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.

Are you ready to conceive? Try our free healthcheck

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.

Are you ready to conceive? Try our free healthcheck

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
Hide details

Your stories of planning for pregnancy

  • Couple Amanda and Judd with daughter Shelbie

    Story

    Importance of planning for pregnancy

    Amanda, 26, and husband Judd, 29, from Essex, adopted a healthier lifestyle when planning to have a baby. They now have a daughter called Shelbie.

  • Hayley, Sam and baby Amaryllis

    Story

    “One chance for a baby”

    Hayley, 27, and Sam, 28, a barista from Lincolnshire knew their health conditions would make conception a challenge. But they didn’t give up. Following fertility treatment, they now have a daughter, Amaryllis. This is their story.

  • Claire Gale

    Story

    “I knew I was ready to try again”

    Claire Gale, 30, and husband Mark, 32, from Bournemouth always wanted a family. Last year and 8 weeks into her pregnancy, Claire miscarried, but she trusted her body to tell her when it was time to try again for a baby.

  • Lauren with her baby Cherry

    Story

    Our emotional pregnancy journey

    Lauren, 33, from Essex, and her husband Victor, 33, struggled to conceive and endured a miscarriage and pre-eclampsia before they had their beautiful daughter Cherry.

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

    Was this information useful?

    Yes No

    Comments

    Please note that these comments are monitored but not answered by Tommy’s. Please call your GP or maternity unit if you have concerns about your health or your baby’s health.
    • By Sabrina (not verified) on 7 Mar 2019 - 03:15

      I've been having a lot of unprotected sex and he's not pulling out. I got my period feb5 2019. Now March 2 and 3rd I was bleeding. It stopped. Expected period is March 5. It hasn't come yet. Could I be pregnant. Need to know ASAP

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Mar 2019 - 11:02

      Hi - Thank you for your message.
      If you are having unprotected sex and your period is delayed, you should carry out a pregnancy test. If it is positive - you should see your GP for early pregnancy care and referral. If the test is negative you should also see your GP to be checked as to why your period is delayed.

    • By Jordan plant (not verified) on 5 Mar 2019 - 16:23

      Hi I am a mom of 3 my youngest is nearly 9 month old my periods have been regular after having all my children only ever miss one when I’m pregnant, I’m not on birth control and we don’t use condoms we use the pull out method which normally works for us I had my period on the 29th jan 2019 and came off on the 6th feb I was due to start my period again on the end of feb but still haven’t came one I’ve taken two tests and they have came bk with extremely faint positives on my period is past 2 days late so my lines should be a lot darker than they are if I’m pregnant what should I do am I pregnant but it’s still very early I’m confused..

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 7 Mar 2019 - 11:05

      Hi - Thank you for your message.
      If you have had 2 positive pregnancy tests - then you are pregnant. You should contact your GP/midwife to be checked and to be referred for antenatal care.

    • By Brittany (not verified) on 4 Mar 2019 - 21:28

      Okay so me and my husband has had unprotected sex and I had my period last month and we had unprotected sex all this time I am having really bad mood swings and I am hurting on my breast my nipples are brown and I have this stinging pain on my right side I crave alot and I also get very nauseated to my stomach but I don't throw up.

      Am I pregnant???

    • By Cartiermommy (not verified) on 1 Mar 2019 - 11:44

      i haven't had my period in 12 days and i had sex on my ovulating day 2 test was invalid and 4 test have coming back negative ?? Am I pregnant?? It took three months for it to pop up on a test positive I was pregnant with my first child ??

    • By susu (not verified) on 28 Feb 2019 - 17:06

      I am on my 21 brith control pills, on the 5th to 11th, january i stopped taking to have my period, on the 12th i started taking them again as usual, on the 20th i had unprotected sex, an in the 22th i notice a little of spotting, a brown, pinky discharge, on the 2nd, february to 8th, i stopped taking my pills to have my period. i never misses i pill, and my period always came on the same time, i did a pregnacy test on the 26th of february and it came negative.
      Is it likely for me to be pregnat even though my pregnacy test came negative

    • By Pris (not verified) on 28 Feb 2019 - 11:15

      Hi, I had unprotected sex on 21st Feb evening, and I’m having period on 21st Feb @midnight and stopped on 23th Feb. Usually my period last for 5-6 days. But this time it last for 2days only. I had dizziness /keep eating because keep hungry/feel tired/feeling sleepy even aft rested well/can’t tolerate smelly food.
      Yesterday I checked using test kit it’s showing negative. I’m very confused.

