How do I know if I’m pregnant?

Signs of pregnancy are:

A positive pregnancy test

A urine pregnancy test will give you an accurate result if taken at least 3 weeks (21 days) after your pregnancy risk or at the time of your missed period.

If you think you might be pregnant then go ahead and do a test. Knowing about pregnancy early means:

  • if you want to be pregnant, you can start taking the recommended vitamins and connect with antenatal care and services

  • if you do not want to be pregnant, you have time to consider your options and arrange an abortion if this is what you decide

If you’ve taken emergency contraception, even if you get your period, you should always do a pregnancy test 3 weeks (21 days) after the pregnancy risk.

A missed or late period

A missed or late period is a helpful sign. But it’s not a reliable way of knowing if you’re pregnant. So do take a pregnancy test to confirm.

You can sometimes get a period-like bleed if you are pregnant, so it’s important to take a pregnancy test to know for sure.

Breast tenderness, nausea, tiredness or food cravings

Some people find, in early pregnancy, that their breasts are sore, they feel sick or unusually tired. Things can smell stronger or different to usual or they feel differently about foods or drinks – either craving them or being put off by them.

Again, there can be other reasons for these symptoms, so if you do experience them we recommend doing a pregnancy test.

How do pregnancy tests work?

Pregnancy tests look for a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, produced by the cells surrounding the fertilised egg in very early pregnancy. This hormone is found in your pee (urine) reliably from 3 weeks after fertilisation.

How can I get a pregnancy test?

You can buy reliable pregnancy tests from pharmacies and supermarkets, as well as some other high street store. You can take these tests in private, at home.

Free pregnancy tests are available from your GP or local NHS sexual health services – .

Last updated at: 02 February 2024
Published on: 08 December 2022