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.

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.

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 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.

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 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

Sources

  1. Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J (2012) Mayes’ midwifery, 14th edition, London Balliere Tindall
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Last reviewed on June 13th, 2017. Next review date June 13th, 2020.

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Comments

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 15 Dec 2017 - 00:58

    So basically I have been diagnosed with P.C.O.S (Poly cystic ovarian syndrome). I've had my implant out since February and never used any protection with my partner since, however I also don't have periods anymore so I was wondering if it is possible I could be pregnant as I've been bloated past few days, and been nausea throughout the past few days, and been going to the loo alot more. I'm just unsure of my own situation as the condition that I have hasn't really been explained to me very well so all I know is what I've read up on the internet and I don't want to believe everything that is written on the internet.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 15 Dec 2017 - 09:28

    Hi,
    It is unlikely that you are pregnant given that you have not had any periods since stopping your contraception, however it is not impossible and there is still a chance. The only way to know is to take a pregnancy test, even if this comes back negative, if your symptoms continue you may want to repeat it in a week in case it is early as you do not have any periods dates to go by. If you would like to talk further about PCOS and conception or anything else then do email us to [email protected] and we can support you in more detail. x

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 1 Dec 2017 - 22:29

    Hi I had unprotected sex back at the end of July. But my partner didn’t ejaculate inside me. I’m 46 . Early August I felt so tired and run down I did a pregnancy test but it was negative. However I had no usual symptoms like sore breasts etc. I did suffer from vertigo for about 2 months but the doctor said could be caused by an ear infection. I am having my usual periods with period pains. But my belly seems to have recently really grown and feels heavy. I have done 2 pregnancy tests this week but both neg. I’m really worried, as I’m no longer with my partner and don’t want any more children. Is it possible to have what seem to be periods and test negative but be pregnant? I have felt often do tired but have a very busy schedule so put it down to that and winter . Advice please?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 4 Dec 2017 - 12:16

    Hi, No, please try not to worry that your symptoms are related to a pregnancy. With 2 negative pregnancy tests you can be sure that you are not pregnant. I would advise that you make an appointment to see your doctor as these symptoms can be related to other causes. Hope this helps.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 28 Nov 2017 - 18:49

    Hi, can I be pregnant?
    Me and my partner are currently not using any protection. Last month I came on my period but it was light and only lasted 2 days. The last few days I've had lower back pain, which I feel like it needs clicking. It's an irritating pain. I've been having belly flutters if that makes sense and sometimes cramp. I am a smoker and have noticed that when smoking my mouth seems to water a lot, which is unusual. I've been going to the toilet more than usual too... I've also been craving random food. To top it off, my emotions are all over the place at the minute, I get upset and annoyed over things that i wouldn't necessary do.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Nov 2017 - 09:10

    Hi there. All of your symptoms can be somewhat linked to pregnancy, but are also generic experiences outside of pregnancy. If you and your partner are not using contraception, then it is possible that you may be pregnant. I would advise you to take a pregnancy test to confirm this either way for you. If your periods are suddenly very different from what you are used to, and the pregnancy test is negative, then i would suggest that you go to your GP who can decide if you would benefit from a referral to a gynecologist or not. Please take care of yourself.
    Sophie, Tommy's Midwife

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 27 Nov 2017 - 11:55

    Hi, on the 22nd o November I started spotting brown blood after intercourse with my partner and done it for nearly 2 days as I was due my period it's been 4 days with out no blood what so ever but no symptoms of pregnancy could this be an early sign of pregnancy as I've never been pregnant before?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 28 Nov 2017 - 16:18

    Thank you for your comment. Spotting is common in early pregnancy but not a usual sign of early pregnancy. If your period is late or lighter than normal then I would advise you do a pregnancy test.
    I have attached 2 links with more information about early signs of pregnancy that you may find helpful

    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/getting-pregnant/how-will-i-know-when-i-am-pregnant
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/signs-and-symptoms-pregnancy.aspx

    Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information or call Tommy's PregnancyLine 0800 0147 800

