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Why do I have to wait 10 days after sex to take a pregnancy test?

Ten days feels like a long time to someone wondering whether or not they’re pregnant. The simplest answer is ten days is the average time for the fertilized egg to travel to and implant in the uterine lining. Examining the “behind the scene” 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? Please call or text us today.

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 – occurs on day 14 of an average menstrual cycle. The average woman’s menstrual cycle takes 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. 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 5-50 mIU/L (a tiny amount, but wide range, in laboratory calculating language).

Why Wait 10 Days for 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 in the range of 20-25 mIU/L, which is typical for 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 are accurate just 10 days after possible conception. With six centers in DuPage County, we offer convenient, confidential services at no cost. Call, chat, email, or text for an appointment today! 

Guest post by Carla Sebaski, RN

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.

16 responses to “Why do I have to wait 10 days after sex to take a pregnancy test?

  1. I had sex on 28th last month but because i want a baby i didn’t wait my periods to begin i tested today but it was negative i still believe that i might pregnant so am waiting to miss my periods

    1. Hi Essie, I’m so glad you found us! You’re right that it’s still possible you could be pregnant since the tests may detect a pregnancy “as early” as 10 days. Waiting to miss your period or testing again in a few days sounds like a good plan. Please let us know if you’d like to come in for a medical-grade test at one of our locations – we’d be happy to see you.

  2. I had sex with my girlfriend on the 8th of may and she told me ten days later she was pregnant is it possible even thou I did not cum and can you get pregnant off of precum

    1. Hi Michael – Thanks for commenting. We have another blog linked here that talks a bit more about whether or not you can get pregnant from pre-cum. While studies show that there is a low chance, it’s definitely possible. Would your girlfriend want to come in for a no-cost medical grade pregnancy test at one of our locations to confirm?

  3. I had a blood pregnancy test done 11 days after having sex and the results came back negative.. could this be inaccurate?

    1. Hi Kayla!
      I’m not a medical professional personally, but blood tests are usually the most accurate type of pregnancy testing as they are measuring the actual quantitative amount of the pregnancy hormone HCG present in the blood. If you’d like to double-check, our urine-based pregnancy tests are over 99.5% accurate just 10 days after sex and we’d be more than happy to have you come in! Just text/call us at the numbers at the top of the page!
      -Lindsay, Assistant Director of Client Services.

  4. Hi, I had sex on day 8th of my cycle, if I took a test after 10 days since I last had sex, would the test be accurate?

    1. Hi Mae!

      It depends on the sensitivity of the test. Our tests at our 6 Chicagoland clinics are over 99.5% accurate as long as it’s been 10 days since possible conception. I’m not sure which type of test you took at home and its accuracy though. Would you like to come in and take one of our medical-grade tests at our clinics at no cost?

      -Lindsay, Assistant Director of Client Services

  5. My wife and I attempted 3 days in a row which makes it anywhere between 10-12 days today. We checked for her HCG Levels yesterday which is 9-11 days post attempt and the result came in at 21.65 mIU/ml. Her periods are due 5-6 days from today (9th Oct). What are the chances she is pregnant? Hoping she is 🙂

    1. Good morning!

      We would love for you to come in for a medical-grade pregnancy test at one of our clinics if you’re interested! Call or text us at the # listed here on our website. Our pregnancy tests are urine-based, but are extremely sensitive and can detect early pregnancy, even before a missed period. As long as there is 25 mIU/ml of hcg in her urine, our tests would read positive for pregnancy. I am not a medical professional myself, but here’s a website that sheds more light on specific hcg levels and what they mean https://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/hcg-levels/ – hoping the best for you and please let us know if you’re interested in coming in for a test at no cost!

      -Lindsay, Assistant Director of Client Services

  6. Hi, I had sex last Saturday November 6th and he finished inside of me but I have the IUD, even though I have the IUD I have never let a guy finish inside of me before so I have never worried about pregnancy but this week I have been really worried. My period is suppose to start today and I am usually really on schedule but it has not started yet and I am beginning to panic. If I had sex 6 days ago I am assuming it is way to early to take a test but If i miss my period this weekend can I take one on Monday and expect results?

    1. Hi there – I understand your anxiousness! Did your period ever come? If not, we could schedule you to come in for a pregnancy test tomorrow 11/16. Call or text us at the phone number at the top of this page.

      All the best,
      Lindsay, Assistant Director of Client Services

  7. Hi my period is irregular I had sex October 30-31 and took a test on the 16,18,22, and 27th of November they all came back negative but still no period should I worry

    1. Hi Lee, I’m glad you found us! If Oct 30-31 was the last time you could have gotten pregnant, then enough days have passed that over-the-counter tests should be providing accurate results. If you’d like additional peace of mind, we would love to meet with you for a no-cost, medical-grade test in one of our locations!
      You can reach out by texting or calling the number at the top of the page, or use the online scheduler to choose a time and location that works for you!
      Lisa P., West Chicago Center Director

    1. Hi Jack. I can’t speak to the accuracy information on a First Response test. There is often detailed information included with the test packaging. Our medical-grade, lab-quality tests are accurate just 10 days after possible conception. If you’re in the Chicagoland area and would like to schedule an appointment for a free test, reach out to us at the number on the top of the page.

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