Pregnancy Testing

If you think you are pregnant, it’s important to find out for certain as soon as possible. You can do this by taking a pregnancy test.

You can get pregnant from having unprotected vaginal sex. This includes if you have sex without using contraception, or if your method of contraception fails (such as a condom splitting or missing taking a pill).

Emergency contraception

If you’ve had unprotected sex or your method failed (e.g. missed pill or a split condom) you may be able to prevent pregnancy by using emergency contraception within the first five days.

The sooner you access emergency contraception, the more effective it will be.

Find out about accessing emergency contraception in Southend-on-Sea.

How pregnancy testing works

Some people can tell that they’re pregnant because they feel different. For example, they might feel sick, experience mood swings, have tender breasts, or miss a period. But not everyone experiences symptoms of pregnancy.

The only way to know if you are pregnant is to take a pregnancy test.

Pregnancy tests usually involve peeing on a small plastic stick, or into a clean cup and dipping in a test stick. The result will usually appear within a few minutes. Always read the instructions first.

The test:

  • Pregnancy tests detect the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) which starts to be produced around six days after fertilisation.
  • You can do pregnancy tests from the first day of a missed period, or three weeks after unprotected sex.
  • You can do a pregnancy test using urine collected at any time of the day.

The results:

  • A positive test result is almost certainly correct.
  • A negative result is less reliable and you may want to try again in a week’s time, or see your GP if you think there is a chance that you are pregnant.

Where to go

There are lots of places where you can get a pregnancy test for free and receive support. You could visit Brook Southend, your GP or a family planning clinic.

This might also be a good time to talk to someone about contraception options, if you weren't trying to get pregnant. Find out more about contraception options.

Regardless of your age, health professionals wont share any information about your visit with anyone. If you are under 16 and you have a positive test result they will encourage you to talk to your parents, but they won’t force you to.

You can buy pregnancy tests from a chemist or supermarket, for £3-10. If you are doing the test yourself make sure you follow the instructions carefully.

What to do next

If you find out you're pregnant, you may feel happy and excited, or shocked, worried and upset.

Talk to your GP, midwife or talk to a health professional if you feel anxious. They can help you to understand what is happening to your body, or can give you advice if you don't want to continue with your pregnancy.

If you are pleased to be pregnant then you can start receiving antenatal support from your local midwifery service. Your midwife will help to ensure that you and your baby stay healthy during pregnancy, and can answer any questions you have.

If you are not pleased to be pregnant then finding out early gives you more time to consider your choices.

If you are pregnant you have options. You can:

  • Continue with the pregnancy.
  • Continue with the pregnancy, and arrange for the baby to be adopted.
  • Have an abortion to medically terminate your pregnancy. Find out more about abortion.

Talking to your partner

If you are in a relationship your partner could feel happy, have mixed feelings or be unhappy about the pregnancy, and may find it hard to talk about it. Talking about worries or concerns can be helpful. Talking to family or close friends or a health professional about the pregnancy may also be helpful, although the final decision is always your own.

If you find out you are pregnant, you may want to tell your family and friends immediately, or wait a while until you have sorted out how you feel. Many people wait until they have had their first ultrasound scan, when they're around 12 weeks pregnant, before they tell others.

If you experience nausea or ‘morning sickness’ in the first 12 weeks, you may choose to tell a close family member or friend to help you through the days when you feel very sick.

More support

If you need help quickly

  • For medical advice contact NHS by dialling 111 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
  • For help if you’re under 18 contact Childline on 0800 1111
  • For urgent emotional support contact the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90


Why do I have to retest if the test says I am not pregnant?

It takes three weeks from the time that you became pregnant to the time that the pregnancy test is positive. A negative test may mean that it is too early in the pregnancy for the test to be positive.

My pregnancy test is positive, can I take emergency contraception?

No, emergency contraception is not effective at this stage.

Will the pregnancy test work if I am using hormonal contraception?

Yes. Hormonal methods of contraception, such as the contraceptive pill, implants and injections, contain the hormones oestrogen and progestogen. They work by changing your hormone balance. However, these hormones will not affect the result of a pregnancy test.

Does it matter what time of day I do the test?

No, pregnancy tests are now so accurate that you can do them on urine from any time of the day.

Is the pregnancy test free at a pharmacy? Do I have to give them any personal details?

You will have to pay for pregnancy tests at pharmacies (they may cost between £3- £10), but you do not need to give any personal details.

How do I know when I am ovulating?

A physical sign is an increase in vaginal discharge, which changes from white, creamy or non-existent to clear, stretchy and slippery when you ovulate. Some people can feel pain during ovulation, ask your GP if you are concerned about this.

You may also notice other signs, such as:

  • breast tenderness
  • bloating
  • mild abdominal pain
  • increased body temperature
  • increased sex drive

Find out more about tracking ovulation.