When To Take a Pregnancy Test
Knowing when to take a pregnancy test is important, because, whether you are trying to conceive or not, you want accurate results. There are a few things to keep in mind as you decide when to take your test.
Your ovaries release one egg each month, usually about 14 days before your next period starts. If you have sex around the time of ovulation, your partner’s sperm can fertilize your egg and you may get pregnant.
About a week after your egg is fertilized, it plants itself in your uterus. That’s when your body starts creating a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG—better known as the “pregnancy hormone.” As your pregnancy progresses, the level of hCG in your body increases.
You’re most likely to get accurate results if you take a pregnancy test the first day of your next expected period. If you decide to take a pregnancy test before this, you’re less likely to get a positive result even if you are pregnant. For example, if you take your test four days before the day you expect your next period to start, there’s only a 53% chance that you’ll get a positive result even if you are pregnant. The odds go up each day, as your body creates more of the pregnancy hormone.
If you do decide to take your pregnancy test early, it is recommended to take it the first time you use the bathroom that day, as that urine sample will contain a more concentrated level of hCG than that produced later in the day. Additionally, you should avoid drinking fluids before testing.
Pregnancy tests look for pregnancy hormone in your urine. A positive result means you have it, and a negative result means you don’t, either because you’re not pregnant or you haven’t been pregnant long enough to produce enough hCG to get a positive result.
If you test early and get a negative result, there’s still a chance you might be pregnant. There may not be enough hCG in your urine to cause a positive result. Or you may have miscalculated the date that your period is due. Try the test again in a few days.
If you do get a positive result, see your doctor, because you’re most likely pregnant.
“Getting Pregnant.” March of Dimes. http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/getting-pregnant.aspx
“Home Pregnancy Tests.” Cleveland Clinic. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/home-pregnancy-test
“Home Pregnancy Tests: Can You Trust the Results?” Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/home-pregnancy-tests/art-20047940
“Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG): The Pregnancy Hormone.” American Pregnancy Association. http://americanpregnancy.org/while-pregnant/hcg-levels/