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 TEH (not verified) on 28 Dec 2018 - 08:05

      I test my pregnancy on day 36 show negative.
      Show I test again on day 43?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Jan 2019 - 16:19

      Hi,
      If you have had intercourse and your period has not come then yes do repeat the pregnancy test. If this is negative and your period remains delayed then do see your GP for a review.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Lee (not verified) on 28 Dec 2018 - 08:01

      My first day period is on 23 Nov 2018. Until today no period come. I test pregnancy today show negative. Is it mean I am not pregnant? Should re test again?
      My period use to very on time.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Jan 2019 - 16:17

      Dear Lee,
      If you have had intercourse and your period is late then there is a chance that you are pregnant but it may be that you need to wait a little longer for your hormone level to rise enough for the pregnant test to detect it. If you have not already, then you could now repeat the pregnancy test. If your period still has not come and you are having negative tests then do see your GP for a review.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Arian (not verified) on 28 Dec 2018 - 02:04

      I was 5 days late then my cycle came on and it was bright pink and brown for 5 days and I had nauseous and vomitting,but it wasn't heavy it only covered small portion of the pad.Could I be pregnant with this?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Jan 2019 - 16:14

      Dear Arian,
      It is difficult to know for sure if you are pregnant, I would suggest to take a pregnancy test and this will tell you whether or not you are pregnant.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Lawanda Johnson (not verified) on 27 Dec 2018 - 15:23

      First off. Hello I'm Lawanda Johnson. I had my tubes tied over 19 years. September 14, 2018 that when I see my last period. October went by November went by and now December this haven't yet see my period. I Know I'm not stress so it could be that. But last month that's when things started to happen to my body. Missed period, beasts heavy and see some vains, toothache, headache, ear drained, running nose, cramps in the lower stomach and back pains, craving for sweets, gets hot and cold but mostly hot, skin brighter, eating habits changes, gets tired very fast with shortly of breath, feel a some lump in my stomach, can't go poop sometimes and always urine alot. I having all these signs. Could I be pregnant?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Jan 2019 - 16:08

      Hi Lawanda,
      It does not sound likely that you are pregnant however you could take a pregnancy test just to be sure. You do not mention your age, however it is possible that there are other hormonal changes happening relating to the menopause. If these symptoms continue then do see your GP for a review.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Onyx (not verified) on 27 Dec 2018 - 05:46

      My last period started on the 24th of November, had sex on the 1st of December and the condom bursted, I immediately took postinor 2, my cycle is between 28 and 26days. My period was due 222nd December, I took a test on the 23rd and it was negative. Apart from a missed period , I have no other symptoms of pregnancy. Please I need help don't want any pregnancy right now.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Jan 2019 - 16:06

      Dear Onyx,
      The morning after pill can disrupt your cycle and delay your period slightly. It is likely that you period has now come, but if you are still concerned then do repeat the pregnancy test and see your GP for advice.
      best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Nashalee (not verified) on 27 Dec 2018 - 01:14

      I had sex from November 19-29,2018
      I got a pregnancy test on the 23 of December, it came back positive could u tell me how long I might be??

    • By Anonymous (not verified) on 3 Jan 2019 - 15:49

      Dear Nashalee,
      From the information you have provided, we would not be able to say how many weeks pregnant you are as this is calculated from the first day of your last period and also depends on the length of your cycle. This tool should be able to work it out for you with that information: https://www.tommys.org/pregnancy-information/im-pregnant/use-our-pregnancy-calculator-find-out-your-due-date
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Crista (not verified) on 26 Dec 2018 - 22:11

      Hi im just wondering if had my last period on the 7th of november and stopped on the 9th I am now currently seventeen days late and I was just looking for a bit of advice I did a test last week it came back negative but obviously still no sign of a period x

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Jan 2019 - 13:47

      Dear Crista,
      If your period still has not come and you are continuing to have negative pregnancy tests then I would suggest for you to see your GP for a review. including a blood test.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Linda (not verified) on 26 Dec 2018 - 16:43

      Hello... my last period was on the 6th of dec and i had unprotected sex with my husband on the 16th of dec... i ovulated 3 days later... is there a chance that i could be pregnant... cos am having some preg symptoms. my next period is due for the 3rd of jan... I've tested twice and its negative

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Jan 2019 - 13:36

      Dear Linda,
      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, then we would advise you to be taking a daily folic acid supplement.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Sadaf yasmin (not verified) on 25 Dec 2018 - 03:29

