radiation, so they are safe for both mother and baby. Women must come with a full bladder to their ultrasound to ensure clearer imaging results. We recommend drinking at least 32 ounces of water at least an hour before the ultrasound.

Limited pregnancy ultrasounds answer specific questions about the fetus:

  • Is the pregnancy inside the uterus?
  • Can we measure the baby?
  • Can we hear the baby’s heartbeat?

Our ultrasound technicians do not provide comprehensive evaluations of fetal anatomy, developmental abnormalities, or gender during the ultrasound. Expectant mothers must follow up with their regular healthcare provider for those services. Women who need referrals for healthcare practitioners or other professionals to help them make decisions about their pregnancies can request assistance.

Scheduling a free pregnancy ultrasound

Care Net Pregnancy Care Centers is here to help women through every step of their pregnancies. We offer the services women need to make the best decisions about their pregnancies. We have four locations plus a medical mobile unit. Reach out to us today to schedule your free pregnancy test and ultrasound.

morning sickness

How to Fix Morning Sickness

Morning sickness is an unfortunate side effect of pregnancy. For some women, experiencing the waves of nausea and queasiness clue them in to the fact that they might be pregnant. Not every woman suffers from morning sickness. Only about 70 percent of women report this unpleasant result from pregnancy hormones surging through their bodies. Of those, 3 percent report nausea and vomiting as severe enough to warrant a call to their doctors.

While morning sickness might be a normal part of pregnancy, that does not mean you do not have to silently suffer through it. There are things you can do to help minimize your risk and reduce symptoms if you have them.

What causes morning sickness?

In one word, hormones. Specifically, the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and estrogen. Pregnant women suddenly experience dramatic increases in both estrogen and progesterone, as well as changes in the production and function of other key hormones in their bodies. All these rapid shifts can cause moodiness. They also can cause what is commonly called morning sickness. Do not be fooled by the name. Although it can be more common first thing in the morning, women can be struck by nausea and vomiting at any time during the day.

How long does morning sickness last?

Most women who experience it say the queasiness and throwing up start around their fifth or sixth week of pregnancy. The worst part of it tends to happen around 9 or 10 weeks because that is when levels of hCG are at their highest. Around 11 weeks, hCG levels begin a downward spiral and drop by nearly half around week 15. The good news is for most women, the symptoms resolve by the beginning of the second trimester.

Natural remedies for morning sickness

Women with severe morning sickness who risk becoming dehydrated should contact their healthcare provider immediately. Prescription medications like Reglan and Zofran can help extreme cases of nausea and vomiting. If your morning sickness is mild to moderate, these natural approaches can help ease your discomfort.

  1. Eat smaller, more frequent meals
    While eating may be the last thing on your mind when you have nausea, not eating can make your upset stomach worse. Eating a large meal is not the best approach (and just gives your stomach more ammunition to expel). Instead, focus on eating smaller meals more often. Instead of the typical breakfast, lunch, dinner routine, try having five to six smaller meals spaced out throughout the day. Balance your meal choices with protein and carbohydrates. To ease the early morning get-out-of-bed-queasies, keep some plain crackers or dry cereal at your bedside and have a few before trying to get up.
  2. Avoid trigger foods
    Fatty and greasy foods might taste good going down, but they can wreak havoc on pregnant bellies. The list of foods to avoid list includes those that are too sweet or spicy and raw veggies because they can cause gas. High protein, carbohydrate-rich foods seem to work well for women experiencing morning sickness issues. The blander, the better. Another trick is to avoid eating and drinking at the same time. Try eating your meal first. Wait about 15 to 20 minutes, then drink something.
  3. Avoid strong odors
    Smoke, perfumes, and anything that carries a strong scent – even otherwise pleasing smells – can trigger nausea in pregnant women. Some women report not being able to tolerate the odor of cooking meat and other dishes they once enjoyed. Pregnant women who must cook should open windows and turn on ventilation systems to help keep odors at a minimum.
  4. Take prenatal vitamins at the right time
    Iron is one of the many vitamins and minerals pregnant women need to stay well and to help the healthy development of their babies. Prenatal vitamins include higher doses of iron than what is found in regular daily vitamins. When taken on an empty stomach, that extra iron can trigger your nausea and vomiting. Instead of taking prenatal vitamins in the morning, consider taking them at bedtime. That gives your body time to absorb the iron in case you experience nausea and vomiting in the morning.
  5. Stay hydrated
    Throwing up can cause dehydration, which is not a good thing during pregnancy. It might seem like a fruitless effort when your stomach is queasy, but the more dehydrated you become, the more you will vomit. It is a vicious cycle. Eating salty foods – which can settle nausea – prompts your body’s thirst response. You can calm your stomach and drink fluids at the same time. Sports rehydration liquids like Gatorade and Powerade can help stave off dehydration and help with upset tummy at the same time.

