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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    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 chiomz (not verified) on 20 Jan 2019 - 05:17

      i saw my period on d 23rd december nd had sex on d 2nd of january, nd nw am supposed 2 see my period yesterday nd which it came out nd stop, is it possible am pregnant.

    • By chiomz (not verified) on 20 Jan 2019 - 05:16

      i saw my period on d 23rd december nd had sex on d 2nd of january, nd nw am supposed 2 see my period yesterday nd which it came out nd stop, is it possible am pregnant.

    • By chiomz (not verified) on 20 Jan 2019 - 05:16

      i saw my period on d 23rd december nd had sex on d 2nd of january, nd nw am supposed 2 see my period yesterday nd which it came out nd stop, is it possible am pregnant.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Jan 2019 - 15:05

      Hi Chiomz
      If you think you could be pregnant and your period is overdue, I would advise that you take a pregnancy test
      Take care
      Tommy's |Midwife

    • By Cathleen (not verified) on 18 Jan 2019 - 21:26

      Me and my boyfriend had unprotected sex on 25th & 27th December 2018. I ovulated fully on the 25th December 2018. On 6th January I got my period for 4days, normally it's 5 days.
      Today is the 18th January 2019 and my breast are feeling sore if removing the bra. Could I be getting possibly pregnant

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Jan 2019 - 14:23

      Hi Kathleen
      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 could show a false negative result.
      Take care
      Tommys Midwife

    • By Mikky (not verified) on 18 Jan 2019 - 12:55

      I had a period last 13th day of december and until now i don't feel any signs that i will have a period is there a chance to become pregnant ?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Jan 2019 - 15:14

      Dear Mikky,
      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.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Briuna Washington (not verified) on 18 Jan 2019 - 07:35

      Hi My cycle was due Jan 15 but came Jan 11. For the past 4months it's been on time. My cycle came Jan 11-16. Before then I was having lower back pain for 2 weeks, stomache stayed bloated and soreness in my right breast. My boyfriend vomited for 5 days. This cycle was light with small clots. Starting Jan 18 I'm spotting. I don't know what it can be.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Jan 2019 - 15:11

      Hi Briuna,
      It is difficult to know what is happening for you, and whether this is a medical reason or not. If you have further bleeding with clots or feel unwell then do see your GP for a review.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Cherry (not verified) on 18 Jan 2019 - 04:03

      I had Protceted sex and had my period but it was ealry but this month I’m not getting it

    • By Mummy of 2 (not verified) on 17 Jan 2019 - 16:54

      I had my period on 15th December and m usually a 28 day cycle my period willbe a week late as of Saturday I have had sore back and cramp but had a negative test yesterday, could I still be pregnant ?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 18 Jan 2019 - 13:22

      Hi,
      If you continue to have negative tests then it is unlikely that you are pregnant. A sore back and cramping maybe due to a medical reason such as a urine infection. If your symptoms continue and your period continues to be delayed then do see your GP for a review.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Lol (not verified) on 17 Jan 2019 - 14:57

      Hi, I had sex 8th dec just 2 days before fertility window and again 16th dec on the last day of window. I normally have a heavy period and lasts for 3-4 days. However I bleed very lightly for two days. Could I be pregnant I’m due next period end of Jan.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 17 Jan 2019 - 15:03

      Hi there. If you are having unprotected sex, and if your period is late you need to do a pregnancy test to be sure.
      Please see the link below for how to test for the most accurate result -
      https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-nformation/planning-pregnancy/taking-pregnancy-test

      If you aren't pregnant, then please visit your GP to discuss sudden changes to your menstrual cycle.
      All the best, Tommy's Midwife

    • By Kat (not verified) on 17 Jan 2019 - 05:43

      Had normal menses for sometime. Last period 12/22/2018. Having been had unprotected sex for awhile, pull out method. Now, period starts January 19, 2019. Had pinkish brown discharge to little red blood on January 14 to 16 after sex January 11, 2019 late night. One pull out method and rest inside. Taking medications for bacterial vaginosis and yeast infection. Stop taking cream for vagina, just clindamycin. Having dizziness on and off, very moody like at everything, and little cramping.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 17 Jan 2019 - 14:40

      Hi Kat - Thank you for your message.
      If you are having unprotected sex, then there is always a chance of pregnancy and/or infections. I would advise contacting your GP/doctor to be checked for both urgently.

