When to Take a Pregnancy Test
How Do Pregnancy Tests Work?
Pregnancy tests detect the presence of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in urine or blood. hCG is produced by the placenta shortly after a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining, and its levels increase rapidly during early pregnancy.
What Are the Different Types of Pregnancy Tests?
There are two main types of pregnancy tests: home pregnancy tests and blood pregnancy tests.
At-Home Pregnancy Test
Home Pregnancy Tests, or Urine pregnancy tests, are the most common test used at home. It usually involves collecting a urine sample to test for hCG. If hCG is detected, the test will produce a positive result, indicating pregnancy.
Blood pregnancy tests are blood tests that can also detect hCG levels. They can detect hCG as early as 7 to 12 days after conception.
What Are the Signs You Should Take a Pregnancy Test?
If you are having sex and suspect you may be pregnant, some signs and symptoms might prompt you to take a pregnancy test, such as:
- Missed Period: This is one of the most common signs of pregnancy. If you have a regular cycle and your period is late, it could indicate pregnancy.
- Implantation Bleeding: There may be light spotting or bleeding when the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterine lining, which may occur around your expected period.
- Breast Changes: Pregnancy can lead to changes in your breasts, such as tenderness, swelling, or darkening of the nipples.
- Nausea and Morning Sickness: Morning sickness, or nausea and vomiting, is a common early sign.
- Fatigue: Feeling unusually tired or fatigued.
- Frequent Urination: Increased frequency of urination can occur during early pregnancy.
- Food Cravings or Aversions: You may develop strong cravings for certain foods or experience aversions to certain smells or tastes.
- Mood Swings: Hormonal changes during pregnancy can lead to mood swings or emotional changes.
Use the Orchyd App to Track Symptoms
Pregnancy symptoms can vary significantly from person to person, and some may experience few or no symptoms at all. Some of these signs can also be associated with other conditions or changes in the body. Therefore it’s essential to use a cycle-tracking app like Orchyd to track how you are feeling. From spotting to cravings, track your physical and emotional symptoms in Orchyd’s free data-secure app. Doctors are available 24/7 and on-demand via Orchyd MD™ should you have any questions about pregnancy, fertility, and more.
When Is the Best Time to Take a Pregnancy Test?
The best time to take a pregnancy test depends on the type of test you are using and your cycle.
Home Pregnancy Test
The best time to take the test is after you have missed a period because hCG is typically high enough to be detected a few days after a missed period.
Take a test at least 10 to 4 days after having unprotected sex. Taking the test too early can result in a false negative because hCG levels may not be high enough to be detected.
Can You Test Too Early?
Yes, taking a pregnancy test too early can result in a false negative. The hCG levels may not be sufficient for the test to register a positive result, even if you are pregnant.
If you take a pregnancy test too early and get a negative result but still suspect you might be pregnant or continue to experience pregnancy symptoms, you can retest a few days later. Waiting a few days to a week after a missed period can increase the accuracy of the test.
If you have concerns about the timing of your pregnancy test or the accuracy of the results, it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional. They can provide guidance, perform a blood pregnancy test (which is more sensitive than some home tests), and help determine the best course of action based on your circumstances.
Reduce Stress With Stix Early Pregnancy Tests
Stix’s Early Pregnancy Tests are an easy and accurate option for home pregnancy testing. Over 99% accurate six days before your missed period, Stix Pregnancy Tests help you get the most important answer in one easy step. Created with OB-GYNs, their pregnancy test is easy-to-use with simple instructions and clear results.
What to Avoid Before Testing
Before taking a pregnancy test, there are certain substances and behaviors you may want to avoid to ensure the most accurate and reliable results.
- Alcohol and Drugs: These substances can potentially interfere with hormone levels and affect test accuracy.
- Excessive Fluid Intake: While it's important to stay hydrated, excessive fluid intake just before taking the test can dilute the concentration of hCG in your urine, potentially leading to a false-negative result. It's best to take the test with a regular urine sample.
- Medications: Certain medications, such as fertility drugs containing hCG or medications that affect hormone levels, can interfere with pregnancy test results. If you are unsure whether a medication might affect the test, consult a healthcare professional or Orchyd MD™ doctor.
- Expired or Faulty Tests: Check the expiration date on the pregnancy test kit to ensure its validity. Using an expired or faulty test can lead to inaccurate results.
- Testing at the Wrong Time of Day: While most home pregnancy tests can be taken at any time of the day, the concentration of hCG in the morning urine is often higher, making it an optimal time for testing. If you take the test later in the day, follow the specific instructions in the test kit.
How Long Until the Results
The time it takes to get the results of a pregnancy test depends on the type of test.
Home Pregnancy Test
Most home pregnancy tests provide results within a few minutes. The specific time may vary depending on the brand and type of test you are using. Generally, you can expect to see the results within 1 to 5 minutes.
Be cautious of interpreting faint lines that may appear after the recommended testing time. These lines can sometimes be evaporation lines and may not indicate a positive result. Always read the test results within the specified time frame provided in the instructions.
Blood Pregnancy Test
The results of a blood pregnancy test can typically be available within a few hours to a day, depending on the healthcare facility's processing time. Some clinics may offer rapid or point-of-care blood tests that can provide results within a short period, while others may send the blood sample to a laboratory for analysis, which can take longer.