How quickly can you get pregnancy test results?
There are two distinct types of pregnancy tests – urine pregnancy tests and blood pregnancy tests. Each type of pregnancy test measures the pregnancy hormone, hCG. It is a glycoprotein hormone that is produced by the developing placenta soon after a fertilized egg has implanted into the uterine lining.
The first step most women take is to take a urine based home pregnancy test. They usually follow up with their doctor when they get a positive result in order to get an official confirmation. Home pregnancy tests pick up the amount of hCG present in the urine. The waiting period to see the results will depend on the test but it is normally a few minutes. Blood tests are done at a doctors’ office and normally have longer waiting periods simply because there is a laboratory involved. The waiting period will thus depend on the lab and external factors like how busy the lab is.
Pregnancy Test Sensitivity and Early Detection
The more sensitive a home pregnancy test is, the sooner after conception it can be used in order to determine if pregnancy has been achieved. Most pregnancy tests on the market today have a sensitivity of between 20 mIU and 100 mIU. A test with a low sensitivity number (20 mIU) will pick up hCG sooner and show a positive result before tests with a higher sensitivity.
How Soon Can You Test?
Doctors agree that you should wait at least until you should have started your period before you take a pregnancy test, or at least two weeks after conception. This is because many women have irregular periods. Furthermore, factors like stress, diet, and travel affect a woman’s cycle more than people realize.
Not all home pregnancy tests are created equal though; some are more sensitive than others are and therefore can be used earlier. As a rule of thumb, it also helps to know that all pregnancy tests have an accuracy of 97% – if you want to be really sure then a blood test can be done at a doctor’s office between a week to twelve days after you ovulated and then conceived.
Women who are pregnant will have about 25mlU of hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) present in her urine ten days past ovulation (dpo), 50 mIU at 12 dpo, and 100 mIU at two weeks dpo. A blood test can detect a pregnancy with hCG levels as low as 5 to 10 mIU/hCG. However, since very low levels of hCG can be present in your body without pregnancy, a level of 5 mIU can create a “false positive”.
In order to get the most accurate results it is recommended that you use first morning urine, because this will contain the most concentrated amount of hCG. If you forget, try not to urinate for several hours before using a home pregnancy test, because frequent urination can reduce the concentration of hCG in your urine, which can hinder early-detection.
If a faint line, compared to the control line, is visible then the pregnancy test may show a positive and can be evidence of low amounts of hCG in your urine sample. In a pregnant woman, hCG doubles every two days. If this situation occurs, retake the pregnancy test the next day, again using your first morning urine. A second faint test line will typically confirm a positive result.
Since hCG slowly rises, it has to be at a high enough level to be properly detected by a pregnancy test. Therefore, if a test result is negative, but you honestly feel that you are pregnant, simply wait another day or two and take another test. Testing too early can create a false negative. A false positive can happen in very rare instances.