When Can I Take a Pregnancy Test?
When you are actively trying to get pregnant, the two weeks after ovulation can be a most stress inducing time. “Am I pregnant?” is the question that is always on your mind and you want to test as soon as possible to get the answer. Unfortunately, the most accurate time to test for pregnancy is after your period due date has passed. All pregnancy tests on the market will show a positive result, a higher percentage of the time, if you wait until this point.
Most women, who are trying to get pregnant, will want to know as soon as possible and don’t really don’t want to wait until they are late to test.
The considerations below will help you decide when is the best time to take a pregnancy test.
Ovulation, Conception and Implantation
Please remember that every woman is different and the time it takes for the fertilized egg to implant in your uterus wall can vary. A common misconception is that implantation occurs 7 days after conception, but the research findings showed that first appearance of pregnancy hormone, HCG, due to implantation occurred 6-12 days after ovulation, with 84% of the pregnancies implanting on days 8-10 after ovulation. If you don’t get a positive pregnancy test, it doesn’t mean that you are not pregnant. It could be that you ovulated later than you thought (meaning that conception and subsequent HCG production didn’t happen as you calculated) or that, for you, implantation took longer than the average.
Pregnancy Test Sensitivity
The sensitivity of the pregnancy tests on the market today vary greatly. The more sensitive the test, the greater the chance it will pick up your pregnancy before your period is due. The lower the level of hcg picked up means the test is more sensitive. For example ( from our pregnancy test comparison page ) an Aimstrip pregnancy test will detect 20 mIU of HCG where as a Walgreens Cassette Pregnancy Test will detect pregnancy at 50 mIU. This means the Aimstick brand will give you a positive result sooner than the Walgreens brand.
A test with the sensitivity of 20 mIU can pick up a pregnancy at 6-8 days past ovulation but the percentage of women who get a positive this early is relatively low. A much higher percentage of women get a positive result at 9 or 10 days past ovulation.
The Downside to Sensitive Early Pregnancy Tests
Sensitive pregnancy tests (10 – 20 mIU) allow you to know earlier if your attempts to conceive were successful and get medical care as soon as possible, but there is a down side to very sensitive tests.
Unfortunately, 25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage with many of these being very early pregnancies. If you use a very sensitive pregnancy test, where you test before the day your period is due, you could catch an early pregnancy and end up going on to have your period anyway due to a very early miscarriage. If you had waited to test until your period was due, you wouldn’t be aware that you had a miscarriage. Some women will find it very hard to deal with this sort of emotional roller coaster.
If you are familiar with your cycle, and you are emotionally able to deal with knowing about an early miscarriage, testing at 9 or 10 days past ovulation with a sensitive ( 10 – 20 mIU ) pregnancy test can yield a positive result in a good percentage of women.