One of the most anxious moments women go through is taking the pregnancy test. It gets confusing as to when you should take it, and if you can get accurate results as soon as possible!
So, how early can you take a pregnancy test, anyway? Read on to learn about the accuracy of pregnancy tests and how early you can take them.
How Early Can You Take a Pregnancy Test?
Unfortunately, you can’t take a pregnancy test and expect it to be accurate immediately after intercourse.
You are only able to take a pregnancy test and expect accurate results anytime after you experience a late period. This is when they work the best, which is why it’s recommended to take a pregnancy test if you experience a missed period and had sexual intercourse recently.
If you have an irregular period, or can’t wait until your next period to find out, then the rule of thumb is to take a pregnancy test two to three weeks after your last sexual intercourse. This is the earliest time you can take a pregnancy test that shows accurate results.
Pregnancy tests claim to work even before a missed period, though the results aren’t as accurate. If you come across “easy results” pregnancy tests, this may still be too early for you to get an accurate result, especially since all of our bodies are different and have different menstrual cycles and fertility phases.
If you take it too soon, such as a week after intercourse or before your period is due, then you may get a false negative. You will need to take another test after a week or two if so.
For those who are a bit confused about when to take pregnancy tests, there are online calculators that can help you. Simply put in the day your last period began and your average cycle length, and it will give you the earliest date you can take a pregnancy test.
Another thing to take note of is the time of the day you should take the test for accuracy. It’s much better to take it first thing in the morning, at least a day after your period is late. Your urine is more concentrated the moment you wake up, giving you more accurate results.
The Test Accuracy
When you read and follow the instructions carefully, you get 99% accuracy when doing the pregnancy test on the day you miss your period. However, the 99% accuracy doesn’t apply when doing the test early.
Furthermore, some of these 99% accuracy claims may not even be true! Research studies have shown that the tests can be between 46-89% accurate. That’s why it’s best to take the pregnancy test when you miss your period and another test for confirmation.
For those who received a positive result, it’s best to check with your doctor for confirmation. This is when you can begin asking for advice and what steps to take.
How About a Blood Test?
Besides the usual over-the-counter pregnancy test, you can also go for a blood test. There are two types of blood tests to consider, which are:
Qualitative tests measure if you have the minimum amount of pregnancy hormones in your blood to indicate you are pregnant
Quantitative tests measure the exact amount of pregnancy hormone in the blood, which usually shows the progress of your pregnancy
These also do not provide an accurate result when done too early. It is only best to take a blood test if you have gotten negative at-home pregnancy tests but still missed your period by a few days.
As always, call your doctor if you are uncertain about any pregnancy test results or if you have any symptoms or issues.
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