    Take care
    Tommy's Midwife

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 27 Nov 2017 - 04:20

    I'm wondering if I might be pregnant as my tummy feels a little hard when I push slightly in on my tummy and I've not had my period I'm very irregular when it comes to my period but often happens by now should I buy a pg test just in case

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 28 Nov 2017 - 10:08

    Thank you for your comment
    There could be several reasons why your tummy feels hard when you push on it-I would advise that you see your GP about this. I would also advise that you take a pregnancy test as your period is late.
    I have attached 2 links that you may find helpful:
    https://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-test.aspx
    https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/signs-and-symptoms-pregnancy.aspx

    Take care
    Tommy's Midwife

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 22 Nov 2017 - 00:30

    I have missed my period for 57 days according to the clue app I use on my phone and haven’t had my period since September. I had sex 2 weeks ago and we found that the condom had split. The morning After that I went to a health clinic and had a morning after pill and was also given oral contraceptives to take everyday. The doctor I saw said that I have to wait three weeks to take a test and that falls on this Friday. I’m freaked out as me and my boyfriend are 18 and aren’t planning on having a baby together anytime soon
    I am due to come on my period today but I have had none of my usual feelings the way I do days before I am due on but the doctor also said it is possible the pill could mess with my period. I am very scared and don’t know what to do until Friday

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Nov 2017 - 10:37

    Hi Danielle.
    I can understand why you and your partner are very anxious! But as your doctor has said, the morning after pill can really disrupt your menstrual cycle and cause your period to come earlier/late/out of sync with your normal pattern! The pill can also take sometime to adjust and settle within your menstrual cycle. I know its really nerve wracking, but taking a test before friday is likely to give you a false result. It will be too early to take the test before, which could give a false negative result if you were somehow pregnant. Waiting until friday or maybe even after that, will give you an accurate result either way. Personally, I feel that it is very unlikely that you are pregnant after taking the morning after pill and the daily pill. So please try not to worry too much! take care of yourself and feel free to get in touch if you need any more advice. Sophie, Tommy's Midwife

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 27 Oct 2017 - 15:30

    Hello all my last period was 24/9/17. When I was Ovulating I had unprotected sex. On 16/10/17 I had wiped and they was some pinkish brownish discharge some days before my period....... then no period week late ....... but negative PG test ..... have I done it too early or can this mean I’m not pregnant ?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 27 Oct 2017 - 16:14

    Hi Kelly, there is a chance still that you could be pregnant and that when you did the pregnancy test it was simply just a little early and the hormone level was not high enough to be detected. If you period still has not come then it maybe worth repeating a pregnancy test about a week after you did the previous test. The brownish pinkish discharge could have been an implantation bleed. If you continue to have negative tests and no period then it would be worth seeing the GP for a blood test. In the meantime if you are trying to conceive then it is important that you are taking a folic acid supplement if you are not already. Tommy's midwives

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 25 Oct 2017 - 17:32

    I have a cycle of 29days each month. I thought I was having an implantation bleed on day 22 and 23. nothing on day 24 then day 25 I started my period :(. My appetite has increased and my boobs are tingly. could I be pregnant and when should I take a test???

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 26 Oct 2017 - 12:48

    Hi, Thank you for your comment.

    If you have started your period then it is highly unlikely that you are pregnant, increased appetite and tender breasts can also happen when having a period. If this is not a normal period for you or is lighter then normal, then it would be advisable that you take a pregnancy test as it may be spotting in early pregnancy. If you have any concerns or worries you can always see your GP for further advice. Hope this helps, take care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 21 Oct 2017 - 09:34

    Hiya me and my boyfriend have been together 2 years and for the past year we have been having unprotected sex, I have been having a lot of back pains at faint cramping and also a lot of headaches I have missed my period do you think that this could mean I am pregnant because I was unsure to do a test incase it was too early:)

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 23 Oct 2017 - 11:20

    Hello, You can take a pregnancy test from the date that your period is missed. If you are planning a pregnancy, please make sure that you are taking your folic acid and that you avoid alcohol and smoking and eat a balanced diet. Best wishes to you

