When should you take a pregnancy test?

You can take a pregnancy test any time after your period is due to start; this is usually around two weeks after conception but this may vary.

Home pregnancy tests tend to be more accurate if you leave it a few days after you should have had your period; very few tests are 100 percent accurate on the first day of a missed period, and research suggests that accuracy is only around 80 percent at this time. Doctors recommend taking a home pregnancy test a few days after your period should have come and then repeating the test a few days after that; tests show that accuracy is much higher one week after the first day of the missed period. Results may not be accurate on the first day of your missed period because the concentration of the HCG hormone may still be very low.

If you feel that you may be pregnant and don’t want to wait a week to take a home pregnancy test, you can visit your GP and have a blood test; blood tests can detect HCG earlier than urine tests so you will be able to find out sooner.

If you are doing a home pregnancy test, try to do it in the morning and this is when your urine is at its most concentrated. The following list of symptoms can help you to discover whether you should take a pregnancy test:

Am I pregnant?

Every time you have sexual intercourse there is a chance that you may become pregnant; no contraceptive method has a 100 percent success rate so pregnancy is always a possibility. If you think you may be pregnant, there are a few early signs to look out for; these include:

  • A missed period: this is usually the sign that makes women believe they might be pregnant. In many cases, a missed period may indicate pregnancy but it is not always the case; missed periods can also be caused by hormonal changes, stress and anxiety and some types of illness. Some women have irregular periods, which can make it difficult to know whether a period has been missed or is simply late; if you think you might be pregnant you should do a pregnancy test.
  • Changes in appetite: if you are pregnant, you may experience changes in your appetite. Some women eat less because they feel nauseous, while others eat more. Cravings are also commonly associated with pregnancy; many women experience cravings for strange combinations of foods or suddenly find they eat a lot of foods which they never liked before.
  • Nausea: many women experience feelings of nausea and are sick repeatedly (this is commonly known as morning sickness, even though it can come on at any point in the day). Some women don’t experience morning sickness, while others suffer with it for many days. Nausea can be a result of several other illnesses and may not necessarily be an indicator of pregnancy.
  • Changes in your mood: many women feel emotional and suffer from changes in their mood during pregnancy.
  • Tiredness: many women feel fatigued during pregnancy due to the changes taking place in the body.
  • Aches and pains: pregnancy often causes back pain and headaches. Many women also experience tenderness in the breasts.
  • Changes in toilet habits: pregnancy often causes women to go to the toilet more often; many people find they have to get up in the middle of the night to urinate. Like many of the symptoms, this can also indicate a range of different illnesses or infections and may not necessarily be symptomatic of pregnancy.

If you experience any of the symptoms listed above then you should take a pregnancy test. Many women say they simply feel different when they are pregnant and this prompts them to take a test. More information regarding pregnancy can be found in the relevant section on this site.

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