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 Midwife @Tommys on 1 Feb 2019 - 10:19

      Dear Joyce,
      The morning after pill can disrupt your cycle and cause some irregular spotting and delay in your period. The morning after pill is most effective taken as soon after intercourse as possible, however it is not 100% and it is possible to be pregnant. If you period does not come when due, then I would advise for you to take a pregnancy test. If you are wanting to avoid pregnancy, then it would be a good idea to have a chat with the practice nurse, GP or local family planning clinic about a suitable contraception option for you.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Jamie (not verified) on 31 Jan 2019 - 19:48

      Good day..

      I was on the 3 months birth control.. I was one month on the birth control was supposed to get my next one on the 31st December, my boyfriend and i had unprotected sex.. Last week my breast start hurting and feeling heavier, i spotted for 3days, took 2 test and both showed negative,

      Currently im having stomach cramps for 3days pain normally comes and go but radiates in to my lower back but no periods as yet
      ?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 1 Feb 2019 - 10:13

      Dear Jamie,
      It is possible that starting new contraception can disrupt your cycle a little and you can have some spotting and change to your periods. If you continue to have negative pregnancy tests then this is likely what is happening. If you continue to have concerns then do speak with your GP for advice.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Rachel (not verified) on 6 Feb 2019 - 11:53

      Im sorry I didnt know wjmhere to write a question. I had unprotected sex on jan 1 ( he didnt finish or anything ) then I took a test on 22cnd it was negative. I got bleeding for three days somehow heavy and then spotting for a few days later. I started taking contraceptives for the first time on the 4rth day of my cycle and I took another test on the 3rd of february just to be sure but it is also negative. I had again unprotected sex on that day because I thought the yaz contraceptives would help since it was day 8 on the pill. But I got scared and took the morning after pill the following night. Ive been having spotting for thw past two days. Could I be pregnant ?

    • By Sunny (not verified) on 31 Jan 2019 - 17:31

      Hi! I had my last periods on dec19,2018 that lasted for 4 days. And I and my husband had unprotected sex on 3rd jan 2019. My periods were due on 18th jan 2019. I am spotting since last 9-10 days, brown clots only but no periods. Please clarify if I m pregnant ?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 1 Feb 2019 - 09:35

      Dear Sunny,
      This sounds like it is difficult to know for sure what is happening. You could take a pregnancy test, if this is negative and you are feeling well then to monitor. If you have positive test then I would suggest to see your GP for a review.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Sidney Louise (not verified) on 31 Jan 2019 - 17:18

      Hello.. my lmp was the 5/01/2019 I started a bleeding . I was meant to be due 6/01/2019. I bled for 6 days started of on the 5/01/2019 fancy/pink discharge (really light) within the hours it got a bit heavier. Then calmed doe again it ended 10/01/2019.
      On the 13/01/2019 I started bleeding again and it was heavy I stopped bleeding on the 17/01/2019. On the 18/01/2019 I noticed my cervical mucus like ovulation so I had intercourse and the 3 days after that.
      On the 27/01/2019 my breasts started hurting and I feel nausea constantly. I worked out in meant to be due on today 31/01/2019 from my first period. But I have not come on.

      Am I pregnant or is my periods just all over the place

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 1 Feb 2019 - 09:29

      Dear Sidney,
      The only way of knowing if you are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test. If your next period does not come when due, then we would suggest taking a test. Taking a test earlier than this make result in a false negative result. If you think you may be pregnant or if you are trying for a baby, then we would advise you to be taking a daily folic acid supplement if you are not already.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Star (not verified) on 31 Jan 2019 - 14:45

      I started my period on January 13 2019 after being on birth control and missing a lot of pills. O January 22 2019 I started feeling breast tenderness which have over the last couple days have been getting more intense. I took 3 pregnant test and they all came back negative. Could it be that it's still to early what is going on I'm confused

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 31 Jan 2019 - 14:54

      Hi - Thank you for your message.
      If your last menstrual period was on 13/01/2019 and you have a 28 day cycle, your next period would due around 10/02/2019. If you have had unprotected sex, there is always a chance of pregnancy, but if you are testing now it may be too early.
      You should test around the time your next period is due.

