How to know when you are pregnant

How do you know whether you're pregnant or not? If you've been trying to get pregnant, there are a few ways to find out whether you're pregnant.

Early pregnancy symptoms

If you notice one or more of these symptoms, it might be an early sign of pregnancy and a good idea to take a pregnancy test.

•      Late period
•      Extreme tiredness
•      Need to wee more often
•      Nausea
•      A metallic taste in your mouth
•      Sensitivity to smells
•      Tender or sore breasts.

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How do pregnancy tests work?

Pregnancy tests work by detecting one of the key early signs of pregnancy: a hormone called human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG). This hormone is only made when a woman is pregnant.

Traces of hCG can be found in the urine from three to four days after implantation, but the concentration needs to continue to build up to a level at which the test can detect it and give a positive result. The best time to take a pregnancy test is from the day that the period is missed. 

Where can I get a pregnancy test?

GP pregnancy test

These tests are either free or a small fee is charged.

You’ll need to take a sample of your urine in a clean container (you can get sample pots from your GP’s surgery). The best time to collect a urine sample is first thing in the morning. This is because levels of hCG will have built up overnight.

If the urine sample is tested on the spot, you probably will be given the result after just a few minutes. You may have to wait up to a few days for the pregnancy test results though.

Home pregnancy test

These tests are available to buy from chemists or supermarkets and enable you to find out if you are pregnant in private after a few minutes.

The tests are considered to be quite accurate, although it is essential that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

Choose a kit that you think will be easy for you to use and make sure that you understand what mark or symbol will appear if the test is positive.

Find out more about taking a pregnancy test.

How accurate is the pregnancy test?

It is important to know that whilst a positive result is likely to be accurate, a negative result may be misleading. Some women have a negative result and test again a week later to find that it is positive.

This is due to the levels of pregnancy hormone gradually building up to a level at which they can be detected. If you test yourself very early on and you have a negative result, you should carry out another test in 2-3 days’ time if you have still not had a period.

If you continue to get negative results and still no period, you should consult your doctor.

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What should I do if I am pregnant?

Once you get a positive pregnancy test, make an appointment to see your doctor or a midwife.

Tell the doctor’s surgery when you are making the appointment that you have had a positive pregnancy test result as you might need a longer appointment.


  1. Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J (2012) Mayes’ midwifery, 14th edition, London Balliere Tindall
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Your stories of planning for pregnancy

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    I just knew that there were no guarantees for us when trying to conceive

    Amanda, 26, had irregular periods and she knew getting pregnant would be a challenge. She and her husband decided to become healthier when they were planning to have a baby. They now have a daughter called Shelbie.

  • Hayley, Sam and baby Amaryllis


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    Hayley, 27, and Sam, 28, a barista from Lincolnshire knew their health conditions would make conception a challenge. But they didn’t give up. Following fertility treatment, they now have a daughter, Amaryllis. This is their story.

  • Claire Gale


    “I knew I was ready to try again”

    Claire Gale, 30, and husband Mark, 32, from Bournemouth always wanted a family. Last year and 8 weeks into her pregnancy, Claire miscarried, but she trusted her body to tell her when it was time to try again for a baby.

  • Lauren with her baby Cherry


    Our emotional pregnancy journey

    Lauren, 33, from Essex, and her husband Victor, 33, struggled to conceive and endured a miscarriage and pre-eclampsia before they had their beautiful daughter Cherry.

    Last reviewed on June 13th, 2017. Next review date June 13th, 2020.

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    Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.
    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 21 Jul 2017 - 17:24

      my periods are normal,and yes am still having those symptoms, its xo frustrating to see those negative results yet feel pregnancy symptoms
      my dizziness is now often coupled with nausea and the most frustrating of all is dat I just treated malaria, xo it really cnt be malaria
      nd besides I have also noticed my frequent vaginal discharge nd abdominal pain
      xo what's all this?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 24 Jul 2017 - 12:49

      Hi. If you are getting repeated negative pregnancy tests it is unlikely that you are pregnant. I would suggest that you make an appointment to see your doctor to discuss your symptoms.

