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.

Are you ready to conceive? Try our free healthcheck

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.

Are you ready to conceive? Try our free healthcheck

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

  • Couple Amanda and Judd with daughter Shelbie


    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


    “One chance for a baby”

    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 nyarie (not verified) on 19 Mar 2019 - 07:44

      Hi i had my last period on the 21 of February 2019, then had unprotected sex the 7th of March on my day of ovulation, i was tracking my ovulation well. on the 12th of March i had a brown small spot in the morning and then nothing the whole day. the next day started bleeding light through passing out clots and tissues now im it the second week still bleeding heavily was supposed to be on my period on the 21st of March 29. im confused what's happening in my body im i miscarriage or is it my period that came a bit earlier. please help me understand

    • By Rita (not verified) on 18 Mar 2019 - 13:37

      hello i hav sex 22-25 of dec. we do withdrawal period would be on dec. 26 but it came on dec. 31 and last jan. 2 my next period start at feb 8 it lasted for about 3-4 days i test with pt but it shows negative...could i be pregnant? ...pls i need an answer...

    • By Krissy (not verified) on 18 Mar 2019 - 12:43

      Please help I had my last period 8th feb and I bled for 3 weeks I had unprotected sex on the 25th of feb and I am going on 2 weeks late for my period this month but getting negative pregnancy tests I’ve been getting really bad pounding headaches mood swings I’m tired all the time have tender breasts feeling spaced out and have white discharge I don’t understand what is going on is there a chance that I could be pregnant and it is just not coming up on the tests or is it because I bled for 3 weeks last month so I haven’t come on this month?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Mar 2019 - 15:24

      Hi Krissy
      You should go to your GP if you feel that you are pregnant but the tests are not coming back as positive. Please be aware that any unprotected sex and can cause pregnancy. All the best, Tommy's Midwife

    • By Kim Wilson (not verified) on 17 Mar 2019 - 19:52

      Hi so I've been having unprotected sex wit my boyfriend ..started February 12 my period was to come on on the 7th but I was just spotting really light for about 4 days then it stopped I was cramping and my boobs have been sore and I have been really dehydrated could I be pregnant?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Mar 2019 - 15:22

      Hi Kim
      Any unprotected sex and lead to pregnancy, so it is possible.
      The best time to do a pregnancy test, is when you are 7 days late for a period, and doing a test with your first wee of the day for the most accurate result- whether that is positive or negative as the pregnancy hormone Hcg is highest in the first wee of the day. Take care, Tommy's Midwife

    • By Lisa mcveigh (not verified) on 14 Mar 2019 - 22:39

      Lmp 2/1/19 No period since bled 10/2/19 1 day nothing since started spotting only when I wipe yesterday very bloated sore boobs blue veins all over and sickness tested negative what shall I do

    • By Shannon (not verified) on 14 Mar 2019 - 14:51

      I have my periods every month around the 21st/22nd....I had one on the 21st of December then didn't have one atall for January but took a test and was a light period the 5th of February..then so far 10 days late this month?

    • By Yulissa (not verified) on 13 Mar 2019 - 13:09

      Hi , I had unprotected sex the 16th of February which was my highest chance of getting pregnant, my period should have started the 3rd of January but didn’t and now am 10 days late on my period, i took a pregnancy test last Friday and the results came out negative..

      What should i do ?

    • By Ellie (not verified) on 12 Mar 2019 - 21:59

      My period was due today but hasn't come yet. I did have intercorse on fertile days and around the days where I ovulated (26/2/19). Is it too soon to test for pregnancy?

    • By Sis k (not verified) on 9 Mar 2019 - 18:22

      I last saw my normal periods on 26 january 2019,on da 9 of feb i saw small brownish blood for one day.i did not see my periods for february,on da 4th of march i saw light red blood for 2 days i took 3 pt but they are all negative.but i feel tired,bloated and my breast are tender.

    • By Casey (not verified) on 9 Mar 2019 - 13:15

      Hi guys... I'm 20 days late but I have no pregnancy symptoms. I tested when I was 10 days late and the results was negative...I had a miscarriage last year August... So I'm a little scared to buy a test.. I have a regular cycle of 28 days..I'm slightly Constipated as well. And i have this white creamy discharge. Yesterday I had cramping and felt like I was going to get my periods but nothing happened. I don't wanna get my hopes up and I can't bring myself to go buy a test.. Has anyone experienced something like this?

