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When is the Right Time to Take a Pregnancy Test?

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’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.

Sensitivity to Pregnancy Tests

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 6 to 8 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 9 to 10 days after ovulation. As you can see, women are simply different when it comes to pregnancy test sensitivity.

Issues With Sensitive Tests to Detect Early Pregnancies

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

The biggest issue with sensitive early pregnancy tests is that 25 percent of these pregnancies are those that result in miscarriages. So, if you use an early pregnancy test and receive a positive result, you might be one of many women who still have their period and experience a miscarriage. However, if you wait to take a pregnancy test until your period, you would never be aware that you were pregnant to begin with. This can help avoid the emotional aftermath from such a situation.

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 9 to 10 days following ovulation.


Last modified: March 2, 2014


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.