    • By Huma (not verified) on 18 Jul 2017 - 13:14

      Hi I need to wee again n again n didnt get my periods so far n im feeling bloated n sometimes I feel nauseas.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Jul 2017 - 13:45

      Hi, Thank you for your comment. You may be showing signs of being pregnant or you may have a urine infection which is causing the nausea and wanting to pass urine often. If you have been having unprotected sex and your period is late then there may be a possibility of being pregnant. What you need to do next is take a pregnancy test and see if it is positive. If you are pregnant then we would advice that you see your GP so that they can advice you further on what happens next. If you aren't pregnant it would still be advisable to see your GP just to rule out any urine infection. Hope this helps. Tommy's Midwives x

    • By Natalie smith (not verified) on 7 Jul 2017 - 12:02

      I've been on the pill that stops my period however the last months I've been forgetting to take them. I missed two days then took on ethe missed another two days, then started again. I have unprotected sex during these times. Recently I've been feeling sick especially in the morning, I've been sick and at night I've been having cramps, my breasts are sore and tender, ive been going to the toilet quite frequently and I've been eating a lot more then I normally do. I took a test on Monday after however it can up negative, I took another one on Tuesday morning first thing and it still came up negative. Is it took early for me to find out if I'm pregnant

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Jul 2017 - 15:10

      Hi, It is difficult to really advise you as you have not given any dates at all but sometimes it can be too early for a pregnancy test to be able to pick up on hormone changes. If you wait a week and then try a test again, alternatively you could see your GP for a blood test as they are more sensitive than a urine home test. If you think you maybe pregnant then it would be advised to also take a folic acid supplement too. Tommy's midwives.

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 28 Jun 2017 - 14:16

      Hi can I be pregnant because I need to go to the toilet a lot for a wee nd i get stomach pains at the bottom of my stomach my period is not regular so I can not tell I am taking tablet for my period but not had them since 15 June 2017 I hav had a baby before but I did not now or had any symptoms of pregnancy until I went in to labour so I'm abit scared nd I feel tired nd sleepy nd jus don't want to do anything nd my mood jus changes can I be pregnant plz help

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Jun 2017 - 14:16

      Hi, Thank you for your comment. You could be showing signs of being pregnant or you may have a urine infection which is causing the stomach cramps and wanting to pass urine often. If you have been having unprotected sex and your period is late then there may be a possibility of being pregnant. What you need to do next is take a pregnancy test and see if it is positive. If you are pregnant then we would advice that you see your GP so that they can advice you further on what happens next. If you aren't pregnant it would still be advisable to see your GP just to rule out any urine infection. Hope this helps. Tommy's Midwives x

    • By Jamal (not verified) on 21 Jun 2017 - 16:14

      I had my period on June 4th and have unprotected sex on jun14th IS it possible to be pregnant? Thanks

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Jun 2017 - 16:36

      Hi Jamal
      Yes, it is possible for you to be pregnant. If you had unprotected sex following your menstrual period, then it is possible for you to have conceived in that time. I would be sensible to do a pregnancy test within the next 1-2 weeks. Please take good care of yourself.

    • By Victoria (not verified) on 16 Jun 2017 - 14:25

      Hi, I've always been irregular but it's always a Friday I have been (on) I can never be certain of the time I will be on as usually I can miss a month then be on again. So it's not really an issue I'd be worried.
      However I have been irregular latelY as usual and can't actually pin point last time I was on.
      Lately Im tired and have hell of mood swings. My temperament is highetend and when I wake I do feel a sense of sickNess, but haven't - apart from today.

      I was pregnant before around 17yrs old. Still irregular and one morning I woke and I just knew, went and got a test and It was positive.

      I can't be sure now because, in a sense I just think I'm Ill constantly, I've been underweight but since this has started. I was 8 stone and now weigh 8.5 stone just within 2 weeks.
      I can hardly eat, I feel dizzy and
      have been known to drop to the floor passing out with high and low temperatures. Cold/hot soaked in sweat. have to weigh my head down to the floor till it eventually passes. I've scared a few people in my presence if it had been in a car I'd have to stop and get the air and just simply fall out in weakness, Or in the bathroom where I can't be moved on the floor. I can't speak nor do I have the power to get up. *(bit never feel sick while the occures)*
      This was before I belive I may or may not be pregnant so you can see why I generally just don't know, If it's my eating or generally feel weak or IllNess.