    • By Ashley (not verified) on 20 Mar 2019 - 06:38

      I also experienced that I had a miscarriage last year December and I am also scared to get tested . I have grammpy tummy , and I got a tough dizziness but I am not constipated I go to toilet every morning to poo ... I lost weight I also have a creamy discharge

    • By Ryn (not verified) on 8 Mar 2019 - 23:03

      My LMP was Feb 9, 2019 I had unprotected sex with my husband 22nd and 24th of February 2019. I'm feeling some type of way. Easily tired, ache in my lower back, constipation, stomach pain, irritated by smell(but not all the time). My next period is due March 9. Can I possibly be pregnant. Please i need to know. Midwife please i need a response. Thanks.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 11 Mar 2019 - 14:18

      Hi Ryn, I understand that you are anxious, but I really can't tell you if you are pregnant or not. You will have to do a pregnancy test to know for certain. Take care

    • By Snothile (not verified) on 11 Mar 2019 - 21:51

      On the 9 of Feb I get my prieod until 11 but on 22 I done pregnant test it was positive even still on the 26 it was also postive but last week I start bleed on the5th of March I go to the hospital I done any altsound they don't see any thing so now I'm worried

    • By Lauren (not verified) on 8 Mar 2019 - 14:56

      Had 2 day bleeding 23-25th of feb and my period was due 5th of March and no sign of it. 3 days late and still getting negative test result. Getting back cramping too but no sign of period and experiencing headaches. If I am pregnant I think I probably conceived nearly 2 weeks ago

    • By Tina (not verified) on 8 Mar 2019 - 14:33

      I had unprotected sex on 13th Jan just before fertile window 14-19th started spotting 24th Jan. My periods are normally regular every 27-28 days. I had a faint positive on 2 different hpt on 1st and 2nd feb. I then had a light period with no clots which was 4 days late on 3rd Feb. my period is normally 5 days but bleed for 6. I then had spotting for 4 more days. In between this time I made an appointment with my doctors on the 5th feb who done a urine test and said could not be sure and thought it could be chemical pregnancy. I am now Day 34 of cycle and normally get cramps before period is due but have had nausea for past week, and extreme fatigue, could I be pregnant?

    • By Ryn (not verified) on 8 Mar 2019 - 11:54

      My LMP was Feb 9, 2019 I had unprotected sex with my husband 22nd and 24th of February 2019. I'm feeling some type of way. Easily tired, ache in my lower back, constipation, stomach pain, irritated by smell(but not all the time). My next period is due March 9. Can I possibly be pregnant. Please i need to know

    • By Daniella Ybarra (not verified) on 7 Mar 2019 - 18:48

      So this has happened 2 times but this one seems off ive been going on getting my period almost every month & half , so it's irregular I always get my period on the 26 or 27 i last got my period was December 27,2018 we are currently in march 7,2019 i feel like this is wayy too long and through out the time yes i have had unprotected sex. I ve already went to the doctor they show negative for everything . I feel helpless

    • By thandazile (not verified) on 7 Mar 2019 - 16:30

      what could be the problem m now confused if I take pregnancy test it always come back negative I did it several times m I pregnant or what because my breasts are still sore and tender

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Mar 2019 - 16:50

      Hi - Thank you for your message.
      If you have bleeding and sore, painful breasts for 2 months please visit your doctor to be checked to ensure all is well.

    • By Ann (not verified) on 7 Mar 2019 - 08:18

      I had may period on Feb 8 and had period again on Feb 27. They are both on normal menstrual flow. I wonder what could that mean.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Mar 2019 - 10:59

      Hi - thank you for your message. If you are worried about unusual bleeding, please contact you GP to be checked.

    • By Sabrina (not verified) on 7 Mar 2019 - 03:15

      I've been having a lot of unprotected sex and he's not pulling out. I got my period feb5 2019. Now March 2 and 3rd I was bleeding. It stopped. Expected period is March 5. It hasn't come yet. Could I be pregnant. Need to know ASAP

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Mar 2019 - 11:02

      Hi - Thank you for your message.
      If you are having unprotected sex and your period is delayed, you should carry out a pregnancy test. If it is positive - you should see your GP for early pregnancy care and referral. If the test is negative you should also see your GP to be checked as to why your period is delayed.

