How long after sex should I wait to take a pregnancy test? – She knows
There is nothing more scary than the few minutes you wait for a home pregnancy test result to appear. Whether you want a positive or negative response, it can seem like forever. When it comes to how long after having sex you should get tested to find out if you are pregnant, it’s not as soon as you would have hoped.
“The sooner I would recommend to take a home pregnancy the test is seven to 10 days after ovulation, and you should ideally have sex 24 to 72 hours before ovulation to have the best chance of getting pregnant, ”explains Lori Hardy, MD, obstetrician and gynecologist at Northwestern Medicine. “Testing earlier than that might give a false negative result. Therefore, as long as you would be able to tell that you are pregnant after sex, it would probably be 10-14 days. “
However, you may still not get a precise answer after this period of time. Even within this period of time, there could still be a false negative result, as hormone levels in early pregnancy can vary and the reliability of a home test depends on detecting a certain level of hormones. , explains Dr. Hardy. “Many home pregnancy tests claim to be accurate from the first day of a missed period – or even before,” she says.
If you really want the most accurate home pregnancy test result, you will need to be very patient. Dr Hardy says you will likely get more accurate results if you wait past the first day of your missed period. If you think going to your doctor will give you more accurate (or sooner) test results, you might be disappointed. “Urine pregnancy tests in the doctor’s office are not necessarily more reliable than sensitive home pregnancy tests,” says Dr. Hardy. “A blood test in the doctor’s office would be the most accurate for early detection of pregnancy. In most cases, however, with the sensitivity of modern urine pregnancy tests, blood tests are generally not necessary to detect pregnancy.
If you are doing a home test and you think it may not be accurate, feel free to retest. “If the initial test is negative, you can retest in 24 to 48 hours,” says Dr. Hardy. “Ideally, wait until the first or second day of a missed period for the most accurate results. If the test remains negative and you miss your period completely, now is the time I would recommend seeing a doctor.
And for the record, you can take a pregnancy test on a urine sample taken from at any time of the day, not necessarily early in the morning, adds Dr Hardy. (Although urine at this time of day is usually a bit more concentrated, so the hormone can be more easily detected early in pregnancy.)
Conclusion: Take the test at least 21 days after your last unprotected sex. “Some very sensitive pregnancy tests can be used even before you have missed your period, as early as eight days after conception, but as mentioned before, hormone levels can vary and the test depends on detecting the level of your period. ‘hormones in your urine,’ says Dr. Hardy.
A version of this story was published in May 2019.
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