      I am 18 days late today and two negative pregnancy test .And I feel nausea and vomiting sometimes ..What could it mean

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Jan 2019 - 13:34

      Dear Sadaf,
      If your period still has not come and you continue to have negative pregnancy tests then we would suggest for you to see your GP for a review.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Anita (not verified) on 24 Dec 2018 - 07:33

      I had sex with my boyfriend and I took Levon 2 after, then I think a week or later we had sex again and I again took levon2. I experienced my menses later on (November) but I have not had it in December and it's left with 7 days for December to end. Please am I pregnant or what?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Jan 2019 - 13:30

      Dear Anita,
      It it possible that the pill can disrupt your cycle and your period may come later than usual. If it has still not come then do take a pregnancy test to check to see if you are pregnant. Please be aware that the morning after pill is not 100% and cannot stop all pregnancies, it would be more effective to speak with your GP or local family planning clinic about a regular form of contraception that will suit you.
      Best wishes,
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Alexandrea (not verified) on 23 Dec 2018 - 05:52

      Hi, my last day of my period was the 27th Nov. Me and partner are trying for a baby had x6 times unprotected between then and now. I was due on my period on the 21st Dec yesterday I had cramps in the morning ran to the toilet thinking i’d Come on, nothing so used a tampon. Then had no more cramps, took the tampon out and no blood just a bit of brown on one side. Did a pregnancy test later that day and it was negative. Not sure if what that was and if i’m Still due my period!?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Jan 2019 - 13:25

      Dear Alexandrea,
      If you haven't already, I would suggest to repeat the pregnancy test as it is possible it may have been a little early. If your period still has not come and you are getting negative tests then do see your GP for a review.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Shakira (not verified) on 22 Dec 2018 - 22:36

      I had my period on d 17 of DEC n d 18 DEC but my flow was light and pinkish.is it possible for me to b pregnant

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Jan 2019 - 13:21

      Dear Shakira,
      The only way of knowing if you are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test. If you think you may be pregnant then we would advise for you to start taking a folic acid supplement if you have not already.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By CYNTHIA (not verified) on 22 Dec 2018 - 18:06

      Hi I have 32 day cyle. My last period was on 22 nd of November. I done ovulation test and It was positive on 8 of December so I think I ovulated on 9 of December. I done a pregnancy test 2 days before period but negative. Could I still be pregnant? I got sore breasts .gassy. feeling hungry and sick the same time.cramps and mood swings.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Jan 2019 - 13:19

      Dear Cynthia,
      It may have been that you did the pregnancy test just a little early, we always suggest to wait until your next period would have be due to get a more accurate result. If you haven't already then do repeat the test now to check.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Pumpkin379 (not verified) on 21 Dec 2018 - 10:45

      Hello i missed my period on sep 23rd 2018 i started spotting on oct 21st then nothing nov the 21st i started sotting again then 22nd i started bleeding really bad with big blood clots the 23rd too then the 24th started to slow down the 25th stoped dec so far nothing...took home pregnancy test negative doctor took 2 negative doctor took blood test negative...went to see obgyn on the 18th of this month and he wants to do a ultrasound and took another blood test ..could i be pregnant

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Jan 2019 - 12:15

      Hi,
      You have probably been seen by now and have had the results of your scan and blood tests. If we can support you at all then please do be in touch.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By ANNE (not verified) on 21 Dec 2018 - 08:18

      Hi, Me and my boyfriend always do unprotected sex ever since we were dating we are 3 years together now. And he always withdraw. I am just wondering if It is possible that I can get pregnant even I saw his withdrawal made outside to be specific in a tissue or towel? What causes this pregnancy if ever it is possible?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Jan 2019 - 12:12

      Dear Anne,
      The withdrawal method is not a very reliable form of preventing a pregnancy, as sperm can be released during intercourse prior to full ejaculation. If you are wanting to prevent a pregnancy reliably then I would suggest you speak with your GP or local family planning clinic for advice regarding contraception.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • By Morah Johnson (not verified) on 21 Dec 2018 - 05:51

      I saw my period on 17th to 20th of November and the next period is due on 13th December and till date I have not seen it.i have been having temperature

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 3 Jan 2019 - 12:09

      Dear Morah,
      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 Raza (not verified) on 20 Dec 2018 - 04:02