      Been doctors got blood test - nothing. I know when the faintING spells come on because I have at least 2 minutes feeling of warning, when I know it's gonna happen.
      -- Haven't had one recently apart from withdrawing weakness and sickness feeling and only today I have been sick.

      But if it's not pregnancy for my recent symotons and the GP don't know by my blood results. Then it's something I'd have to wait till it passes.

      I have a boyfriend of 7 years so if I fell pregnant, it would not be a surprise and tbh would be quite happy.

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 9 Jun 2017 - 19:16

      Hi I had my last period on the 28th April and haven't been on since it would be 6 weeks today. I am usually on time and for the last 4 days have felt sick and been sick once would it be too early too know?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Jun 2017 - 09:34

      Hello. It is not too early to do a pregnancy test if there is a possibility that you could be pregnant. If the test is positive you should make an appointment to see your GP. Best wishes

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 20 May 2017 - 13:08

      I had my last period on 13.05.2017 and it's 7 days late. Today I had 1 glass of water at 2.15 am and did test by using ican by 4 am. But it came negative. Is it possible that after negative result it can be positive. I need some suggestions. Thanks

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 May 2017 - 09:46

      If your last period was 13/5/17 it is not really possible that you are pregnant. A period that is a few days late is not unusual and not something to worry about. Best wishes x

    • By Susannah (not verified) on 22 Apr 2017 - 13:52

      Hi I have had mild cramps for the past week after ovulation with flu symptoms back ache. In the mornings I feel empty and have more saliva then normal. I am 6dpo I had unprotected sex on 16th and my period due 30th

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 24 Apr 2017 - 10:04

      If you think you think you maybe pregnant it would be sensible to carry out a pregnancy test around the time your period is due. Some mild cramping around ovulation can be related to either ovulation or implantation is not uncommon but its hard to determine at this stage which this is. If you continue to feel unwell please contact your GP for advice and support.

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 20 Apr 2017 - 10:58

      Hello. I had sex on the 9th of April. The sperm went inside me. The next day I started my period. Ever since that day I've been feeling nausea and tiredness. So I took a pregnancy test and it came out negative. Could I be pregnant?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Apr 2017 - 11:59

      Hello. Based on the information you have given here, it is extremely unlikely that you are pregnant. It is more likely that the nausea and fatigue are linked to some other cause. Try to ensure that you are eating well and maintaining a sensible lifestyle. If your symptoms don't improve then I would suggest that you see your doctor. Best wishes

    • By Kimbo (not verified) on 18 Apr 2017 - 19:08

      i had sex on 11th Feb when I was fertile, I then had sex on 23rd Feb and got period on 24th Feb! I'm now 20 days late my march period never came. I've took 3 tests all negative. I feel nauseas and I have to pee all the time. Could I still be pregnant

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Apr 2017 - 09:32

      Hi Kimbo.
      Using your first day of your last menstrual period of the 24th Feb 2017, and presuming that you have a regular 28 days cycle, you would currently be 7 weeks pregnant. This would certainly show up on a home pregnancy test.
      If you have not already done so, I would suggest that you make an appointment with your GP who can do another pregnancy test, perhaps a blood test and refer you onto a gynae clinic if you are not pregnant, and have missed a period for unkown reason. Please take good care of yourself.