    • By Jordan plant (not verified) on 5 Mar 2019 - 16:23

      Hi I am a mom of 3 my youngest is nearly 9 month old my periods have been regular after having all my children only ever miss one when I’m pregnant, I’m not on birth control and we don’t use condoms we use the pull out method which normally works for us I had my period on the 29th jan 2019 and came off on the 6th feb I was due to start my period again on the end of feb but still haven’t came one I’ve taken two tests and they have came bk with extremely faint positives on my period is past 2 days late so my lines should be a lot darker than they are if I’m pregnant what should I do am I pregnant but it’s still very early I’m confused..

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Mar 2019 - 11:05

      Hi - Thank you for your message.
      If you have had 2 positive pregnancy tests - then you are pregnant. You should contact your GP/midwife to be checked and to be referred for antenatal care.

    • By Brittany (not verified) on 4 Mar 2019 - 21:28

      Okay so me and my husband has had unprotected sex and I had my period last month and we had unprotected sex all this time I am having really bad mood swings and I am hurting on my breast my nipples are brown and I have this stinging pain on my right side I crave alot and I also get very nauseated to my stomach but I don't throw up.

      Am I pregnant???

    • By Cartiermommy (not verified) on 1 Mar 2019 - 11:44

      i haven't had my period in 12 days and i had sex on my ovulating day 2 test was invalid and 4 test have coming back negative ?? Am I pregnant?? It took three months for it to pop up on a test positive I was pregnant with my first child ??

    • By susu (not verified) on 28 Feb 2019 - 17:06

      I am on my 21 brith control pills, on the 5th to 11th, january i stopped taking to have my period, on the 12th i started taking them again as usual, on the 20th i had unprotected sex, an in the 22th i notice a little of spotting, a brown, pinky discharge, on the 2nd, february to 8th, i stopped taking my pills to have my period. i never misses i pill, and my period always came on the same time, i did a pregnacy test on the 26th of february and it came negative.
      Is it likely for me to be pregnat even though my pregnacy test came negative

    • By Pris (not verified) on 28 Feb 2019 - 11:15

      Hi, I had unprotected sex on 21st Feb evening, and I’m having period on 21st Feb @midnight and stopped on 23th Feb. Usually my period last for 5-6 days. But this time it last for 2days only. I had dizziness /keep eating because keep hungry/feel tired/feeling sleepy even aft rested well/can’t tolerate smelly food.
      Yesterday I checked using test kit it’s showing negative. I’m very confused.

    • By Lulu4 (not verified) on 1 Mar 2019 - 04:48

      i believe your testing too early.

    • By Tina Tina (not verified) on 28 Feb 2019 - 11:14

      Me and my boyfriend had sex on Jan 15,16,17 lol wild days. I started bleeding Feb 2 I usually come on 3rd of every month and my periods usually last up to 5 days. But on the 2 of feb I only was bleeding for 2 days, first day I seen a blood clot hanging from my tampon after that it was really light pinkish and brown so I just put a pad on to test my flow. It stopped then started again the second day it was a little red with a lot of brown. I took a clear blue test it came up negative. But I have all the symptoms. Now 3 days ago I got out the shower and seen honey looking discharge coming out my left nipple. and I had clear stretchy discharge when I whipped myself. I set a appointment but I got to wait til Friday and I’m very curious of what it might be. I’m only 21 and I never get any symptoms like this.

    • By Lee (not verified) on 18 Mar 2019 - 12:41

      I am going through this alao! I had slight spotting on Tues then a heavy bleed qith clots on wed then nothing for 2 days and then slight spotting again. What was your outcome please?

    • By Ashley (not verified) on 22 Feb 2019 - 06:22

      39 days since last cycle 20 since unprotected intercourse 2 negative test
      What should u do I honestly feel diffrent, tender breast, metallic taste in my mouth, it seems like food taste different and I can smell everything!! My cycle is pretty consistent. Can someone please put my mind at ease?

