You’ve probably missed your period. And you are having some symptoms of a pregnancy. Could you be expectant? How soon can you take a pregnancy test? Could it be too early for accurate results?
- Pregnancy itself is a process full of hormonal actions to ensure well-being of pregnancy until term.
- However, depending on the timing, some tests can come out negative when you actually conceived.
- Knowing when the is the right and best time to test for pregnancy can help you get the most accurate result.
But first things first, how does a pregnancy test work? Knowing this will help you determine the best time to do the test.
What is a pregnancy test and how does it work?
A pregnancy test simply detects the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) hormone in either blood or urine.
The human gonadotropin hormone is usually produced by the body right after fertilization has occurred. The HCG hormone increases gradually after implantation.
Therefore, testing too early may not produce accurate results. You may get a negative result yet you are expectant.
When to take pregnancy test after missed period
How long should you wait to take a pregnancy test after missing your period? There are several pregnancy kits available in the market today. Some testing kits are a bit sensitive than others.
Some can detect pregnancy even before your missed period. So, what is the right time to test?
- For the sake of accuracy, it is recommended that you carry out this test 7 day after missing your period.
The pregnancy hormone is usually present in urine in small amounts right after fertilization. More amounts build up rapidly several days after.
Where are pregnancy tests done?
Pregnancy test kits are readily available at your nearest pharmaceutical store. They are usually not as expensive as most people may think.
Another place where you can get this test done is at your doctor’s clinic or hospital. It is important that you get tested by a doctor that you know.
Do not to use a natural home pregnancy test since it might not give an accurate result. A confusing result will leave you even more worried.
Signs of pregnancy
In most times, first pregnancy symptoms are mistaken or confused with PMS symptoms. For this reason, most women are never sure they are pregnant until a missed period.
Here are the common pregnancy signs to look out for, even before taking a pregnancy test:
- Breast tenderness
Your breasts are likely to feel heavier and fuller than usual. This symptom is a result of rise in progesterone levels during the luteal phase.
Another reason why your breast could be tender is that your body retains more water than it should during pregnancy.
Nausea is widely experienced by pregnant women especially during the 2nd week of pregnancy. The main reason for nausea and vomiting is attributed to the hormonal fluctuations during conception and implantation.
- Aversions and food cravings
The reason why pregnant women crave for some foods and avert the rest is yet to be known. However, this symptom occurs in 70 percent of pregnant women at the beginning of their pregnancy or throughout gestation.
- Darkening of the areolar
Your breast changes during pregnancy. The areolar which is the darker part surrounding the nipple, widens and becomes darker. These changes could occur as early as the second week after conception.
Types of pregnancy tests
The kind of test you will take will depend on the sample you are using.
Most early pregnancy tests use urine as the sample. They test for the HCG hormone. Other tests use blood as the specimen. Here are the different options you have.
1. Urine tests
These tests can be done anywhere, back at home or at the hospital. Urine test is the most common type of pregnancy test.
It is convenient because it can be done at home. The urine tests are available in the pharmaceutical stores and are easy to use. As long as you follow the instructions you are likely to get the correct results.
2. Blood tests
This kind of tests are rarely done at home, majority are carried out at the hospital. The pregnancy hormone can be detected in blood as early as nine days after a missed period.
Blood tests may take longer to give results compared to urine tests which are almost instant. There are two types of blood pregnancy tests:
- Qualitative test: This is blood test carried out to detect pregnancy
- Quantitative test: Quantitative test is usually carried out when querying ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage. In this two instances, the hormone decreases rapidly.
The test also shows the amount of HCG hormone in either urine or blood
How do I use a pregnancy test?
Apparently all home pregnancy tests come with a set of instructions. Instructions are different for each kit in the market. Here is the common procedure on how to carry out a home pregnancy test:
- Take a small clean container
- Urinate into the container and dip in a pregnancy stick
- Alternatively, you can use a dropper to drop some urine on the pregnancy stick
The average time you should wait for results should be around 3 minutes. Depending on the type of the kit you use, you can be able to see two lines or a plus (+) symbol. Even a faint plus or two lines signifies pregnancy.
Some testing kits recommend when to take the pregnancy test for the most accurate results.
