When should take a pregnancy test?

Some tests are very sensitive and can show if you are pregnant before your period is due.

However, it is best to wait until at least the first day of a missed period to take any test. For a more accurate result, take the test a week after your missed period.

The reason you shouldn’t take a test too soon is that pregnancy tests work by measuring levels of HCG, a hormone that is only present if you’re pregnant.

The body only releases HCG if a fertilized egg attaches to the uterus in a process known as implantation. Implantation usually happens around 10 daysTrusted Source after conception, when the sperm fertilizes the egg.

Traces of HCG are present from 6 days after ovulation, but it typically takes 7–10 days after ovulatation for the body to build up enough HCG to show up on a test.

If you have an irregular cycle and don’t know when your period was due, it’s best to take the test at least 21 days after having unprotected sex.

You may receive an inaccurate result if you take the test too early in your cycle.

Whether you are trying to conceive or are concerned that your birth control went wrong, a pregnancy test can help confirm if you are pregnant or not. But, taking it too soon might give a false result.

OTC pregnancy tests typically test your urine for HCG hormone.

How you test your urine will depend on the kit you choose, normally have three types:strip, cassette and midstream.

According to the Office on Women’s Health, home pregnancy tests are almost 99% Trusted Source effective if you use them correctly.

One of the first and most reliable signs of pregnancy is a missed period.

If you don’t track your cycle closely, it might be hard to determine whether or not you’re late. A 28-day menstrual cycle is typical, but cycles can vary from 24–38 daysTrusted Source. Consider taking a test if it’s been more than a month since your last period.

Remember that other factors, besides pregnancy, can delay a period or cause you to miss one. They include stress, some medications or medical conditions, changes in birth control, and so on.

Implantation can produce a feeling similar to menstrual cramps. In early pregnancy, you may feel this discomfort and think your period is just around the corner, but then it never comes.

If this happens, consider taking a test.

As pregnancy progresses, your body will produce more and more estrogen and progesterone. These hormones will start to make changes in your body to support the baby’s growth.

Your breasts may feel tender and appear bigger due to increased blood flow. Your nipples might hurt, and the veins might look darker under the skin.

This is also common in the days leading up to a period, so it won’t necessarily mean you are pregnant.

Along with cramps and sore breasts, early pregnancy can cause:

food aversions
frequent urination

As the weeks go on, these symptoms may get stronger before your HCG levels even out late in the first trimester. You know yourself, so pay attention to your body. Any unusual changes could prompt you to take a pregnancy test.

Birth control pills, condoms, and other methods don’t provide 100% protection from pregnancy. There’s always a slight chance of pregnancy, no matter how careful you are.

Birth control pills, for instance, can be over 99% effective if you always use them correctly. But, perfect use is not always possible. Realistically, they are around 91% effective.

Similarly, condoms can break and tear. Male condoms can be 98% effective with perfect use, but they are, in fact, only 82% effective with typical use.

Long-term methods, such as an intrauterine device (IUD), are more reliable and still reversible.

Even if you are using birth control, it is worth having a pregnancy test if you have other signs that could indicate pregnancy.

· How accurate are home pregnancy tests?

If you follow the instructions on your home pregnancy test correctly, then most of them claim to be around 99% effective.

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