How soon can you take a pregnancy test

If the pregnancy is a planned decision, you want to know the good news at the earliest. And if not, it takes your nerve out to rule out immediately whether have you conceived or not.

It sometimes makes you so anxious that you do not want to wait till missed period signal. The question that arises in the mind is how early I can get an accurate result. 

Before knowing this, let’s understand how conception and pregnancy tests work. 

How Does Pregnancy Test Works?

Once the sperm fertilized the egg, it gets implanted in the uterus lining. Immediately after implantation, your body (precisely, placenta) start producing a hormone which is known as hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin). hCG then is measured with different pregnancy kits either in your blood or urine to confirm the pregnancy. 

People feel that blood tests can confirm your pregnancy earlier as compared to the urine test. This fact is not true. If hCG is not enough to get qualified or quantified in the blood, the test will be a false negative. If you wait for a few more days and do a home pregnancy test with urine, it might come positive. 

hCG builts up very quickly, at the rate of two to three folds, in the first few days of conception.

Some pregnancy kit is also able to measure the variant of this hormone, which is hyperglycosylated hCG (H-hCG). This is more sensitive as compared to hCG measurement as H-hCG is produced immediately after fertilization, unlike hCG that is produced after implantation.

Accuracy of Pregnancy Tests

Below is the summary that shows the accuracy of pregnancy tests done before the missed period.

picAccuracy of Pregnancy test before missed period

The accuracy of these test is at its maxima after your missed period. There are chances of getting the strips positive before that too, but with less accuracy. 

hCG builds in good proportion before 6 days of your period and grows slowly over the next few days. Few sensitive test kits can detect low concentrations of hCG and give you the correct results 6 days prior to the missed period date. Whereas few fails to qualify this concentration.

There are huge chances of getting the results negative due to undetectable level of hCG, that may build up within next few days. You need to recheck the test after few days to confirm once again.

There are few products in the market that claim more than 90% accuracy before 5 days of period date. But may not hold true for all cases. 

Best time to check Pregnancy Test

The best time to confirm your pregnancy is after your missed period date. Or at least 2 days before the date as probability of getting correct results is more than 80%. 

Meanwhile, observe all the early signs of pregnancy such as headaches, nausea, tiredness, a different feeling and food aversion. That will help you to wait for few more days to calm the anxiety. 

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This all works well if you are having a regular cycle. But it becomes very uncertain if you have irregular or long interval cycles. Most of the time, it will give false negatives, if you have considered your last menses date as that is not actually a countable date. In such cases, observe the intervals between the periods for at least 4-5 cycles, based on which you can average out the date and get the test done after the presumed date for best accurate results.

hCG in normal pregnancy is definitely going to grow in amount. If somehow, you have missed periods for several days, yet not finding the two positive lines on the strip, you should consult a doctor as it may risk you for ectopic pregnancy.

“For anything worth, you must pay a price and that price is patience.” Wait till the best time and share the good news with your beloved one. Do not get stressed or depressed if you find false-negative before the right time. Stay calm and be patient. Repeat the test a few days later.

Wish you great luck..!

The utility of six over-the-counter (home) pregnancy tests. - PubMed - NCBI Clin Chem Lab Med. 2011 Aug;49(8):1317-22. doi: 10.1515/CCLM.2011.211. Evaluation
The utility of six over-the-counter (home) pregnancy tests. - PubMed - NCBI
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