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How Early Can You Take a Pregnancy Test?

If you want to get the most accurate results from a home pregnancy test, you need to time it right. You should wait until at least a couple of days after your period should be due before taking the test. Today, most home pregnancy tests on the market can give you a correct positive result if you wait to that point. Of course, if you’ve been trying to conceive for some time, it can be difficult to wait this long in order to take a pregnancy test.

You need to recognize exactly how a pregnancy test works. A pregnancy test looks for a certain level of the hormone hCG – human chorionic gonadotropin – in your urine. That hormone starts to build up in your system once the fertilized egg implants in your uterus. If that hasn’t happened, you can’t yet detect whether or not you are pregnant.

You also need to recognize the fact that every woman and every pregnancy is different from the next. It might take as little as eight or as many as 10 days after you ovulate for the fertilized egg to implant in the uterus. Once it does implant, a home pregnancy test may be able to detect that fact within about two to three days, but it may take as much as a week.

A blood test done at your doctor’s office might be able to predict pregnancy sooner. In some cases, these kinds of clinical tests may be able to detect a pregnancy within 24 hours after the fertilized egg implants. This means that in as little as nine days after you ovulate, you could have a positive pregnancy test. However, the cost of this kind of test tends to be prohibitive, so most women wait a few extra days and use a home pregnancy test.

Finally, it’s worth noting that a false negative on a pregnancy test is relatively common, especially if you test too early. False positives are extremely rare, however, and usually indicate some kind of a hormonal imbalance which you should discuss with your doctor.

Last modified: February 10, 2013

The information provided here should not be considered medical advice. It is based on the average experience of women trying to conceive and may not be what you may be experiencing. It's not meant to be a replacement for any advice you may receive from your doctor. If you have any concerns about your cycle or our ability to get pregnant, we advise you to contact your doctor.