When should I take a pregnancy test after abortion?
It is recommended that for accurate results, you take your pregnancy test 3 weeks after successful abortion.
The human chorionic gonadotropin hormone could be in your body as long as 3 weeks
- Most pregnancy kits are sensitive. A slight detection of this hormone could signify pregnancy.
If your pregnancy test is still positive after 3 weeks, you need to contact your health care provider as soon as you can.
How early to test for pregnancy after using fertility drugs
It is normal for women on fertility drugs to do a pregnancy test now and then. However you are not advised to carry out a home pregnancy test when using fertility drugs, a beta test is recommended. A beta test can detect hCG in blood and urine however how little it may be.
- Two weeks wait is recommended after a missed period. After this point, you are advised to visit your doctor for a beta test.
When to take a pregnancy test with irregular periods
Irregular cycles are those that:
- Are less than 21 days
- Longer than 35 days
- Vary in number of days from month to month
If your period is irregular for a reason or another, you can take your pregnancy test 3 weeks after unprotected sex. Even though some pregnancy kits can show results from the 11th days post sex, it is wise to wait until ovulation is over, in order to take a pregnancy test.
Similarly, you can count 37 days from the last period. By this time if you are pregnant the HCG levels will have increased in urine enough to test for pregnancy. Alternatively, you can contact your health care provider for blood test.
How soon to test after unprotected sex?
How soon should I take a pregnancy test after unprotected sex?
Taking the pregnancy test before a missed period is a good idea, but then for accurate results you need to wait for a few days after your missed period. Allow yourself enough time to discover if you got pregnant or not.
When can I take a pregnancy test after ovulation?
While it is best to wait until you have missed your period to take a pregnancy test, you might be tempted to have one soon after ovulation.
So when is the perfect time to have a pregnancy test after ovulation? It is essential to understand that the pregnancy test relies on a hormone produced between the 8-12th days after ovulation has ended. After this period, you can do a test.
Testing after implantation
How long should I wait after implantation? Most pregnancy tests will show accurate results when the test is taken 4-6 days before your expected bleeding date.
Another better way to confirm you are pregnant is to visit your doctor a for an ultrasound exam.
Could I be pregnant when my pregnancy test says negative?
It is possible that you could be pregnant, despite the pregnancy test saying otherwise. Here are a few reasons why there could be a pregnancy possibility:
- Ovulation period varies time to time in a woman cycle.
- Implantation of the fertilized egg may take place earlier or later than usual.
- You are likely to get a false negative test when you carry out the test too earlier than you should
- The amount of hCG hormone could be affected by several factors for activities in the woman’s body
It is recommended that you take another pregnancy test a day after the current one. In case of gestation, the hCG hormone should triple in 2 days. Call your doctor if you think you are pregnant and tests say otherwise.
What is the best time of the day to take a pregnancy test?
Experts claim that the best time for pregnancy test is in the morning. HCG is more concentrated in the morning urine than it is during the day.
The morning cloudy concentrated urine is best if you want to take a home pregnancy test.
Can anything affect a home pregnancy test?
It is possible that a home pregnancy test could be affected, especially if you are taking medications that contain the HCG hormone.
In such a case you are likely to get a false positive result. A false positive is when the test shows positive results, but in the actual sense, you are not pregnant.
- Medications containing this hormone include some contraceptive pills, fertility drugs, and some specific antibiotics.
What is a chemical pregnancy?
A chemical pregnancy refers to a miscarriage happening even before implantation. A pregnancy test may turn positive because of the hormones present in the body.
A missed period may follow, but in the real sense, there is no evidence of pregnancy as per the ultrasound. A chemical pregnancy bleeding will then occur almost the same time as your period which may confuse you.
How accurate are the pregnancy tests?
These pregnancy tests are accurate when used correctly. You have 99.9 percent chances of getting accurate results. However they are more accurate when used at the correct timing.
The only time you should expect inaccurate pregnancy results is when the used kit has expired. It is therefore important to check out expiry date before purchase.
SOURCES AND REFERENCES
- Pregnancy test (May 2014)
- Doing a pregnancy test (June 2015): http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/pregnancy-test.aspx
- Getting pregnant (January 2015): http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/home-pregnancy-tests/art-20047940