Doing a Pregnancy Test
You can choose to buy a pregnancy test and do it yourself in private, or go to one of the following places and get a free test:
- Community Contraceptive Clinics
- Sexual Health Clinics
- Some young people’s services – call the national sexual health helpline on 0300 123 7123
- Brook Centres
You may also be able to get a free pregnancy test from your GP.
Pregnancy tests are usually available to buy in pharmacies, most supermarkets and online. They range in price, from around £3/£4 up to around £12. The more expensive tests are generally those that are more sensitive and detect pregnancy earlier, or those that aim to predict how many weeks ago you conceived (this is not the same as how many weeks pregnant you are).
Pregnancy tests work by detecting a hormone, human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), which starts to be produced around 6 days after the egg has been fertilised. Different tests can work slightly differently and it is important to read and follow the instructions. If hCG is detected in your urine, the result will be positive.
As a positive result means that hCG has been detected in your urine, it is rarely incorrect. A negative result can be less reliable as it does not necessarily mean you are not pregnant. It may be that there was not enough hCG in your urine to pick up on. If you get a negative result and do not get your period within a few days, you can do another test. If this is also negative and your period does not arrive, speak to your GP.
If you are pregnant, your pregnancy will initially be dated from the first day of your last period. If you have a 28 day menstrual cycle, you be classed as around 4 weeks pregnant from the day you miss your period.
What to do next
Finding out you are pregnant may be wonderful news or it may be a worrying surprise. If the pregnancy was not planned and you are not sure whether or not you want to continue with it, you can discuss your thoughts confidentially with your GP or a nurse at your GP surgery. If you are under 25, you can also contact the sexual health charity, Brook.
This can be a very difficult decision to make so talk to people you trust and take time to explore how you feel. You may find that you want to speak to close friends and family or you may prefer to speak to someone you don’t know. Try to choose people who will help you find the right decision for you, rather than telling you what to do.
Your options are
- Continuing with the pregnancy and keeping the baby;
- Having an abortion;
- Continuing with the pregnancy and having the baby adopted.
Further information is available to help you decide on the following websites:
Sexwise Impartial information from the Family Planning Association Charity
British Pregnancy Association A charity offering impartial advice and post abortion counselling
Life A Pro Life Charity
Marie Stopes UK A Charity that provides abortions
Ending the Pregnancy
If you decide to end the pregnancy, you may feel that you need some time away from University to recover both physically and emotionally. For an absence of 14 days or less, you need only let your School know that you need time away for your health and catch up on any missed work. You do not need to give any more detail than that.
If you need more than 14 days away from University, the rules state that you must apply for an Interruption of Study. You can apply for this through SIMS on health and/or compassionate grounds. You do not need to disclose what has happened but you will need to give a basic explanation of what ground you are applying under and provide evidence. The simplest way to go about this will likely be to explain to your GP or Counsellor how you are feeling and why you need time away from your studies. Ask the GP/Counsellor for a note to confirm that you have a medical reason for needing time away but not to mention any sensitive information if you want to keep that private. You can then say in your application that there are personal circumstances that you do not wish to disclose but that have required medical treatment and impacted on your wellbeing. For further advice on this, please contact Student Advice.
If at any point, the pregnancy or abortion impact your wellbeing and ability to study at your usual level, you will need to report this to your School on an Extenuating Circumstances form. Again, you do not need to disclose any sensitive information but do need to explain how your circumstances meet the University’s definition of Extenuating Circumstances. For further information on this please see our Extenuating Circumstances webpage or contact Student Advice.
Pregnancy and University
You may be very happy that you're pregnant and wondering how this will fit with your studies. If so, congratulations! This is an exciting time and there is so much to think about. The following advice looks at how the University can help you.
Pregnancy and maternity are listed as protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010. It is against the law to discriminate against someone because of a protected characteristic and the University are legally obliged to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate the impact of your pregnancy on your course.
The University state that they strive to be as flexible as possible and usually expect you to tell your Personal Tutor/Supervisor in the first instance. Please see the University’s Policy and guidance for students who become parents for further information. Note that some of the links to other policies within that document are out of date.
While it is up to you when you tell the University, they do encourage you to do so as early as possible to allow for any health & safety or support needs to be addressed. You may be referred to Occupational Health for assessments during your pregnancy to see if there are any reasonable adjustments needed to support you.
If you are on placement, it is your responsibility to inform them so they can carry out any necessary risk assessments. There will not normally be any reason why you cannot complete your placement, unless there is a risk to you or your unborn child.
If your pregnancy does impact on your studies, you have two options:
Pregnancy is not of itself an Extenuating Circumstance but can be if it makes you unwell or you suffer complications that impact you and your work. Please see our Extenuating Circumstances page for further information.
Interruption of Study
Pregnancy is not a ground for an Interruption of Study but you can apply on the grounds of
- Ill health, mental or physical health concerns; or
- Compassionate grounds for personal, family or domestic circumstances
If you need more than 14 days away for compassionate or health reasons. Please see our Interruption of Study page for further information.
Support is also available from the University’s Counselling and Wellbeing Team.
Baby and University
Maternity leave is a ground for an Interruption of Study. For more information on how to apply and what you need to consider, please see our Interruption of Study page.
When you are ready to return to your studies, you will need to think about who will look after your baby. The University has a Day Care Centre on Park Place that you may be interested in.
As with pregnancy, having a baby is is not of itself an Extenuating Circumstance but can be if something unexpected happens that impacts you and your studies, e.g. your baby is unwell and needs extra care or the person caring for your baby is unexepctedly unable to. Please see our Extenuating Circumstances page for further information.
After a miscarriage, you are likely to need time to recover both physically and emotionally. You can apply for an Interruption of Study through SIMS and take time away from University if you feel that is what you need. If you would prefer to continue with your studies, you can submit an Extenuating Circumstances form for all assessments impacted by the miscarriage. You can also access support from the
University’s Counselling and Wellbeing Team.
Contact Student Advice
+44 (0)2920 781410