    • By Lulu4 (not verified) on 1 Mar 2019 - 04:48

      i believe your testing too early.

    • By Tina Tina (not verified) on 28 Feb 2019 - 11:14

      Me and my boyfriend had sex on Jan 15,16,17 lol wild days. I started bleeding Feb 2 I usually come on 3rd of every month and my periods usually last up to 5 days. But on the 2 of feb I only was bleeding for 2 days, first day I seen a blood clot hanging from my tampon after that it was really light pinkish and brown so I just put a pad on to test my flow. It stopped then started again the second day it was a little red with a lot of brown. I took a clear blue test it came up negative. But I have all the symptoms. Now 3 days ago I got out the shower and seen honey looking discharge coming out my left nipple. and I had clear stretchy discharge when I whipped myself. I set a appointment but I got to wait til Friday and I’m very curious of what it might be. I’m only 21 and I never get any symptoms like this.

    • By Lee (not verified) on 18 Mar 2019 - 12:41

      I am going through this alao! I had slight spotting on Tues then a heavy bleed qith clots on wed then nothing for 2 days and then slight spotting again. What was your outcome please?

    • By Ashley (not verified) on 22 Feb 2019 - 06:22

      39 days since last cycle 20 since unprotected intercourse 2 negative test
      What should u do I honestly feel diffrent, tender breast, metallic taste in my mouth, it seems like food taste different and I can smell everything!! My cycle is pretty consistent. Can someone please put my mind at ease?

    • By Anah Zaneen (not verified) on 21 Feb 2019 - 17:36

      Hello. My last cycle is 31th of December and irregular minstration. I feel headache Some pain in my breast. On feb 14 i use to pregnancy test and the result is negative. It's possible to get pregnant?

    • By Nina (not verified) on 21 Feb 2019 - 12:48

      I had sex on 10th February without using a birth control pill. I missed my period today, being 24th Feb although my period just got regular for the first time in the last 3 months. Should i wait till the end of February to know if its not more regular or is it a sign of pregnancy?

    • By Sd (not verified) on 20 Feb 2019 - 16:44

      I am also trying to concieve..my last period is on jan 25 and 3 day before period white milky dischargr and feeling faint some time when i have to test

    • By Sofytovia (not verified) on 20 Feb 2019 - 16:39

      I had an abortion last month which started from 19th February to the 26th...
      I had sex sometime15th January but the bf didn't release inside me..and am way over due to see my period...
      I don't even know know what to do right now.. I tested 2days ago and it was negative
      1) Please clear me on when am meant to (have) see(n) my period
      2) And if i could be pregnant...
      Am soo confused...

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 22 Feb 2019 - 13:03

      Hi,
      If you are having negative tests then it maybe that your cycle has been disrupted due the abortion last month. If your period does not come and you continue to get negative tests then do see your GP for a review. They can also have a chat with you about contraception and what would suit you best.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Bec (not verified) on 19 Feb 2019 - 20:00

      I had an abortion on 11th dec when I was 8 weeks pregnant. I had heavy bleeding for 2 weeks after, and then in jan I had a one day period this month I am now over a week late for my period I have done 2 pregnancy tests which both have come back negative. I am very bloated and worried as there have been a few times when having intercourse I have bled. This happened when I pregnant last time but due to tests being negative I'm very confused. Any advice?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Feb 2019 - 12:36

      Bec, please go to your GP for review. They will refer you on for Gynae review if you are not pregnant and there is no apparent reason for your sudden change in menstruation. Take care, Tommy's Midwife

    • 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.

    • Pages

    Add new comment