When you are trying to get pregnant, you may be in a rush to take a test just as soon as possible. However, patience may truly be your best virtue if you want to get the best and most accurate results when you are finally able to take an over-the-counter home pregnancy test. In fact, instead of jumping the proverbial gun and testing within a few days of having sex, you should understand how many days must lapse before your body will be able to tell that you are or are not pregnant. This information will also help you be more patient and wait until the optimal time when a test will be able to detect hCG, the hormone produced by your body during early pregnancy, and give you an accurate reading.
Most tests on the market, however, are best used after you are one or more days late on starting your period. After you are a few days late, your urine should have enough hCG in it for the test to be able to pick up on the hormone and give you an accurate reading. With that, if you had sex around the time that you were ovulating, a total of 10 to 14 days, at minimum, must lapse before you can use a home pregnancy test and get a relatively accurate result.
With 10 to 14 days being a standard time frame for taking an over-the-counter home pregnancy test, you should understand why most tests are designed to function the best after this many days have lapsed after you last had unprotected sex. Home pregnancy tests must be able to detect hCG, which is a hormone that a woman’s body begins to produce after she has become pregnant. However, this hormone is not produced in sufficient amounts until a woman is about two weeks or more past her ovulation and conception date. If you test too soon after having unprotected sex, especially before you hit day 10 after having sex, you probably will not get a positive result.
Moreover, sometimes days 10 to 14 are still too early to take a test and get a positive result. This is because it may have taken your pregnancy several days after ovulation and conception to implant in the uterus. In fact, sperm can live in the human body for up to five days, making it difficult to pinpoint just when you conceived. If you had unprotected sex several days before or after you ovulated, you may not have actually conceived on the day that you had sex. Conception may have taken place several days afterward.
With that, if you get a negative test result on day 14, but you genuinely feel that you may be pregnant, you should take another test in a few days, if not about a week later. By then, you should get more of an accurate reading. If the test still reads negative, but you are late on your period, you should ask your doctor for a more accurate blood test.
Women who have irregular periods often face a more difficult time detecting if they are or are not pregnant. They cannot use their monthly cycle to gauge their ovulation date or when they may have conceived. With that, if you have irregular periods, you may have to be more in tune with your body to indicate whether or not you should take a pregnancy test. Your body’s symptoms can give you relative reliable indicators that you could be pregnant.
If you begin experiencing certain symptoms two to three weeks after you have unprotected sex, you may consider using a home pregnancy test as soon as possible. Some of the more common signs of early pregnancy include nausea, fatigue, breast tenderness, and having to go to the bathroom more often. You may also develop food cravings. If you have any of these signs within a few weeks after having sex, you may be pregnant. A home pregnancy test can detect the presence of hCG in your body, even if you have had irregular periods.
If the first test you take a few weeks after having sex comes up negative, but you do not start your period the following month and you still have symptoms of pregnancy, you should visit with your doctor and ask for a blood test. A blood test can give you the most accurate results and sometimes is the only recourse for women who have irregular periods. In fact, these women sometimes are several months into their pregnancies before they realize that they are indeed pregnant. You can avoid this scenario by keeping in tune with your body and looking out for the signs of early pregnancy. This precaution will answer your question of how soon after sex can I take a pregnancy test.