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 11 May 2017 - 10:01

      We have been trying for a baby my last period was 8th April I was due period on 6th May but haven't had one I'm 5 days late but feeling sickasick and tired could I be pregnant I've done tests but saying negative

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 11 May 2017 - 11:25

      Hi, there is a chance that you could be pregnant as you are actively trying for a baby, your period is late and you are showing signs of pregnancy. It would be recommend that you do another pregnancy test in a couple of days, if you still haven't had a period and the test is still negative then please go and see your GP as they can do a blood test to check your pregnancy hormone levels and these are very accurate as the pregnancy hormone is picked up in the blood. Good Luck with everything x

    • By Shell (not verified) on 15 May 2017 - 11:11

      Thank you I done another test today as 9 days late still neg

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Mar 2017 - 10:04

      It is possible to become pregnant without having full sex. If you were not using contraception and you haven't had a normal period it would be worth buying a pregnancy test. Then you know one way or the other so you have time to make choices about what is right for you if the test comes back positive.
      Take care
      Tommy's Midwives

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 13 Apr 2017 - 09:29

      Hi Midwife,
      I've been troubling with a bit of a yeast infection of late so my midwife prescribed me Fluconazole. I have read that this interferes with the birth control pill Loestrin that I take like clockwork every morning. I have taken 2 doses of this tablet for the last 2 Sundays. I feel a little sick stomach in the mornings and my period is not due until next week. Could it be possible that i'm pregnant?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Apr 2017 - 14:47

      There is some evidence that fluconazole can interfere with combined oral contraceptives. It is therefore recommended that you use a condom until your next period. The only way to know if you are pregnant is to do a pregnancy test.

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 15 Mar 2017 - 04:49

      At the beginning of this year, January 1st to be exact, me and my partner were trying to have sex, he kind of got the tip in but he couldn't well preform, so we ended up just cuddling, I had been getting my periods from the end of one month through the first week if the next, but when February rolled around I only had a lite two day bleed, could I be pregnant?

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 13 Mar 2017 - 12:50

      Is it possible to become pregnant after having a tubal ligation? What are the chances of becoming pregnant? I had the tubal procedure over 13 years ago. I am 34 years old and my partner and I do have unprotected sex.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Mar 2017 - 14:11

      A tubal ligation is a surgical procedure to cut, clip or band the fallopian tubes and prevent an egg from moving from the ovaries to the uterus. It is considered to be 99.5% effective in preventing a pregnancy. Did you have the procedure in this country and are you sure this is what was done? Did you have both tubes tied? This link may help you

    • By J (not verified) on 9 Mar 2017 - 20:45

      I have missed my period 6th March and I had a positive pregnancy test. Today I had a little bit of brown discharge after being at the toilet. Am I still pregnant or what can I do? Any advice please? I had a miscarriage 7 years ago and afterwards I had my son. Also 2 years ago I had a miscarriage, too. Both of my miscarriages happened when I was 12 weeks pregnant...

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Mar 2017 - 09:22

      The mostly likely explanation is that the brown discharge is an implantation bleed which commonly occurs around about the time your next period would have been due. However I understand that you are anxious given your history of miscarriage, if you have any further bleeding or pain then go to the GP for a review. In the meantime if you have not already, then I would advise for you to be taking your folic acid and vitamin D supplements. If you would like any further support then please do email us [email protected]

    • By Khyia (not verified) on 7 Apr 2017 - 00:38

      The brown discharge it normally implant bleeding it is commen during pregnancy so need to worry. Sorry about your losses and if you need to speak to anyone if worried speak to your gp. Congrats and relax x

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 28 Feb 2017 - 21:51

      Basically ive been feeling rather nauseated for the last 7 days i do not track ovulation but my next period is due on the 12th march anyway with this nausea ive also suffered a 3 day headache im always tired atm and the nausea isnt going ive had on off cramping past 2 days and my last period only lasted 4 days and was not as heavy as it usually is but did have some little clots on 1 day of it i usualy have a 7 day really heavy clotty period me and my partner are trying i was also sick twice y'day and the nausea still remains

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Mar 2017 - 12:16

      Have you done a pregnancy test? It is possible that these symptoms are unrelated to a pregnancy. If the symptoms persist I would advise that you see your doctor. In the meantime try to ensure that you are well hydrated and look after yourself x

    • By FM (not verified) on 23 Feb 2017 - 21:12

      Hi, I had unprotected sex with my partner last on the 20th Nov 2016. But have been having irregular period since then. It's either early or late by one day. I have also been feeling nauseas and bloated for the past 3 months. Now my period is 5 days late. Is it possible to be pregnant and still having my period?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 24 Feb 2017 - 10:21

      Hi, it is very unlikely that you are pregnant if you have been having your periods still since having intercourse however I would suggest for you to do a pregnancy test just to be sure. If you have a negative test and these symptoms continue then it maybe worth seeing your GP for a review.

