How will I know when I am pregnant?

How do you know when you're pregnant? If you've been trying for a baby, there are a few ways to find out whether you're expecting.

The early signs of pregnancy

If you notice one or more of these symptoms, it might be 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.

Read more about common early signs of pregnancy.

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 it 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, so the test can be carried out 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.

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

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 sure can I be about the result of my 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.

Discovering you’re pregnant - what next?

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

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

Your doctor’s surgery should be able to advise you of their procedure.

Read getting pregnant FAQs here

Read more

Sources

  1. Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J (2012) Mayes’ midwifery, 14th edition, London Balliere Tindall
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Last reviewed on April 1st, 2014. Next review date April 1st, 2017.

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Comments

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

    Hi,
    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 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

    Hi
    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 http://www.fpa.org.uk/contraception-help/sterilisation-male-and-female

  • By Anonymous (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

    Hi,
    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 midwife@tommys.org.

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

    Hi!
    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

    Hi,
    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 Anonymous (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

    Hi,
    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 Anonymous (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 Anonymous (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 Anonymous (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 info@tommys.org 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...

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 2 Feb 2017 - 11:35

    Many women have irregular periods and this is not usually a problem. However, if there is a possibility that you could be pregnant, I would suggest that you do a pregnancy test.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 21 Dec 2016 - 21:55

    Hi I'm 8 days late my period was due on the 13th of December but still hasn't shown up. I've being having some symptoms like feeling sick bloating metallic taste my clothes are getting tight. Moody and tired. Do you think it's possible that I could be pregnant

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Dec 2016 - 10:25

    Hi, it could be possible that you are pregnant if you have had unprotected sexual intercourse. Sometimes the pregnancy tests are not quite sensitive enough to recognise a pregnancy early on, I would suggest you repeat the test in about 5-7 days time. If you continue you have negative pregnancy tests and your do not have your period then I would suggest to see your GP for a review.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 11 Dec 2016 - 16:57

    Im on the pill but about 3 weeks ago me and my other half had unprotected sex and i forgot the pill TWO days after !!! As soon as i reaslised i caught myself up with it and am taking it again ...however now ive noticed im getting forgetful and feeling sick (I've already got 2 little ones so know what to look for ) but could i be pregnant on the pill seeing as i missed a couple of days ???

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Dec 2016 - 09:28

    It is very difficult to say- but it would certainly be worth taking a pregnancy test. It would be possible to conceive if you've missed two pills, but it is quite unlikely. Every woman is different and some are obviously more highly fertile than others. I would do a test to be sure. Take care of yourself.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 27 Nov 2016 - 10:53

    Hi there..its been 20 days since mi period had not come.normally my period would be 5 to 6 days late but this the the longest.on e 14th day i went for urine test but it showed negative.i do not have nausea but my tummy does have cramps on & off and i get emotional fever.i could get angry or sad easily and i will cry like a baby..furthermore i just had my 1st intercourse in my life after i got married last mth on e 15th oct and my first day of my lasr period was on the 7th oct.could the delay be hormonal imbalance or am i pregnant?hope u could advise me as im worried if it could be hormonal imbalance instead of pregnant.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 28 Nov 2016 - 09:56

    Hi there. It is difficult to say either way, but please don't panic.
    I think it would be sensible to visit your GP if you take another home pregnancy test and it is negative, as you may need some further Gynecology tests. Your GP will also be able to perform a pregnancy test to confirm a positive or negative result before any referrals are made.
    Take care of yourself and feel free to message us again if you have any more concerns.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Oct 2016 - 16:34

    If you have had unprotected intercourse and your period is now late, it is worth doing a pregnancy test to check to see if you are pregnant.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 6 Oct 2016 - 23:00

    We used a condom but he Thinks it may have split but thanks I'll do a test In a week or so as it would still be to early to tell

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 6 Oct 2016 - 15:55

    I had sexual intercourse about 1-2 weeks ago now and I have not had my period and I'm never late I've also been loosing clear gooey discharge from Im vagina is it possible I could Ben pregnant

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Oct 2016 - 11:20

    If the first day of your last period was 29th September & you have a regular 28 day cycle, then your fertile time would be from 10th October to 15th October & you would be ovulating on 14th October . You are most fertile within a day or two either side of ovulation. Hope that helps! Good luck!

