Signs of pregnancy

For women who have a regular monthly cycle, the earliest and most reliable sign of pregnancy is a missed period. Sometimes women who are pregnant have a very light period, losing only a little blood.

Other signs of pregnancy

Other signs of pregnancy can include:

  • morning sickness – you may feel, or even be, sick
  • changes in your breasts – your breasts may become larger and feel tender, veins may stand out more and your nipples might darken
  • needing to use the toilet more often, especially at night
  • constipation
  • increased vaginal discharge without any pain or irritation
  • tiredness
  • a strange taste in your mouth – many women describe this as being metallic
  • going off certain things, such as tea and coffee, tobacco smoke

Pregnancy tests

Pregnancy tests can be carried out on a sample of urine from the first day of a missed period. That means that, if you are pregnant, you are about two weeks after conception. Some very sensitive tests can be used even before you miss a period.

You can collect urine at any time of the day. Use a clean, soap-free, well-rinsed container to collect it.

Most pharmacists and pregnancy advisory services also offer tests, usually for a small fee. You can buy do-it-yourself pregnancy testing kits from pharmacists. They can give you a quick result and you can take the test at home in private. There are a range of tests available. How they work varies, so read the instructions carefully.

Results of the test

A positive test result is almost certainly accurate. A negative result is less reliable. If you still think you are pregnant, wait a week and try again or go to see a midwife or GP.

Following a positive pregnancy test, you should contact your GP or midwife as soon as possible, this is especially important if you are currently being treated for any long term illness such as hypertension or epilepsy, or if you have serious mental health problems. Women with diabetes should contact their doctor the next working day.

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