    • By Dmf (not verified) on 31 Jan 2019 - 13:06

      My last period was 25of December 2018 and due on 25 the jqn but had two negative results can I be pregnant

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 31 Jan 2019 - 13:57

      Hi - Thank you for your message.
      If your period is delayed and you have had negative pregnancy tests, you should visit your GP/Doctor for advice and to be checked.

    • By Sam (not verified) on 31 Jan 2019 - 05:07

      I had my period on 29 th December .I had 29 day cycle .I should get my period on 28 th January but I got it on 25 th January but it lasted only 2 days and it was with clots.but lighter than usual.and I had spotting till yesterday (30 th January).i had unprotected sex on 5th January and it was only a minute and there was no ejaculation.i was worried all month that I could get pregnant and was stress a lot.I took blood test yesterday and it came negative.i don't want to get pregnant.i am happpy to see negative result but is it too early to take blood test or is it ok ? Is it the stress that caused light period .please help.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 31 Jan 2019 - 09:08

      Hi - Thank you for your message. As you have had a period, albeit a lighter one than usual, and negative pregnancy tests, it seems you are not pregnant. However, if you start to experience unusual symptoms or are still worried, please visit your GP who can provide help and advice.

    • By Elizabeth (not verified) on 30 Jan 2019 - 17:37


      Please I want to know if I am pregnant. Because I last saw my monthly flow 2nd of January and I had an unprotected sex on the 8th January. I don't know if he released when we were having sex, so I am worried because I am suppose to see my monthly flow 28th of this month but I have not. Can I be pregnant? I want to know

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 31 Jan 2019 - 09:04

      Hi - Thank you for your message. If you have unprotected sex and think you maybe pregnant, the first thing you should do is take a home pregnancy test. 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.

      If you are pregnant, it is important you see your GP/midwife for advice and support.

    • By Cici (not verified) on 30 Jan 2019 - 16:56

      Hello. I am trying to get clarity. My last cycle started 12/20/18 I did have unprotected sex on 12/31&1/1 which were ovulation days. It’s 1/30 and still no Aunt Flo. I did however have brownish/pink discharge during intercourse today. Lots of cramps,bloating,gas,and cravings. 4 negative HPTs since the 4th day of missed period. What’s going on?!?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 31 Jan 2019 - 10:46

      Hi - Thank you for your message.
      It maybe that you are testing a little early, especially if you have a longer cycle than 28 days or an irregular cycle. Please visit your GP for advice and care as your period is now delayed.

    • By Lucy (not verified) on 29 Jan 2019 - 22:10

      I had unprotected sex around a week before my period was due, I started my period bled kind of heavy for a day (this was 3 days ago) then stopped completely and I just had very slight spotting since some days none. Very worried, is it too soon to take a pregnancy test

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 30 Jan 2019 - 14:07

      Hi Lucy.
      Any unprotected intercourse can result in pregnancy. So if you do not wish to become pregnant, please use contraception, which will prevent pregnancy and also protect you from STI's. Try doing a pregnancy test in a few days time. It does not sound like you are pregnant as you have had a period, even if it is short, but to put your mind at ease. Please take good care of yourself. Tommy's Midwife

    • By Jen (not verified) on 29 Jan 2019 - 08:22

      Hello I've woken up this morning with strange feeling & aversions to smells. Been pregnant twice before so I know the feeling/symptoms. I have mirena coil, bit worried somethings gone wrong.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Jan 2019 - 14:00

      Hi Jen, might be best to do a pregnancy test or visit your GP to discuss your symptoms. All the best, Tommy's Midwife

    • By Tiffy (not verified) on 24 Jan 2019 - 21:16

      Me and my boyfriend had sexual intercourse on December 30th. On January 4th I had what I thought was my period but was super light and pink for about 6 days it stopped January 10th. My periods are usually heavy and I clot a lot but not this time. Is this a good time to take a pregnancy test or should I wait until the time my period is supposed to come back on. I'm so overwhelmed and afraid. I want to be pregnant but at the same time I don't want to be. Siiiiigggghhh.