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 20 Oct 2017 - 12:59

    I had a miscarriage on the 13 of September, ever since then i have not had my period. Is it a sign of a Second pregnancy

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 23 Oct 2017 - 11:13

    Hi. It is possible that your period is irregular since your miscarriage, but if you suspect that you may be pregnant it would be worth taking a pregnancy test to check. Take care

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 12 Oct 2017 - 11:25

    Me and my partner aren't currently using protection haven't really since the last time in April I was meant to have my next depo pill injection. I'm in my 30's and he's 27. We've spoke about trying to start a family next summer of 2018 but we've also spoke if I have an accidental pregnancy too. I went to the doctors last month due to something else and they took a pregnancy test and it was negative. I have gained a lot of weight from the pill and also my doing of eating bad. But now I'm starting to lose weight again. But my breasts have been the worst they are soooo sore, to touch, to hold and to put a bra on and off! I want sure if it's the bra and the bra fitter said it can't be as iv been messured properly and there isn't anyway my the bra isn't right. My partner checks them nearly twice a month, I cringe doing it myself! Everything is fine too. The only thing is it may aswell be hormones I just need a reasurance and what to do next?? Thank you

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Oct 2017 - 11:45

    Hi, Thank you for your comment.
    Sore breasts can be a sign of pregnancy, so if you have not been using any form of contraception then there may be a possibility of you being pregnant. It would be advisable to wait and see if you miss your period, if you do then take a pregnancy test. Sometimes your natural cycle can cause you to have tender breasts as well but if you still unsure then you can always see your GP for further reassurance. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 5 Oct 2017 - 21:11

    Hiya. My boyfriend had the snip about 8year ago but for the past 2 weeks I've started feeling sick and really tired. Every time I try to eat or drink coffee then a feel sick again it's non stop. I belly feels sore and my back and I've been feeling dizzy to. Is this Inpossible

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 6 Oct 2017 - 12:12

    Hi,
    There is a very small chance that pregnancy can still occur if your partner has had 'the snip' however this is very slim and unlikely. If you think however that you maybe pregnant then it is best to do a pregnancy test to rule this out. If this is negative and your symptoms continue then make an appointment to go and see your GP. Tommy's Midwives

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 5 Oct 2017 - 15:54

    Hi I'm Sarah and I'm 22 and I'm feeling tired and very sluggish and haven't been sick or dizzy so does it also come or does skip that part and I'm late for mY period?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Oct 2017 - 16:31

    Hi Sarah. Thank you for your comment. Each woman experiences early pregnancy and related symptoms differently; some have nausea/vomiting from the start, others may experience this later in 1st trimester or not at all. If your period is late then I would advise that you do a pregnancy test to confirm your pregnancy. If its positive then you can start to organise your pregnancy care-it's recommended to book early (between 8-12 weeks) into maternity unit of your choice and having your 1st or dating scan. The attached link has more information for you about antenatal care
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/im-pregnant/antenatal-care.

    If your pregnancy test is negative and you are still concerned about the symptoms you are having, I would advise you to discuss this with your GP

    Take care
    Tommy's Midwife

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 26 Sep 2017 - 09:57

    Hi, I have had my period as usual but recently noticed the tummy flutters I experienced with my son. I'm also very tired but no other symptoms. Could I be pregnant again?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 26 Sep 2017 - 10:44

    Hi Kirsty, if you have had unprotected sex recently, then it might be sensible to take a pregnancy test. However, if you have recently had your period as usual, then it is unlikely that you are feeling fetal movements as you are unlikely to be very far gone. It could simply be food digesting. Please do take a pregnancy test so that you know one way or another. All the best

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 14 Sep 2017 - 18:03

    Hi, i am 33years old, i and my boyfriend has been trying for a baby for the past one and half years. is there anything i can do to get pregnant fast. although my bf is 47yrs , as i also think if it has anything to do with age. please i need your advice. Thanks

