You may suspect that you are pregnant if you have missed your period or have other symptoms of pregnancy. If you have regular periods and have missed your period by a week, it is likely that you are pregnant. However, if you have an irregular menstrual cycle, look out for other symptoms of pregnancy.

The other symptoms of pregnancy include:

  • Breast changes
  • Tummy bloatedness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Frequent urination
  • Headaches/ backaches
  • Fainting spells/ giddiness
  • Constipation​
  • Heartburn
  • Leg cramps

For a start, you can confirm your suspicion that you are pregnant by buying an over-the-counter urine pregnancy test kit. “There are many brands of pregnancy test kits available in the market, which are pretty reliable. These are available at local pharmacies. Alternatively, you could go to your doctor for the test,” says Associate Professor Tan Thiam Chye, Head and Senior Consultant, Inpatient Service, Department of General Obstetrics and Gynaecology, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), a member of the SingHealth​ group.

What is a pregnancy test kit?

During pregnancy, a hormone called human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) is produced, which circulates in the blood and is also present in the urine.

The pregnancy test kit detects the presence of hCG in your urine. It is a qualitative test. Some pregnancy test kits are more sensitive than others but most will be able to detect hCG between the fourth to fifth week of your pregnancy. This means that for those with regular cycles, the test should be positive once you have missed your period by a few days.

Although almost all over-the counter pregnancy test kits detect pregnancy by measuring hCG in the urine, you have to read and carefully follow the instructions for the test kit because the usage instructions differ from kit to kit.

An indicator will show if you are pregnant or not. For example, some kits will show 2 bold lines if positive and 1 bold line if negative. These indicators differ among pregnancy test kits.

How accurate are these pregnancy test kits? Read on as A/Prof Tan answers your frequently asked questions.

Ref: S13