    • By Tai (not verified) on 24 Jan 2019 - 19:46

      I normally have a cycle of 7 days but this cycle for January was abnormal I bleed for 3 days (2 heavy 1 light) then on the 4th day I was spotting only when I wipedo by evening no flow at all this is day 5 still now flow I have been having headaches and some pain in my breast im really confused on what is going on in did have unprotected sex in Dec. 9th 2 days before ovulation day on the 11th

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 25 Jan 2019 - 12:14

      Dear Tai,
      If you have had unprotected sex then it is possible that you could be pregnant, I would suggest to take a pregnancy test just to check this first. If this is negative or you have ongoing concerns then do speak with your GP for a review.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By saumya (not verified) on 24 Jan 2019 - 16:00

      i wanted to know whether is it possible or not??i had intercourse with my guy on 18th december and i took pills the same day and after a week that is on 24th december i got my periods and it was normal and got over after 6days...and now in the month of january i should except my periods on 24thjan but its delayed so is it possible that i might get pregnant??

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 24 Jan 2019 - 16:26

      Hi - Thank you for your message.
      If you have taken emergency contraception (morning after pill, or an IUD) and still worried you are pregnant, please contact your GP for advice and a check up.

    • By Lasha (not verified) on 25 Jan 2019 - 09:55

      Hello I just wasn’t to know if it’s possible that I can be pregnant I had my period on Jan. 9th and ended the 14th my ovulation window began Jan 18th till the 24th I had unprotected sex the 19th, 20th and 21st and on the 21st I want to bathroom and was spotting it stop but the 22 Nd was my most likely you get pregnant and now I’m hungry moody and feel bloated

    • By Confused Chloe (not verified) on 24 Jan 2019 - 07:49

      I had sex on 5 January, my most fertile ovulation day. I should have started a period 18 January. I've not even started. I am in pain during sex & it really hurts down there. I'm also very tired all the time. Could I be expecting?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 24 Jan 2019 - 11:35

      Hi - Thank you for your message.
      If you think you could be pregnant and your period is overdue, I would advise that you take a pregnancy test.
      Take care
      Tommy's |Midwife

    • By Lasha (not verified) on 26 Jan 2019 - 21:38

      Hello I just wasn’t to know if it’s possible that I can be pregnant I had my period on Jan. 9th and ended the 14th my ovulation window began Jan 18th till the 24th I had unprotected sex the 19th, 20th and 21st and on the 21st I want to bathroom and was spotting it stop but the 22 Nd was my most likely you get pregnant and now I’m hungry moody and feel bloated

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Jan 2019 - 13:58

      Hi Lasha. Any unprotected sex, can result in pregnancy. If this is something that you are trying to avoid, please use contraception to protect you against unwanted pregnancy or STI.
      Please take a pregnancy test when and if your next period is late. All the best, Tommy's Midwife

    • By Kayleigh (not verified) on 23 Jan 2019 - 17:44

      Hi I was recently on the depo came of it in March 2018 had my first period December 26th only last 3 days I should be due again in January but no sign of it ?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 24 Jan 2019 - 11:37

      Hi - Thank you for your message.
      If you think you could be pregnant and your period is overdue, I would advise that you take a pregnancy test.
      Take care
      Tommy's |Midwife

    • By Hi I'm Janie (not verified) on 31 Jan 2019 - 12:11

      I missed period by 27/01/2019 but by 30 of this month I saw potting brown and red for 1day sow what does mean?


    • By Midwife @Tommys on 31 Jan 2019 - 12:19

      Hi - Thank you for your message. If you have had unprotected sex and are concerned that you maybe pregnant, you should in the first instance carry out a pregnancy test.

    • By Jade (not verified) on 23 Jan 2019 - 08:02

      I have my period last dec 16 and lasted until dec 20. My husband and i have sex dec 6 and the succeeding days until dec 18. We used pull out method. I should have my menstruation on Jan 14 but until now i am 8days delayed. I did pregnancy test checking during my 3rd day delayed but the result is negative. Can i be pregnant?

    • By Lasha (not verified) on 23 Jan 2019 - 03:58

      Hello I had my period on the 9th of January and it’s stopped on the 14th my ovulation week was 18th till the 24th I had unprotective sex on the 19,20,and 21st after sex I went to the restroom I wiped and it was pinkish spotting and later I went back it was gone today jan22 it my best chance on getting pregnant I still have till the 24 till my ovulation week ends could I be pregnant

    • By Sami (not verified) on 22 Jan 2019 - 19:35

      Hello my boyfriend and I have been trying to get pregnant. Last month in December my period came late it came the 23 and lasted for only 2 days. Normally I have really heavy bleeding but this time it was super light. Then this month I’m 5 days late on period. Is it possible I could be pregnant?

    • By Shona (not verified) on 22 Jan 2019 - 10:34

      My last period date is 27 sep 18 and now it is around 4 months I have not got my period I had done 5 times pregnancy test but still the result is negative so what should I do????

    • By Stacy (not verified) on 22 Jan 2019 - 05:52

      Is it a bad sign if my period stops the day after I have unprotected sex? Took a plan B less than 6 hours after sex but period still stopped next day.

    • By Claire (not verified) on 22 Jan 2019 - 04:54

      Hi I didn’t have sex but I had sexual interactions and sperm got on my leggings and I’m not sure if on my underwear on Jan.3 and I’ve read you can still get pregnant this way but January 7 I got my normal period . I started feeling nauseous and have back pain and a weird feeling in my stomache . Is it possible that I am pregnant ? I also took a pregnancy test jan 18 and it came back negative but it might have been too early to tell

    • By Claire (not verified) on 22 Jan 2019 - 04:41

      Hi , I was wondering if on January 3 I didn’t have sex but some sperm got on my leggings and I’m not sure if it went through to my underwear. But January 7 I had a normal period . Now my period is over but I have nausea , back pain , and my stomache feels a little weird . Can I be pregnant or is it not possible

    • By Mhiz mavis (not verified) on 21 Jan 2019 - 20:10

      Hi
      I saw my period on the 19 of December which ended on the 24,so I had am unprotected sex on 27 of December and so on.normally before seeing my menstruation I will hv two days pains before the date but it’s two day now I hv nt seen any sign of that
      Also few weeks ago,I had the symptoms like
      Nausea
      Feeling dizzy Nd sleepy sometimes
      Could dat b a sign of pregnancy??

    • By Joan (not verified) on 21 Jan 2019 - 19:58

      I had my periods on 9/01/2019 to 13/01/2019...but the way I feel am not OK..I feel dizzy tiredness ..... feeling like vomiting...and lower cramping..is it possible that I am pregnant

    • By Abane vida (not verified) on 21 Jan 2019 - 19:04

      please I had my period on 21 December 2018 and had unprotected sex on 2 and 3 January 2019 and I started having headache hotter breast nausea and vomiting high temperature, bitter mouth and body pain few days later I started having brown discharges for two days and the third day which was 15 January 2019 I started having heavy period which was not up to my period date I did pregnancy test and it was negative please help me out

    • By Lauren B (not verified) on 21 Jan 2019 - 15:32

      Okay so my period was on the 14th and lasted until the 17 I had sexual inner course on the 19th and 20th could I be pregnant even though I wasn’t ovulating?

    • By Julia (not verified) on 21 Jan 2019 - 10:39

      I m married with 40 age and have no children. My menses stopped for 45 days and after 45 days white color fluid comes. Pregnancy home test is negative and feel normal. Can I b pregnant?

    • By Rosie (not verified) on 21 Jan 2019 - 10:03

      It's exactly 17 days from the first day of my last period and I am spotting( light pink) .i have terrible nausea and headaches. I am sexually active and had sex everyday throughout my fertility window. I had sex from the 9th day to the 16th day. What's going on with me?

    • By Rosie (not verified) on 21 Jan 2019 - 09:52

      It's exactly 17 days from the first day of my last period and I am spotting( light pink) .i have terrible nausea and headaches. I am sexually active and had sex everyday throughout my fertility window. I had sex from the 9th day to the 16th day. What's going on with me?

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