Am I Pregnant

If you are a woman who normally has a regular monthly menstrual cycle, the usual earliest and most reliable sign of pregnancy is a missed period, or occasionally a period that is much shorter and lighter than usual, with only a little bleeding. There are also other signs and symptoms that develop in early pregnancy but every woman is different and not all women will notice all or some of these. It is also perfectly possible to be pregnant and not have any symptoms at all apart from not having any periods, although this is uncommon.

Feeling sick

You may feel sick and nauseous, and vomit. Although this is often called ‘morning sickness’, it can happen at any time of the day or night. About half of all pregnant women experience nausea and vomiting, and around three in 10 women experience nausea without vomiting. For most women who have morning sickness, the symptoms start around six weeks after their last period.

Feeling tired

Feeling tired to the point of exhaustion is a common symptom during pregnancy, especially in the first 12 weeks. This tiredness is due to the hormonal changes taking place in your body, which can also make you feel nauseous, emotional and upset or tearful.

Noticing changes in your breasts

Your breasts may become larger and feel tender and tingling, or feel like they normally do before your period. The veins on the breasts may become more visible, and the nipples may darken in colour and stand out more readily.

Going to the toilet more than usual

You may feel the need to pass water (urinate) more often than usual, including during the night.

Other Signs

Other signs of pregnancy that you might notice are being more constipated than normal, having a vaginal discharge without any soreness or irritation, noticing a strange ‘metallic’ taste in your mouth, craving new foods or foods that you previously did not like, or conversely losing interest in certain foods or drinks that you previously enjoyed, such as tea, coffee or fatty food. You may also notice that you have a more sensitive sense of smell than usual, for example to the smell of certain foods or chemicals.

If you think that you might be pregnant, the first thing you should do is to take a pregnancy test. You can carry out a pregnancy test on a sample of urine from the first day of a missed period – if you are pregnant, this is usually around two weeks after conception – but some modern very sensitive pregnancy tests can be used even before you miss a period, so check the label and instructions of the pregnancy test you use.  You can do the test on urine collected at any time of the day (it doesn't have to be the first urine you pass in the morning). You can ask your doctor for a container, otherwise  collect the urine in a clean, soap-free, well-rinsed container. These urine tests measure the levels of hCG (a hormone secreted when you're pregnant) in your urine. You can help better your chances of having enough hCG in your urine by waiting four hours after you last urinated to take the test as this allows hCG to build up in your urine.

Pregnancy testing kits are readily available from pharmacies. These give a quick result, and you can do the test in private. A range of tests is available, and the way they work varies, so check the instructions first. With most modern testing kits, a positive test result is almost certainly correct. A negative result is less reliable. If you get a negative result and still think that you're pregnant, wait a week and try again, or see your doctor.

Remember - it is a common myth that you can't get pregnant the first time you have sex. This is simply not true. There is always a possibility that you will get pregnant if you have sex – even the very first time. If you are having sex and don't want to get pregnant, you will need to choose a method of protection.