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When Can I Take A Pregnancy Test?

For most women, there’s really no best time to get pregnant. As a result, the choice of when to take a pregnancy test comes with so much anxiety and questions. Sometimes, these women want to be pregnant and on other instances, the mere thought of a little one’s growth is absolutely overwhelming.

Either way, we’re always here to help.

woman checking pregnancy result

Whether or not you’re prepared for the big news, it’s advisable to take the test at an optimal time to improve the chances of an accurate result. In this article, we’d tell you the right time to take a pregnancy test, give you all the gist on the best test for you & how to ensure accuracy in your results.

First, What Is A Pregnancy Test?

A pregnancy test is a method of determining pregnancy by detecting a particular hormone, called HCG, in your blood or urine. The placenta produces HCG, or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, in the early stages of pregnancy. Although an ultrasound scan can also detect pregnancy, a simple urine or blood test is the earliest option for most women.

Types of Pregnancy Test

pregnancy test kit

If you’re experiencing any of these signs, irrespective of your level of preparedness, you should take any of these tests:

  • Urine Test: This is your classic pee-on-a-stick (pregnancy test strip) option that can be conducted in the comfort of your bathroom. In most cases, two lines confirm a pregnancy.
  • Blood Test: For this, you’d have to visit a hospital to get your blood sample taken and tested for the presence of HCG. Although blood tests are not as common as urine tests, they can detect pregnancy about 7 days after ovulation.

When Can I Take A Pregnancy Test?

What determines the timing of a pregnancy test? Does timing really matter? How much influence does timing have on the accuracy of your test results?

Read on to find out!

Research suggests that the best time to take a pregnancy test is after a missed or late period, because this reduces the possibility of a false negative/positive result.

Although tension, fear or impatience may drive you to take the test immediately you notice a late period or failed contraceptive method, taking a pregnancy test too early may give a negative result, even if you are pregnant.

calculating when to take a pregnancy test

With this in mind, we recommend waiting for at least One Day after a missed period before taking a pregnancy test. This wait is important because many factors (asides pregnancy) can lead to a late or missed period. These include:

  • Stress
  • Diet
  • Medications
  • Certain medical conditions

Does My Cycle Matter?

Yes.

The first question to answer is: Do I Know When My Period Is Late? According to the FDA, 20 in every 100 women will get a negative result on the day they think is just after their missed period, even if they are pregnant.

pen and calendar calculating pregnancy period

If you have irregular cycles or you don’t monitor your cycles, wait until after you’ve passed the longest menstrual cycle you usually have. For instance, for a woman with a cycle range of 30 to 36 days, the best time to get tested is on or after Day 37.

“Even early pregnancy tests cannot detect pregnancy until your period is late”

Does The Time/Day Matter?

Yes, it does.

Remember, pregnancy tests depend on the presence/absence of HcG in the body and like every other hormone, HCG production varies based on time changes. In most cases, except after massive fluid intake overnight, your urine is more concentrated immediately you wake up. Therefore, a urine test at this time is more likely to give a positive result if you are pregnant.

Nevertheless, you can still take the test at any time of the day and get similar results.

Why Should I Take A Pregnancy Test?

Although most women consider a missed period or morning sickness as the ultimate sign of pregnancy, there are other things to look out for.

take a pregnancy test

If you notice any of these signs, you should take a pregnancy test:

  • Fatigue
  • Mood Swings
  • Tender Breasts
  • Headaches
  • Frequent Urination

These are however, only the major signs of pregnancy.

How Are The Results Determined?

A proper understanding of how pregnancy tests work would help you know which test to take and when to take it. As we mentioned earlier, the tests simply detect the presence of HcG in your blood or urine. It is important to note that this hormone is only produced after the developing embryo implants into the uterine wall.

pregnancy result

Although most home-based pregnancy tests cannot detect the exact amount of HCG in your blood, they are suitable to detect the minimum amount present. Rarely, hCG levels are so low that they go undetected, which causes a negative result and a crytptic pregnancy.

Are The Tests Accurate?

If you read and follow all instructions, most tests guarantee 99% accuracy. However, this promise is not fail-safe. Research studies in the United States that analyze the amount of HCG detected in pregnancy tests postulate that most tests are actually 46% to 86% accurate. In a specific study, analysis revealed that most tests yield a positive result only 80% of the time on day 28 of a woman’s menstrual cycle.

A Final Word

Taking the test at the right time maximizes the possibility of an accurate result, therefore, a proper understanding of the details above would really help you.
The perfect time to take a pregnancy test is a day after a missed period and in the early hours of the day, with your first urination. Furthermore, you can always visit your doctor at any time to discuss the possibility of a blood test.

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