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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Last reviewed on June 13th, 2017. Next review date June 13th, 2020.

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Comments

  • By Layla (not verified) on 11 Dec 2018 - 18:58

    I had sex unprotected 4 days before my expected period and yes he did ejaculate.I had my period it was heavy and hurt really bad.Few days afterwards I was fine and started feeling queasy and nauseous with low back pain and small minor cramps and mood swings.Ive done research and known that it is possible to get pregnant and have a period and all that and I do have a irregular 28 day cycle.I honestly feel that I could indeed be pregnant.But I wanted to know if anyone could help me or tell me insights from what they know or learned from pass experience.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Dec 2018 - 15:42

    Hi Layla, Thank you for your comment.

    As you didn't miss your period and is was heavy, it is unlikely that you are pregnant. If you however, miss your next period then please take a pregnancy test to see if you are pregnant, but again you did come on your period when you were meant to, if you were pregnant this would not have happened at this time. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Tracey (not verified) on 11 Dec 2018 - 08:33

    Hi o had period 5 nov -14 nov then sex on 17 /18 /24 nov I not a period yet could I be pregnant

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Dec 2018 - 14:46

    Hi Tracey, Thank you for your comment.

    If you have had unprotected sex and you have now missed your period, there is every chance that you may be pregnant, it would be advisable to take a pregnancy test to confirm if your are pregnant or not. Take care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Chioma (not verified) on 11 Dec 2018 - 05:43

    Hi, l saw my period on 10th of September, had unprotected sex with my partner that month, then 18th of oct my period flow for 3days only. Since 18th oct till today 11th December I have not seen my period, have done blood and scan test 4days ago result is negative, are mine pregnant? I need help.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Dec 2018 - 14:42

    Hi Chioma, Thank you for your comment.

    If you have had a blood test and a scan which have both come back negative then it sounds like you are not pregnant at this time. However, if you are used to having regular periods and this is unusual for you then we would suggest that you go and see your Dr, tell him what has been happening, he should be able to give you advice and treatment if needed. Hope this helps, Take care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Tolu (not verified) on 11 Dec 2018 - 02:01

    I have my period on 14 of November and I had sex on 26 of November, I did pregnancy test and it was positive, how many weeks is my pregnant? Pls help

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Dec 2018 - 14:37

    Hi Tolu, Thank you for your comment.

    From the dates that you have given, you should be around 4 weeks pregnant. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Debby (not verified) on 6 Dec 2018 - 06:32

    Had my last period on 23 to 26th October, had unprotected sex on 5th November, and missed my period on 19th to 22nd November. I am positive when i tested.. i want to know how many days my pregnancy is please?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Dec 2018 - 16:42

    Hi Debby,
    From your dates, based on you having a regular 28 day cycle, then you are about 6 weeks and 3 days pregnant.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Kel (not verified) on 5 Dec 2018 - 15:43

    Im having serious lower back pain everyday for the past 4 days, i could be pregnant from november but i also could have like just gotten pregnant for december, do you suggest i wait to take a test til the end of december or should i take one now?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Dec 2018 - 15:58

    Hi Kel
    If you have missed a period, then it is best to take a pregnancy test. Lower back pain can be caused by many things, not just related to pregnancy.
    For when and how to best take a pregnancy test, please see the link below. https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/planning-pregnancy/taking-pregnancy-test
    But if you are pregnant, then it is vital that you seek urgent review by your doctor. Especially to check that the pregnancy is not ectopic (this can be life threatening) and to rule out a severe urinary tract infection, which will require a course of oral antibiotics if this is the case.
    Please do the test and get seen ASAP! Take care, Tommy's Midwife

  • By alice (not verified) on 30 Nov 2018 - 06:26

    I had my last period on September, i can't remember the date on date 12 October i had unprotected sex, i have taken five pregnancy test, i took one yesterday and they all result negative, could I be pregnant?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Dec 2018 - 12:44

    No. If the pregnancy test is negative you are not pregnant. Please see your doctor if you are concerned.

  • By Dikeledi (not verified) on 28 Nov 2018 - 08:41

    hi.I lost my period this month and I had unprotected sex.some painS in my stomach n i m feeling Tired when I woke up every morning and even too much headache.m I pregnant please help me because I didn't take a test

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 28 Nov 2018 - 13:19

    Hi Dikeledi -take a look at our link below, for the best time and way to take a pregnancy test for the most accurate positive or negative result. You will need to take a pregnancy test to know if you are pregnant or not.
    https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/planning-pregnancy/taking-pregnancy-test

    All the best, Tommy's Midwife

  • By Will I get periods? (not verified) on 23 Nov 2018 - 13:08

    I had an unprotected sex on 19th November 18 but my partner says i am sure 99% i haven't ejaculated into you 1% we aren't sure so will I get my periods for the month of December ? Or shall I have a pregnancy test before my periods ?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 23 Nov 2018 - 14:49

