When to Take a Pregnancy Test
Last updated on June 28th, 2016
When should you take a pregnancy test to see if you are pregnant. It all depends on what kind of pregnancy test you plan to take. Some pregnancy tests are more sensitive than others and a blood pregnancy test is more sensitive than a urine pregnancy test.
Blood Pregnancy Test
This is often used if you used fertility treatments in order to get pregnant. No pregnancy test will be positive until the fetus burrows/implants into the uterine wall. This is when the blood from the mother picks up on the human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which is the hormone that is tested on a blood and urine pregnancy test.
A blood test can be done a day or two after implantation. You can have a qualitative pregnancy test or a quantitative pregnancy test. The qualitative pregnancy test just says “yes, you are pregnant” or “no, you are not pregnant”. The lab will take some blood from you and run the test, which is available after just a few minutes.
A quantitative pregnancy test will tell you and your doctor exactly how much HCG is in your system. This is sometimes done if there is concern that you might be having a miscarriage. In a normal pregnancy, the HCG level doubles every 48-72 hours and, in an unhealthy pregnancy, the HCG level doesn’t rise as much, stays the same, or will go down.
Urine Pregnancy Test
You can purchase a urine pregnancy test at just about any drug store or pharmacy. Most of the pregnancy tests say that they can detect a pregnancy 5 to 6 days before you miss your period. While this is true, the test isn’t always positive at this time in the early stages of pregnancy. Urine tests are only about 99 percent accurate on the day of your missed period. Feel free to check earlier than that but be prepared to check the urine test again if the first test indicated that you weren’t pregnant but you still feel like you are.
Urine tests involve peeing on a stick or into a cup and uses the stick to wick up some of the urine into a test window. There can be a digital test that just says “yes” or “no”. You can also use a test that asks you to compare the intensity of two lines—a reference line and the testing line. If you are uncomfortable with the double line test, invest in a digital test that will give you a definitive answer.