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 2 Oct 2016 - 16:56

    my period started on 29th september , should i be fertile on 11/12 oct

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 22 Sep 2016 - 19:27

    Hi I was ment to of started my period a week ago, but the week before I was I had some bleeding for 5 days, now today I feel dizzy and sick and have a headache, really tired and having some cramps. I done a pregnancy test today but I was negative, can I be pregnant? I'm not sure what to do next?
    Thank you

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 23 Sep 2016 - 09:09

    It might be possible that you are pregnant if you have had intercourse over the past month. However, it is also possible that your period came early for some reason - since you bled for 5 days the week before. I would suggest that you take another test in a few more days to allow any pregnancy hormones to become stronger to ensure that the test is more accurate.
    If that test is negative, then it would probably be worth going to your GP to discuss your menstrual cycle and being referred to Gynecology if your menstruation is in some way unusual or different suddenly for you. It is always best to get checked over for your long term health.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Aug 2016 - 11:52

    Hi it is possible that the levels of circulating hCG in your urine are lower and you could repeat a pregnancy test in three days time if your period hasn't arrived.
    Most fertile couples have a good chance of becoming pregnant within a year.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 3 Aug 2016 - 00:59

    I have missed my period by a day. I use the period tracker app and I had unprotected sex with my partner a day after the app projected that I will be fertile. I have done a pregnancy test which said negative. Could I still be pregnant?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 2 Aug 2016 - 11:06

    If your periods are regular and it was due 2 weeks ago, you could do a pregnancy test now to check if you are pregnant. Pregnancy tests check for the presence of the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG), in your urine. Your body begins to produce HCG once you have conceived. Good luck!

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 2 Aug 2016 - 00:19

    I was going to have my preode before 2 weeks ago. But I haven't yet. So am I pragnent?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Jul 2016 - 15:35

    It maybe possible that it is slightly too early for a pregnancy test to be able to pick up the pregnancy hormones, you may need to wait a week or too and retake the pregnancy test. If the pregnancy test is still negative it maybe worth seeing you GP.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 29 Aug 2016 - 20:29

    where do I go from here

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 1 Sep 2016 - 15:34

    Sometimes a pregnancy test is not sensitive enough to pick up changes in hormone levels as soon as a period has been missed, therefore it is usually advisable to wait up to a week and to repeat the test. If this is still negative and your period has not come then you can see the GP for a blood test which is more sensitive and will tell you if your hormone levels are raised and therefore are pregnant. It is recommended to be taking a folic acid and vitamin D supplement pre conceptually and during the pregnancy. If you would like to talk further then please do give us a call on 0800 0147 800 or email midwife@tommys.org

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 26 Jul 2016 - 18:23

    Hi, I was on the pill for the last year or so but I came off it 4 months ago. Me and my partner had unprotected sex 2 months ago but I got my period the month before and i still haven't got my period, normally my periods were late before the pill but never this late, I had took a pregnancy test last week and it was negative. Is there any way maybe I took it to early or what should I do?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 26 Jul 2016 - 15:48

    The best thing to do is to do a pregnancy test. As you have missed two periods, it will confirm for you one way or the other whether you are pregnant . Good luck!

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 21 Jul 2016 - 14:38

    Hi, so I was wondering if anyone could please help my situation the past few months ive been spot on then I missed 2 periods and still not come on, been trying for a baby for about roughly 6 months but nothing yet can anyone help?

  • By Deirdre@Tommy'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 info@tommys.org

  • 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 Deirdre@Tommy'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

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