    Hi,
    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. Just to be aware that the withdrawal method is not a reliable form of contraception, therefore if you are wanting to avoid pregnancy then it may help to see your GP pr practice nurse or go to the family planning clinic to have a chat about what may suit you.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Unknown (not verified) on 23 Nov 2018 - 03:36

    I've been having pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, sour breast and change of taste in my mouth and bad smell of things and it's been 5 weeks now this has been happening, yesterday i think my periods started and its not my usual date and i still feel nausea and i have not tested ever since the 5 weeks of being nausea,should i test or not ?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 23 Nov 2018 - 10:34

    Hi,
    The only way of knowing if you are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test. You say that you think your period start yesterday, if this is lighter or shorter than usual then I would suggest to still take a test just in case.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 23 Nov 2018 - 12:03

    it's lighter periods still feeling nauseous since morning

  • By Sally (not verified) on 22 Nov 2018 - 22:06

    I had an unprotected sex on the 29th of September and had my menses in October at the right time but in November it has delayed for 10 days now. Am I pregnant?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 23 Nov 2018 - 10:22

    Hi Sally,
    If your period that you had in October was like a usual period, i.e in length and how heavy it was, then it is very unlikely that you are pregnant. If it was lighter and shorter than usual, then it could be possible that you are pregnant. The only way to know is to take a pregnancy test, then this will give you the answer.
    Best wishes
    Tommy's midwife

  • By Trish (not verified) on 22 Nov 2018 - 12:08

    Hallo,I last saw my period on 10th october (1st day of last period) I had unprotected sex from 5th to 9th November and I am not on the pill. I expected my period on 10th Nov and it never showed up. Took a test on 15th Nov and it was negative but I have been feeling strange and weird,still no period but spotted like twice. Could I be pregnant?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Nov 2018 - 14:37

    Hi Trish, Thank you for your comment.

    As you are not using any contraception and you have having unprotected sex then there is every chance that you could be pregnant. It would be advisable to wait a few more days and then test again, if you are still having negative tests but you have no period then please see your GP who can do a simple blood test for the pregnancy HCG hormone and this will give you a reliable result if you are pregnant. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By chioma (not verified) on 21 Nov 2018 - 23:28

    I saw my mensuration on 1st of November after having unprotected sex on de 9th of November, my period came back on the 16th of November, is it possible that I might be pregnant having symptoms of it

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Nov 2018 - 11:20

    Hi Chioma, Thank you for your comment.

    As you are still having periods then it is unlikely that you are pregnant on this cycle but if your periods are irregular then it is difficult to say when you are ovulating. If you are showing symptoms of pregnancy then take a pregnancy test to see if it is positive. If you continue that have periods and negative pregnancy tests then you are not pregnant at this time. Hope this helps, Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By Sarah (not verified) on 16 Nov 2018 - 18:55

    I’m on the mini pill which stops my periods I missed a pill in August an had a period the next day but haven’t had a period since. I started getting symptoms of what I thought was my period coming about 2 weeks ago which were cramps, feeling sick and bad headaches so I stopped the pill a week ago to have a period but it hasn’t showed and I’m still getting symptoms, I’m also losing Brown discharge now
    Could I be pregnant

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Nov 2018 - 10:20

    I suggest that you do a pregnancy test and see your doctor if you are concerned.

  • By Fiona (not verified) on 15 Nov 2018 - 21:51

    My period was 6days late last month I had unprotected sex everyday even the day my period came oct20 it lasted my normal 5days even though it was late could I be pregnant

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Nov 2018 - 10:39

    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 Stephanie (not verified) on 13 Nov 2018 - 01:33

    Had my period in September a week before I had surgery gall bladder removed. On medication endon for pain. I have a spotting in october 12th or 13 th and its November the 13the and still no period could I be pregnant. Tired most days as I'm a full time worker. Feeling bloated and this morning at a sausage roll for breakfast made me get a sick feeling what's going on I haven't done a prego test as yet.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Nov 2018 - 16:26

    Hi- Thank you for your message.
    If you have had unprotected intercourse, please carry out a pregnancy test.

