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How do I know if I’m pregnant?

The only way to know for sure if you’re pregnant is by taking a pregnancy test. You can go to your local Planned Parenthood, doctor’s office, or other community health center to get a pregnancy test, or you can buy a pregnancy test at your local drugstore.

When looking for a place to get a pregnancy test, beware of “Crisis Pregnancy Centers.” These fake clinics seem like medical centers, and may even offer free pregnancy tests, but they’re run by people who want to scare or shame you out of things like birth control and abortion, and often give misleading or wrong information about your pregnancy options.

Pregnancy tests detect a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine (pee). Your body only makes this hormone if you’re pregnant. Pregnancy tests are super accurate when you use them correctly. The pregnancy tests you get at the drugstore work 99 out of 100 times when you use them after you miss your period. Some pregnancy test brands say they work days before you miss your period, but these tests are less accurate before your period is due. Store-bought pregnancy tests are just as accurate as a urine pregnancy test that you’d get at a doctor’s office. 

Pregnancy tests are most accurate when you take them after you’ve already missed your period. A pregnancy test will be less accurate if it’s expired or if you don’t use it the right way. So always check the expiration date on the package, and carefully read the directions that come with your pregnancy test. If you take a pregnancy test and you still aren’t sure, visit a doctor or nurse or make an appointment at your local Planned Parenthood health center

What are the early signs and symptoms of pregnancy? 

For most people, the first sign of pregnancy is a missed period. However, missing a period doesn’t always mean you’re pregnant. 

Other early pregnancy symptoms include: 

  • Slight bleeding or spotting

  • Tender or swollen breasts 

  • Feeling tired

  • Feeling bloated

  • Urinating (peeing) more than usual

  • Mood swings

  • Nausea and/or vomiting

Not everyone has all of these symptoms, but it’s common to have at least 1. Premenstrual symptoms, side effects from hormonal birth control, and early pregnancy symptoms can look the same or similar — bloating, sore or swollen breasts, feeling tired, and having mood swings. Many of these symptoms can also be signs of other conditions and don’t always mean that you’re pregnant. Even missing a period isn’t always a clear sign, especially if you’re on hormonal birth control, which can change or even get rid of your period while you’re using it. That’s why the only way to know for sure if you’re pregnant is to take a pregnancy test. 

Can I get pregnant If I’m on birth control? 

How well your birth control works depends on the method you’re using and whether you take it correctly. 

No method of birth control is 100% effective, even if used perfectly, except abstinence. So the best way to prevent pregnancy is by using both birth control and condoms. There’s another really good reason to do this: condoms are the only method of birth control that also protects you from STDs.

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