Help for pregnant women

Learning how to deal with morning sickness is just one of the things pregnant women must face. Care Net Pregnancy Centers has a multitude of resources for pregnant women and their partners. Reach out to us today to learn how we can help support your healthy pregnancy.

surprise pregnancy

Surprise Pregnancy? Do These 5 Things Now

A surprise pregnancy can leave you feeling anxious and unsure of what to do next. You may feel like you failed somehow and panic about the next steps you must take to respond. You are not alone. Finding out you are pregnant is a shock for nearly half of all women in the U.S. each year. The latest figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that millions of women – married, unmarried, young, and old – deal with unexpected pregnancies.

Once you get past the initial shock, there are five things you can do to begin addressing your situation.

1 – Verify the surprise pregnancy

This may seem like common sense, but sometimes you get so caught up in the moment you forget that home pregnancy tests can produce false positives. Home pregnancy tests measure the level of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. hCG is known as the “pregnancy hormone” because women only produce it in their bodies during pregnancy. The reason some over-the-counter pregnancy tests produce false positives has to do with the quality of the test. Hospital-grade pregnancy tests also measure hCG but can detect the hormone much earlier than OTC tests. Even hospital-grade pregnancy tests require further validation. At Care Net Pregnancy Centers, we confirm all positive pregnancy tests with a free limited pregnancy ultrasound. We can perform an ultrasound six weeks from the first day of your last menstrual period.

2 – Get screened for STDs

One of the steps we recommend following positive confirmation of your pregnancy is STD/STI testing. STDs and STIs pose serious health risks for expectant mothers and can be harmful to your baby’s development. Moms can transmit certain infections to their babies in utero, while others may pass to the baby during vaginal delivery. STDs can affect the development of the baby’s eyes, lungs, and liver. Some of the damage is irreversible. Many STDs are curable with proper treatment. Doctors also can help prevent the spread of non-curable STDs/STIs from mother to baby during delivery when they know about the need early in the pregnancy. Care Net Pregnancy Centers provide free STD/STI testing. Our staff will recommend scheduling the testing if you come to us to confirm your pregnancy.

3 – Consider your options

After you verify your pregnancy, it is time to consider your options. Since your pregnancy was a surprise, you may not be in a place in your life where you can raise a baby. Having children is a huge responsibility, so it is OK if you are not prepared to accept the challenge right now. While some women may opt for an abortion, others do not wish to end their pregnancies. Adoption is a viable alternative. Whatever decision you make about your pregnancy, the staff at Care Net Pregnancy Centers is here for you. We provide pregnancy help to navigate through these uncertain times. Our team ensures you have access to the most accurate and medically sound information to help make your choice. We provide a judgment-free zone for you and your partner. Best of all, our services are free and confidential.

4 – Embrace your feelings

There is no right or wrong way to feel when facing an unexpected pregnancy. It is perfectly acceptable to be angry, depressed, frustrated or overwhelmed. Even if you were not anticipating becoming a parent, maybe you are excited at the prospect and willing to embrace your pregnancy with open arms. Mixed feelings also are normal. You may be thrilled about becoming a mother but also scared to death at the same time. If you are struggling with your emotions and need help sorting through them, do not be afraid to reach out. Care Net Pregnancy Centers can hook you and your partner up with the resources you need to help manage your feelings.

