How to know if I’m pregnant? Pregnancy symptoms and tests

Pregnancy is a very big moment in a woman’s life and, along with it, it is natural that many questions will come. If, at the time “H”, you forgot to take the necessary precautions or had problems with the condom, there is always that doubt: “Am I pregnant?”.

Well, don’t worry. If you need more information about how pregnancy occurs and what to do next, this article will help you!


How to know if I’m pregnant?

There is no way to know if you are pregnant except by using a pharmacy or blood test. Prefer the blood test, as the sensitivity of beta-hCG in the first weeks is much greater when compared to other methods.

This means that even when that kit purchased from a pharmacy and made with a urine sample is positive, only using blood collection to confirm the result.

However, it is quite difficult to identify the pregnancy at the very beginning, since the fertilized egg takes 7 to 14 days to implant in the uterus.

Therefore, even laboratory tests can present a false negative if performed too early.

Ah, remember that homemade methods are not reliable. Therefore, nothing to resort to homemade recipes to confirm the suspicion.

In general, doubt arises when unprotected sex occurs or there is an incident with the condom. However, it is also important to consider that any contraceptive method can fail, no matter how correct its use is made.

The chances are very small when hormonal contraceptives, IUDs or condoms are used correctly, but you still need to pay attention to the possibility.

What is hCG?

Named “Human Chorionic Gonadotropin”, the famous hCG is the pregnancy hormone. If you are researching pregnancy, you will surely come across this name several times. It is called the pregnancy hormone because its production starts only when the egg is implanted in the uterus.

As pregnancy progresses, hCG production gradually increases. However, at the beginning of pregnancy, the hormone levels double every two or three days, and it is through the detection of this hormone that the exams and tests of pregnancy are able to diagnose the pregnancy.

The hCG ensures that the corpus luteum (a kind of temporary placenta) remains in the body until the fetus is sheltered and nourished in the placenta, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. At this stage, the chances of a miscarriage occurring are greater.

How do I know if I am pregnant before my menstrual delay?

Menstrual delay is one of the most characteristic signs of pregnancy. Often, a woman only arouses suspicion when she realizes that the cycle is taking too long to start.

In fact, there is no rule: there are people who present symptoms before menstrual delay and there are those who take a few weeks to have them (sometimes, they almost never occur).

But, in general, it is possible for women to be attentive to the manifestation of some typical signs before the date that the next menstruation would occur, which include:

  • Nausea;
  • Headache;
  • Hunger or change in appetite;
  • Sleep.

Suspected pregnancy: what signs and symptoms can be evidence?

Even before the menstrual cycle is delayed , there are some symptoms that can signal a pregnancy. Several times they go unnoticed, as they are very similar to PMS. Check out:

Swollen and sore breasts

The breasts swell because the hormones estrogen and progesterone are elevated, causing the blood circulation in the breasts to increase and make them more sensitive.

In the case of pregnancy, the pain will increase over the months. This process occurs as a form of preparation: the body has already identified the beginning of pregnancy and is organizing itself to serve the developing fetus.

Cramping or mild abdominal pain

During early pregnancy, the uterus undergoes constant changes. These changes can cause uterine contractions that resemble menstrual cramps.

In addition to cramps, swelling and pain in the pelvic region are very frequent, as the organs and muscles begin to reorganize, creating space for the formation of the fetus.

Vaginal bleeding

When the already fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus, a small vaginal bleeding occurs. Many women confuse this symptom with the onset of menstruation, when in fact it announces a pregnancy.

Irritability, stress and headache

To say that hormones are on the skin is the truest truth. In the first twelve weeks, the hormones work incessantly, subjecting the female organism to drastic changes. This directly affects emotions, especially irritability and stress , which in turn can develop into headaches.


It is very common to feel bloated during pregnancy. This is because the body stores more fluids.

Constant low back pain

When we talk about constant pain it is constant! A pain that lasts all day and does not pass with massage or rest can be one of the most uncomfortable and persistent symptoms of pregnancy.

