How Soon Should I Take a Pregnancy Test after an Ovulation Test?



When you’re having trouble trying to conceive, you want to use every tool that’s available to you. For example, you might chart your basal body temperature (BBT) or use ovulation test strips to help you figure out when the best time to try to conceive is. Charting your temperature will help you determine when you have already ovulated. Charting for several months, in a row, will help understand your cycle better and allow you to predict when you ovulate. Ovulation test strips will let you know in advance when to expect ovulation. If you have had a couple of unsuccessful cycles, you will have discovered that getting pregnant isn’t about random timing of sex. You will learn that you need to have sex as close as possible to ovulation as possible because you can only get pregnant after you have ovulated. Having sex just before you ovulate or while you’re ovulating will give you the best chances at getting pregnant.

Can I Take A Pregnancy Test Now?

Waiting is hard. You KNOW you have timed everything perfectly and your ovulation tests let you know that ovulation was right around the corner. You want to take that first pregnancy test within a day or two after ovulation, but don’t do it. If you did manage to conceive this cycle, you need to give your body time to do what it needs to in order for you to get the positive result on your pregnancy test. While patience is not easily had in the two week wait, waiting is all you can do. Testing right away will leave you disheartened with less money in your wallet.

When CAN I Test??

As a general rule of thumb, you’ll want to wait until the time when your period would normally have started. That’s the best time to take a pregnancy test – once you have actually missed a period.

If you are like most women who are trying to get pregnant, waiting until you are late is just too much to take. You know that you want to test as soon a possible and don’t want to wait. For the impatient TTCers, you can test earlier, but not as early as you would hope. Many of the currently available pregnancy tests are extremely sensitive and can pick up the pregnancy hormone at a very low level. You will want to wait until, at very least, 4 days before your period is due to take a pregnancy test. This is a vital point to remember. If you are testing before your period due date, you can not assume that you are not pregnant if you get a negative test. Your body could have taken longer than average to start producing hCG, the pregnancy hormone. When this happens, you won’t get a positive result until closer to your period due date and sometimes even after that date has passed.

If you can hold out, you’ll face less anxiety. Once you’ve tested for ovulation and know ovulation will happen within the next day or two, have sex several times over those few days. After the first couple days of when your period would normally occur passes, go ahead and take a pregnancy test. If it is negative, wait another five days to one week and test again.

When Does a Pregnancy Test Turn Positive?

When does a pregnancy test turn positive?
One of the most stressful times when trying to conceive is what is affectionately known as the “two week wait”.  The time period you need to wait until you can test and have a pregnancy test turn positive.  These two weeks are the time after ovulation until the time when your period is actually due to start.

Unfortunately, pregnancy tests are not magic.  You cannot take one the morning after you had sex and assume that it will be positive, or negative.   There are several things that need to occur before you can get reliable results with a home pregnancy test.

How a Pregnancy Test Works:

In order for a home pregnancy test to show a positive result, something special needs to happen.  Your egg has to first be fertilized and then it has to implant itself in the uterus. Once this occurs, the pregnancy hormone hCG will begin to be secreted into the body.

A home pregnancy test analyzes your urine to see if there is any hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) present.  Once the level of hCG is high enough in your urine, the pregnancy test will show a positive result.


Types of Pregnancy Tests

The two most common methods of testing for pregnancy are blood based pregnancy tests and urine based home pregnancy tests. Both test for hCG levels.  The only difference is what is being tested for the hCG – blood or urine.

A blood test can show a positive result 3 to 4 days after implantation, or roughly 9 to 10 days after ovulation.

Urine pregnancy tests won’t show a positive result until about a week after implantation.   Even with a very sensitive pregnancy test,  only 25 percent of pregnant women will receive a positive pregnancy test 2 days before their period is due. Approximately 40 percent of pregnant women will receive a positive test result the day before they have a missed period. On average, it will take at least 13 days after ovulation for a urine test to first turn positive.



