Home Pregnancy Test: How Soon Can You Take It?
How soon can you take a home pregnancy test? This must be one of the most common questions about pregnancy tests. The quick answer is 7-10 days after your missed period.
How Do Pregnancy Tests Work
9 Days after fertilization has taken place, the egg will start to move down the fallopian tube into the uterus where implantation will take place. When the fertilized egg implants itself the placenta starts to develop and this triggers the release hCG into the woman’s blood. Some of this hCG will also pass through into the urine. It is this hCG hormone in the urine which a home pregnancy test uses to determine if you are pregnant or not.
While a few home pregnancy tests may be sensitive enough to show a pregnancy on the first day of a woman’s missed period, most test kits are more accurate about a week after a missed period.
What are the different kinds of home pregnancy tests?
- The most common types of home pregnancy tests use a test strip or dipstick that you hold in the urine stream or dip into a sample of urine. An area on the end of the dipstick or test strip changes color if hCG is present, meaning you are pregnant.
- A second type uses a urine collection cup with a test device. To use this type of test, you may place several drops of urine into a well in the test device or you put the test device into urine collected in a cup. An area of the device changes color if hCG is present, meaning you are pregnant.
- A third, less common type of test, mixes a sample of urine in several tubes or cups with a powder or liquid to cause a chemical reaction. The presence of hCG causes a chemical reaction that makes a color change. The color of the mixture is compared with a color comparison strip to show if you are pregnant.
- When is the best time to take home pregnancy test?
In most cases the home pregnancy test will recommend that you use the first urine of the morning to ensure results are as accurate as possible – and usually 7-10 days past your missed period.
Of course there are a number of variables which will affect the accuracy of the pregnancy test, and these include:
- The days of a woman’s menstrual cycle and ovulation can change each month
- The exact day of implantation of the fertilized egg is not always known. It is not uncommon for women to have negative pregnancy tests when they are pregnant. If the level of hCG is low, or if implantation has not yet occurred then you will not return a positive result
- Each home pregnancy test kit has a different sensitivity to find hCG. If the level is very low, the first urine of the morning is the most likely to show a positive result
General instructions around home pregnancy tests
- Check the expiration date on the package. Don’t use a test kit after its expiration date
- Read the instructions that come with your test carefully and thoroughly before doing the test. Look for any special preparations you need to take before doing the test, such as avoiding certain foods or limiting your physical activity
- Follow the directions exactly. Do all the steps, in order, without skipping any of them
- If a step in the test needs to be timed, use a clock. Do not guess at the timing
- Many home kits show color changes on a test strip. If you are color blind or have trouble seeing different colors, have someone else read the test results for you
- Record the results of the test so you can discuss them with your health care provider
Common home pregnancy questions
- Why did I see a faint positive line an hour after I did the test? You may be pregnant but your hCG level may not be high enough in your urine. Take another test in a few days or talk to your health professional about a blood test.
- Why was my test positive right before I started my menstrual cycle? You need to have a blood hCG test to check for other causes of a high hCG level.
- Can I be pregnant but get a negative test? Yes, most women will get a positive test within a few days of missing their menstrual period but some women may get a negative test early in their pregnancy.
- Do alcohol or drugs change the test? Most test results are not affected by alcohol or drugs but you should not use these substances if you want to become pregnant or think you may be pregnant.