    • By Ksrla (not verified) on 18 Jan 2019 - 04:40

      Ok I also had period on 12-22-18 had unprotected sex on the 1st then 4th n 4 more times scadered after that I took test today 1-17-2019 n it was negative is it too early

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 21 Jan 2019 - 15:21

      Hi Krsla
      I would advise that you wait until your period is overdue before taking another pregnancy test as you can have a false negative result if you test too early and the hormone levels may still be too low to be detected by the test
      Take care
      Tommy's Midwife

    • By Amiira (not verified) on 15 Jan 2019 - 21:16

      Am not really sure if iam or not.
      This was my first time to have sex but it was protected.I usually have my mensuntral cycle between 26-30 or 31st and I had my period last month of December but I also had the sex on the 12th Jan.aAnd I had like 3 drops of blood in my liner the next day and I became so worried.I have a stomach upset a little bit and maybe back ache so far.I don't know wats going on with me.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Jan 2019 - 11:57

      Hi Amiira, If you used contraception in both encounters, then you should not be pregnant as contraception prevents pregnancy and against UTI's when used effectively.
      Stomach aches and back aches are not obvious signs of pregnancy. So if you are in any doubt and want to be sure, you could take a pregnancy test when/if your period is late. Please see the link below for the most accurate way to do a pregnancy test.
      https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/planning-pregnancy/taking-pregnancy-test
      All the best, Tommy's Midwife

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 15 Jan 2019 - 13:46

      I have unprotected sex on 23 nov and after that I got some bleeding and clots on 7 dec to 12 dec n then from 22 dec I got some brown discharge for three four days and now it's 15 jan I haven't get my periods plz help me can I get pregnant

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Jan 2019 - 11:49

      Hi there. You need to do a pregnancy test to be sure.
      Please see the link below for how to test for the most accurate result - https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/planning-pregnancy/taking-pregnancy-test
      If you aren't pregnant, then please visit your GP to discuss sudden changes to your menstrual cycle. You may need referral to a gynae clinic.
      All the best, Tommy's Midwife

    • By Rasheedat Lawal (not verified) on 15 Jan 2019 - 10:38

      i had my period on 30th of november 2018 for 3days instead of 5days and had another period on 21st december for 4days,the first 2day came normal at night and the other 2days were spotting.on my nomal cycle which is 28 days,am expecting my period on thursday 17th of this month and have been having unprotected sex since early november and now am having pregnancy symptoms like feeling dizzy,gassy,sick and feeling hungry all the time.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Jan 2019 - 11:46

      Hi Rasheedat. Any unprotected intercourse can result in pregnancy, so it is possible that you might be. When your period is 7 days late, take a test for the most accurate result. See the link below for more details about getting the most accurate result.https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/planning-pregnancy/taking-pregnancy-test
      All the best, Tommy's Midwife

    • By Rosie (not verified) on 15 Jan 2019 - 08:38

      Hi

      I had my last period 13th til 17th Dec with some days of spotting after. I had unprotected sex on 26th. I'm currently 3 days late and done about 6 positive tests. Are they accurate? Should I contact my GP?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Jan 2019 - 11:43

      Hi Rosie
      It does sound like you are pregnant if you have had 6 positive pregnancy tests. To book in for your scans and maternity care, you will need to book to see your GP, yes. Please start taking pregnancy vitamins and folic acid if you have not already started to do so. All the best, Tommy's Midwife

    • By Linda (not verified) on 15 Jan 2019 - 07:37

      I had sex on the 16th of December, and I started my period normal on the 8th of jan, can I still be pregnant

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Jan 2019 - 11:40

      Hi Linda
      Having a period is your body's way of telling you that you are not pregnant. So it sounds very unlikely that this would be the case. You could do a test to be 100% sure. All the best, Tommy's Midwife

    • By Nicole (not verified) on 15 Jan 2019 - 07:14

      Hi my name is Nicole

      My period was 3days late so i got my period the 4th of January and i bleed only for 3days and periods goes until 7days which didnt could i be pregnant ..

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Jan 2019 - 11:38

      Hi Nicole
      Sound unlikely that you are pregnant as you had your period, even though it was shorter than normal. Might be a good idea to go to your GP to discuss these sudden changes to your menstrual cycle, they may decide to send you for a gynae review.
      All the best, Tommy's Midwife

    • By Sunshyne (not verified) on 14 Jan 2019 - 23:50

      My last period was Dec. 18th- 21st. I had unprotected sex Jan. 5th and the 8th. My period was due today, and usually I spot a day before my period; but it never came today. I've had cramping for the past 5 days, but today i have sharp stabbing pains in my upper abdomen. I've had symptoms of nausea, sleeping all the time and peeping constantly. Including headaches and constipation. A couple days again I had this sour metallic taste in my mouth for a least a half hour. Im just confused of what's going on. Especially the sharp stabbing pains I've had all day. I feel dumb because I have 5 children already but every pregnancy is different. Can anyone explain my symptoms thanks in advance.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Jan 2019 - 11:23

      Hi Sunshyne
      It would be sensible to do a pregnancy test when your period is 7 days late for the most accurate result (either positive or negative) as you are experiencing possible pregnancy symptoms.
      See link below for guidance about when is best to do a pregnancy test -
      https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/planning-pregnancy/taking-pregnancy-test
      All the best , Tommy's Midwife