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Sep 2017 - 10:17

    Hi - thank you for message. Each woman's menstrual cycle is different, so getting to know your body better can improve your chances of conception. Have a look at our information pages on getting pregnant, how conception works and you may find our ovulation calculator useful too.
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/getting-pregnant/ovulation-calculator
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/getting-pregnant/are-you-ready-conceive
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/getting-pregnant/getting-pregnant-faqs
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/getting-pregnant/male-fertility
    We also have a section on male fertility which you may find helpful regarding your concerns about your partners age.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 14 Sep 2017 - 16:27

    Hi, I'm really worried i came off my period 18th August but was at like rabbits no contraption was used at my most fertil time. I was due on my period today 14th September but Ive had like nothing more like spotting. Could I be pregnant. Help

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Sep 2017 - 10:10

    Hi - Thank you for your message. If you are having unprotected sex, it is possible to become pregnant.
    Traces of hCG can be found in your urine from three to four days after the fertilised egg implants in your womb (uterus) and the amount present builds up each day. A pregnancy test can only detect hCG and give a positive result when there's enough of the hormone to measure. With most tests, this means you can take them from the day you miss your period. If your periods were irregular you might not be sure when this. You can take the test anyway but if it is negative, repeat it after a week to check again.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 2 Sep 2017 - 07:57

    So i just turned 16 and me and my boyfriend decided to have sex, I'm not on any form of contraception however he did use a condom but he ejaculated inside the condom during ded& I really don't want to be pregnant so I'm extremely paranoid, do you think my paranoia is making me think I'm pregnant? I haven't vomited however I am experiencing back pains and am urinating a lot more frequently but I think maybe it could be a urinary Tract infection as it is uncomfortable to urinate. My next period is due on the 12th of September ( in 10 days). Can you give me advice please on what you think it could be:)

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 4 Sep 2017 - 13:01

    Hello. It is too soon to know if you are pregnant with your period not due for another week. If you are uncomfortable and it is difficult to urinate please try to drink plenty of water and if it continues see your GP. I would also strongly advise you to arrange an appointment with your family planning clinic or your GP to discuss contraception. If this is difficult and you are still at school, you may be able to get advice from the school nurse. Take good care of yourself

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 31 Aug 2017 - 20:29

    Me and my partner are trying for a baby i came off the pill after being on it for only 3 weeks in june. I had a period on the 17th july untill the 21st july however i ovulated late 7th august. I still havent come on my period and i am usually to the day. I have talen several tests all are negative. I am having all the signs am pregnant very tender boobs with itchy nipples, cramping, tierdness, head aches, lower back ache the list goes on. Am i testing to early?? I am really worried the last time i tested was two days ago and still negative. O can feel something is different in my body but worried ots my head playing games because its something we really want. Please help!!

    Thankyou

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 4 Sep 2017 - 14:59

    It is possible that it is still too early to test and your cycle may be irregular particularly if you have been on the pill. However, if symptoms persist and tests are still negative please see your GP for advice.

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 20 Aug 2017 - 22:21

    Hi I've been on the contraceptive pill for 8 years and stopped taking a couple of months ago. My first period was regular like normal on the 28 day cycle. The one after that was 16 days late I then can on for 4 days. Then 4 days later had blood when wiping after a wee. I have had unprotected sex within this 2 months. I wondered how long the pill stays in the system for? I've had cramping after my period and have been drinking more fluid Especially through the night .

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Aug 2017 - 16:17

    Hi Don't worry, It can take a while for your cycle to settle down. Take a look at our top tips for conception and ensure you are enjoying a healthy lifestyle. If you are concerned that you are excessively thirsty even at night, you may like to discuss this with your doctor

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 18 Aug 2017 - 17:22

    Hi, myself and my partner have been trying to concive for a while now. I had an eptopic pregnancy in January where lost my left tube. We have started trying again but my cycles are all over the place normally ranging from 33 days to 37 days.
    This cycle my period started on the 11th of July, I have been trying to track my ovulation but the results where difficult to determine when I, or if i ovulated. .I finally got a very strong ovulation lines for 2 days on the 30th day of my cycle the 9th and the 10th of August ( can it be possible to ovulate that late? ) myself and my partner had sex on the 8th and the 10th of August.
    I've been having quite a lot of cramps and my boobs feel funny. .I have been feeling a bit run down. I did a test yesterday and was negative. I know it will be much more difficult for me to get pregnant with only having one tube. It's just getting me down. I'm due to see the hospital next month about secondary infertility. Just wondered if I might of tested to early and there might be a glimmer of hope.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Aug 2017 - 16:02