Constant need to go to the bathroom

Symptom present during much of the pregnancy, the excessive need to go to the bathroom occurs due to hormonal change.

Unfortunately for future mothers, going to the bathroom to urinate becomes more and more constant, as the pregnancy progresses, as the growth of the uterus decreases the space reserved for the bladder, forcing it to empty itself frequently.

Fatigue and drowsiness

The increase in progesterone in the body is the main reason why women feel so exhausted. Progesterone is a hormone that can increase by about 500% during pregnancy.

Progesterone’s responsibilities include maintaining pregnancy and developing the fetus. However, it has side effects that can leave a woman exhausted, leading to excessive drowsiness and a feeling of fatigue .

Another reason for the lack of energy at the beginning of pregnancy is that the mother’s body needs to develop the fetus and the placenta that will shelter and nourish it. Both activities require a lot of energy, so they are prioritized by the body, instead of the daily activities of the pregnant woman.

If you think a lot, then know that it is not over: the need for oxygen circulation during pregnancy can increase by about 20%. With this, our friend progesterone needs to intervene and stimulate the brain to increase the breathing base of the pregnant woman, thus causing the deficit to be remedied. The excess part of oxygen is used for the development of the fetus and placenta.


Dizziness can be due to low blood pressure, because the placenta needs more blood, and is prioritized by the body, leaving the rest of the body weaker.

Other reasons may be a reduction in blood sugar levels, anemia , an increase in respiratory rate and, in later stages of pregnancy, obstruction of the vena cava, which reduces the volume of blood that reaches the heart.


Like blood circulation, the senses also go through a new phase. One of the main complaints is frequent nausea.

With a more refined sense of smell, the pregnant woman starts to smell odors that previously went unnoticed, or that did not cause strangeness. This olfactory rediscovery causes nausea, which several times leads to vomiting.

Menstrual delay

Menstruation delay is, in general, the most symbolic when it comes to pregnancy. Many women raise suspicion only when the cycle is delayed, even if there are not always other symptoms.

Of course, it is not a rule, as several symptoms may appear, even if slight, before the bleeding is absent. In addition, it is possible to still leak blood, called nidation , which is mistaken for menstruation. So paying attention only to the delay is not the best way to suspect a pregnancy, but it can be a clue.

Can I rely only on symptoms to diagnose pregnancy?

No way! Symptoms are only indicative: they raise suspicions, but do not guarantee a diagnosis.

Symptoms that appear to be due to pregnancy may actually be from the premenstrual tension (PMS) phase, or from some illness such as ovarian cyst , infection or psychological pregnancy.

If you have not had unprotected sex and still have symptoms of pregnancy, see your doctor as soon as possible.

Diagnosis: how to confirm a pregnancy?

The tests that can answer the question of “Am I pregnant?”, Are blood and urine tests or pharmacy tests, being digital or strip tests.

As explained above, when an embryo is implanted in the uterus, hCG production begins. Therefore, a pregnancy is detectable from the hCG in the body.


The blood test, in this case called Beta hCG, is considered the most reliable way to obtain the result, as it is ultra sensitive, that is, it is able to detect minimum levels of the pregnancy hormone in the blood.

Another of its positive points is that, when we know the amount of hCG in the body, one can get a sense of the time of pregnancy.

Check below the reference values ​​for the hCG measurement exam.

  • Up to 1 week of pregnancy: 25 to 50 mIU / mL.
  • From 1 to 2 weeks: 50 to 500 mIU / mL.
  • From 2 to 3 weeks: from 100 to 5,000 mIU / mL.
  • From 3 to 4 weeks: from 500 to 10,000 mIU / mL.
  • From 4 to 5 weeks: from 1,000 to 50,000 mIU / mL.
  • From 5 to 6 weeks: from 10,000 to 100,000 mIU / mL.


As in blood, hCG is present in urine. When taking a urine sample, the doctor will be able to diagnose the pregnancy.

Pharmacy Tests

Pharmacy tests are reliable yes! So reliable that they have about 70% to 95% accuracy. Best of all, you can see the result almost instantly.

