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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Hello,

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

    Best regards,

    Angela

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

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

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

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

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Feb 2019 - 12:16

    Hi Nish.
    The withdrawal method is NOT an effective way to PREVENT pregnancy. So if you are not planning a pregnancy, please use contraception.
    You need to do a pregnancy test if you think that you might be pregnant and visit your GP if you get a positive result.
    All the best, Tommy's Midwife

  • By Joan wendy (not verified) on 7 Feb 2019 - 09:07

    Hi good morning. Am Wendy.. I saw my period on 12 december and had sex 31st of December and saw my period again on the 12th of January which is more than a week late. and ever since my breast feels sore and has increased in size, I urinate more frequently, my temperature higher, and I feel dizzy, but on the 5th this month. I started bleeding 24hours after sex ... Am I pregnant

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Feb 2019 - 15:57

    Hi Wendy - Thank you for your message. If you think you maybe pregnant, you need to carry out a pregnancy test to determine if you are. If you are not, I would suggest you contact your doctor for advice regarding the symptoms you are having.

  • By Rita (not verified) on 7 Feb 2019 - 04:25

    Hey i had sex on my fourth days of period i was bleeding before having sex but I suddenly stop to bleed after having sex am I pregnant?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Feb 2019 - 16:05

    Dear Rita - thank you for your message. It would be unusual to become pregnant on the 4th day of your cycle. However, if your period is delayed, then you should carry out a pregnancy test to determine if you are or not.

  • By Curious (not verified) on 7 Feb 2019 - 00:09

    Hi. I had unprotected sex on the 16 Dec after an hour I had my period on 20 dec ended then again on the 1 Jan had unprotected sex my periods delayed come on the 20 jan very light last 3 days can I be pregnant?

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Feb 2019 - 16:12

    If you have unprotected sex and think you maybe pregnant it is important to carry out a pregnancy test from the day your next period is due to determine if you are or not.

  • By Mary Godwin (not verified) on 4 Feb 2019 - 23:11

    I thought I was pregnant because I had unprotected sex on the 7th of January I have been feeling weak and all Dat I have done pregnancy test several times but it show negative my period delay from coming for two days and when it finally come on Saturday ND today being Monday it stop wat would be dy problem

  • By Gloria (not verified) on 4 Feb 2019 - 19:49

    I had my last period on the 1st of January 2019 and was expecting my next period on the 28 of January but I am 8days late but I am having stomach cramps and I took a pregnancy test on the 30th of January it gave me a week positive test mummy what do I do to make it stronger positive

  • By Gracia (not verified) on 2 Feb 2019 - 17:14

    Irregular menstruation here. I had sex last nov. I had my mens last dec for 4days and now my period is just like spotting am i pregnant...

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Feb 2019 - 12:46

    Hi Gracia
    You will need to do a pregnancy test to be sure. All the best, Tommy's Midwife

  • By Sian (not verified) on 1 Feb 2019 - 19:18

    Hi I had a miscarriage on the 19th November 2018 and had my first period on the 24th off December and then I am not 11 day late but done 2 test and both said no can someone help I keep getting white discharge

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 13 Feb 2019 - 12:30

    Hi Sian
    I am sorry to hear about your miscarriage. Please visit your GP, you may have a thrush infection that will require treatment. They may also refer you to a gynae clinic if your menstrual cycle is suddenly abnormal for you - just to be on the safe side. All the best, Tommy's Midwife

  • By Joyce (not verified) on 31 Jan 2019 - 20:07

    I had my menses last week of December but I had it only for two days. I had unprotected sex the 4th of January and took my morning after pill.i had another menstruation the second week in January again and it was just too light and doesn't look like blood too.had unprotected sex the third week and 3th of January again .i feel nausea,bloating,fatigue,headache and neck pain and flatulence.pls am I pregnant????

  • 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?

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