Pregnancy tests


A pregnancy test is a quick and easy urine test to help determine whether or not you're pregnant. The tests are widely available over the counter from pharmacies and supermarkets, as well as sexual health clinics and your Doctor.

What is a pregnancy test?

Pregnancy tests check a woman's urine for a specific hormone called human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) produced during pregnancy. The hormone is detectable in urine a couple of weeks after conception.

Tests often come as sticks or cards with coloured bands to indicate the result. Others include a small pipette which you use to transfer a few drops of urine to a small window in the pregnancy kit.

Taking a pregnancy test

Read the instructions included with your test carefully, before doing a pregnancy test, as these can vary from one pregnancy testing kit to another. To use one, you usually either hold the stick in your stream of urine for few seconds, or dip the stick in a sample of your urine collected in a small clean container. You should be able to read the results after a few minutes.

If you get a positive test, it's likely to be correct. If you get a negative result and still think you’re pregnant, it's possible that you have taken the test too early for the hCG hormone to be detected. Wait a few days and repeat the test again. If the test is still negative and you’re worried about your period being late, speak to your Doctor. 

When should I take a pregnancy test?

Pregnancy tests are usually taken a day after missing your period. However, there are sensitive tests available that can detect pregnancy earlier than that, up to a week before your period is due. 

I don't think my results are accurate, what should I do?

  • Do another test after a few days, especially if your first test was negative and you've taken it earlier than when your period was due
  • Don't wait too long to interpret the test and follow the instructions carefully
  • Speak to your pharmacist for advice
  • Visit your Doctor if you think you're pregnant but you're getting negative results

What should I do if I'm pregnant?

Speak to your midwife or Doctor as soon as you find out you’re pregnant. They’ll be able to give you advice on how to take care of yourself in the coming months and to start your antenatal care. Look for support from friends and family.

Next steps

  • Check directions on how to use the pregnancy test and interpret the results
  • Ask for advice on what to do next from your midwife or Doctor if you get a positive result