When to Take an At Home Pregnancy Test


Deciding when to take a pregnancy test can be very stressful as the anxiety of the two week wait (2WW) builds. Before you make a decision about when to go out and buy a test, you must understand how they work. Pregnancy tests use your urine to detect Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG). HCG is produced after the embryo has implanted into the uterine lining. The rapid increase in HCG is the hormone that causes the symptoms of pregnancy such as nausea, tiredness, and food cravings.

Your doctor will recommend that you at least wait until you miss your period to take a pregnancy test. However, some pregnancy tests such as Early Response and Clearblue Easy, say that they can give you early test results. Three weeks after conception HCG levels are between 5-50 mIU/ml. The pregnancy tests that detect the lowest number units of HCG should be more sensitive and give you the earliest results. Early pregnancy tests can detect as low as up to 20 mIU. This means that an at home pregnancy test (HPT) can be taken as early as 6-8 days after conception.  Implantation occurs 6-12 days after ovulation so if you test too early, you can get a false negative result. You may actually be pregnant but tested too early. If you have received a HCG trigger shot before artificial insemination, you may get a false positive test result.

Home pregnancy tests on average costs anywhere from $7.99 to $19.99. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter if you get a digital or one with lines. If you read the directions, the outcome is the same. The easy access to these tests can be seen as a good thing or a bad thing. The thought of not knowing will make you go out and buy a test and end up with disappointment if you test incorrectly or too early. Pregnancy tests vary in their sensitivity (how soon they can detect the hormone HCG), and you may not have given your body enough time to produce enough HCG hormones that will show up on the test. It is recommended that you wait until you have missed a period to take a home test. Since a missed period is often one of the first signs of pregnancy, you will be sure to get accurate results.

Here are some suggestions in order to get an accurate result from an HPT.

  1. Do the test upon waking up, urine that has been in the bladder for at least 4 hours will show adequate amounts of HCG since it is most concentrated during this time.
  2. Read the directions carefully, some tests have you urinate directly on the test stick, while others have you urinate in a clean, dry cup to dip the stick in for a certain amount of seconds.
  3. Most tests only take 1-3 minutes to show the results and if you get a positive, no you can not save the dip stick since the positive line will eventually disappear
  4. If you have received different answers on multiple pregnancy tests, it is recommended that you get a blood test done to get a more accurate answer.


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