If you are experiencing early symptoms of pregnancy, it’s possible you are pregnant. Even the most reliable birth control methods can fail. Taking an at-home pregnancy test is a quick way to find out, but the trick is when to take a pregnancy test.
You might be tempted to go out and buy an over-the-counter (OTC) pregnancy test right away. That’s fine, go ahead, but don’t take it until you know when it is the best time. Otherwise, you might as well take those hard-earned dollars and flush them down the toilet.
How Pregnancy Tests Work
OTC pregnancy tests use your urine to test for the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG. Your body produces hCG if you are pregnant and is only released if a fertilized egg attaches to your uterus lining or, possibly, outside the uterus. After the egg has implanted, it takes 7 to 12 days for the hormone levels to rise enough to be detectable.
Tests vary in urine collection method, the way they display results, and their sensitivity. If you choose a test that is less sensitive, your chances of an inaccurate test result are higher if taken too early.
The required urine collection method varies by test but is usually done in one of a few different ways: collect it in a cup for either dipping a testing stick in, using a dropper to transfer some to the test, or placing the testing stick into your urine midstream. The instructions provided with the test will tell you which way you should collect it. Follow those and all other instructions carefully. Once you have waited the length of time recommended by the test, the results will be displayed.
The results will show either the words “pregnant” or “not pregnant,” a change in color, a symbol (+ or -), or a line. The instructions on your particular test will tell you which result to expect.
When to Take the Pregnancy Test?
For the most accurate result, you should take the test the week after your missed period. If you don’t wait long enough, the results could be a false positive. It is for that reason that most manufacturers will tell you to repeat the test two days later.
Here are some early pregnancy symptoms that might prompt you to take a pregnancy test.
A Missed Period: This is the most reliable, and sometimes, first symptom of pregnancy. To know when you have missed your period, recall the first day of your last period, calculate the date 28 days later and that is when your next period is expected unless you have a longer cycle. If that is the case, use the number of days in your cycle.
Cramps: When implantation occurs, some women experience feelings similar to menstrual cramps. This can lead you to think your period will be coming soon.
Tender Breasts: If your breasts are tender and swollen, possibly with veins that are more apparent than usual, this may indicate pregnancy. This is due to the estrogen and progesterone hormones that will start building up.
Just Don’t Feel Right: If you just don’t feel right, or maybe feel a bit sick with nausea, fatigue, food aversions, and frequent urination, especially on top of some of the other symptoms, these would make pregnancy even more likely.
When to Come in for a Pregnancy Test
Whether you’ve recently taken an over-the-counter pregnancy test and had a positive result or you’re just too scared to take a test, and you aren’t sure you want to continue the pregnancy, make an appointment and come in to see us at Willowbrook Women’s Center. We are here for you, to give you the unbiased information you need and to offer the services necessary to help you make an informed decision. We are your first step!