5 – Schedule prenatal care

If you decide to keep your baby or choose to place him or her for adoption, one of the next things you should do is schedule an appointment with an obstetrician to have a wellness check. Expectant mothers have specific nutritional needs and will need an exam to check their overall health and that of the baby. If you work with an adoption agency to place your baby with a loving family, the agency may assist with finding you an OB and paying for all necessary medical care leading up to and including the birth. If you are keeping your baby to raise yourself and need help finding an OB for your ongoing prenatal care needs, Care Net Pregnancy Centers can help. Our community referrals program helps expectant mothers and their partners find everything they need to have a happy and healthy pregnancy, including:

  • Affordable housing
  • Medical assistance
  • Medical services
  • Support groups

Care Net helps you handle surprise pregnancies

Surprise pregnancies do not have to send your life into a downward spiral. Our pregnancy help center is here to walk you through your pregnancy options. We provide accurate information, free pregnancy and STD testing, and connect you with a multitude of resources once you decide how best to handle your pregnancy. Contact us today to schedule a consult.

pregnancy myths

Top 5 Myths About Getting Pregnant

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about getting pregnant floating around out there. Following what you think is solid advice about preventing pregnancy can lead to quite the shock when you find out you are expecting. You are not alone if you share in these misunderstandings. Forty-five out of every 1,000 women aged 15 to 44 in the U.S. experience unintended pregnancies.

Not sure what is fact or fiction when it comes to safe sex practices? We break down the top 5 myths about getting pregnant to help you avoid an unplanned pregnancy.

Myth #1 – You Cannot Get Pregnant While Menstruating

This is probably the most common falsehood about getting pregnant. Many women and their partners are under the impression they can have unprotected sex during their period without any risk of becoming pregnant. While the probability is low, it is not zero. If it is the first or second day of your period, the likelihood you will get pregnant is low. The danger increases starting with day 3 through the end of your menstrual cycle. That is because sperm can survive for up to 5 days in the uterus, even if the woman is menstruating.

Aside from the risk of pregnancy, you also are making it more likely you will contract a sexually transmitted disease or infection if you have unprotected sex during your period. It is best to always use protection when you are intimate with your partner.

Myth #2 – Certain Positions Prevent Conception

Some people believe if they position themselves a certain way after sex it makes it impossible to get pregnant. Despite what you may have heard, standing up during intercourse will not keep sperm from finding its way to an egg and fertilizing it. That is not how gravity works. It is easy to understand why some people wish this misconception was true. It gives them a free pass to be intimate with their partners without taking precautions to prevent pregnancy or STDs/STIs.

Myth #3 – You Cannot Get Pregnant the “First Time”

Believing that you cannot get pregnant if it is your first time having sexual intercourse is a costly mistake. If you are a woman of fertile age, all it takes is having sex one time, and you can become pregnant. You must use contraception every time you are intimate with your partner unless you are OK with potentially becoming pregnant.

pregnancy myth condom

Myth #4 – Birth Control Always Prevents Pregnancy

Again, this is another popular myth. This does not mean you should never use contraception. Quite the opposite. When used properly, condoms are 98 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. Condoms also prevent STDs and STIs. Another popular form of contraception is the birth control pill. It is 99 percent effective at preventing unplanned pregnancy when taken as directed. Where some women get into trouble with the pill is they forget to take it at the same time every day or may even forget to take it for days at a time. When this happens, you increase your chances of becoming pregnant. Even if you rely on other birth control methods, use a condom every time to help protect against diseases and infections.

Myth #5 – The Morning-After Pill is Safe for Everyone

If you have had unprotected sex, or your birth control method fails, Plan B, also known as the “morning-after pill,” is what most women turn to for preventing pregnancy. It is available without a prescription and contains high doses of hormones intended to interfere with fertilization.

While you do not need a prescription from your doctor to use it, the morning-after pill is not safe for everyone and has some serious side effects. Women who are using certain prescription medications should avoid taking Plan B. It also is not guaranteed to prevent fertilization, which means even if you take it within the 72-hour window after having unprotected sex, you can still become pregnant.

What to do if you become pregnant

Sometimes you can take all the right precautions and still find yourself facing an unplanned pregnancy. Abstinence is the only 100 percent guaranteed way to prevent pregnancy. Women and their partners do not have to face pregnancy alone. Care Net offers free pregnancy testing and free limited pregnancy ultrasounds. We can confirm your suspected pregnancy and provide resources for making the best decision. Care Net is a judgment-free zone. We have your best interests at heart and will help you access the healthcare services and other resources you need. Contact us to schedule your free consultation today.  

pregnancy, early pregnancy, how do i know if i'm pregnant

How Do I Know If I’m Pregnant

10 early signs of pregnancy

Long before you get a positive pregnancy test, your body issues some early signs to share the news. While the only way to know for sure is with a pregnancy test or an ultrasound, there are some symptoms most women experience during the earliest days of their pregnancies. Some of these early pregnancy indicators can mimic premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which means some women think they are gearing up for their next period and they ignore them. 

