When you can do a pregnancy test
You can carry out most pregnancy tests on a sample of urine from the first day of a missed period. If you're pregnant, this is about two weeks after conception. Some very sensitive pregnancy tests can be used even before you miss a period, from as early as eight days after conception.
You can do a pregnancy test on urine collected at any time of the day. It doesn't have to be in the morning. Collect the urine in a clean, soap-free, well-rinsed container.
Where you can get a pregnancy test
You may be able to get a pregnancy test free of charge from your GP. Free pregnancy tests are available from your local community sexual health clinic - which is sometimes known as a contraception, family planning or GUM (genito-urinary medicine) clinic. Free pregnancy tests are also available at NHS walk-in centres.
Many pregnancy advisory services also offer tests, usually for a small fee.
You can also buy do-it-yourself pregnancy testing kits from pharmacists. They can give a quick result, and you can do the test in private. A range of tests is available. The way they work varies, so check the instructions first.
How does a pregnancy test work?
All pregnancy tests detect the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) which starts to be produced around six days after fertilisation.
Pregnancy test results
A positive test result is almost certainly correct. A negative result is less reliable. If you get a negative result and still think that you're pregnant, wait a week and try again, or see a GP.
Continuing with the pregnancy
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 you want to be pregnant
If you're not sure about continuing with the pregnancy, you can discuss this confidentially with a healthcare professional. Your options are:
- continuing with the pregnancy and keeping the baby
- having an abortion
- continuing with the pregnancy and having the baby adopted
As well as a GP or a nurse at your GP surgery, you can also get accurate, confidential information (even if you’re under 16) from the following:
All these services, including community contraceptive clinics, are confidential. If you're under 16, 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 that's aimed specifically at 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 email them via the Ask Brook website.