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Dr. Michelle Frank
4 Dec 2018 . 1 min read

Is There A Right Time To Take A Pregnancy Test?


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when to take a pregnancy test when to take a pregnancy test

Pregnancy is one of the most exciting times during any woman’s life. The positive sign on a pregnancy kit is usually the first event on the journey towards motherhood. Women often wonder when is the appropriate time to take a pregnancy test or whether pregnancy can be determined soon after ovulation. For some women, this news can be exciting, for a few intimidating. This article will highlight the simple requirements for taking a pregnancy test.

What are some of the first signs of pregnancy?

In most cases, the first sign of pregnancy is a missed period. Very few women experience any significant signs of pregnancy during its earlier phases. Some women experience fatigue, nausea, breast tenderness or cramps. However, these symptoms are not very different from premenstrual syndrome.

Most of the telltale symptoms of pregnancy are usually observed within the first two months of pregnancy, more commonly around the 8th to 10th week of pregnancy.

When is the best time to take a pregnancy test at home?

Most physicians recommend waiting for at least the first day of your missed period before you take a pregnancy test. However, waiting for at least a week following a missed period is ideal, as in many cases periods might just be delayed. Most women do not experience any particular symptoms prior to missed periods that would indicate pregnancy.

(Here are 10+ Ways You Can Have a Homemade Pregnancy Test!)

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The pregnancy kits that are to be used at home ideally check the presence of the human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) hormone. This is a hormone that is released only after the fertilized egg implants into the uterus. It takes about a week following conception for the egg to implant into your uterus. And the hCG released is very minuscule to detect via a pregnancy test at this stage of pregnancy.

(Note: There are very few pregnancy tests that can detect pregnancy soon after implantation. But the accuracy of these tests is relatively low.)

When is the ideal time of the day to take a pregnancy test?

There is no definitive “best time of the day” to take a pregnancy test. Especially if your period is delayed for a couple of weeks and you are pregnant the test will show positive if taken during any time of the day. However, during the initial phases of pregnancy, taking a pregnancy test in the morning would be most appropriate.

Peeing on a stick in the morning is ideal, as the first void of the day is usually more concentrated when compared to the urine you pass during the rest of the day. The amount of fluid you consume and the number of times you pee during the interval you are sleeping is also low. So with more concentrated urine, the likelihood of detecting hCG is higher.

During the initial stages of pregnancy, there is a higher chance of getting a false negative test. Taking tests before missing your period can increase the likelihood of receiving a false negative test. Only blood tests conducted in a doctor’s office is more likely to give a positive result when conducted early on.

How do I use a home pregnancy testing kit?

Most tests involve collecting urine and placing it on a panel which will detect hCG hormone in the urine. These pregnancy kits are available at any pharmacy and are over the counter, which means they do not require a prescription. You can take this test in the privacy of your home. Most of these have instructions given along with the pregnancy kits. However, here is a brief overview of how the kits can be used.

  • The first urine is usually avoided and midstream urine is usually taken.  
  • The testing strip is then dipped into the container or a few drops of urine is placed on the testing window.
  • The test is then left untouched for about 5 -7 minutes to yield results.

How would I know whether the test is positive or negative?

Different testing strips show positive results in different ways. Some show a positive sign evidently, others may show two straight pink lines. Either of these two is an indicator for a positive pregnancy test.

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There are some hazy areas where tests can show faint lines neither indicating towards a positive or negative test. In such cases, the following can be considered as possible reasons for the unpredictable results:

  • Faulty testing kit
  • Contamination of the sample
  • An inappropriate amount of sample applied to the testing window
  • A false negative test

In such cases, repeating the test in two to three days is considered acceptable as hCG hormone doubles every 48 hours.

Is it possible to take a pregnancy test one week before I miss my period?

There are some pregnancy tests that are able to detect pregnancy a week prior to getting your period. The accuracy, however, of these tests can be as low as 50 - 60%. Tests taken later following a missed period can be as accurate as 99%.

So the short answer is that while you can probably detect pregnancy during its early phases it’s just a better idea and more economical to just wait a couple of weeks following ovulation.

What if I have irregular periods?

Today there are many women who experience irregular periods at some point or another during their lifetime. Hormonal imbalances experienced in conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome and thyroid dysfunction can often cause irregularity in menses.

Since an average menstrual cycle lasts somewhere between 28 to 30 days, taking a pregnancy test around 35 - 40 days following your last menstrual cycle might yield positive results if you are pregnant.

What is the next step after receiving a positive pregnancy test result?

Some positive results can be false positives. Therefore it is always best to get two positive pregnancy tests before taking further steps.

In all cases, even a single positive pregnancy test will have to be confirmed by a blood test that would be taken by a doctor at a clinic. As soon as you receive a positive pregnancy test, it would be ideal to consult with a gynecologist to set up prenatal visits and to calculate your expected date of birth.

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In the mid-1970s the home pregnancy kits went into the market. It has eased a woman’s ability to find out whether she is pregnant or not. Being able to confirm pregnancy at home is especially helpful for women who have been trying to get pregnant for months. It saves them the hassles of multiple blood tests.

(Here are 14 Things You Should Follow To Have a Healthy Pregnancy)

However, women should realize that a negative pregnancy test is not the final say.

In many cases, women might miss their periods, experience pregnancy symptoms and the pregnancy test can still show a negative. In these cases, it is always best to confirm with your gynecologist. In some cases of pregnancy hCG levels might be really low and not at detectable levels initially.

While the home pregnancy kit has saved time and resources in confirming pregnancy, the blood test is still the final confirmatory test of choice. Never hesitate to ask your gynecologists any questions you might have regarding the use and the analysis of pregnancy kits.

References:

https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/pregnancy/how-soon-can-i-do-a-pregnancy-test/

https://www.verywellfamily.com/when-is-the-best-time-to-take-an-early-pregnancy-test-1960163

https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/five-signs-to-take-pregnancy-test#contraceptive-failure

https://www.avawomen.com/avaworld/how-soon-can-you-take-a-pregnancy-test/


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Dr. Michelle Frank
Call me your unconventional doctor, who is currently treading on the road less travelled. I love all things medicine. The human body and it’s inner workings never cease to fascinate me. Helping others is what gives me unparalleled satisfaction and keeps me marching on this enlightening and fulfilling journey.

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