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 .

  • http://www.babyhopes.com/ Vickie B.

    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….

  • http://www.babyhopes.com/ Vickie B.

    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.

  • http://www.babyhopes.com/ Vickie B.

    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…

  • http://www.babyhopes.com/ Vickie B.

    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?

  • http://www.babyhopes.com/ Vickie B.

    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

  • http://www.babyhopes.com/ Vickie B.

    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

  • http://www.babyhopes.com/ Vickie B.

    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.

  • 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

  • kmarsh9

    Having irregular periods does NOT mean you arnt oovulating!

  • 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?

  • http://www.babyhopes.com/ Vickie B.

    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.

  • http://www.babyhopes.com/ Vickie B.

    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.

  • 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

  • http://www.babyhopes.com/ Vickie B.

    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.

  • 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?

  • http://www.babyhopes.com/ Vickie B.

    Have you taken a pregnancy test?

  • 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?

  • http://www.babyhopes.com/ Vickie B.

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

  • 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)

Last modified: January 23, 2015

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