If you think you are pregnant, it’s important to find out for certain as soon as possible. You can do this by taking a pregnancy test.
You can get pregnant from having unprotected vaginal sex. This includes if you have sex without using contraception, or if your method of contraception fails (such as a condom splitting or missing taking a pill).
If you’ve had unprotected sex or your method failed (e.g. missed pill or a split condom) you may be able to prevent pregnancy by using emergency contraception within the first five days.
The sooner you access emergency contraception, the more effective it will be.
Some people can tell that they’re pregnant because they feel different. For example, they might feel sick, experience mood swings, have tender breasts, or miss a period. But not everyone experiences symptoms of pregnancy.
The only way to know if you are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test.
Pregnancy tests usually involve peeing on a small plastic stick, or into a clean cup and dipping in a test stick. The result will usually appear within a few minutes. Always read the instructions first.
There are lots of places where you can get a pregnancy test for free and receive support. You could visit a Brook clinic, a different sexual health clinic or your GP.
This might also be a good time to talk to someone about contraception options, if you weren't trying to get pregnant.
Regardless of your age, health professionals wont share any information about your visit with anyone. If you are under 16 and you have a positive test result they will encourage you to talk to your parents, but they won’t force you to.
You can also buy pregnancy tests from a chemist or supermarket, for £3-10. If you are doing the test yourself make sure you follow the instructions carefully.
If you find out you're pregnant, you may feel happy and excited, or shocked, worried and upset.
Talk to your GP, midwife or talk to a health professional if you feel anxious. They can help you to understand what is happening to your body, or can give you advice if you don't want to continue with your pregnancy.
If you are pleased to be pregnant then you can start receiving antenatal support from your local midwifery service. Your midwife will help to ensure that you and your baby stay healthy during pregnancy, and can answer any questions you have.
If you are not pleased to be pregnant then finding out early gives you more time to consider your choices.
If you are in a relationship your partner could feel happy, have mixed feelings or be unhappy about the pregnancy, and may find it hard to talk about it. Talking about worries or concerns can be helpful. Talking to family or close friends or a health professional about the pregnancy may also be helpful, although the final decision is always your own.
If you find out you are pregnant, you may want to tell your family and friends immediately, or wait a while until you have sorted out how you feel. Many people wait until they have had their first ultrasound scan, when they're around 12 weeks pregnant, before they tell others.
If you experience nausea or ‘morning sickness’ in the first 12 weeks, you may choose to tell a close family member or friend to help you through the days when you feel very sick.
It takes three weeks from the time that you became pregnant to the time that the pregnancy test is positive. A negative test may mean that it is too early in the pregnancy for the test to be positive.
No, emergency contraception is not effective at this stage.
Yes. Hormonal methods of contraception, such as the contraceptive pill, implants and injections, contain the hormones oestrogen and progestogen. They work by changing your hormone balance. However, these hormones will not affect the result of a pregnancy test.
No, pregnancy tests are now so accurate that you can do them on urine from any time of the day.
You will have to pay for pregnancy tests at pharmacies (they may cost between £3- £10), but you do not need to give any personal details.
A physical sign is an increase in vaginal discharge, which changes from white, creamy or non-existent to clear, stretchy and slippery when you ovulate. Some people can feel pain during ovulation, ask your GP if you are concerned about this.
You may also notice other signs, such as: