Waiting to take a pregnancy test can be difficult to someone wondering whether or not they’re pregnant. The simplest answer to the question, ”Why do you have to wait to take a test?” is that it takes an average of 11 days for the pregnancy hormone hCG to show up in urine. Examining the “behind the scenes” details might help clarify the answer…
Avenue Women’s Center provides highly accurate, free pregnancy tests to women in Chicagoland. Is now not the right time to be pregnant? Are you concerned about a possible pregnancy?
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How It All Works – Pregnancy Basics
There are a number of variables involved when pregnancy occurs. First, ovulation – the event when the ovary erupts and an egg is produced – typically occurs on day 14 of an average menstrual cycle. The average woman’s menstrual cycle is approximately 28 days. And the day an egg is produced occurs 14 days after the first day of the last menstrual period, or LMP. Keep in mind that this 14-day mark is for the average woman, and that, for some women, ovulation can take place later than day 14. The egg lives 12-24 hours and if not fertilized will eventually dissolve and be flushed away in menstrual flow. Sperm, on the other hand, live 3 days on average, and even up to 5 days. So, a woman is most fertile 3 days before ovulation and 24 hours after ovulation. If she has unprotected sex during that time, fertilization may occur.
Once fertilized, the egg is swept down the fallopian tube toward the central cavity of the uterus. This process can take 6-12 days. Once inside the uterus, the egg begins implantation. That is the process of embedding in the thick, development-friendly environment of the uterine lining. This location is where the pregnancy will develop. Once the egg is implanted in the uterine lining, it begins to develop an attachment which will eventually become the placenta. In addition, a hormone known as hCG is produced. It is only when levels of hCG are high enough to be detected in a woman’s bloodstream that it can be evaluated by either a blood test or a urine test. At three weeks of pregnancy (or one week following conception) the range of HCG in normal pregnancy can range from 5-72 mIU/L (a tiny amount, but wide range, in laboratory calculating language).
Why Wait to Take a Pregnancy Test?
Home pregnancy tests are very convenient and common these days. They can be used for detecting the presence of HCG in the urine at approximately 10 days after conception. But the longer one waits and is closer to the first day of the missed period, the more accurate the test will be.
Taking a home pregnancy test can be confusing or feel isolating. Receive reliable results you can trust in a professional environment. If you’d like to find out for sure if you’re pregnant, Avenue Women’s Center offers free pregnancy tests. Our highly sensitive, lab-quality tests can provide you with accurate results. With six centers in Chicagoland, Illinois, we offer convenient, confidential services at no cost.
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Guest post by Carla Sebaski, RN
- RxList. Definition of LMP. Retrieved from: https://www.rxlist.com/lmp/definition.htm
- Cleveland Clinic. (2022, November). Pregnancy Tests. Retrieved from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9703-pregnancy-tests
- endocrineweb. (2022, December). hCG Levels During Pregnancy: What’s Normal? Retrieved from: https://www.endocrineweb.com/pregnancy/hcg-levels-during-pregnancy
- Cleveland Clinic. (2022, September). Conception. Retrieved from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11585
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.