Hide this page

How do you find out if you’re pregnant?

Did you have unprotected sex with penetration and now you think you’re pregnant?

If the sex act took place within the last few hours or days and you don’t want to get pregnant, quickly ask your pharmacist about an emergency contraceptive pill (ECP). Even though it’s often called the “morning after pill,” it can be taken for 5 days following sex, but its effectiveness diminish with time.

Watch for symptoms

If the sex took place longer ago, don’t panic. Do you feel any of the symptoms of pregnancy? Here are some of them:

  • cessation of menstruation, that is, your period is more than a week late
  • morning sickness (nausea) or repeated vomiting
  • pain or unusual sensitivity in your breasts
  • frequent need to urinate
  • an increase or decrease in your appetite or weight
  • a feeling of disgust at certain foods or unusual cravings for others
  • extreme fatigue

Very few women have all these symptoms at once, and some don’t have any of them! And remember that a late period can also be caused by diet, excessive exercise, or stress.

To get the real truth, you need to take a pregnancy test.

Taking a pregnancy test

Once your period is a week late, you can use one of the following options:

Medical test

You can go to your CLSC, where a nurse will ask you to urinate into a sterile container, which a professional will analyze in order to give you a reliable result. Some clinical procedures also involve a blood test.

Advantages of a medical test:

  • 99% reliability rate
  • low cost: the test is free at the CLSC if you’re less than 18 years old
  • support: you’re not alone when you learn the result, which can help you and comfort you
Home pregnancy test

You can find pregnancy tests at the drugstore, near the contraceptives. Did you know that your school nurse can also give you a test to take at home?

The instructions are written on the package; read them carefully. In general, you just need to dip a test strip in your urine, then wait 5 to 10 minutes for the result to appear. Ideally, you should take the test when you wake up (the first time you pee that day). That’s when your urine has the highest concentration of pregnancy hormones. That reduces the chances of a false negative, which means a result showing that you’re not pregnant when you really are.

Advantages of a home pregnancy test:

  • discretion: you can buy a test at any drugstore, without a prescription or medical appointment
  • speed: the test takes only a few minutes


  • cost: between $7 and $25, depending on the brand
  • reliability: incorrect use can give a false negative result
  • being alone: if the test is positive, you have some serious news to deal with all by yourself. You might want to avoid this by having a friend, a parent, or another trusted person with you when you take the test.

Not knowing just makes you anxious! So this is no time to hide your head in the sand. Don’t worry: no matter what the result is, you have options.