When Should I Take a Pregnancy Test?

If you suspect you might be pregnant, it can be difficult to wait to take a test. You might want to take one immediately and find out now, but you could get a false-negative result if you test too soon.

The Ideal Pregnancy Test Timing

The ideal time to take a pregnancy test is the day after you miss your period, though some early and more sensitive pregnancy tests claim to be accurate even sooner.

However, the timing of when you become pregnant and can receive a positive pregnancy test varies based on the timing of sex, ovulation, fertilization, and implantation.

Keep reading to learn why waiting after your period will deliver a more accurate pregnancy test result.

Ovulation and Pregnancy

While you can become pregnant right after sex, it’s not always the case.

Women release an egg from an ovary (ovulation) once a cycle. If you have a 28-day menstrual cycle, you might ovulate about two weeks before your next period.

In order to become pregnant, a sperm must fertilize an egg. Sperm can live in the female reproductive tract for about three to five days after sex. An egg, however, only survives for about 12 to 24 hours after ovulation.

If you ovulate during a time when sperm is in the fallopian tubes, you are at the highest chance of pregnancy. However, if the timing doesn’t align and sperm isn’t present during the short ovulation window, you may not get pregnant.

Implantation and Pregnancy Testing

Suppose the timing of the sperm and ovulation align, and the sperm fertilizes the egg (conception). In that case, it can take days for the fertilized egg (zygote) to travel from the fallopian tube to your uterus and implant into the uterine wall.

Implantation timing can vary, but it’s likely about six days after conception. This could be before or around the time when you’d expect your next period.

Implantation will trigger the body to begin forming the placenta, an organ that develops inside the uterus during pregnancy.

The placenta produces a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is what pregnancy tests detect to deliver a positive result.

It can take about 10 to 11 days after conception for a urine pregnancy test to detect hCG.

It’s All About the Timing

Based on all the times and variations we shared for a 28-day cycle, you can see why waiting until after your first missed period can yield the most accurate result.

If your pregnancy test is negative the first time, and you still believe you might be pregnant, wait a few days or a week longer to test again.

Schedule a No-Cost Pregnancy Consultation

Are you wondering if you might be pregnant?

Contact us to schedule a no-cost pregnancy consultation. We can confirm your positive pregnancy test result with medical-grade pregnancy testing and a no-cost ultrasound scan.

All appointments with us are completely confidential.

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