    • By Hana (not verified) on 21 Feb 2017 - 20:33

      Is it possible to be pregnant without having any sexual intercourse especially for a virgin girl?
      For example: your partner's penis comes into contact with your body near your vagina.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Feb 2017 - 12:10

      it is possible to become pregnant if a man ejaculates near a woman's vagina so consider contraception and a barrier method, like a condom to avoid pregnancy.
      Tommy's Midwives

    • By tfait (not verified) on 10 Feb 2017 - 03:47

      i am 2 weeks late and have a list of symptons that include sore tender brests, cramping in my lower abdomen, i pee sll rhe time. i have tested a few times put they have all come back negative. What should i do?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Feb 2017 - 11:52

      If you think there is a chance that you maybe pregnant if you have been having intercourse then I would suggest to see your GP for a blood test as these are more sensitive and accurate, for some women they do not get a positive pregnancy test until a few weeks into pregnancy. I would advise to start taking folic acid if you think you may be pregnant too. I hope this helps, take care.

    • By Kai (not verified) on 6 Feb 2017 - 04:29

      Hello I've been having unprotected sex for the last three months i've had a irregular periods but they would usually come towards the end of the month and would keep going ..on 4 January I had bled a little bit but it went away and ever sense I have not gotten my period I've been feeling really sick lately been having cramps like period Cramps and I've been craving extremely weird food combinations that I'm never ate before also I had wiped myself and there was a chunk of white discharge... and it was not a yeast infection because I know what those feel like

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Feb 2017 - 09:46

      Hi there Kai
      I think it would be sensible to do a pregnancy test yes. If you have been having unprotected sex for 3 months now, regular or irregular periods, you are not protected if you are not using contraception. Cramps and vaginal discharge can be a factor caused by pregnancy, but it could also be unrelated to pregnancy if your test is negative.
      Buy a test. End the doubt. Take care of yourself.

    • By Kaitlyn (not verified) on 6 Feb 2017 - 01:54

      Age:18, Gender: Female

      Hello my name is Kaitlyn I am due my period on the 11th of February 2017 I had my last period at the same time last month which would have been the 11th of January Iam in a sexual relationship with my partner and as estimated I would have ovulated on the 26th of January I have had some bleeding on the 10dpo but was only there when I wiped after using the loo is it possible I am pregnant and having implantation bleeding?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Feb 2017 - 10:16

      Hi Kaitlyn.
      I would advise you to take a pregnancy test. You are in a sexual relationship and if you are not using contraception, then it is possible that you are pregnant. Early bleeding is sometimes caused by implantation - but you certainly need to confirm the pregnancy before you worry about if this is normal or not. It could be the start of your next period otherwise. Take care of yourself.

    • By Kaitlyn (not verified) on 6 Feb 2017 - 10:42

      Hi I have taken a pregnancy test this morning and it's coming up a faint positive what should I do next

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Feb 2017 - 10:47

      I would advice that you wait a few more days and repeat the test. Sometimes the test can be taken too early and give an inaccurate result.Have a think about if this is a wanted, or unwanted pregnancy, discuss this with your partner and family for support. Make a GP appointment if you decide to continue with the pregnancy to get you booked in with a midwife. Discuss with your GP local clinics near to you if you chose to terminate the pregnancy.
      Please feel free to email us directly on [email protected] to speak in a more private way.

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 1 Feb 2017 - 17:09

      I haven't had a period in 11 months and depo injection run out 9 months ago . Can I still get pregnant

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 2 Feb 2017 - 11:59

      It can take a while for your periods and natural fertility to return after the injections. If you are concerned that you may be pregnant I would suggest that you do a pregnancy test.

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 1 Feb 2017 - 01:30

      I'm due usauly on the 24th and for some reason I haven't had my period yet I had it last month but not this month its late By nine days any advice? Pleaseee...

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