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When Is the Best Time to Take a Pregnancy Test?

So, your hours are now passing like days because you have entered the “two-week wait”. If you are like many other women who are trying to conceive, you don’t want to wait one second longer than you have to before you see if you get a big fat positive (BFP). So, when is the best time to take a pregnancy test?

The great thing is that unlike many generations of women before, today’s women don’t have to wait for their missed period before they can take a home pregnancy test. However, knowing the exact time to take the test to ensure accurate results may not be as easy as it may seem.

The Scoop on Home Pregnancy Tests

To best determine when to take a home pregnancy test, you first need to understand how they work. Pregnancy tests for at-home use work by monitoring the urine for a hormone referred to as hCG, or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. This hormone is secreted by the embryo after it has implanted itself onto the uterus’ wall, which usually occurs between 6 and 8 days following conception (or 7 to 10 days after ovulation).

How soon after conception a test can detect your pregnancy will depend on the test’s sensitivity to hCG. This hormone is annotated by mIU and measured using thousandths of International Units. The hCG levels found in a woman’s urine begin very low, but increase rather quickly as the embryo begins to grow. In terms of a pregnancy test, the more sensitive a test is to this hormone, the quicker it can accurately predict a pregnancy.

How hCG levels rise

Here is a good idea of how hCG levels begin: A woman who is newly pregnant will have about 25 mIU of hCG once she reaches her 10th day post ovulation, by 12 days it has risen to 50 mIU and by 14 days past ovulation the level is up at 100 mIU.

The best high street pregnancy tests that claim “early” results are calibrated using a system to detect hCG at levels of 20 mIU/ml. Tests such as these will provide accurate results as soon as seven to 10 days post ovulation; this is long before a missed period. Clearblue and First Response both offer highly reliable early pregnancy tests. These tests are extremely accurate when used correctly.

The Best Early Pregnancy Test

There is a lot of debate right now on the bets early pregnancy test. With so many to choose from, it can be hard to decide which test is best. Some research does seem to suggest that the best early pregnancy test on the market currently is the First Response Early Results Pregnancy Test. Zoom Baby customer feedback is also positive of this particular brand of test.

When your time comes to buy pregnancy tests, you will find that they come in two formats: midstreams and test strips. The difference between the two simply comes down to personal preference – some women prefer the midstream tests so they don’t have to collect their urine in a cup. Yet, keep in mind such tests are generally more expensive.

The Best Time of Day

To a certain extent, the point during the day when you take a pregnancy test does matter. The chances of getting an accurate result are increased if you test using the first urine of the morning. This is particularly true if your period is a day or two late.

Home pregnancy tests work by detecting the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. This will build up during the night and will lead to you first wee being a bit more concentrated with when you go to the loo when you wake up. This is assuming you don’t pee during the might or drinks loads of water whilst in bed!

Of course, you can still take a pregnancy test any time, including in the middle of the night or on your lunch break! Just be aware that you are more likely to get a false negative if testing at any of these times. This is especially true if your have diluted urine because you have been drinking too much water. Or, if your period is not late.

What are the Early Signs of Pregnancy?

One thing to consider before taking a home pregnancy test is what physical signs and symptoms have you been displaying since the assumed conception date. The following is a list of early pregnancy signs:

  • Swollen and/or tender breasts
  • Tiredness and Fatigue
  • Food aversions or cravings
  • Some women may experience implantation bleeding, cramping and/or spotting as the embryo is being implanted into the uterus’ wall.
  • If you notice one or more of these symptoms between 7 and 10 days after ovulation, then you may want to go ahead and take a pregnancy test as soon as possible, rather than waiting.

If you are still unsure of when you should take a pregnancy test, or in cases of extreme menstrual cycle irregularity it is good to check with an obstetrician-gynecologist.

Photo Credit: “Test Results” (CC BY 2.0) by Editor B

This post has been updated since its original publication in 2013

Zoom Baby is a leading supplier of Pregnancy Tests and Ovulation Test Kits


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