How do you know if you're pregnant? First wait and see if you get your period. Wait till the day your period would normally start. If your period starts as normal, you're not pregnant. If it doesn't, you can do a pregnancy test from the first day your period's due. Until then there’s no way of knowing if you’re pregnant. There aren’t enough pregnancy hormones in your body to do a reliable test. Pay attention to your body. If you’re pregnant, you might notice physical changes:
- Painful breasts: this could be a sign that you’re pregnant, but it could also just be because you’re going through puberty.
- Tiredness: this could be a sign that you’re pregnant – though obviously there could be other causes!
- Nausea: if you’ve been feeling sick for a few days, especially in the morning, it’s a good idea to do a pregnancy test.
- Your period doesn’t start.
- You only have a very small amount of bleeding. Sometimes you can have a little bleeding when you’re pregnant.
Pregnancy test You can do a pregnancy test from the first day your period should have started. You can buy a pregnancy testing kit at the chemist or drugstore. The test is easy to do yourself. As you urinate, you hold the test strip in the urine stream for a few seconds. It’s best to do this first thing in the morning, as the hormones in your urine will be more concentrated.
After a few minutes (depending on the brand of test you are using – some take half an hour), you can see the result. Read the instructions carefully to make sure you’re using the test correctly. Depending on where you live you could also have a pregnancy test at the doctor's. The result If the test is positive, you’re pregnant. If the test is negative, you’re probably not pregnant, but it’s not absolutely certain. At first there may not be enough hormone in your urine to show that you’re pregnant. To be certain, it’s a good idea to do another test a few days later. Started your period? If you’ve started your period, you’re not pregnant. But if you’re still worried – for example if the bleeding is much lighter than normal – you can always do a pregnancy test.
- Have you had sex without using any form of contraception?
- Have you used a condom that has torn?
- Are you on the pill, but you’ve forgotten to take it?
- Are you on the pill and you’ve taken antibiotics?
- Are you on the pill, and you’ve vomited or had diarrhoea within four hours of taking it?
- If you’ve had sex and the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, there’s a chance you could be pregnant.
- I could be pregnant – now what?
- Have you had unprotected sex and worried you might be pregnant? Read more about Emergency Contraception
If you want to be pregnant: wait and see if you’re in luck! You can buy a pregnancy test from the chemist or drug store.
I am pregnant – now what?
If you were planning to get pregnant – congratulations! Head over to our section on pregnancy where you can find detailed information about what to expect. For many people, though, pregnancy can come as a surprise. It’s easy to forget about the condom in the heat of the moment. Even if you use contraception perfectly, sometimes it just doesn’t work. Either way, if you unintentionally get pregnant, you need to decide what to do. There are three options:
- You could keep the baby.
- You could deliver the baby and give it up for adoption, or to a family member.
- You could have the pregnancy terminated (an abortion).
Whatever you decide, you need to think carefully about the next steps. Talk to someone you trust. Someone who can give you advice and support; preferably an adult such as your mother, an aunt, a friend, your partner, or your doctor. Someone who won’t judge you for the choices you ultimately make. In the end, you’re the one who has to make the decision. It’s always best to talk your decision through with someone you trust. The surer you are of your decision, the better you will feel afterwards. Make sure you are the one who makes the final decision, and do not settle for anything less. Don’t let anyone pressure you into a decision you don’t feel comfortable with.
Keep the baby
You could decide to keep the baby. This means thinking about the future: what will you have to put into place to ensure you can take care of a dependent? Do you have a plan and a social support system for instance from the baby’s father, or from family? What are the short-, mid-, and long-term implications to your life and plans? What about your education and career? Will you have enough support – from the baby’s father, or your family? Will you have enough resources to live on? If you have a partner, what do they think? Do they want to keep the child? How many children do you have already? Is it safe to have another? Is the foetus healthy? Are you healthy? And the most important question: do you want this child?
Give the baby up for adoption
You could also have the baby adopted. Again, you need to think carefully, considering all your options. If you decide to take this option, how will you find someone to adopt your child? You could contact an official adoption agency and have your child safely and legally adopted through the state. They will then take you through the process and explain what happens in adoption cases. They will ask you to sign a consent form and arrange a suitable plan for how you can get the baby to them once it is born. In most cases adoption centres can make arrangements for you to leave the baby at the hospital, where they will collect it. If you’re still very young and you live with your family, it helps if you can be honest with your parents. As a minor, you may be limited in some of the options you can consider. They may want to help raise the child or, if not, perhaps they can help you decide what to do. If it’s difficult to tell them, perhaps another family member or family friend could help you break the news. Under no circumstances should you just abandon a child. Doing this is illegal and it is always better to leave a child with a hospital, adoption agency, or church, so the child can be taken care of.
End the pregnancy (abortion)
The third option is to have an abortion. Like the others, this is not an easy decision to make, and you may need some time to think it over. But don’t let anyone choose for you. This is about you, your body, and your choices, so in the end you have to decide for yourself. Read more about the different types of abortions.
There are no right or wrong answers to these questions. You should decide what feels right for you. If you’re really struggling, try talking through your options with someone you trust.