Reasons You Might Think You're Pregnant

Woman Checking Pregnancy Test Kit
moodboard/Getty Images

At some point in time, nearly every woman wonders if she's pregnant. Perhaps you have some pregnancy symptoms or have a late period. Maybe you've been trying to have a baby can are waiting impatiently for a big fat positive. Either way, these are some of the most common questions you'll get asked by your healthcare professional.

Stay Calm Mom: Episode 2

Watch all episodes of our Stay Calm Mom video series and follow along as our host Tiffany Small talks to a diverse group of women and top doctors to get real answers to the biggest pregnancy questions.


A Positive Pregnancy Test: Now What?

What Should I Do If I Think I'm Pregnant?

If you suspect that you could be pregnant, you can either take a pregnancy test or you can wait for your period to come. If you get a negative result but your period still doesn't come, take another test in a day or two. It's possible to get a false negative if the pregnancy hormones haven't reached a high enough concentration yet.

If you are hoping for a baby, it may be wise to abstain from things like drinking alcohol or eating raw foods until you have confirmed the pregnancy.

Have You Had Sex?

Chances are if you aren't having sex you are not pregnant. That said, if you have been messing around and have had semen near your vagina, even if he "pulled out," it still counts as sex for the purposes of pregnancy.

Have You Had Your Period?

Your period is one of the best indicators of pregnancy or no pregnancy. This is why so many of the questions about pregnancy hinge on the answer about your cycle. That said, it is not an infallible measure.

Was It on Time?

One of the biggest questions about your period was whether it was on time or not. An early period may indicate implantation bleeding, as opposed to your period. Or it could be a very early miscarriage, usually called a chemical pregnancy.

Was It Normal?

The other question you will want to be able to answer about your period is if the flow was normal. Again, a light flow may indicate the implantation bleeding and a heavier flow may indicate a placental problem with early pregnancy or a problem like an early miscarriage or blighted ovum. If you are tracking your menstrual cycles, this will be easier to figure out. So, when was the last normal period you had?

Were You Using Birth Control?

Birth control is the best way to prevent unintended pregnancy. Contraception is available in many forms, including birth control pills, condoms, diaphragms, Depo shots, IUDs, etc. Each has its own effective rate, but all are more effective than doing nothing.

Did You Use It Correctly? 

Here's the big question, were you using the birth control correctly? That means, for example, taking a pill every day at the same time; or using a condom every time you had sex. If you weren't using birth control correctly, it greatly increases the likelihood that you could be pregnant.

Even if you were using birth control correctly, there is still a chance that you could be pregnant, because nothing is 100% effective against pregnancy, except not having sex.

Were There Any Problems With It?

There are many things that can potentially interfere with birth control. For oral contraceptives or the pill, some medications, like antibiotics, can nullify the effects. If you have a condom slip or break, you have a greater likelihood of pregnancy. So did you have any issues like this during your cycle?

Are You Ovulating?

This is a harder measure, but if you are ovulating, you are more likely to get pregnant than if you have a history of difficulty ovulating. If you are tracking your cycles and ovulation, you may have a better idea of this information. If you aren't tracking it and have no reason to believe otherwise, you should assume you're ovulating.

Do You Have Pregnancy Symptoms?

Most pregnancy symptoms don't show up until about the time that you miss your period, so about two weeks after you ovulate, and for some women, about four weeks since their last period. (This can vary woman to woman and sometimes, even cycle to cycle.) There are a lot of pregnancy symptoms out there, but the most common ones are:

Did You Take a Pregnancy Test?

There are a lot of women who will answer yes to every single question about potentially being pregnant and still don't want to take a pregnancy test. It is totally understandable to not want to see a negative pregnancy test when you really want a positive or vice versa, but honestly, the urine pregnancy tests that you can get at the local drug store or dollar store is nearly identical to the one at a doctor's office, and it's just as accurate. This makes it fast, easy, private, and relatively inexpensive.

9 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Doing a Pregnancy Test. National Health Service.

  2. Foods to Avoid in Pregnancy. National Health Service.

  3. Horner JR, Salazar LF, Romer D, et al. Withdrawal (coitus interruptus) as a sexual risk reduction strategy: perspectives from African-American adolescentsArch Sex Behav. 2009;38(5):779–787. doi:10.1007/s10508-007-9304-y

  4. Harville EW, Wilcox AJ, Baird DD, Weinberg CR. Vaginal bleeding in very early pregnancy. Hum Reprod. 2003;18(9):1944-7. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deg379

  5. Sohda S, Suzuki K, Igari I. Relationship Between the Menstrual Cycle and Timing of Ovulation Revealed by New Protocols: Analysis of Data from a Self-Tracking Health App. J Med Internet Res. 2017;19(11):e391. Published 2017 Nov 27. doi:10.2196/jmir.7468

  6. Frohwirth L, Blades N, Moore AM, Wurtz H. The Complexity of Multiple Contraceptive Method Use and the Anxiety That Informs It: Implications for Theory and PracticeArch Sex Behav. 2016;45(8):2123–2135. doi:10.1007/s10508-016-0706-6

  7. Zhanel GG, Siemens S, Slayter K, Mandell L. Antibiotic and oral contraceptive drug interactions: Is there a need for concern?Can J Infect Dis. 1999;10(6):429–433. doi:10.1155/1999/539376

  8. Su HW, Yi YC, Wei TY, Chang TC, Cheng CM. Detection of ovulation, a review of currently available methodsBioeng Transl Med. 2017;2(3):238–246. Published 2017 May 16. doi:10.1002/btm2.10058

  9. Foxcroft KF, Callaway LK, Byrne NM, Webster J. Development and validation of a pregnancy symptoms inventoryBMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2013;13:3. Published 2013 Jan 16. doi:10.1186/1471-2393-13-3

Additional Reading

By Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH
Robin Elise Weiss, PhD, MPH is a professor, author, childbirth and postpartum educator, certified doula, and lactation counselor.