How do I tell if I’m pregnant?
Your first ‘test’ during pregnancy is probably the one to confirm the news. Usually, you do a test at home, and if it’s positive say ‘Oh my God’ a lot and get yourself to your GP who’ll do a confirmation test. Here’s what you need to know about other early tests and your visits to the GP, or midwife team.
Home pregnancy test kits bought at the chemist work the same way as a test a doctor would do on a sample of your wee. The kits test your wee for the presence of the hormone HCG. If you’re not pregnant, there’ll be no HCG in your system. The first wee of the day will have the greatest concentration of it.
You can do the test as early as about 10 days after conception, a few days before your period would be due. The results of this test are almost always accurate, especially if they’re positive. False positive results are possible. A false negative result can happen if the level of HCG being produced by a pregnant body is low, or if you do the test too soon. So if your period doesn’t start, and you still suspect you’re pregnant, wait a few days and do the test again or go to the doctor for a blood test, which can measure HCG levels as early as 1 week after conception.
After a positive home test, or other signs of early pregnancy such as a missed period, tender breasts, nausea, frenzied weeing, a funny metallic taste in your mouth, tiredness or moodiness, you should go to the doctor for a physical examination and blood test to confirm the pregnancy.
There’s more in the book Up the Duff: The Real Guide to Pregnancy.