When is the best time to take a pregnancy test? This question is often asked by women who want to have children. The question is also asked by women who are trying to avoid getting pregnant. Considering the anxiety and excitement that are often related to this question, we are fortunate to have a simple answer. The best time to take a pregnancy test is one week after a missed menstrual period. Some pregnancy tests are believed to be sensitive enough to detect pregnancy as early as one day after a missed period. No one can be sure of this claim. If a woman takes the test too early, she is likely to get a false negative. According to doctors, the best time to test for pregnancy is at least one week after a missed period. Two weeks after is even better, as the result will probably be precise.
How Home Pregnancy Tests Work
♦ The usual way to test for pregnancy is with a home pregnancy test kit. Some women prefer going directly to a doctor (or a specialist) to find out if they are pregnant. However, the majority of women are too excited, so they do their own testing at home.
♦ Home pregnancy tests are quite accurate, if they are done in the right way (and not too early). As mentioned, it is best to wait one to two weeks after a missed period before using a pregnancy test kit. The reason for this is that these tests detect levels of hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). This hormone is released by a woman’s body after a fertilized egg has attached to her uterine lining. Prior to fertilization and implantation, there is no HCG produced. Sometimes there is already HCG in her system right after fertilization, but only in small, undetectable amounts. At this time, if a pregnancy test is taken, it will lead to false negative results.
♦ Fertilization can take place during or immediately after sexual intercourse, or up to three days afterwards. Implantation can take place anywhere between one to two weeks after intercourse. This explains why a woman has to wait seven to fourteen days after her missed period before taking a home pregnancy test.
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Factors That Lead to Inaccurate Pregnancy Test Results
♦ The most common reason why results turn out inaccurate is testing too early. However, imprecise results can also be caused by certain medications. If a woman is taking any drug that contains HCG (such as fertility drugs) there is a chance for her to get a false positive. Generally, antibiotics and contraceptives do not lead to false results.
♦ It is also possible to get a false positive when a woman has ovarian cysts or an ectopic pregnancy, or if she is menopausal. False negatives are more common than false positives. False negatives can result from:
♦ Taking the pregnancy test too early, as mentioned
♦ Incorrect timing of the test or allowing the urine to stay for too long (or too short) on the test stick
♦ Using diluted or stale urine – a woman should not drink too much water before taking a test. The best time of day to take a pregnancy test is right after waking up in the morning – before drinking or eating anything.