Pregnancy testing

If you're having sex, you can get pregnant, even if you are using contraception.

The only way to know if you are pregnant is to have a pregnancy test.

Signs of Being Pregnant

Missed period

This is usually the first thing you notice, but there are other reasons for missing your period. For example, stress; illness; or if you have been exercising really hard for weeks or months.

Unusual or irregular period

You can be pregnant and still have a period, but it might be a bit different; earlier or later, heavier or lighter. 

Many young women have irregular periods. If you're not sure, take a pregnancy test

Morning sickness

 With morning sickness, some women are sick (or, vomit), and others have a feeling of sickness (or, nausea) without being sick.

The term "morning sickness" is misleading, as it can affect you at any time of the day or night and some women feel sick all day long.

Weeing more than usual

You might feel like you have to wee more than usual, but often only in small amounts.

Breasts may be bigger

After you've missed your period, your breasts might start to get bigger.

You could also feel a tingling sensation around your nipples, or they may just be uncomfortably sore.

More tired than usual

You'll find that in the early stages of pregnancy you might feel more tired than usual but you could be tired for other reasons such as stress.

When you can do a pregnancy test?

You can do a pregnancy test on urine collected at any time of the day. 

Contrary to some beliefs, the urine doesn't have to be taken in the morning from either the first day of a missed period, or if your period is 7 or more days late. If you're pregnant, this is about two weeks after conception. 

How does a pregnancy test work?

All pregnancy tests detect the hormone Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (HCG), which starts to be produced around six days after fertilisation.

Pregnancy test results


A positive test result is almost certainly correct.


Negative results are less reliable. If you get a negative result and still think that you're pregnant, wait a week and try again, or see a GP.

If you are pregnant, you need to talk to someone about your options. You should go to see the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), Integrated Sexual Health Services (ISHS), or your GP.

If this negative result felt like too close a call for you, have a think about your methods and usage of contraception (see: Contraception). Contraception is available from Integrated Sexual Health Services and your GP and is free of charge.

If you are having repeated negative results but are trying for a baby, you should contact the Integrated Sexual Health Service for help and support.

Where can you get a pregnancy test?

If you are 25 or under you can get a free pregnancy test from an ASC chemist (see: Health Services). Free pregnancy tests are available from the Integrated Sexual Health Service, whatever your age.

Both an ASC chemist and the Integrated Sexual Health Service can give you advice on your choices if you are pregnant.

You can also buy do-it-yourself pregnancy testing kits from chemists and other shops, including some pound shops and online retailers. A range of tests is available. The way they work varies, so check the instructions first.  

They can give a quick result, and you can do the test in private. However, they cannot give you advice on your choices if you are pregnant.