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.

Sources

  1. Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J (2012) Mayes’ midwifery, 14th edition, London Balliere Tindall
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    Comments

    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 [email protected]'s on 19 Jul 2016 - 10:06

      Hi, Our midwives have this advice: Generally if you are usually regular with your periods and have been having unprotected sex, it is advisable that you take a pregnancy test to confirm if you are pregnant or not. A pregnancy test can be taken from the first day of your missed period. Vaginal discharge is common in the first trimester and is called leukorrhea – It is not offensive and is milky coloured. When pregnant this discharge increases due to the increased oestrogen & increased blood flow to the vagina. If however the discharge is offensive or not milky coloured , you may have a vaginal infection so you should seek medical advice from your GP. If you want to have more advice feel free to call one of our Tommy's Midwives for a chat on our helpline on 0800 0147 800 or email [email protected]

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 19 Jul 2016 - 05:25

      Hi,
      I have a regular period that came late, by a week or so, but now I've been having discharge, and I'm quite worried as me and my partner are having unprotective sex.
      Help please

    • By [email protected]'s on 7 Jul 2016 - 10:55

      Hi,
      Discharge and spotting are not definite indicators of pregnancy. The only way to be sure is to take a pregnancy test. Many will be able to tell from the first day of your missed period (some can be used four or five days before your period is due). Check what it says on the packet. Take care of yourself and feel free to call us on 0800 0147800 if you wish to speak to a midwife directly. The Tommy's MIdwives

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 3 Jul 2016 - 18:29

      My periods have been on time or just a day or two early but now iv become to be having discharge. Is there any chance that I could be pregnant or not with having discharge? Also spotting blood now an then?

    • By [email protected]'s on 20 Jun 2016 - 14:05

      It is possible that you are pregnant as you had unprotected sex after your period. Spotting can be a sign of one of many things, but yes, it is possible that it is a sign of pregnancy. It would be best to take a pregnancy test, either one with your GP, or a home test, to find out. If you are not pregnant, then perhaps your GP can send you for some investigations to put your mind at ease. Take care of yourself and feel free to call us on 0800 0147800 if you wish to speak to a midwife directly.

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 19 Jun 2016 - 17:51

      Hi,i came on my period on the 8th June,little early but nothing unusual,it lasted for 4 days then i stopped bleeding, the next day i had unprotected sex with my partner&ever since then I've been spotting,is this a sign that i could be pregnant?

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 14 Jun 2016 - 14:20

      Am I Pregnant

    • By [email protected]'s on 13 Jun 2016 - 10:25

      Hi,
      Missing periods can be caused by any number of things – pregnancy, stress, illness, weight (mostly severe weight loss), excessive exercise, change in schedule, breastfeeding, medication, hormonal imbalance or even a thyroid disorder. If you are sure that you are not pregnant, then it might be a good idea to be seen by your GP (which is free) to have some tests done which will make sure that you are well and to get treatment started if they find something which requires it.

      If this information doesn't help would you like to call our midwives on 0800 0147 800. The call is free and midwives are on the line Monday to Friday 9-5. Or you can email [email protected]?
      Regards, Tommy's midwives

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 3 Jun 2016 - 03:51

      So I am going on two months of missed period and I've taken like six pregnancy test but they all say negative. I know this is pregnancy site but I just can't find anything else that says why I would be missing my period. It's never ever been late or missed. I'm just scared and I need some help. I don't have money for a doctor I just need someone to help me.

    • By [email protected]'s on 16 May 2016 - 14:07

      Hi,
      It is possible for you to get pregnant without having sexual intercourse if, for example :
      - sperm gets into your vagina- for example, if you or your partner have seman or pre-ejaculate on your fingers and touch your vagina
      - your partner ejaculates near your vagina
      - your partner’s erect penis comes into contact with your body near your vagina
      The risk of getting pregnant in this way is fairly low as sperm can only live for a short time outside of the body. However, if you’re not planning a pregnancy, it’s important to know that it’s possible to get pregnant in this way.
      Hope this helps, Tommy's midwives

    • By ann (not verified) on 25 Aug 2018 - 11:50

      I had my menses on the 29july2018 and my menses has not come .I have this terrible cold. please confirm this for me

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