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it is not necessarily a cause for alarm. You may want to follow up with your primary care physician or visit the nearest Care Net location for free pregnancy testing

  1. Cramping and spotting
    This is a common early hint your body sends about pregnancy. It usually occurs between 10 and 14 days after you become pregnant. You may notice some light spotting and cramping, as part of the implantation process. This means one of your eggs was fertilized by sperm and has now embedded itself into your uterus, where it will continue to grow into a fetus. So, how do you know if it is implantation spotting or a light period? The color of the bleeding is your first clue. It tends to be pink, red, or brown and can last less than three days. Some women describe the pain of implantation bleeding as mild while others say it causes severe pain. Every woman is different. 
  2. Missing a period
    Many women suspect pregnancy after the first missed period, especially if they recently engaged in sexual activity with their partner. You miss your period during pregnancy because your body begins producing the human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) hormone. Its sole purpose is to maintain the pregnancy by signaling to your ovaries they no longer need to release mature eggs for fertilization. Some home pregnancy tests can detect hCG levels as soon as eight days after you miss your period. They are not always reliable, so you may want to take more than one or visit your local pregnancy care center for follow-up and confirmation. A free limited pregnancy ultrasound can help confirm or refute pregnancy. 
  3. Rising body temperatures
    Basal body temperature is an excellent way to monitor your fertility cycle. Some women choose to use it for natural family planning purposes to help pinpoint when they ovulate to either get pregnant or help avoid pregnancy. Once you become pregnant, your basal body temperature rises and stays elevated. This is because your body is producing more progesterone to support the pregnancy. 
  4. Feeling sleepy
    Fatigue during early pregnancy is common for most women. When progesterone levels rise, it can make you feel more fatigued. The same properties of progesterone that help it to loosen your joints and ligaments in preparation for pregnancy and birth can cause feelings of sleepiness. 
  5. Increasing heart rate
    Your body goes through many changes during pregnancy to help support the growing fetus. One of those changes involves your heart rate. Starting between eight and 10 weeks, your heart begins pumping faster and harder to promote increased blood flow to your uterus. Arrhythmias and heart palpitations are common during pregnancy due to the boost in your blood flow. 
  6. Urinating frequently
    A heart that beats faster and harder is not the only side effect of increased blood flow during pregnancy. All that extra blood circulation makes your kidneys work harder to process the extra fluid. The result? You will need to pee more often. Some women also find they are unable to hold their urine. When they feel the need to go, they must find a toilet quickly. If you find yourself urinating more frequently without any extra intake of fluids to account for it, you may be pregnant. 
  7. Bloating and constipation
    Some women experience bloating and constipation during PMS, which is why this warning sign often is ignored. This duo of symptoms signals a change in your digestive system, which slows down during pregnancy due to the shift in hormones to support the growing fetus. 
  8. Rising blood pressure
    For most women, their blood pressure drops during the early stages of pregnancy. This is caused by progesterone, which promotes more blood flow and a faster heart rate. Because your blood vessels are so dilated, some women experience dizziness, especially when they first stand up. If your blood pressure is lower than normal and you find yourself experiencing dizziness, you could be pregnant. 
  9. Smelling senses increase
    If you find yourself turned off by the smell of something you used to love, it can be your body’s way of signaling pregnancy. These smell sensitivities can happen with foods or with anything odorous in your environment. Flowers, perfumes, and even household cleaning products can trigger pregnant women. 
  10. Feeling nauseous
    This is one of the earliest symptoms most women associate with pregnancy. You may just feel nauseated, or you might also throw up. Medical professionals are not entirely certain why this happens, but believe fluctuating hormones play a role. Dubbed “morning sickness,” it usually occurs first thing in the morning and subsides as the day goes on. Some women, unfortunately, are nauseous throughout the day with their pregnancies. Feelings of nausea usually begin between the fourth and sixth weeks of pregnancy. 
early pregnancy signs, pregnancy exhaustion

What to do if you suspect you are pregnant

If you suspect you are pregnant but are not sure, making an appointment with a pregnancy care center can help. Care Net offers free pregnancy testing and free limited pregnancy ultrasounds. The first step in our process is to have you take a pregnancy test. If it is positive, then we follow that up with an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy. Sometimes pregnancy tests are not accurate, and an ultrasound is the best way to confirm a positive test. Contact us to schedule your initial consultation the minute you suspect you are pregnant. We care about you and are here to help! 

pregnancy testing, free pregnancy testing

Free Pregnancy Testing

The only thing more stressful than thinking you are pregnant is having to wait several weeks to know for sure. Over-the-counter pregnancy testing kits are unreliable if used before a period is missed. That can mean weeks of agonizing over whether you are or are not pregnant. When a pregnancy is unplanned, you want to know as soon as possible so you can begin exploring your pregnancy options. 

