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How quickly can you get pregnancy test results?

Home pregnancy tests are based on a very simple principle. They work by through the detection of the hormone Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) in a woman’s urine. This hormone is a glycoprotein hormone secreted by the developing placenta shortly after a fertilized egg has been implanted in the uterine lining. Hence, the presence of this hormone in the urine detects pregnancy.

Test sensitivity relates to early detection.

The sensitivity of a home pregnancy test determines how soon after conception pregnancy can be detected by the diagnostic kit. Concentrations of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) are reported in milliInternational Units (mIU) or amounts equal to 1/1000th of an IU per milliliter. Pregnancy tests with a sensitivity of 20 mIU/ml are more sensitive than tests with 50 to 100 mIU/ml. With 20 – 25 mIU/ml tests, high sensitivity equates to early detection of pregnancy. Hence you can begin testing accurately as early as eight days after conception.

How Soon Can I Test?

Most doctors recommend that you wait until the first day of your missed period before taking a home pregnancy test. This is usually around two weeks after conception. However, some tests are more sensitive than others and can be taken earlier. If you follow all instructions religiously and interpret the results correctly, home pregnancy tests are 97% accurate. A blood test administered by your doctor is more sensitive than the early home tests and can be taken between seven and twelve days after you conceive.

If a woman is pregnant, the amount of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) in her system should be around 25 mIU at 10 dpo (days past ovulation), 50 mIU at 12 dpo, 100 mIU at around two weeks dpo. Blood tests can determine pregnancy as low as between 5 to 10 mIU/hCG, though with levels of 5 mIU, a confirmed determination of pregnancy cannot be made without risking a “false positive” because as low levels Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) can be present in the body without pregnancy.

Home pregnancy tests generally detect pregnancy at 50 mIU – 100 mIU Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), though you can find early-detection pregnancy tests on the Internet with sensitivity levels as low as 20 mIU. With all diagnostic products, take care to follow the instructions. For earliest detection of pregnancy, use first morning urine, as this sample contains the most concentrated amount of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG). If using first morning urine is not possible, avoiding urination for several hours before using a pregnancy test. Frequent urination can decrease the amount of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine, interfering with early-detection.

If you see a faint line (in comparison to the control line), the test may be positive, though the presence of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) in the your urine sample may be low. The presence of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) doubles every two days in a pregnant woman. In cases where a faint test color band is present, it is recommended that you retake the test the following day using first morning urine. With most tests, a second faint test line confirms a positive result.

If you take a test too early, you may get a false negative (when the test says you are not pregnant but you are). Your body needs time for the hormone to rise to a high enough level to be detected in a test. If the test comes back negative but you still think you could be pregnant, wait a few days and try again.

False positives (when the test says you’re pregnant but you’re not) are possible, but rare. A positive pregnancy test is a pretty good indication that you are pregnant.

We are proud to offer a wide variety of high-quality, affordable pregnancy tests.

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Last modified: February 10, 2013


The information provided here should not be considered medical advice. It is based on the average experience of women trying to conceive and may not be what you may be experiencing. It's not meant to be a replacement for any advice you may receive from your doctor. If you have any concerns about your cycle or our ability to get pregnant, we advise you to contact your doctor.