Finding Out You’re Pregnant
Childbirth Connection

How will I know I’m pregnant?

A late period or missed period may or may not mean you are pregnant. About three weeks after conceiving, you will probably begin to notice these other signs:

  • Tender, swollen breasts
  • Fatigue
  • The urge to urinate more often than usual
  • Nausea, sometimes made worse by certain smells and tastes
  • Feeling more emotional than usual
  • Increased vaginal discharge

How soon can I know for sure that I’m pregnant?

Pregnancy tests include:

  • A home pregnancy test, which is most accurate after you miss your period.
  • A blood test at a doctor’s office 5-7 days after conception.

Home pregnancy kits detect a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is produced by the placenta along the uterine wall. It can be detected as early as the second or third week after fertilization. Home pregnancy kits are not 100 percent accurate. To increase their accuracy, choose a higher-performing test (see Resources), use the first urine of the day (hCG is most easily detected then), follow the instructions carefully, and recheck your test results the next morning and again in a week (unless your period has started).

If you have been taking a fertility medication that contains hCG such as Novarel, Profasi or Pregnyl, be sure to ask your health care provider when you should test for pregnancy. You may need to wait for a given number of days after last taking your medication.

Once you think you’re pregnant, it’s time to get serious about your choice of maternity care provider and place of birth. Schedule an appointment to begin the selection process. (While the birth may seem far down the road, these important decisions are interrelated.) This site has excellent resources to help you with these decisions.

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