When is the Right Time to Take a Pregnancy Test?

Waiting for Pregnancy Test Results

Trying to get pregnant can be an extremely stressful time in your life, especially during the two weeks following ovulation. You will always be wondering whether or not you are pregnant, leaving many women desperate for answers as soon as possible. Of course, this is a challenge because most pregnancy tests are accurate only after your usual menstruation cycle has passed. In fact, if you wait until this point in your cycle, you will likely receive positive results from more tests if you are pregnant.

If you’re like most women, you don’t want to wait until you have a late period to see whether or not you’re pregnant. By considering the factors below, you can best determine the right time to take a pregnancy test.

Considerations Regarding Your Ovulation, Conception, and Implantation

No two women are alike when it comes to ovulation, conception, and implantation. Most women wrongly believe that implantation always occurs 7 days after conception. However, research shows that hCG, a pregnancy hormone that will appear after implantation, manifests 6 to 12 days following ovulation. 84 percent of these pregnancies show implantation as occurring 8 to 10 days after ovulation, challenging the idea that 7 days is the norm. So, if you receive a negative pregnancy test, it might not mean that you aren’t pregnant. Rather, it shows that you might be ovulating later, meaning that conception and hCG production are going to appear later as well. Another possibility is that implantation is simply taking longer than the average period of time.

Pregnancy Test Sensitivity

As you can imagine, the sensitivity of all of the pregnancy tests on the market today can vary quite significantly. Extremely sensitive tests will clearly be more accurate at detecting pregnancy before others that aren’t quite as sensitive. As a rule of thumb, tests that can pick up lower levels of hCG are considered to be the most sensitive. For example, consider the Aimstrip Pregnancy Test versus the Walgreens Cassette Pregnancy Test. The Aimstrip test detects pregnancy at 20 mIU of hCG whereas the Walgreens brand test requires 50 mIU of hCG to make a positive pregnancy determination.

In simpler terms, you could expect the Aimstrip test to detect pregnancy anywhere from 8 to 10 days following ovulation, although women who are able to obtain a positive determination this early are very few. However, there are many more women who will have a positive pregnancy result 10 to 12 days after ovulation. Sensitive pregnancy tests will allow you to test earlier and find out if you are more quickly than the less sensitive varieties.

Issues With Sensitive Tests to Detect Early Pregnancies

While sensitive pregnancy tests, that require only 10 to 20 mIU of hCG to give a positive pregnancy test result, seem like a good thing, there is one potential problem.

Statistics show that 25 percent of all pregnancies end in an early miscarriage. An early miscarriage is one that occurs right before your period starts. If you had waited to test until your period was due, you wouldn’t have even been aware that you were pregnant and wouldn’t have had to deal the the soul crushing sadness that comes from the emotional rollercoaster of a pregnancy loss.

Concluding Thoughts

If you have an accurate sense of your menstrual cycle and are ready to accept the emotional repercussions of a potential miscarriage, you can take a sensitive pregnancy test that can detect hCG levels at 10 to 20 mIU just 8 to 10 days following ovulation.

  • mallika

    my last prieod is 29march till i didnt get prieod but pregnancy test is negtive what i want do when i want to check

  • Angie

    Me and my boyfriend had sex about a month ago. A couple weeks passed and my boobs were very sore I couldn’t even sleep on my stomach. I was having cramps and having nausea on and off. It stopped and I started my period a week earlier than usual. I took a test while on period it came out negative . I’m still having nausea here and there. I can’t throw up ! Can I be pregnant ? Oh ya I feel like I’m getting bigger on my stomach . My diet hasn’t changed so I don’t know .

    • It sounds like you probably should go to the doctor and see if they can figure out what is going on.

  • miranda

    I just missed my period, yesterday was suppose to be my last day, I had brown discharge for a couple days.
    I’m worried that I’m pregnant, and I take my BC daily..
    When should I take a test….

    • You should be able to test now, if you haven’t already. Typically the tests on the market now can detect pregnancy 3 or 4 days before your period is due to arrive.

  • Britney

    My boyfriend and I had sex Wednesday and ever since then I can barely eat and when I do I want to puke but the thing is, I’m on birth control. But everyone knows that birth control is not 100% protection.

    • If you take it as recommended, birth control is pretty effective in preventing pregnancy. Could it be that you have some sort of virus that is making you feel pukey?

  • shylee

    I am late…my last period was in Nov. Nov. 18 to be exact….it 5 days passed…could I be pregnant…

    • If you had unprotected sex, yes it is possible. Did you take a pregnancy test?

  • Sugarbear

    I haven’t been able to conceive for the past 4 years. My period has always started on time and this month I felt something was off, on the day my period was due I had light spotting for a few hours and now I am 4 days late. I took 2 PT yesterday and they were both negative. Could I be pregnant or is something wrong with my health?