    Hi, and thanks for your question. Yes it is possible to ovulate as late as that and it accounts for why your periods are so variable at the moment. I would therefore do a pregnancy test after the 24th August which will be 2 weeks after ovulation. In the meantime have a look at our tips for conception and the best ways to get you into prime condition for a pregnancy. https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/getting-pregnant/top-tips-conception Best wishes

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 15 Aug 2017 - 22:57

    Hi I had a period on 21st july 2017 came of on 27th july ovulation happened 2nd August till 8th August period is every 31 days always been same had sex on 3rd and 4th August no contraception used at all when should I test and whats best pregnancy test to use? Feel nauseous all time stomach bloating back pains tired all time not what I get with my periods so could this be sign of pregnancy?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Aug 2017 - 09:07

    Hi there. It is possible that you are pregnant if you had unprotected sex at the start of august. It would be sensible to wait at least another week before testing with a pregnancy test so that the HCG levels have time to build up in your body - this is detected in the urine via a pregnancy test. The best time to take a pregnancy test is first thing in the morning, when the hcg levels are likely to be at their highest at the first void of the day. There are no pregnancy tests "better" than any other. So choose a brand that you are comfortable with using and a cost that feels acceptable to you. Nausea, bloating, back pains and triredness can be symptoms of pregnancy, but they could also be unrelated. If you do not have a positive pregnancy test and these symptoms persist, it might be sensible to go to your GP and discuss your symptoms there. They might find it appropriate to send you for a Gynae review if you are not pregnant. Please do feel free to get in touch if you have any further concerns

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 7 Aug 2017 - 17:47

    I'm late on, was due on 2 days ago. I'm wanting to do a test but scared it will be negative as I've read your period can be up to 6 days late and that be normal. I've been having all tehhe cramps I'd expect just before I'm due on but nothing as of yet?!? What should I do?!?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 8 Aug 2017 - 09:05

    Hi Emilia. It is a little too early to do a pregnancy test just yet, so it would be sensible to wait another week (i know that will feel like a long time) to ensure that a pregnancy test is result is more likely to be an accurate positive or negative result.
    Cramps are common just before and during a menstrual cycle and can be normal in early pregnancy when implantation occurs, so do your best to wait and then test. I hope you get the result that you want!

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 31 Jul 2017 - 12:21

    Hi,

    I came on my pd on the 30th jun and ended on wed 5th July. I then come back on 15th July for 2days then stopped. my period is normally at the end of every month but i have not come on. I took a pregnancy test on 29th but it was negative. Help

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 31 Jul 2017 - 14:30

    Hi
    It is possible that you may have done the test too soon. If there is a possibility that you could be pregnant I would suggest doing another test in a few days. Or it may be that your periods are a little irregular and you will have a period in the next week or two. If you are wanting to become pregnant remember to start taking folic acid and look at your diet and exercise to optimise your health in preparation for a pregnancy. Good luck x

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 19 Jul 2017 - 23:54

    I started feeling pregnancy symptoms two weeks ago like nausea, dizziness, head ache,swelling of breast,weight gain,craving, high appetite, frequent urination and protruding tommy nd navel
    yet all my urine nd blood test says neg
    ative, but I can feel in me dat am pregnant but y all the negative result
    am xo frustrated, plz help.
    could I be pregnant or not

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Jul 2017 - 11:48

    Hi Grace,
    Sometimes it is very difficult to distinguish between pre period symptoms and early pregnancy symptoms. If you are still having these symptoms as well as a missed period i would advise you to go and see your GP. Also sometimes tests can come back negative if they are done too soon. Please contact us on 0800 0147 800 if you would like to discuss further.
    Best Wishes,
    Tommy's Midwife.

  • 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.

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