Factors To Consider

Several factors may affect the time it takes for a pregnancy test to first show a positive result. These include:

  • Date of ovulation
  • Date of implantation
  • hCG levels in either the bloodstream or urine
  • Pregnancy test sensitivity

Date of Ovulation

The date of ovulation is of great significance in calculating when a pregnancy test might first show a positive result.    Fertilization occurs shortly after ovulation.  It takes *about* 10 days for implantation to happen.   How long implantation may take will differ between women. One woman’s pregnancy test may show positive today and another’s may only become positive a day or two later even if they  conceived on the same day.

hCG levels in either the bloodstream or urine

The hCG levels in the urine and in the blood vary greatly as to the definition of what is ‘normal’ or ‘high’ and this affects how early a pregnancy can be identified. Though you may be pregnant, if you have a low hCG level you will receive a negative result, and it would take a few days for it to become positive. However, if your levels of hCG are at a high level, the blood or urine test will instantaneously show a positive. Also varied is the concentration of urine levels throughout the course of the day. This is why it is recommended that a home urine pregnancy test be done with first morning urine, when urine concentration is at its highest.

Pregnancy Test Sensitivity

Pregnancy tests also vary in sensitivity.     Pregnancy test sensitivities are indicated in mIU/ml, therefore a test with a sensitivity of 40 mIU/ml will require twice the amount of HCG than that of a test which has a sensitivity of just 20 mIU/ml.  The 20 mIU test will show a positive result earlier than a 40 mIU test.

Research has also shown that the type of pregnancy test you are using can affect your ability to interpret the test.  The tests that provide the most confidence for pregnancy test takers,  are the digital tests that state definitely whether or not you are pregnant.  These tests leave little room for misinterpretation by the test taker.  The downside of these tests is that they can cost considerably more than the less expensive formats like pregnancy test strips.

Conclusion: So When Does a Pregnancy Test Turn Positive?

95 – 99% of women should receive a positive result, if pregnant, the day that their period is due.   Testing before this time can result in a positive result, but depending on the faintness of the result line, you may still not be totally sure if you are pregnant or not.  Many tests on the market today will allow you to test 4 days before your period is due.  You can start testing that early, but if you get a negative result, do not assume you are not pregnant.  It could be that your body is just taking longer to product hcg levels high enough to detect.



Gnoth, C., & Johnson, S. (2014). Strips of Hope: Accuracy of Home Pregnancy Tests and New Developments. Geburtshilfe Und Frauenheilkunde, 74(7), 661–669.

M. (n.d.). Home pregnancy tests: Can you trust the results? Retrieved March 08, 2017, from





When to Ignore a Negative Pregnancy Test

Hope pregnancy tests are extremely accurate these days, but you need to understand something about how they work if you’re going to trust the results. The fact of the matter is that a home pregnancy test doesn’t mystically look inside of your body to see if an egg has been fertilized and if it’s implanted in your uterus. Instead, a home pregnancy test measures the pregnancy hormone known as human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG for short. If you get a negative pregnancy test, it means that you don’t have enough hCG to register on the test.

To understand when to ignore a negative pregnancy test, you need to know how hCG levels increase and what the process in conception actually is. When an egg is fertilized and implants in the uterus, hormonal processes in your body change and start to produce hCG.

That can happen several days after you have sex. It can take as long as six days for the sperm to fertilize an egg, and then it can take as much as two more days before that egg travels from the fallopian tube to the uterus and implants. It then will take another week or more before the production of hCG is significant enough to register.

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So, in general, you can ignore a negative pregnancy test if you take it too early. While you may be able to detect a pregnancy as early as the first or second day of your missed period, for many women it isn’t until they’ve completely missed their period that they will register on a pregnancy test.

If you think you know when you conceived and try to test in the next week or ten days, chances are pretty good it’s too soon. A negative pregnancy test during that time is normal, and doesn’t really tell you whether or not you’re pregnant.

Finally, there are some instances when a home pregnancy test may be defective. If the test is past its expiration date, there is a chance that it will no longer be able to effectively measure the hCG in your system. If that’s the case, you should ignore a negative pregnancy test and instead use a test that isn’t expired.

When to Test for Pregnancy

If you’re trying to get pregnant, the time that you have to wait between trying to conceive and finding out whether or not you were successful can drag on and on and on. You want to know, and you want to know now. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to know for at least a few days, and you won’t get the most accurate results until after you’ve missed your period.

It’s important, first of all, to look at the particular pregnancy test you want to use. Most of the time a home pregnancy test is a urine-based test. The test measures the amount of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) that’s present in your urine. However, a home pregnancy test doesn’t give you an exact count, but rather looks for the hCG to be beyond a certain threshold.

