safe motherhood

Finding out you are pregnant

Home tests

Am I pregnant?
Pre-conceptual care
Early symptoms
Home tests
Visiting your doctor's practice
Your feelings
Telling other people
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Some women sense they are pregnant almost before they miss a period. If this applies to you, trust your body and save yourself some money.

Many others, however, prefer to know for sure whether or not they are pregnant. Most home pregnancy tests can give this assurance from as early as the first day of your missed period, in other words, just two weeks after conception. These tests are highly accurate if used correctly.

Home pregnancy tests (available from most chemists) work by detecting the hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) in urine. If hCG is present, the indicator stick will change colour, or a coloured line will appear. This means you are pregnant.

A negative result - no colour change or no coloured line - may mean you are not pregnant, or it may mean that there is not yet enough hCG in your urine to give a positive result. It might be a good idea to wait a few days and then, if your period has still not started, try another test.

Free pregnancy tests used to be available at GP surgeries and family planning clinics, but they are being phased out now. Unless your doctor sees an added medical reason for offering you one, she will suggest you do your own test at home.