Am I pregnant?
Period late? Suspect you might be pregnant? Don't panic until you know for sure.
Have you had unprotected sex?
First things first. If you've had unprotected sex within the last five days then you can still take the morning after pill. The earlier you take it the more effective it is, so within 12 hours of the sex is best. This will lower your chances of getting pregnant - although it's not guaranteed.
It sounds incredibly obvious, but if you've not had sex then you can't be pregnant. Even if you've had sex, as long as you protected yourself the chances of pregnancy are low. Remember that women's bodies are complicated and we miss periods for all sorts of reasons. Don't automatically assume you're pregnant just because Mother Nature isn't behaving this month. The stress of worrying about a late period can sometimes delay it further.
Symptoms of pregnancy
If you did have unprotected sex - and it's too late to take the morning after pill - there are common symptoms associated with early pregnancy:
Although it's commonly known as 'morning sickness', feeling sick can strike at any time, day or night. You won't necessarily be sick, but could just feel generally nauseous.
Your boobs may become bigger and feel tender, with more prominent veins and darker, slightly tingly nipples.
If you notice an increase in your vaginal discharge - but nothing down there is sore or irritated - then it can be a symptom of pregnancy.
You might have a strange metallic taste in your mouth and/or crave certain foods. You may have also gone off something you normally love, i.e. coffee.
It's worth noting that if you have any of these symptoms, don't freak out and automatically assume you're up the duff. These are things your body can do for all sorts of other non-pregnancy-related reasons, like being pre-menstrual or having a stomach bug. But if you notice yourself mentally checklisting these symptoms and you've had unprotected sex, then you should start thinking about taking a pregnancy test.
Taking a pregnancy test
We know it's sometimes much more tempting to buy a child's sandpit from Argos and stick your head in it for all eternity, but if you think you're pregnant you really should take a test. It's much better to know sooner rather than later so the full range of options is available to you. You can either make an appointment with your GP, do a home test, take a urine sample to the chemist, or visit your local GUM clinic or Brook centre.
Try to resist the temptation to take a test until your period is at least one day overdue. Although lots of home tests boast they're able to give results earlier than this, it's best to be patient. The pregnancy hormones are very low in these early stages, so tests may tell you you're not pregnant when you actually are.
Don't do it alone
Whether you're desperate to get pregnant or couldn't think of a bigger nightmare, taking a test is an emotional rollercoaster you shouldn't have to go through alone. Whether it's a friend, boyfriend, your GP or a trusted professional, try and talk to someone about how you're feeling and what you want the result to be.
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