    • Until you get your period, if you hand unprotected sex this month, there is always the possibility you are pregnant when your period doesn’t arrive as it should. I’d wait a couple of days and take another pregnancy test if your period doesn’t arrive. The holiday season always can cause a bit of extra stress which could affect when your period actually arrives.

  • Matika Beckham

    I got my birth control took out monday and had unprotected sex Wednesday I have experienced some light bleeding and stomach cramps could I be pregnant or is it just my period

    • If you had hormonal birth control, it could be that your body is trying to get back to normal. If your period was due around then, it could also be that.

  • abbie

    I’m on the birthcontrol shot and Me and my boyfriend had unprotected sex like usual. He came all the way in me before, and I didn’t get pregnant. But could I this time when he came again in me? I’m just a paranoid girl freaking

    • Have you been getting the shot when you were supposed to? If so, then you should be protected. Are you having regular periods? If you are not, you most likely are not ovulating, in which case, pregnancy wouldn’t be a possibility.

      • kmarsh9

        Having irregular periods does NOT mean you arnt oovulating!

        • Cherie

          My doctor (one of the best in Pittsburgh Dr. Bruce Morrison) said if you don’t have a period, that means you have not ovulated (providing you didn’t miss your periods due to pregnancy)

  • Sashac

    I have not taken BC since last February.. In hopes to conceive…. Anyway my period has been perfectly on track if anything I get it a day early and last 2-4 days and kinda medium….any way I got a period Dec 6th 2014 and ended the 10th….well I got another on Dec 28th 2014- the 31st..which that was the first time In a long long while that I got 2in one month..anyway I was suppose to start Jan 24th 2015 (I have an app and it calculates almost 100%) so here it is the 30th and nothing that puts me at 6days late I’ve taken 3test and all negative.. Is it possible I am pregnant??? Should I go and try to get blood done..sry so long I just dunno what to do and I’ve googled everything under the moon on to why I’m not a)starting and b)why the teat is still negative… PLEASE HELP

    • I’ve seen MANY women end up with odd cycles after the holiday season for some reason. Perhaps that is what is going on with you. If you keep getting negative tests and don’t get your period soon, you might want to schedule a visit with your doctor.

      • Sashac

        As of today I’m 10days late…I’m going to this free pregnancy testing center they do urine Test, blood test,and free ultrasounds… It kinda helps cause my insurance recently changed and finding a Dr that takes it has been tough…..BTW I’m 24 so would my period just start changing now???? Also this would not be my 1st baby it’ll be my 3rd I have an 8 yr old and a 5 yr old its just been so long since I’ve been pregnant I’m just looking for answers

        • Unless you have changed drastically (losing / gaining weight or changing your work schedule ) your cycle shouldn’t be changing that much. Good luck at the clinic. Hopefully they will be able to help you figure out what is going on.

  • Boone

    I have irregular periods but I do ovulate. My last periods started on August 28th, 2014 and ended September 10th, 2014. I then had sex on September 17, 18, and 19 with my hubby. And I have not had a period since but I haven’t been to a DR but home testall say I am not. And just recently we had sex and about 5/6 days later I was cramping and spotting. And I have NEVER spotted in my life. What is going on?

    • Well, the spotting could be implantation bleeding if you did get pregnant. It really depends on if you were ovulating around the time you had sex. I’d wait about 10 days and try taking a pregnancy test. If you are pregnant, it should show up for around that time.

  • vinnie81

    My last period was December 30, ovulation January10-16 was extremely active during ovulation, 28 day cycle, but my period was 6 days early, having the metal mouth taste, could i be pregnant?

  • vivi

    I am 24 years old. I had an IUD for a little over 3 years. I had it taken out in October and started having my periods regularly right after and come the first week of the month. However, this month I didn’t get it, not even any light bleeding or spotting. I did take a pregnancy test a week after and it was negative. 3 days ago I had unprotected s*x (1st try of getting pregnant for 2nd time) and when I woke up the next morning I had some heavy bleeding and it hasn’t stopped. I don’t know if this is because of the IUD or because of the intercourse? I’ve never had heavy bleeding, what could be going on?

    • Could it be that your period was just later than expected?

      • Eva

        So I had sex with my boyfriend about 2 weeks ago and we didn’t use protection. Now my breast hurt and seem bigger and I have been having cramping. But before we had sex I just got off my implant birth control. Could I be pregnant?

  • kaisey

    Okay so I’m on birth control so my boyfriend while having sex came in me. I thought it was okay but now ( a week afterwards ) I’m having spotting & my boobs are super sore. Oh and it was the first time being on birth control and having him do that. What could it be?

    • If this is your first time on birth control, it could just be your body getting used to it. I’d say wait about 10 days and take a pregnancy test if you are concerned about actually being pregnant.

    • If this is your first time on birth control, it could just be your body getting used to it. I’d say wait about 10 days and take a pregnancy test if you are concerned about actually being pregnant.

