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Blog :: Healthcare Professionals

12th February 2020

If you think you are pregnant and find yourself obsessing over pregnancy signs and symptoms, do not worry, as this is completely normal and many women do it. While ultrasounds and pregnancy tests are the only way to conclude if you’re actually pregnant, there are many signs and symptoms to look out for too. Some people believe missed periods are the only sign, but there are many others to consider, like feeling sick, feeling fatigued or developing a heightened sense of smell. Early Bird Swift, the award-winning pregnancy test brand, explores early pregnancy signs and symptoms to be aware of…

When do pregnancy symptoms start?

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to early pregnancy symptoms, although it is likely that most women will start to feel the symptoms of pregnancy four weeks after conceiving1. What can be even more confusing, is that early symptoms can actually mimic symptoms you would experience before and during menstruation. Common symptoms of both menstruation and pregnancy are a sudden increased appetite, breast tenderness and stomach cramping – so it is hard to differentiate between the two! It is important to remember that these differences are subtle and vary from woman to woman.

Most common signs and symptoms of pregnancy

A woman’s body goes through so many changes during pregnancy. The first indication of pregnancy tends to be missing a period or having a lighter period than normal. The second sign tends to be morning sickness – anything from nausea to actually throwing up. Nausea and/or vomiting are said to affect 70 – 85% of pregnant women, as sickness is triggered by hormonal changes during pregnancy2.

Fatigue also ranks highly among symptoms of pregnancy, as levels of the hormone progesterone tend to soar in the early stages of pregnancy and can actually send you to sleep (if a high amount is emitted). Another very common sign is breast tenderness, which is also triggered by increased levels of progesterone and oestrogen.

Other signs of pregnancy that you may notice

Change in mood is another sign that could suggest pregnancy. As previously mentioned, fluctuation in hormone levels can affect both your body and mind. As well as adjusting to shifting hormone levels, mood changes can also be a side effect of the physical changes to your body during pregnancy such as morning sickness and tiredness.

Another lesser-known symptom is smell sensitivity. It could be toiletries, food or drink that may become more (or less) appealing to you, and although some studies have seen a link between sense of smell and pregnancy hormones, there is not a clear answer to why this happens. Feeling bloated is another symptom you may not really notice, as hormonal changes slow your digestive system down.

It is fair to say that some of the symptoms listed above could point to different explanations other than pregnancy, but when experienced together they do tend to point to becoming a mum-to-be. If you are experiencing multiple symptoms, then it may be time to take a pregnancy test or book a visit to the doctor.


[1] Metro:

[2] Live Science:

10th December 2019

How you utilise shelf space in your pharmacy is important. By stocking smartly, you can transform your ROI. Shelving premium products alongside everyday essentials, is an ideal balance. Every pharmacy is different, and you know your customers and their purchasing habits best, so demonstrate this with your range of products and brands. Here are some of the benefits…

A comprehensive solution for customers

Be a one-stop shop for local residents. If they are in-store looking for a particular product, they are bound to need associated products that could also be useful for their healthcare or medical needs. Taking pregnancy products as an example, if a customer is looking to get pregnant, they may be interested in ovulation kits, pregnancy tests and folic acid supplements. They may need all of these products during their pregnancy journey and so it is ideal for you to stock them all, offering a full solution for them. The same can be said for many over-the-counter (OTC) product categories such as cold and flu products, as many customers will likely buy more than one product there and then if they need it.

Bundle deal opportunities

The more specific product ranges you have, the more flexibility you have on hosting relevant promotion deals such as ‘Buy two products get one free’, ‘Buy three products for £x’. This drives more of an incentive for customers to buy more of the range and gives you more opportunities to upsell. This is great for your ROI, especially if you have worked with your suppliers to buy in at a cost-efficient price.

Be the go-to pharmacy

Get your pharmacy recognised for being the place that will have the healthcare products that people need. There is nothing worse for customers turning up to buy a product, for it to be out of stock. If it’s in your control, make sure to steadily re-stock commonly purchased products and its associated range. Gaining a reputation for having a good product range will go a long way in earning more customer loyalty and repeat visits to your pharmacy.

14th November 2019

In a nation where pharmaceutical product costs are unpredictably fluctuating, consumers, the NHS and pharmacies, are feeling the brunt of it. The NHS is crippled by the price points of certain drugs and medical supplies, and whilst consumers are first to complain about the costs of prescriptions, they would soon understand by reading into the costs behind the scenes.