    • By Concern (not verified) on 11 Jan 2019 - 07:36

      Hi I'm very concern I had my period the first week of Dec had protected sex on 15 and 31 Dec but now I'm almost two weeks late

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 11 Jan 2019 - 12:33

      Hi,
      It maybe a good idea to take a pregnancy test just to check that you are not pregnant. Please be assured that many things can affect your cycle, such as stress, diet and lifestyle choices. if your period doe snot come and you have a negative test then do speak with your GP for a review.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Zahra (not verified) on 11 Jan 2019 - 06:35

      I had my period on 3rd nov and had intercourse on cycle day 12 & 14.. And my period came on 10 Dec.. for the month of dec i only had 1 time intercourse on 5th dec.. and now i missed my period for 3 days .. could i be pregnant?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 11 Jan 2019 - 12:30

      Hi Zahra,
      If you have had a full and regular period since the last time you had intercourse then you are not pregnant. If it was lighter and shorter than usual, there is a chance that you could be pregnant. The only way of knowing for sure is to take a pregnancy test.
      Best wishes,
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 11 Jan 2019 - 03:37

      My period was supposed to come on 10th January that's Thursday and I had unprotected sex on Saturday 5th January and I have missed my period plus I keep having this stomach pain am I pregnant help

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 11 Jan 2019 - 12:27

      Hi,
      The only way of knowing if you are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test. If your next period has 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 Cing (not verified) on 10 Jan 2019 - 00:23

      The last day of my period was October 29, I usually have a 25-28 cycle. I had a very pink light bleeding on December 7-9 so I take a pregnancy test on December 29 but it was negative I even did I a blood test still negative. I have all of the pregnancy sign specially morning sickness, nauseous and sore boobs plus craving for sour food. I have a little bit is cramps at night for 3 days and today around 5pm a have a light bleeding again help me I’m really confused even my doctor don’t know if I’m really pregnant or not because all the test come negative but I have all the symptoms.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Jan 2019 - 15:14

      Hi - Thank you for your message.
      As you have a range of symptoms and delayed periods, but negative pregnancy tests, you need to see your regular doctor for further investigations and tests.

    • By Unknown (not verified) on 10 Jan 2019 - 00:03

      so I had unprotected sex on Friday 21 or 28 not sure but I usually end my period around that time && I had sex yesterday should I wait for my period or take a test .

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Jan 2019 - 15:18

      If you have had unprotected sex and think you maybe pregnant, you should take a pregnancy test around the time your next period is due.
      You may find some of the information in the link below useful in understanding what may be happening:
      https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/planning-pregnancy/how-get-pregnant

    • By Shareen Gee (not verified) on 9 Jan 2019 - 17:36

      My last day of my period was on 10/12/2018,on 31 i had sex with my boyfriend,could i be pregnant

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Jan 2019 - 15:24

      Hi - Thank you for your message.
      If your period this month is late and you think you maybe pregnant, you should take a pregnancy test to confirm if you are or not.
      Each woman's menstrual cycle is different, but usually your cycle starts on the first day of your period and continues up to the first day of your next period.
      About 10 to 16 days before the start of your next period, an egg is released from one of the ovaries (ovulation).
      If sperm is present at the moment of ovulation, or some time during the next 24 hours, the egg may be fertilised.

    • By Nagma (not verified) on 9 Jan 2019 - 16:34

      I have my period on December 5 2018 and I miss my periods I have a low back pain little bit white bleeding it is a possibility of I am pregnant

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Jan 2019 - 15:27

      Hi - Thank you for your message.
      If your period is late and think you maybe pregnant, the only way of confirming a pregnancy is to take a pregnancy test. Home pregnancy tests are very reliable and give a result within minutes.
      If you are pregnant, it is important you see a midwife/Dr soon who can offer your early pregnancy advice and refer you for maternity care.

    • By Linda (not verified) on 9 Jan 2019 - 13:04

      I had my period which started on the 4/11/18 I had unprotected sex on the 24/11/18 , I didn't had my period on the right time in December I took a pregnancy test it shows positive. Days later I started bleeding I went to the hospital and I did a test in the hospital it was positive.but I continue bleeding for some days. Today 9/1/2019 I have started bleeding again don't know what is happening.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 10 Jan 2019 - 15:37

      Hi Linda -Thank you for your message.
      I'm sorry to hear you've been having some bleeding after finding out you are pregnant. It’s common to have light bleeding or ‘spotting’ without pain before 12 weeks. This isn’t often serious, but you should contact your doctor, midwife or Early Pregnancy Unit immediately to be checked, just in case.
      As the bleeding has started again, please visit your GP and be checked urgently.

    • By Kyle Ramz (not verified) on 9 Jan 2019 - 08:51

      My Girlfriend's first day of her last periods was 16th Dec 2018. We had unprotected sex on 25th Dec 2018. Is she likely to be pregnant? Or not?

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