    • By Anah Zaneen (not verified) on 21 Feb 2019 - 17:36

      Hello. My last cycle is 31th of December and irregular minstration. I feel headache Some pain in my breast. On feb 14 i use to pregnancy test and the result is negative. It's possible to get pregnant?

    • By Nina (not verified) on 21 Feb 2019 - 12:48

      I had sex on 10th February without using a birth control pill. I missed my period today, being 24th Feb although my period just got regular for the first time in the last 3 months. Should i wait till the end of February to know if its not more regular or is it a sign of pregnancy?

    • By Sd (not verified) on 20 Feb 2019 - 16:44

      I am also trying to last period is on jan 25 and 3 day before period white milky dischargr and feeling faint some time when i have to test

    • By Sofytovia (not verified) on 20 Feb 2019 - 16:39

      I had an abortion last month which started from 19th February to the 26th...
      I had sex sometime15th January but the bf didn't release inside me..and am way over due to see my period...
      I don't even know know what to do right now.. I tested 2days ago and it was negative
      1) Please clear me on when am meant to (have) see(n) my period
      2) And if i could be pregnant...
      Am soo confused...

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Feb 2019 - 13:03

      If you are having negative tests then it maybe that your cycle has been disrupted due the abortion last month. If your period does not come and you continue to get negative tests then do see your GP for a review. They can also have a chat with you about contraception and what would suit you best.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Bec (not verified) on 19 Feb 2019 - 20:00

      I had an abortion on 11th dec when I was 8 weeks pregnant. I had heavy bleeding for 2 weeks after, and then in jan I had a one day period this month I am now over a week late for my period I have done 2 pregnancy tests which both have come back negative. I am very bloated and worried as there have been a few times when having intercourse I have bled. This happened when I pregnant last time but due to tests being negative I'm very confused. Any advice?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Feb 2019 - 12:36

      Bec, please go to your GP for review. They will refer you on for Gynae review if you are not pregnant and there is no apparent reason for your sudden change in menstruation. Take care, Tommy's Midwife

    • By Jane (not verified) on 13 Feb 2019 - 01:05

      I had my last period december 23-27. I had no period after that.. I had pregnancy test and it says positive. I just want to know how many weeks am I pregnant now?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Feb 2019 - 12:23

      Hi Jane
      Using your LMP of 23rd/12/18 - you are likely to be no more than 8 weeks pregnant. Please make sure you get your midwife booking appt and first ultrasound scan date(which will confirm how many weeks pregnant you are) as soon as you can. All the best, Tommy's Midwife

    • By Chloe (not verified) on 12 Feb 2019 - 22:22

      I had my last period the 24th December a little while before then i stopped my combined pill. I have mot had a period since and have taken two pregnancy tests which both came back negative i have still not had a period and now expierncing lower back pain in the right of my back on and off i get light cramps/twitches in my lower abdomen and my breast have grown in size and become more sensitive. I am also very tired most of the time and have episodes of my ears ringing. Im not sure weather i should take another test or not or book and appoitment with my gp.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Feb 2019 - 12:07

      Hi Chloe. Please visit your GP as soon as you can. If you are not pregnant, you may need a gynaecology review. All the best, Tommy's Midwife

    • By Angela (not verified) on 12 Feb 2019 - 20:07


      I had a miscarriage in december 15th. Then I had a regular period the last week in January, it ended a week later. I wasn't bleeding for a week, my boyfriend and I had sex, then my period started again with a few small clots. Then I stopped after a week again, we did it again, and I am spotting again? What is wrong with my body? It is making it very difficult for me to conceive again. Please advise. Thank you so much.

      Best regards,


    • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Feb 2019 - 12:20

      Hi Angela. Try using our ovulation calculator to help you to plan when you are the highest chance to conceive in your cycle- see link below.
      If you have not had a follow up since your miscarriage, please visit your GP who will review you and your medical history.
      Also see the link below for ways to prepare your body to conceive
      All the best, Tommy's midwife

    • By nish (not verified) on 8 Feb 2019 - 10:55

      i had unprotected sex ón11th dec and tôok a p2 on the same day,we continued doing it using withdrawal method till 15th of dec ,on the 16 i started bleeding until 19 of the same dec,now i bleeded again on 27th of january but my stomach is becoming somehow big,,,could i be pregnant

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