  • By Tracey (not verified) on 11 Nov 2018 - 21:00

    Hello I am now 4 weeks late and have done over 12 pregnancy tests various brands and still negative but I feel odd.
    My period has never ever been late even when I have had a lot of stesss in my life.
    My doctor has referred me to the fertility clinic and told me to sit tight and keep testing as he thinks I might be pregnant.
    Can anyone advice what the chances are now after 4 weeks of negative tests.? Thank you

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 12 Nov 2018 - 12:21

    Hi Tracey
    Your doctor can do a blood test to look for HCG levels (the pregnancy hormone) as some women do not get accurate results from urine pregnancy tests. Blood tests are the most accurate.
    It is good that you have been referred on for further gynae review though too,as if pregnancy is ruled out via the blood test, then it is important that they look in to why your period is so late at this time. Stress can affect your menstrual cycle, but there can be many other causes for this too- which would need further review.
    All the best - tommy's Midwife

  • By Alyssa (not verified) on 5 Nov 2018 - 15:34

    I had unprotected sex quite a lot in August and I’m rubbish at taking my pill. Did a pregnancy a few pregnany tests some were faint postive and negative so I left it and took it as a negative but I took another test yesterday (haven’t had unprotected sex since August) and it looks quite positive. Could I be pregnant? Low hcg? Or the positive test line is just showing? I’m so confused can this happen?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Nov 2018 - 16:16

    Hi Alyssa
    If you have not taken your pill correctly and have had numerous unprotected sexual encounters, then it is likely that you are pregnant. You should go to your GP surgery as soon as possible and they can repeat the test for you there, as you have had both positive and negative test results. They can test for pregnancy by urine test strips or by blood test. Take care,Tommy's Midwife

  • By Beth (not verified) on 4 Nov 2018 - 21:10

    I have been taking the pill for over a year now but I had unprotected sex 4 weeks ago on a day where I forgot to take my pill and missed it for the next 3 days and since then I've been busy and I keep on forgetting to take it.. I've recently had a weird metallic type taste in my mouth, had lingering feeling of sickness for the past week .. is it possible?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Nov 2018 - 14:30

    Hi Beth
    Yes it is possible. You have not been taking your pill, which prevents pregnancy, and you have had unprotected sex. So please take a pregnancy test. All the best. Tommy's Midwife

  • By Abena (not verified) on 29 Oct 2018 - 08:35

    I had my period 27 September and today is 29october and still no sign of my period yet I have a severe abdominal pain.... Can it be that am pregnant

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Oct 2018 - 12:16

    Hi Abena
    You will need to do a pregnancy test to be sure, especially if you have had unprotected intercourse since your last period. We usually recommend doing a pregnancy test when your period is at least 7 days late as this will give you the most accurate result- whether it is positive or negative.
    Take care - Tommy's midwife

  • By marcela cela (not verified) on 2 Nov 2018 - 22:56

    I notice some signs of pregnancy but test pregnacy stl come negative

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 5 Nov 2018 - 14:37

    Hi Marcela
    It is usually best to wait until 7 days after your missed period to take a pregnancy test. Do it first thing in the morning, with the first wee of the day for the most accurate result- positive or negative. All the best, Tommy's Midwife

  • By Oluchi (not verified) on 28 Oct 2018 - 21:19

    I saw my menses on 7 of sept i had sex on 25 an i pregnant

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Oct 2018 - 12:13

    Hi Oluchi
    You would need to do a pregnancy test to be sure of this - it has been a number of weeks since your last period and if this has not arrived yet this month, then it would be sensible to test to find out for sure.
    Good luck Tommy's Midwife

  • By Susan (not verified) on 26 Oct 2018 - 20:40

    I had unprotected sex on 5 October..... N after 3 days I had a vaginal infection... it was itching and burning.... and 2 weeks later I had my period ... But like spotting ... N even blood clots for 1 day.... N my period lasted for 5 days..... can I be pregnant??.... please give me a answer ..... thank u

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 29 Oct 2018 - 12:09

    Hi Susan
    Any unprotected intercourse does put you at risk of pregnancy - planned or unplanned. However ,because you had your period after the intercourse, then it is not possible for you to be pregnant from this time.
    Please do use contraception to protect yourself from STI's as well as unplanned pregnancies for your own health in future.
    All the best - Tommy's Midwife

  • By Lydia (not verified) on 25 Oct 2018 - 10:41

    I started my period on 22nd september to 26th and I expected my period on 20th October but no period yet.i have small breast pain,I pee frequently, I feel cold in the afternoons,I feel hungry in the middle of the night and I have a small line on my stomach. My mouth is bitter all the time and I have heartburns

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 25 Oct 2018 - 14:08

    Hi Lydia, Thank you for your comment.
    If you have been having unprotected sex and you have missed your period then there is every chance that you may be pregnant. Please take a pregnancy test to see if you are pregnant, you can buy tests from any pharmacy or your GP or sexual health clinic should be able to do one for you as well. Take Care, Tommy's Midwives x

  • By L (not verified) on 25 Oct 2018 - 07:22

    I had unprotected sex in September once, but I don't know if he ejaculated. No protection. My periods are irregular half the time. But they started being steady every month up until that point. Around the time I was supposed to start my period I bled a little bit of red blood, more like spotting and then it stop the same night. Almost a week later the same thing happened. But no.full on period. I've been feeling pressure/heaviness/tightness on my lower stomach and my body been feeling a little off and my lower back has been hurting on and off. I tested a lil over a week ago but came back negative.

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