If you use a home pregnancy test too soon, there may not be enough hCG in your urine yet to register on the test. This means you will get a negative result. Usually, you won’t have enough hCG in your urine to register on a home pregnancy test until you have missed your  period, and probably a few days after that.

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If you get a negative result with a home pregnancy test that measures the hCG in your urine, don’t lose hope. You may be testing too early. It’s also possible that there’s something going on in your body that would affect the level of hCG in your body. If you get a negative result, wait a few days (if you don’t start your period, of course) and use another home pregnancy test.

You can also take a blood test to know whether or not you’re pregnant. A blood test requires, of course, a sample of your blood. These tests are done in a lab environment, and are much more expensive than a simple home pregnancy test. A blood test might be able to detect pregnancy earlier than a urine test could, because a blood test can be used to measure a smaller amount of hCG. If you want a blood test for pregnancy, you need to get an order from your doctor. Otherwise, you should wait and take a home pregnancy test.


Urine Pregnancy Tests

When you think of a pregnancy test, you probably think of the traditional pee-on-a-stick home pregnancy test that you can buy off the shelf at your local pharmacy (or even order from this website). To be sure, the urine pregnancy test is the most common test to use at home, and only a blood test given by your doctor is more accurate at being able to predict pregnancy. Even so, urine pregnancy tests are accurate about 97 percent of the time, making them a fairly reliable indicator that you are indeed pregnant.

It’s important to understand a little bit about how a urine pregnancy test works. The idea behind the test is to be able to look for the presence of the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). As soon as the embryo attaches to the lining of the uterus, it starts to produce this hormone. Within a few days, there’s enough of a buildup of the hormone for it to be detected by the urine pregnancy test. (Incidentally, it is the buildup of this hormone that is also responsible for much of the symptoms of your pregnancy.)

There are a couple of different configurations of urine pregnancy tests, mostly having to do with how the urine is collected. One type requires you to collect your urine in a cup and then dip the stick from the test into the urine. Another type has you collect the urine in a cup and then place it into a testing container using an eyedropper. The most common type of urine pregnancy test on the market tends to be one in which you place the test strip in your stream of urine and catch the urine in that manner.

Most urine pregnancy tests take just a few minutes to produce results. The tests vary in how they display those results. Some will display a change of color, while others may display a symbol. Some even show the words “pregnant” or “not pregnant” on the test after you use it.

Generally speaking, you’ll want to wait until the first day after you would have started your period before using a urine pregnancy test. While you may be able to read a positive result prior to this, chances are pretty good that there’s not enough hCG yet in your system to register that early.

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How Do I Use a Home Pregnancy Test?

You have missed your period and are starting to wonder if you are pregnant or not. You aren’t ready to go to the doctor yet, but would like to try a home pregnancy test. Luckily, home pregnancy tests are easy to use and they are also quite affordable. That makes them a great option for women who think they may be pregnant but aren’t sure. Home pregnancy tests may be purchased at drug stores, grocery stores, and many large warehouse stores.

Most pregnancy tests work about the same way, although not all are the same so it’s worth reading the directions for each brand. Generally, the stick should be held under the urine stream for several seconds. The cap should be off of the stick before doing this. Other women find it easier to pee in a plastic cup and then stick the applicator in the cup. Once the urine has been applied to the tester stick it takes a couple minutes to return the results. Each brand has a specific time period and usually women who are pregnant will see results very fast. The result appears in the “result window” and if there is a plus sign, line, or a smiley face then you are indeed pregnant! Even if the line is extremely faint it is still a positive test. There are even some digital tests you may purchase that will make it easy and tell you “pregnant” or “not pregnant.”

There is also a second window on the test called the control indicator. A line will always appear in this box to ensure the test is working as it should. If a line does not appear in the control box then the test is not working correctly and you should re-test. The majority of tests recommend that women test again a couple days later, regardless of whether the test was positive or negative. That’s because sometimes women test too soon for a positive result and very rarely a false positive may result.

Home pregnancy tests are actually very accurate as long as they are used following the directions. Don’t use a home pregnancy test until the first day of your missed period to ensure your body has had time to produce enough hormones to result in a positive test if you are indeed pregnant.

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