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How Should I Time the Taking of a Pregnancy Test?

Are you worried that you might be pregnant? Taking a pregnancy test is the first step toward finding out. When taken correctly, most at-home pregnancy tests claim to be 99% effective at giving an accurate result. Read on to learn more about how pregnancy tests work and when they should be taken to be most effective. 

Are you looking for a free pregnancy test to confirm a pregnancy result you received on a test you took at home? Contact Avenue Women’s Center to schedule a confidential appointment for a no-cost, lab-quality pregnancy test and other resources.

How Does a Pregnancy Test Work?

When you become pregnant, a special hormone called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) is present in your body. A pregnancy test works by detecting levels of hCG in your blood or urine (at-home pregnancy tests use urine). 

HCG levels in your body can double quickly. According to the American Pregnancy Association, hCG levels can be detected by a urine-based pregnancy test about 12-14 days after possible conception. The Cleveland Clinic suggests waiting until a menstrual period is missed in order to ensure a more accurate result.  

When Should I Take a Pregnancy Test?

While waiting until the first day of your missed menstrual period is generally a good time to take a pregnancy test, this can be difficult if you don’t know when to expect your period. If this is the case, estimating this date is okay. However, if you receive a negative result but do not get your period, take it again in about a week to make sure that you didn’t take the test too early for hCG to be detected.

In the morning, when you first wake up, is the best time of day to take a pregnancy test. This is because your urine is most concentrated in the morning and will be more easily detectable by a pregnancy test.

What If I Received a Positive Result?

If you received a positive result on your at-home pregnancy test, you’re likely feeling overwhelmed by different emotions. However, making a plan can help you feel more in control. 

An ultrasound may be an important part of that plan. A scan may reveal key information that you need to stay healthy. For example, the limited medical ultrasounds we provide at Avenue can tell you 1) How far along you are (which may impact your eligibility for different pregnancy options), 2) What your chances of miscarriage are, and 3) Where the pregnancy is located (a pregnancy located outside of the uterus- called an ectopic pregnancy- is dangerous and would require immediate medical assistance).

At Avenue Women’s Center, we offer free, limited medical ultrasounds and other pregnancy resources that can help you sort through your options. Finding out where you stand can feel scary, but you’re not alone. We’re here to help. Call or text us today to make a confidential appointment. 

Reviewed by Patricia Kuenzi, APN-CNP, MSN, ANP, PNP.

The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.