Many people say they do not believe in the effectiveness of these tests, when in fact they work in the same way as the urine test.

Among the most used, we can find:

Digital tests

Through urine, the digital test measures the percentage of hCG present. If there is a pregnancy, some marks even indicate how many weeks of pregnancy the woman is.

Strip tests

Strip tests may have a lower reliability rate than digital tests, but they are still effective.

They have a reagent strip that, when in contact with the hormone hCG, form that famous double line, indicating pregnancy.

Home tests

No matter if it was your grandmother, mother or aunt who recommended it, avoid home testing . In addition to being unreliable, if they involve a chemical reagent, they can cause severe damage to you.

The tip is also valid for touching the uterus, because even a doctor has difficulties to affirm a pregnancy just by touching the uterus. Thus, it is almost impossible for a layman to detect pregnancy in this way, after all, gestational growth can only be observed from the third month of pregnancy , and in some cases only in the fifth month.

Pregnancy and menstruation

If your cycle has started, but you still have doubts about a possible pregnancy, know that in the beginning of pregnancy it is common to have small bleeds, which are often confused with menstruation, as they last for about 2 to 3 days.

However, these bleeds have a less intense flow and a lighter or brownish color, very similar to a menarche.

This is not my case, I am really menstruating

As mentioned several times, hCG starts to be produced by the body as soon as the embryo is implanted in the egg. One of the responsibilities of this hormone is to interrupt the menstrual cycle, but if you are still in doubt, consult your gynecologist.

Common questions

Anyone who thinks that being a mother is easy is completely mistaken. So much so that doubts can arrive even before the beginning of this phase in the woman’s life. The most frequent questions are:

How many days after the relationship can I know if I am pregnant?

There is no exact number of days after the relationship to know if you are pregnant, but, on average, it is possible to consider that 2 weeks may already indicate pregnancy, if fertilization has occurred. Of course, this will vary with each case.

To detect a pregnancy right at the beginning, it is necessary to resort to blood tests (done in the laboratory) or to pharmacy tests that are very sensitive to HCG. However, in the case of pharmacy tests, it is still possible that the false negative is more common.

It is worth remembering that the sperm can survive a few days (up to 5!) In the woman’s body. Therefore, if ovulation occurs shortly thereafter or just a few days after intercourse, there are still chances of fertilization.

How long should I wait to take the pregnancy test?

It is advisable to wait to do the pregnancy test at least 10 days after the delay of the menstrual cycle, due to the low sensitivity of some medical devices. The same is true with pharmacy tests.

It is natural that the prospect of a possible pregnancy makes women anxious, but in order not to generate frustration, one must wait at least 3 to 4 weeks to carry out a blood test and receive an accurate diagnosis.

Can I take a pregnancy test before my period is late?

It depends. Taking the pregnancy test before the menstrual delay increases the risks of a false negative, as the hormonal rate at this stage is usually quite low. However, more and more tests (blood and even urine) are more sensitive.

Thus, it is possible that the test is able to detect pregnancy a few days before the delay. However, it is always worth repeating the exam after the date of menstruation to confirm the result.

I took the pill the next day, can I get pregnant?

Yes, even though you have taken the emergency contraceptive, you are still at risk of becoming pregnant. No method is 100% effective, so doctors always recommend using two combined contraceptive methods.

In addition, the pill’s effectiveness is compromised by the time it takes to take it, ranging from 0 to 80%.

If you have had sex with vaginal penetration and have had an accidental situation, like breaking a condom, the morning after pill is an emergency option .

However, remember that it can prevent unwanted pregnancies, but it does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Therefore, the ideal is to prevent yourself always.

In short, the morning after pill is nothing but a post-coital contraceptive. The good news is that it is not an abortion and does not cause any great harm to the fetus or the pregnant woman.

If you suspect a pregnancy, you can perform pharmacy tests or blood and urine tests. The famous ultrasound, which touches many future mothers, only detects a possible pregnancy from the sixth week. So, if your goal is agility, choose the other methods and consult your gynecologist.