How Long Does It Take to Know You’re Pregnant?

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Babies are a blessing to those looking to grow their families. Based on statistics, 92 percent of couples with no fertility issues will conceive within the first two years of actively trying. But two years is a long time and waiting for signs of pregnancy that long can be incredibly frustrating.

If you and your partner are actively trying to conceive at the moment, you might be wondering how long it takes to show signs of pregnancy. Generally speaking, the most common sign of successful conception is a missed period, but a missed period can be attributed to a lot of reasons that don’t necessarily mean you’re pregnant.

So, what are the sure signs of pregnancy, and how long will it take you and your partner to confirm that you really are pregnant? We explore this question in today’s article.

Getting a Home Pregnancy Test

If you suspect you or your partner are pregnant or find that you missed your period (wait a few days, though, because it’s possible that your period just might be late by a few days), one way of checking is by taking a home pregnancy test.

You can buy urine pregnancy tests at your nearest drugstore, though some convenience stores may also sell these. To know if you or your partner is pregnant, they have to put a sample of their urine on the stick. Pregnancy tests determine whether or not you might be pregnant by detecting human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG. This is a hormone released when a fertilized egg attaches to the lining of your uterus. Pregnancy tests can detect HCG, and if it does, it means you are likely pregnant.

Pregnancy tests are not always accurate, though. Some pregnancy tests are most reliable at certain times before or after your period, so it’s best to check the packaging to see. Usually, however, some pregnancy tests can detect a pregnancy as early as three weeks after conception.

Negative pregnancy tests (results that show you aren’t pregnant) aren’t very reliable, as it’s possible that the test simply didn’t catch HCG in your urine even though there is a fertilized egg in your uterus. On the other hand, a positive pregnancy test is more reliable because the tester detected HCG.

Growing Tummies

Aside from nausea and mood swings that aren’t really an accurate gauge of pregnancy because it can be attributed to something else in your body, having unexpected weight gain followed by a baby bump is a tell-tale sign of pregnancy. Unlike beer bellies and belly fat, a baby bump is shaped differently and more focused on your lower abdomen than your entire tummy.

You’ll begin to show your baby bump around 12 to 16 weeks. It varies between women, though women who have had pregnancies in the past may notice it sooner because their muscles have already been stretched before.

By 12 weeks, the fetus has grown so big that the uterus can no longer hide behind your pubic bone. It will start to protrude into your abdomen to make space for the baby. Because a lot of other organs are in the way, your organs will adjust accordingly and will return to its normal position after the baby is born.

Instinct and Phantom Pregnancies

Some women know they are pregnant days after conceiving, claiming it’s their intuition or instinct that makes them believe they are pregnant. Some of them end up do becoming pregnant as they claimed, while others disappointedly find that they aren’t really pregnant. This isn’t a very logical or scientific way of determining pregnancies, and the only way to prove whether or not your instincts are correct is to wait 12 to 16 weeks when, on average, women’s tummies begin to grow.

When a woman desperately wants to get pregnant (usually after she and her partner have tried to conceive after a long time), her body may undergo pseudocyesis – more commonly known as false pregnancy or phantom pregnancy. A woman who has this will show the usual symptoms of pregnancy – weight gain, nausea, missing periods, growing breasts that could produce milk, feeling a baby kick inside – but when they undergo an ultrasound or doctor’s checkup, they will find that there is no fetus inside.

A phantom pregnancy can last for a few weeks, months, or even years. This is different from women who pretend to be pregnant or mentally ill patients who believe to be pregnant even if they have no reason to be. A woman undergoing a phantom pregnancy genuinely believes she is pregnant because her body is showing all the physical signs of pregnancy. Doctors believe this is because when a woman really wants a baby, her psychological and physical body think that she really is pregnant and act accordingly.

Because of this, it’s not enough to simply rely on the physical symptoms alone as a way of confirming your pregnancy. Even if you’ve undergone pregnancies before, it’s always best to go to a doctor to get examined. This not only helps you find if there really is a baby in your tummy, but whether or not it is healthy.


If you suspect you are pregnant, visit your obstetrician for a check-up. If you’re not already showing in your tummy, you may be asked to undergo an ultrasound, which is a diagnostic test that uses sound waves to see what your baby looks like from the inside. You can do this as early as 12 weeks just to confirm that there is a baby.

Most normal pregnancies will only require one ultrasound and a few optional ultrasounds to check out the baby’s progress and sex. However, for high-risk pregnancies or women with a history of having birth complications, your obstetrician will require additional ultrasounds.

When you see the common first signs of pregnancy and suspect you might be pregnant, take a pregnancy test and visit your obstetrician to confirm if you really are pregnant. While some women believe they have the intuition and can tell when they’re pregnant, this isn’t a very accurate way of knowing if you’re pregnant and is just mostly guesswork. Your doctor can confirm your pregnancy as early as three months after conception, which is weeks before the average woman will start to show.

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