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When To Take A Pregnancy Test

Katlyn Joy | 7, February 2012


When To Take A Pregnancy Test

When you are wondering whether you are pregnant, you may have some difficulty focuses on simple tasks like reading directions or choosing between the thirty different pregnancy tests on the shelf at your local pharmacy. Plus you hear you don't have to wait until your period is late now. So when can you accurately test for pregnancy?

Pregnancy Test Basics

First step in being in the know on pregnancy tests is understanding the chemistry behind them. All pregnancy tests measure the levels of HCG or human chorionic gonadotropin in the urine. This hormone is produced by the placenta and when the levels rise to a sufficient level, they will create a positive pregnancy test result. HCG levels show up in urine at the point where the embryo implants in the uterine wall so about a week to twelve days after fertilization.

Timing is Everything

When can you find out you are pregnant? Well, it depends on a few things. First of all, which is more important, finding out quickly or finding out for certain? If you are quite impatient (and most of us have fallen into this category around the end of the cycle) you can test as early as a few days before your period is due. However, if you want a surefire test result, you should hold off spending cash on a test that is likely to show a negative result whether a baby is on the way or not.

Probably your best bet for a certain yet early result is to test on the day you were scheduled for Aunt Flo to arrive. The HCG levels should be adequately raised to trigger a nice pink line, or baby symbol or whatever cool positive result your particular test reveals in the case of pregnancy.

If you are capable of waiting a full week past your period due date, the results from a home pregnancy test are in the 97 percent range of accuracy.

Tips for a True Result

The earlier you test, the more likely you are to get a false-negative pregnancy test result. However, you can help make sure you do what you can to get an accurate early read. For instance, use your first urine of the day since the hormone levels will be most concentrated in this collection of urine.

Let some drops of pee go before hitting the stick. Most tests work best with mid-stream urine so avoid the first stream and the last dribbles alike. Urinate for a few seconds, stop your flow and place your test stick in the general flow area and start the urine flow once more.
Give the test adequate time for the results to show up, such as up to ten minutes. However, longer than that and the results will be invalid.

However, if the indicator on your test shows pregnancy whether it's a line or a symbol, no matter how faintly you see the positive result, the result should be interpreted as indeed positive.

Factors that May Cause an Inaccurate Reading

- Some women will not get a positive test result despite being pregnant because the embryo doesn't implant until the first day of a missed period.

- More confusing, up to a quarter of all pregnancies implant so cause a rise in HCG but the pregnancies fail a short time later.

- For both of these reasons, whether the test is negative or positive, you should wait a week and retest to be certain of your pregnancy status.

- Certain hormonal treatments or medications can interfere with pregnancy test results. If you know you are on fertility drugs or were on birth control that used hormones, you should consult a physician for a most accurate pregnancy diagnosis.

Related Articles

Q&A: Could My Pregnancy Test Be Wrong?

New Pregnancy Test Tells How Many Weeks You Are

Are You Afraid of Pregnancy Test Disappointment?

Can You Trust Your Home Pregnancy Test Results?

hCG Hormone in Pregnancy


Showing 1 - 6 out of 6 Comments
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Narma Apr 18, 2017 03:33:15 AM ET

My last period started on March 1, and I ovulated on March 17 and 18. My cycle is irregular lasting not more than 40 days. It's 39 days or 40 days, but not more then 40 days. Now I'm 8 days late at day 48, but I didn't get my period yet. I started testing from 8 dpo until today and keep getting a negative test. Am I pregnant, or should I wait some more? I never am late more than 40 days. I also start taking vitex and fertility blend to make my period regular. I started it after my period ended. When should I test again?

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Katie Jan 24, 2017 11:52:51 AM ET

Thank God other women are going through what I'm going through. I ovulated January 10th. There was LOTS of "baby making" occuring. Aunt Flo is due today, no signs of her yet!!! two days ago I took a FRER and it was negative. :( I want a baby so badly. I have for so long...! I have two more FRER tests and I want to take one today, but I am so scared to see another negative result. Has anyone else gotten a neg result 2 days before AF is due, and a positive after??? Please help!!! Please pray I get my first BFP ever!! So tired of seeing those BFNs and feeling so heartbroken...:( wishing pregnancy dust and good luck to all the lovely ladies going through the same thing!!!

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jenifer jackson Jun 10, 2014 08:22:02 AM ET

Clear blue told me I was not pregnant. The same day I took one from the dollar tree and it was positive. I was 5 weeks pregnant at the time.

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crystal Mar 17, 2013 04:16:49 AM ET

The part on why it may read incorrect helped i been feeling the implantion cramps the week i expect my period so i will wait a week and retest if my aunt flo still Dont arrive

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Yesenia Oct 27, 2012 10:59:02 PM ET

The "factors that may cause an inaccurate reading" section was helpful

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heather Apr 5, 2012 09:22:36 PM ET

So my question is if u are supposes to use first urine in the morning for me thats confusing because I get up 2 times a night to urinate when is best to use in my case cause my tests are negative im within 2 days of my peeiod being due however my breast are so tender im tired as heck and at bed time im nauseated? Help please

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