Stop right there.
Put the pee stick down.
I know you’re desperate to find if you’re pregnant. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Did you know that testing too early can give you the wrong result?
I know it’s devastating when you feel pregnant, but the test is negative. It sucks, and I don’t want you to feel that way.
So now you’re wondering ‘how soon after conception can I take a pregnancy test?’ Do you need to wait until you’ve missed your period before testing?
The truth is that everyone is different. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret to knowing the perfect time to take a pregnancy test.
Your period. Yeah, you heard me right.
More specifically you need to know your monthly cycle.
I’m going to show you what’s going on in your cycle and why it’s important to pregnancy testing.
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When to Test For Pregnancy
Understanding your Cycle
Grab your pen and paper because we’re going to get biological (ok that sounded like some crap chat up line.) Let’s discuss the terms you need to know to understand your cycle better.
This is the number of days from the first day of bleeding until the next time you bleed. The average cycle length is 28 days. Your cycle length may be longer or shorter than this. Start marking it down on a calendar, so you know your cycle length.
That’s a basic baby making tip right there (well apart from the actual… well you know what I mean).
This is when the egg is released, and you’re most fertile. It usually happens around 14 days after the first day of bleeding. You are only fertile for 12-24 hours after ovulation.
You will soon recognize this as a time you obsess over ovulation sticks and have a lot of sex. Seriously your partner loves this time.
Also known as the ‘two-week wait.’ It is the time between ovulation and the start of your next period.
It’s a nerve-wracking time, and you’ll probably consume your body weight in Ben & Jerrys.
If you are pregnant, your body will begin to release pregnancy hormones, and you will miss your period. You may even start to experience pregnancy symptoms.
It takes around 5 days for a fertilized egg to attach to implant in your womb. Only then does the egg start to realize the hormones a pregnancy test detects. But you go to give it enough time to release a high enough level.
That means you shouldn’t expect to get a positive pregnancy test until you are least 10 days past ovulation (10 DPO). The hormones levels are simply not high enough to be detected on a pregnancy test.
Let’s look at this graphic to understand it better.
If you ovulate on day 14, count days forward and you can test on day 24, around 5 days before you miss your period.
However, if you didn’t ovulate until day 20, count 10 days forward, you’ll notice you’ve missed your period before you get a positive pregnancy test.
That means if you have a short luteal phase (less that 10 days), you won’t usually get a positive test until you miss your period.
The biggest take away from this is if you’re serious about getting pregnant: learn your cycle.
I’m going to say that again. Learn your cycle. Not only will you know when to test, but it will help you get pregnant quicker.
You should check out the Ava Tracker. It’s is a modern cycle tracker that detects subtle changes in your body and tells you exactly where you are in your cycle. No faffing around with thermometers or ovulation sticks.
Early Pregnancy Tests
You know what a pregnancy test is but do you know how it works?
A pregnancy test works by measuring how much pregnancy hormone (hCG) is in your urine. Increased levels are only present in your urine when you are pregnant.
Remember I spoke about the egg releasing a hormone when it implants? This is the one.
The egg starts by releasing around 5 mIU/ml hCG and this number doubles every 2 days.
Early pregnancy tests will detect the hCG at 25 mIU/ml. Depending on your cycle you can get a positive result as early as 5-7 days before your period is due.
It’s important to remember test results are more reliable the later you take the test.
Read: The Best Early Pregnancy Test Reviews
Missed Your Period?
A late period is one of the main signs you are pregnant. It’s like natures own little pregnancy test.
By the time you’ve missed a period the levels of hCG in your urine are usually high enough to give a result which is 99% accurate.
This is the best time to test for pregnancy, as you are most likely to get a correct result.
When you’re actively trying for a baby, waiting for your missed period will drive you crazy.
It’s tempting to test early, and you may be lucky and get a positive. But there is something you need to know.
The earlier you test, the less accurate the result will be.
Check out how accurate early testing can be before your period is due. The number in brackets is the chance of false negative (a negative test but you’re pregnant).
- 6 days before – 53% (47%)
- 5 Days before – 62% (38%)
- 4 Days before – 74% (26%)
- 3 days before – 83% (17%)
- 2 days before – 92% (8%)
- 1 day before – 98% (2%)
It depends on how much of a risk you want to take that you get a false negative result.
A test will stay negative until you have enough hCG hormone in your pee for a test to detect it.
If you get a negative test before you are late for your period, you should test again in two days.
Testing early can result in you wasting a lot of money on expensive pregnancy tests. If you insist on testing early I recommend buying cheap pregnancy tests in bulk (these ones on Amazon are a great deal).
Once you get a positive, you can confirm it with a reliable brand or a blood test at the doctors.
Negative results before your period can put emotional stress. Also, consider how you will feel if you get a positive but then your period arrives?
Testing early runs the risk you notice a very early miscarriage which would have otherwise gone undetected.
There are a few reasons you may not get a positive test in the early stages of your pregnancy.
Ovulation – You may ovulate earlier or later than the average 14 days after your period. I’m going to sound like a broken record but learn your cycle. Detect your exact ovulation date with cervical mucus monitoring, using ovulation tests or taking your basal temperature.
Fertilization – It’s possible for your egg to be fertilized up to 24 hours after ovulation. It can throw off any tests result by a day.
Implantation – You won’t start to produce raised levels of hormones until your egg implants into the womb. Implantation can take anywhere from 5-12 days after ovulation. This difference is why some women get positive tests earlier than others.
Incorrect testing – If you don’t follow the pregnancy test instructions it may not give you accurate results. Always check your pregnancy test is in date. If you are unsure get a professional to do the test for you.
How to Avoid a False Negative Pregnancy Test
- Don’t test too early. Give your body time to release enough hormone. You’ll thank me when you’re not filtering a photo of a pregnancy test to tell if it’s a faint line or not. If you get a negative try to wait for two days before testing again.
- Using a Test that isn’t sensitive enough. Different pregnancy tests detect different levels of hCG. Look for one that detects 25 mIU/ml hCG for early results.
- Time of Day. You are more likely to get a positive in the morning. This is because your urine is more concentrate and not diluted by the fluid you drink in the day.
- Follow the Instructions. First, make sure the test is in date. Collect a urine sample and test straight away using the exact times given in the instructions. Don’t be tempted to leave the sample sitting.
Symptoms of Pregnancy
You may start to notice changes caused by pregnancy before you miss your period. These changes are caused by hormones affecting the body and how you feel.
Some of these sign include:
Tender breasts. Your breast tissues may feel heavier or tender as they adjust to hormone levels. This sign is more common if you’ve already had a baby.
Fatigue. You may feel exhausted in early pregnancy.
Sickness. Feeling nausea or sickness is a common sign of pregnancy. It usually happens after the 4-week mark. However, it can happen earlier if you are hormone sensitive.
Peeing more. The pregnancy hormones relax your soft tissue and can cause you to go to the toilet more often.
Emotions. Your mood may be all over the place flitting between happy and sad. It’s completely normal, even if you want to be pregnant. It’s natural to worry especially if you have health concerns or pregnancy losses before.
Time of Day
What’s the best time of day to take the test?
If you wait until your period is due to take a test, it shouldn’t matter what time of day you take the test.
If you decide to take the test very early, then I recommended you take the test in the morning. Your urine will be more concentrated and is more likely to detect the HGC in your urine.
* . * . *
Now you know the best time to take a pregnancy test you’re going to get accurate results. If you take one thing away from this it’s: start learning your cycle now.
It’s amazing what you can learn about your body once you start to read the signs it gives you.
And that’s pretty cool.