  • Claudine

    Hello I’m a mother of three and trying to conceive but suffering from anorexia I track my period but not sure of days I’m usually on for three to four days my last period was April 7 before that was February I’ve been to doctor and everything is fine me and my husband have been trying to conceive for three years now any suggestion please

    • Unfortunately, due to the anorexia, your cycles and hormones could be off. You might need to track your cycle using ovulation tests or by charting your basal body temperature. BBT charting would give you quite a bit of information and help you pinpoint ovulation better but it definitely has a learning curve to understand what the various temperature readings mean.

  • babiigirl101

    So I had sex with my boyfriend about two months ago 3 weeks later I had my period like normal this month I was suppose to start on the 7th and I haven’t could I be pregnant although I had my period last month?

    • If you period was normal last month, it’s not likely that you are pregnant if you haven’t had unprotected sex this month. You can take a pregnancy test if you are still worried though. I

      • babiigirl101

        Thank you getting back to me so quickly. I have not had unprotected sex this month at all. I have been cramping like normal but no blood of any kind. Could my sisters period throw my cycle off track if hers has been unnormal these past two months?

      • Jessie’Ca Strickland

        I need yr help trying to understand some things

      • Jessie’Ca Strickland

        Can u inbox me

      • Jessie’Ca Strickland

        I have questions that I can’t answer

      • Ashley

        I had sex with this guy march 22nd I cheated on my boyfriend for a quickie I’m now 9 weeks pregnant my last cycle was either march 9 thats the first day of my last period… I had unprotected sex with my boyfriend on the 30 on the 4 of april I went and got on birthday control I wasn’t pregnant.. two weeks after me and my boyfriend started having unprotected sex and he did nut in Me is there a possiblity that this is the others guys baby …when I add it up idk I think its the guys baby that I had a quickie with

        • It would most likely be the fella you cheated with is the father as you typically ovulate about 14 days after your period starts. You would have had sex with your boyfriend too far after ovulation to get pregnant by boyfriend.

  • candycami

    Me and my boyfriend had unprotected sex about two-three weeks ago before he finished he accidentally came inside me then pulled out to finish, I got my period around the same time as usual but now that its over ive been feeling stpmach and rib discomfort around my belly button and ive been feeling sick like I have to throw up. Should I take a test if so how soon PLEASE HELP

  • L.P.

    I had sex with my husband on July 1st. It is now the 3rd. I am not using any contraceptive, and neither is he. He finished without pulling out. My concern is that I have been on Tamoxifen for 3+ years. I have read it can cause birth defects. Should I stop the Tamoxifen immediately? Even though it only happened once?

    • Irishgrl

      That happened to me as well ,last week,and I have been on tamoxifen the same amount of time ..I am still taking it till I know for sure . how did things work out for u

      • LP

        Preg test said negative.

  • Daniella

    Hi I don’t know if I can post here but here it goes… My husband and I decided to get off b/c last month and start trying! Three years ago it took us only a week of trying to conceive crazy I know :(… Anywho I believe I am late my boobs are very sore which was my first sign with our first… My last period I know I had on June 10 def not the starting date but I did have.. Do you think I can test yet? Thanks so much again!

  • Ebony

    I have had one depo shot and we decided to stop taking it so we can have a baby..I was supposed to go get another shot on June 8 but I skipped I have not had a period my stomach has been feeling funny and itching my breast has been itching and my appitiete is unbelievable I’m always hungry am I pregnant..

  • becky

    I had sex friday night and the other three following nights before that my last period i had i was four days late but i started i start my next period in 9 days but i have been feeling sick but i cant throw up and i have been having cramps and now i have a uti but i feel kinda bloated when i stand up and im having mood swings what should i do???

    • Unfortunately, if you were having unprotected sex, there is a chance you are pregnant. Wait until closer to your period is due and take a pregnancy test.

  • Kacey

    I told the plan b bill june 19 , had my period july 1 a week for my actually scheduled period . Welll ive had sex with my bf and now ive not had a period , could i be pregnant or could it be the pill?

  • K

    I had my last period July 7th. I was supposed to ovulate on or around July 19th. I had sex the 18th and 19th of July. My next period was due on August 2nd, but did not show up.

    Assuming I concieved on the 18th or 19th, when would I be able to expect a positive pregnancy test result at home?

  • jenna

    I been trying get pregnant and this time we had great sex n stuff when should I take a pregnancy test.

  • Joanne

    Had a period 5 week ago, i also had the implant taken out 5 week ago. Really want to be pregnant, but knowing i’m irregluar is annoying, i can go months, days or weeks without a period. A few times i have gone 2 days before i got another period or 3 months without one. Last time i went a year before i fell pregnant and i took so many tests and going through the emotions of not being pregnant is scaring me to take this test. Dunno what to do right now

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Last modified: January 23, 2015