      Hi I had my last period ending on the 28th November 2018.
      I have an app that tracks my fertile days.
      I had sex with my hubby on 9th Dec 2018.
      The next probably 6days I got real nauseated
      By boobs were slightly tender up top, I'm still real bloated now.
      I've had a metallic taste in my mouth since 10th Dec.
      I think maybe my areolas are a little darker but can't be 100% sure.
      I'm really buggered. I do work night shift and finish early hours of morning and never get efficient sleep,,
      My periods are due in 2 days roughly. Chances I could be pregnant?
      I've done 5 test all negative.. I know it would probably be to early. We're wanting a baby so bad, seems like I'm getting quite alot of signals I am but I'm just not sure..
      What are your thoughts? Thanks again

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Dec 2018 - 15:09

      Hi Raza, I understand that you are anxious to be pregnant, but my advice would be to wait until your period is overdue before you do any more tests. The tests themselves can increase your anxiety and are not likely to be positive until the hormone levels are high enough to be picked up with a urine test. Early pregnancy symptoms vary so widely from one woman to another that they can often be misleading. Take good care of yourself, we wish you all the best. Tommy's midwives

    • By Yhanchris (not verified) on 19 Dec 2018 - 23:17

      Hi were planning to conceive a baby,so we made love. Usually my period was on the 6th day of the month. I've had my last period on November 6 and in December 6 I've missed it. I got All of the signs and symptoms of pregnant women . I took a home test and they were both positive,but after 12 days I bled and it was very red and kinda heavy,I decided to see the doctor and asked me to do transvaginal ultrasound and the sonographer says it can't see a sac yet. Then when I return to the doctor and ask,she told me there is no baby. I'm wondering if I'm still pregnant because I took a test again and it says I'm still positive.

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Dec 2018 - 15:20

      Hi Vhanchris, The pregnancy test works by detecting the hormone hCG in your urine. This is the pregnancy hormone that women produce when they first get pregnant. It seems that the pregnancy has unfortunately miscarried but it will take some time before the hormone returns to pre-pregnancy levels. This is why your pregnancy test is still giving a positive result.

    • By Sammy (not verified) on 18 Dec 2018 - 07:20

      Hi, I had my last menstruation on the 4th-9th October. Had unprotected sex on 13th. Now it is 18th December and I have not seen my period. I feel feverish in the mornings,slight pricky pain at the sides of my navel. Am I possibly pregnant?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Dec 2018 - 15:28

      Hi Sammy, You would need to do a pregnancy test to confirm a pregnancy at this stage. It isn't possible to know if you are pregnant just from these symptoms alone.

    • By Lisa (not verified) on 18 Dec 2018 - 02:52

      I had a tubal in 2002 yet i hear they can grow back years later? Question i have now is october i had reg period, nov nothing n dec 1st i had 5 sec of brown stringy blood and nothing sense. having tons of preg symptoms.. When is good time to take test?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 20 Dec 2018 - 15:35

      Hi Lisa, No, if the tube was removed it will not grow back. However, we have 2 falopian tubes, one on each side, which connect the ovaries with the uterus. It is unlikely that both were removed so there is a possibility that you may be pregnant. Or there may be other causes for your irregular period. If a pregnancy test is negative, see your doctor for advice.

    • By Cynthia (not verified) on 16 Dec 2018 - 05:27

      I had my last period on 06november I and my boyfriend had sex on 03december and again on 11 December without protection and today am seeing red discharge I mussed my period on 06december am I pregnant

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 19 Dec 2018 - 16:17

      Hi Cynthia
      It is possible for you to become pregnant anytime in your cycle whilst having unprotected intercourse - it might be a good idea to do a pregnancy test as you are now over 7 days late for your period which will give you an accurate positive or negative result for you to know one way or another.
      This red discharge may just be the early signs of a later than usual period. Or implantation bleeding. Do a test to be sure. All the best, Tommy's Midwife

    • By Pelumi (not verified) on 13 Dec 2018 - 11:12

      I started my period oct 2 and i had unprotected sex on the 11th of oct but my guy use withdrawal method ..i saw my period close to endind of october to early noverber i did my periond again nov23 and now am having pain in my stomach..i hope am not pregnant

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 14 Dec 2018 - 15:41

      Hi,
      If you have had two periods since having intercourse then you will not be pregnant. It is important to know that the withdrawal method is not a reliable method of contraception therefore if you are having intercourse we would suggest to use a barrier or hormonal form of contraceptive to avoid pregnancy.
      Best wishes
      Tommy's midwife

    • 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

    • Pages

    Add new comment