At our pregnancy help center, you do not have to wait for a missed period to confirm whether you are pregnant. We offer free pregnancy testing at all of our centers in Albuquerque, Edgewood, Rio Rancho, or Los Lunas. Our pregnancy centers use a pregnancy testing method that measures the level of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) hormone in your urine. Known as the “pregnancy hormone,” hCG is normally only produced during pregnancy. Over the counter pregnancy tests also measure hCG in your urine but are not hospital-grade quality and may not be able to detect pregnancy as early as our testing. Our free pregnancy testing can detect hCG within three weeks after your last period. Results are available within 3 to 5 minutes. 

Early signs of pregnancy

Pregnancy begins when the male’s sperm fertilizes or joins with the female’s ovum (egg). The average pregnancy lasts 38-42 weeks. It is divided into three trimesters: 1-12 weeks; 13-26 weeks; and 26 weeks until birth. 

A woman’s body is designed to send signals that fertilization – pregnancy – has occurred. Some of the most common signs and symptoms of pregnancy include:

  • Cravings for or an aversion to certain foods
  • Darkening of the nipples
  • Dizziness or feeling lightheaded
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent urination
  • Heightened sense of smell
  • Late or missed period
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Sore, swollen, or itchy breasts
  • Spotting or abdominal cramping

Why confirming pregnancy is important

Even if you have one or more of these signs and a home pregnancy test is positive, we advise women to make a follow-up appointment with their medical provider or our pregnancy help center to confirm the pregnancy. Home pregnancy tests are not 100 percent accurate. The symptoms listed above could be associated with other conditions. We can schedule a hassle-free appointment for you to confirm the pregnancy. 

The best way to verify pregnancy is with a free limited ultrasound at our pregnancy help center in Albuquerque. Our ultrasound technicians use the technology to verify if you are pregnant. Once pregnancy is confirmed, the ultrasound can provide information about the development level of the fetus, which gives us an estimated due date. That information will be helpful to your medical provider as you weigh your pregnancy options. 

For more information about pregnancy, visit the American Pregnancy Association

Same-day appointments and walk-ins welcome

Our pregnancy help center understands the urgency in confirming a pregnancy so you can begin to explore your pregnancy options. That is why we offer same-day appointments and walk-ins always are welcome. Call us to make your same-day appointment, or simply walk right in and let our front office staff know you would like a confidential and free pregnancy test. 

During your appointment, the first thing we will do is administer the free pregnancy test. If it is positive for the “pregnancy hormone,” hCG, we provide the option of meeting with one of our client advocates to discuss your pregnancy options. Clients also have the option of scheduling a free ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy and help determine how far along they are in the pregnancy. 

Each appointment can take between 30 to 60 minutes. The exact length depends on the services requested. Administering a free pregnancy test that is negative and requires no further counseling or services can be over more quickly. Our pregnancy help center protects your confidentiality during every stage of your visit. All services are administered in a private room under the guidance of one of our trained client advocates. You are welcome to come alone or bring a friend or partner with you for the appointment. 

Contact us to schedule your initial consultation or show up at one of our pregnancy help centers in Albuquerque, Los Lunas, Edgewood, or Rio Rancho during our regular business hours.

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The information and graphics contained on this site are for informational and educational purposes only. This site is designed to promote broad knowledge of various pregnancy or sexual health topics and general understanding concerning pregnancy. It is not intended to be a substitute for legal advice, or professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Pregnancy and other health issues need to be diagnosed by your physician or other qualified health care provider in person. Home tests and online discussions do not qualify as diagnosis or advice for treatment. Make an appointment with one of our center medical team or with your physician to discuss any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment, and before undertaking a new health care regimen. Follow your medical provider’s instructions and never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you have read on a website or social media.