Missed your period? Feeling a bit off colour or have a strange feeling you could be pregnant? It’s time to do a test.
You usually find out you're pregnant by doing a test where you wee on a special plastic stick. But if you’re having IVF then you might have a blood test at your doctors.
What is a pregnancy test and how do they work?
If you think you’re pregnant there are loads of home kits where you check your wee. You don’t need to go to the doctor (unless there’s a health reason or you’re already under their care).
These clever bits of tech are checking your pee (urine) for the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Your body makes it when your fertilised egg sticks itself to the wall of your uterus, about 6 days after the sperm meets your egg.
hCG doubles every 2-3 days and you can get a positive pregnancy test before you miss your period (about 8 days after you make a baby). But if you take a very early pregnancy test and it’s negative, you can still be pregnant. So it’s best to wait until you miss your period. It’s not very common but you can get false positives too.
Where can I get a pregnancy test?
You can get pregnancy tests from supermarkets, chemists, online and free from sexual health (GUM) clinics and your GP. Buying your own? Expect to pay £3-£15. You don’t need a fancy high-end one that shows how many weeks pregnant you are and if you plan on doing a few to check then go for a lower-cost option. They all measure hCG in the same way but you need to follow the instructions carefully. It’s best to use your first wee in the morning, and check if you need to pee on the stick or in a cup and dip the stick in.
Here are a few options recommended by our mum community:
1. Boots Pregnancy Test*. Over 99% accurate and results in 5 mins. Easy to use pee on a stick method.
2. Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test with Weeks Indicator* 99% accurate, easy to read and tells you how many weeks pregnant you are.
3. First Response Pregnancy Early Result Test Pack, 99% accurate, results in 3 mins. Can be used 6 days before the day of your missed period.
If you try a few tests and get different results then wait a few days and try again. And buy them from a reputable source, not off the back of a truck in the market.
Once you’ve done the weeing bit, take a breath, wash your hands and set the timer (your instructions will tell you how long to wait). Then check. Most home tests show 2 lines if you’re pregnant (one is a control line just to show you pee’d on it correctly). But sometimes it’s a cross, or says ‘you’re pregnant'.
Negative? Don’t forget to test in a few days if your period doesn’t appear or you still don’t feel quite right.
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