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 Jade (not verified) on 23 Jan 2019 - 08:02

      I have my period last dec 16 and lasted until dec 20. My husband and i have sex dec 6 and the succeeding days until dec 18. We used pull out method. I should have my menstruation on Jan 14 but until now i am 8days delayed. I did pregnancy test checking during my 3rd day delayed but the result is negative. Can i be pregnant?

    • By Lasha (not verified) on 23 Jan 2019 - 03:58

      Hello I had my period on the 9th of January and it’s stopped on the 14th my ovulation week was 18th till the 24th I had unprotective sex on the 19,20,and 21st after sex I went to the restroom I wiped and it was pinkish spotting and later I went back it was gone today jan22 it my best chance on getting pregnant I still have till the 24 till my ovulation week ends could I be pregnant

    • By Sami (not verified) on 22 Jan 2019 - 19:35

      Hello my boyfriend and I have been trying to get pregnant. Last month in December my period came late it came the 23 and lasted for only 2 days. Normally I have really heavy bleeding but this time it was super light. Then this month I’m 5 days late on period. Is it possible I could be pregnant?

    • By Shona (not verified) on 22 Jan 2019 - 10:34

      My last period date is 27 sep 18 and now it is around 4 months I have not got my period I had done 5 times pregnancy test but still the result is negative so what should I do????

    • By Stacy (not verified) on 22 Jan 2019 - 05:52

      Is it a bad sign if my period stops the day after I have unprotected sex? Took a plan B less than 6 hours after sex but period still stopped next day.

    • By Claire (not verified) on 22 Jan 2019 - 04:54

      Hi I didn’t have sex but I had sexual interactions and sperm got on my leggings and I’m not sure if on my underwear on Jan.3 and I’ve read you can still get pregnant this way but January 7 I got my normal period . I started feeling nauseous and have back pain and a weird feeling in my stomache . Is it possible that I am pregnant ? I also took a pregnancy test jan 18 and it came back negative but it might have been too early to tell

    • By Claire (not verified) on 22 Jan 2019 - 04:41

      Hi , I was wondering if on January 3 I didn’t have sex but some sperm got on my leggings and I’m not sure if it went through to my underwear. But January 7 I had a normal period . Now my period is over but I have nausea , back pain , and my stomache feels a little weird . Can I be pregnant or is it not possible

    • By Mhiz mavis (not verified) on 21 Jan 2019 - 20:10

      Hi
      I saw my period on the 19 of December which ended on the 24,so I had am unprotected sex on 27 of December and so on.normally before seeing my menstruation I will hv two days pains before the date but it’s two day now I hv nt seen any sign of that
      Also few weeks ago,I had the symptoms like
      Nausea
      Feeling dizzy Nd sleepy sometimes
      Could dat b a sign of pregnancy??

    • By Joan (not verified) on 21 Jan 2019 - 19:58

      I had my periods on 9/01/2019 to 13/01/2019...but the way I feel am not OK..I feel dizzy tiredness ..... feeling like vomiting...and lower cramping..is it possible that I am pregnant

    • By Abane vida (not verified) on 21 Jan 2019 - 19:04

      please I had my period on 21 December 2018 and had unprotected sex on 2 and 3 January 2019 and I started having headache hotter breast nausea and vomiting high temperature, bitter mouth and body pain few days later I started having brown discharges for two days and the third day which was 15 January 2019 I started having heavy period which was not up to my period date I did pregnancy test and it was negative please help me out

    • By Lauren B (not verified) on 21 Jan 2019 - 15:32

      Okay so my period was on the 14th and lasted until the 17 I had sexual inner course on the 19th and 20th could I be pregnant even though I wasn’t ovulating?

    • By Julia (not verified) on 21 Jan 2019 - 10:39

      I m married with 40 age and have no children. My menses stopped for 45 days and after 45 days white color fluid comes. Pregnancy home test is negative and feel normal. Can I b pregnant?

    • By Rosie (not verified) on 21 Jan 2019 - 10:03

      It's exactly 17 days from the first day of my last period and I am spotting( light pink) .i have terrible nausea and headaches. I am sexually active and had sex everyday throughout my fertility window. I had sex from the 9th day to the 16th day. What's going on with me?

    • By Rosie (not verified) on 21 Jan 2019 - 09:52

      It's exactly 17 days from the first day of my last period and I am spotting( light pink) .i have terrible nausea and headaches. I am sexually active and had sex everyday throughout my fertility window. I had sex from the 9th day to the 16th day. What's going on with me?

    • By Jane (not verified) on 20 Jan 2019 - 17:34

      My hubby and i had unprotected sex on 1st week of january, im expecting my period yesterday jan 20 bcoz its the date start of my period. I feel some preggy symptoms like rapid heartbeat,headaches,bloated,cramps,abdominal pain,sour mettalic taste,constipation. Am i pregnant?

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

      Hi Jane
      Your symptoms could be related to early pregnancy-I would advise that you take a pregnancy test if your period is overdue
      Take care
      Tommy's Midwife

    • 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

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