Pregnancy tests

 

Pregnancy test stickIf you've been through the pregnancy symptoms and you tick some of the boxes on the list, your next step is a pregnancy test to find out definitively if you are or you aren't expecting.

When should I do a pregnancy test?

Most pregnancy tests can be done from the day your period's due. Some tests are so sensitive you can even use them before your period is officially late.

How do pregnancy tests work?

Pregnancy tests work by detecting the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) in your urine - the level of HCG goes up steeply during the early weeks of pregnancy.

Most over-the-counter tests contain one or two sticks. You pee on the stick and the result (positive or negative) appears on the stick after several minutes. Read the instructions carefully, because different manufacturers' tests vary slightly.

It used to be that you had to test the urine from your first wee of the day, but now you can use urine collected at any time.

Where can I get a pregnancy test?

Your GP can test to see if you're pregnant, but over-the-counter tests are just as accurate and most surgeries accept these as confirmation that you're on stork watch.

You can also get pregnancy tests free from your community sexual health clinic (aka family planning clinics, GUM clinics), NHS walk-in centres and Brook Advisory Centres (under-25s).

Alternatively, get yourself off to a high street chemist or the supermarket, buy a pregnancy test and prepare to join the legions of women who've discovered the profound news that they're going to have a baby while perched on the loo or the side of the bath. 

What if I'm on the Pill?

Hormone-based contraceptives (the Pill, implants and injections) don't affect pregnancy test results. So a positive result means you're pregnant, whether or not you're on the Pill.

Negative test results

If you get a negative result but you still think you're pregnant, then wait a couple of days and do another test. NHS Choices says speak to your GP if you get a negative result after the second test but your period still hasn't started.

Positive test results

If you get a BFP (big fat positive, in Mumsnet-speak), make an appointment to see your GP so that you get your antenatal care started.

Bleeding in early pregnancy

It's very common to experience bleeding in early pregnancy. It can be a sign that something's amiss, so you do need to see your GP or midwife to check, but many women who experience bleeding during early pregnancy go on to have full-term pregnancies, so don't instantly assume the worst.

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Last updated: 08-Nov-2012 at 3:42 PM