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

    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 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?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 9 Jan 2019 - 16:21

      Hi Kyle
      Any unprotected intercourse can result in a pregnancy. You will need to do a pregnancy test to know if she is, or not. If she is pregnant, the most pregnant she could be is 3 weeks, which may not yet show up on a pregnancy test. Best to wait until her period is 1 weeks late, for the most accurate results. All the best. Tommy's Midwife

    • By Sanika (not verified) on 8 Jan 2019 - 18:57

      Me and my boyfriend had sex on 20 of last month, and i have my periods date on 13th of this month but i feel some unusual sensations in my stomach and also feel nauceatic. Am i pregnant please helo

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 9 Jan 2019 - 16:18

      Hi Sanika
      Any unprotected intercourse can result in a pregnancy. You will need to do a pregnancy test to know if you are, or not.
      All the best. Tommy's Midwife

    • By mae (not verified) on 8 Jan 2019 - 11:18

      I had my period last Dec. 08-11. Then me and my boyfriend had sex on the 21st of December and its a withdrawal method. Then I had another menstrual period on the 29th of december until 1st of January which is 7 days early for my supposedly next period. Is it possible that I'll be pregnant or I just got an early period? I hope you can help me with this. Thanks

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 8 Jan 2019 - 12:40

      Hi - Thank you for your message. Without knowing your normal cycle in detail it is hard to advise. If you think you are pregnant, it is important you take a pregnancy test, and if you are to see your GP.

    • By Julie (not verified) on 15 Jan 2019 - 12:58

      Say I had unprotected sex with guy 1 before dec 13 an then on dec 13 that night I had sex with guy 2 on dec 30 I found out I was pregnant guy 2 was told by doctors he cannot have kids An my period was supposed to be 20 of dec an I missed that an now I’m pregnant who is the father?

    • By Midwife @Tommys on 16 Jan 2019 - 15:46

      Hi Julie.
      To know for sure, you will need to do a paternity test once the baby is born.
      All the best, Tommy's Midwife

    • By John (not verified) on 28 Dec 2018 - 18:57

      My ex gf is 23. Has been on the pill for 6 years and says she's taken it religiously, never missing a dose. We had sex about 4-5 times using the withdrawal method due to her being on ocps and both being std free. She missed a period around the time of starting a new job, we chalked it up to stress but took a home test about 10 days after her missed period. It was negative. Another test was done 2 weeks later, also negative. But she has now had 2 missed periods, with just a little spotting. How likely with ocps and 2 negative home tests is it that she's pregnant? No real symptoms of pregnancy other than some nausea while on vacation.

    • 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

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