Similarly, in the retail market global brands are fighting for the monopoly of shelf space but maintaining premium costs. However, consumers are gifted with more of a choice in this realm. In the past few years private label brands, offering cheaper alternatives, have earnt themselves a gateway and many consumers have been happy to embrace them. In the supermarket retail sector, we are living in the world of the ‘alternative consumer’, where many have moved past the perception that private labels and cheaper brands are low quality and are instead seen as a smart bargain.

Yet, arguably when it comes to pharmaceutical and health products, we haven’t quite got to where we want to be with this perception. There has still been a reluctance to purchase cheaper alternatives of generic drugs such as paracetamol, which can be bought for as little as 19p over the counter. The NHS has even clamped down on the ability to write prescriptions for over the counter products after it was revealed to be costing them around £136 million a year for prescriptions for medicines that can be bought from a pharmacy or supermarket1. The same perception challenges are felt by healthcare brands with conceivably lower price points.

Darren Collett-Mills, Managing Director of Axis Medicare Ltd. and Early Bird Swift, the home pregnancy and fertility test brand, shares his view on why lower price point healthcare products should not be overlooked by consumers.

Quality assured

“When we look at consumer behaviour, in the past and present, it’s evident that the retail cost of a product can affect the perception of its quality. Whilst some retail sectors have found solutions to this, the healthcare sector is still somewhat challenged. Many consumers assume that the same quality will not be achieved, when in fact the technology or formula behind a premium product and a regular product can often be very similar. This can certainly be said of the pregnancy test market, where tests need to have undergone thorough laboratory testing to even get to market. For example, our Early Bird Swift test is proven over 99% accurate, and it is a lower price point than some others in the market but still capable of delivering critical results. Accuracy is a priority for our market’s customers, and I think more attention needs to be given to demonstrating to them that their needs come first and we as an industry assure quality is at the forefront of our products.”

Brand experience

“In the healthcare industry, new players are entering the market regularly. Consumers are naturally attracted to fresh thinking brands and new product technology, even if they hold a premium price tag. Some consumers even find the higher price a more attractive feature in their purchasing decision. Therefore, some long serving brands with lower price points may feel that they are sometimes overlooked. How often do consumers consider the years of experience that may be held by these brands and the development time that has gone into perfecting a product? The importance of brand experience is not always recognised, but it should be seen as a reassurance for consumers.”


“Some products’ purposes are to be bold and impressive. In the healthcare market, a product’s performance and ability to serve its purpose is essential. Consumer-brand identification may sway a customer to pick one brand over another, but if a product is a necessity requirement as opposed to a lifestyle brand, you would think simplicity would appeal as a priority. This can particularly be the case for pregnancy tests, where consumers need clarity via a product with ease of use, with minimum fuss.”

21st March 2019

Working in a pharmacy, you are going to face vulnerable customers in store on a daily basis. Some customers know exactly what they need in store and it is a matter of fulfilling their prescriptions or purchasing over the counter products. Others may seem hesitant, nervous and need a little more help. This can certainly be the case for individuals looking to purchase a pregnancy or fertility test. Our tips aim to help you through a scenario where you meet a vulnerable customer, female or male, seeking help with pregnancy products.

Respect their privacy

Each individual is different. Some are more open than others about purchasing a pregnancy or fertility test, whilst some may seem distressed and even reluctant to ask about what they need. Respecting their privacy is essential, and their body language and behaviour will give you a gage on how much attention they want from you in store. Talk to them quietly and on a one-to-one basis, to avoid attention from other customers, and personally guide them towards the relevant products or even bring the products you recommend over to them at the till.


We do not know each individual’s situation or circumstances. Vulnerability cannot be defined by age, or limited to females only, as a male could be just as likely to come in to purchase a pregnancy or fertility test for another person. If a customer is visibly distressed, you should demonstrate empathy and compassion throughout their visit, and recognise the boundaries of your discussion. Be available to listen and show willing that we understand their emotions and can help them towards their moment of clarity. By showing no judgement we can make them feel more relaxed in the pharmacy environment.


The uncertainty of a pending pregnancy result can be very overwhelming. What to do next following clarity, will be on the individual’s mind. Sharing resources with them to consider their options may help to put them at ease. Every Early Bird Swift pregnancy test comes with a key information leaflet about pregnancy, contraception, relationships and sex. It also shares contact information for organisations and charities who can help people confidentially.

If you meet a customer of whom you are genuinely concerned for their welfare, confide in another member of staff and if necessary, contact the emergency services.

The advisory information supplied in our leaflets is also available here:

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