One of the biggest questions you might have when you are trying to become pregnant is when to take a pregnancy test. While you might want to take one immediately, it’s too soon. Even though the first day of your last period is the first day of your pregnancy, you are not actually pregnant at that point. Understanding how pregnancy works, what ovulation means, and how it all ties together will help you determine when it is best for you to take a pregnancy test.
Despite what many people think, you cannot get pregnant anytime you have unprotected sex. In fact, the actual time frame each month in which you can get pregnant is very small. It is approximately 12 to 24 hours on the day you ovulate. Ovulation occurs when your body releases an egg. If that egg is fertilized, it will take a journey to your uterus where it will implant in the lining. If that egg is not fertilized, it will continue its journey until your period begins.
The date that you ovulate is a mystery. On average, a woman with a 28 day cycle ovulates at approximately 14 days. The first day of your period is the first day of your cycle. Since most women have completely different menstrual cycles of varying lengths, it is almost impossible to tell when you ovulate. You can, of course, use an ovulation predictor kit or take note of the signs and signals your body sends, but for the most part it is hard to tell. The day you ovulate could change at any time.
If you want to know when to take a pregnancy test, you need to know what the pregnancy hormone is and what it means for your test result. The pregnancy hormone is human chorionic gondotropin. Your body begins to produce this hormone when you become pregnant. However, you are not pregnant until your fertilized egg implants in the wall of your uterus. This could take as long as a week from the date that the egg is fertilized. From that point, it may take several days before the levels of hCG in your body are high enough to detect.
Typically, your body must produce more than 5 mIU/ml of hCG before you are considered pregnant. From the time your egg implants in your uterus and for the first few months of your pregnancy, your body will produce this hormone. It will double its levels every 48 to 72 hours in the first few weeks of pregnancy. That means that if your hCG level is 25 on Tuesday, it will likely be 50 by Thursday or Friday. It will continue to rise rapidly for a few months.
When to take a pregnancy test is what you want to know. By now, you’ve seen all the tests on the shelves at the supermarket and the drugstore that boast they can detect your pregnancy as many as four, five, and even six days prior to actually missing your period. While a missed period is one of the first signs most women notice before taking a pregnancy test, those who are trying to get pregnant are often too impatient to wait that long.
Taking an early pregnancy test works for some women. However, it does not work for all women. This does not mean those women are not pregnant. It simply means that their hCG levels were night high enough to detect. If you choose to test early, it is important that you look at the different tests available to you and find the one that is most sensitive. Typically, the earlier a test box says it can detect a pregnancy, the more sensitive the test.
If you choose to test early, be sure to carefully read the instructions and the accuracy information on the test box. Most early pregnancy tests are only 50 percent accurate on the earliest test day, but they are 99 percent accurate when used the day of your missed period. Be sure to use your first urine of the morning, and to follow the instructions exactly. If your result is negative, it does not mean you are not pregnant. It just means your hCG levels need more time to rise. Test again 48 to 72 hours later.
Many women do not want to test early for fear of a negative result and the emotions it will bring. If you are one of those women, waiting until the day you expect your period to arrive is the best choice. Your chances of an accurate reading are 99 percent. You should still use your first urine of the morning, and you should follow the instructions carefully.
Knowing when to take a pregnancy test is a difficult decision for many women. Testing early could ease your anticipation, but it could also cause unhappy emotions for no reason. Doctors recommend waiting at least a week after your missed period to take a pregnancy test for the best results, but testing early is an option. You are the only person who knows when to take a pregnancy test for your own peace of mind.