You are here: Home » Preparing for Pregnancy » Doing a Pregnancy Test
Find out how and when you can take a pregnancy test, how to start your antenatal care, and where to go for help if you are not sure you want to be pregnant.
If you have missed a period and recently had unprotected sex, you may be pregnant. Pregnancy tests are most reliable from the first day of your missed period.
You can carry out most pregnancy tests from the first day of a missed period. If you don't know when your next period is due, do the test at least 21 days after you last had unprotected sex.
Some very sensitive pregnancy tests can be used even before you miss a period.
You can do a pregnancy test on a sample of urine collected at any time of the day. It doesn't have to be in the morning.
You can buy pregnancy testing kits from pharmacists and some supermarkets. They can give a quick result and you can do the test in private.
The following places provide free pregnancy tests:
You may also be able to get a pregnancy test free of charge from your GP.
All pregnancy tests detect the hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), which starts to be produced around 6 days after fertilisation.
Most pregnancy tests come in a box that contains 1 or 2 long sticks. You pee on the stick and the result appears on the stick after a few minutes. All tests are slightly different, so always check the instructions.
Some methods of contraception, such as the contraceptive pill, contain hormones, but these hormones will not stop a pregnancy test working.
No method of contraception is completely effective, so it's important to take a pregnancy test if you think you might be pregnant.
Home pregnancy tests are accurate as long as you follow the instructions correctly.
A positive test result is almost certainly correct. However, a negative test result is less reliable.
The result may not be reliable if you:
Some medicines can also affect the results.
If you get a negative result and still think you're pregnant, wait a few days and try again. Speak to your GP if you get a negative result after a second test but your period has not arrived.
If you're pregnant and want to continue with the pregnancy, contact your GP or a midwife to start your antenatal care. You can use the pregnancy due date calculator to work out when your baby is due.
If you're not sure about continuing with the pregnancy, you can discuss this confidentially with a healthcare professional. Your options are:
As well as a GP or a nurse at your GP surgery, you can also get accurate, confidential information – from the age of 13 – from the following:
All these services – including community contraceptive clinics – are confidential. If you're 13 or older, the staff won't tell your parents. They'll encourage you to talk to your parents, but they won't force you.
If you're under 25 and would prefer advice specifically for young people, the sexual health charity Brook provides a range of services for young people. The Brook website contains information on pregnancy choices. You can also use the Ask Brook 24/7 service.
It's important to continue taking any medication prescribed unless your GP/specialist specifically tells you to stop. Please visit our Existing Health Conditions page for more information, or visit 'Bumps' ('Best Use of Medicines in Pregnancy').
Your choices will be saved as a non-identifying cookie. This means that each time you load a webpage from this website, your chosen accessibility options will be applied. These cookies will last for 28 days before resetting.
When text to speech is active, you can click the play button to hear the whole sites content read aloud. You can also highlight a section of text and press play, to hear only the highlighted text.
Choose a language from the Google provided selector below.
A screen mask is a reading tool which follows your cursor. It allows you to remove distractions from around the page and gives a clear area of focus.
Use these icons to increase, decrease or reset the size of the text throughout the site.
Change the colour of text and the background of the site with the selectors below. This removes images and makes the content across the site easier to read.